Going grey is not a new conversation here at VA.
We have been talking about and practising the silver switch for many years.
I read yesterday how “silver influencers” are the new demographic for brands; finally they are realizing we have not only much to say but also bastions of excellent taste. Andie McDowell wowed the press with her natural locks on the red carpet in Cannes; really is it such a surprise? She looks absolutely wonderful and at the risk of annoying the “dye-hard” camp, so much softer and more beautiful without the strong dark shades she sported before. I know, I know and I hear you – we all don’t agree – and it is a personal choice and one of comfort zone. I do understand that and acknowledge un-dyed tresses are not for everyone.
So here’s the thing.
That is if you are interested in the conversation and progressing through the somewhat time-consuming change. It’s not easy, not for anyone. Physically it requires commitment – intermittent colour and loads of cuts – and emotionally a huge amount of self-confidence must be drawn upon. Intellectually I believe you are either there or not; you either want to or you don’t. We each know when we are ready. If at all.
For me, it was all about the colour.
I couldn’t achieve the blonde I liked and was used to; my hair was changing and would not accept colour in the way it once had. Colour and I had been great friends for decades and there aren’t many shades I haven’t worn. Sadly, the brassy orange and I just didn’t click and however we tried, the wheat coloured creamy blonde I had known and loved disappeared, a little like the firm jawline and sculpted arms.
It was not for lack of trying ;)
A choice was made.
Going grey was something I was willing to try and as my hair grew out it was clear the new look was not all that different from the blonde.
(It is easier for blondes to transition, I cannot argue this and I respect the dedication and self-assuredness it takes for those with darker hair.)
The palette had changed but the overall effect was not so shocking to me. There were days I loathed the idea of my newfound hair freedom and looking in the mirror was torture; it was confronting and made me question so much more than my hair. It has taken me years to really embrace my grey, to accept the result and the reality and short of a fantastical colour for a fancy dress party I am staying put.
If I said our hair colour defines nothing: That would not be entirely true.
Hair colour, as insignificant as it is in the walk of life, speaks to so much more than its shade. For some grey hair is associated with advancing age but so are many other physical changes; grey hair is possibly the least of our future challenges. The trick is to use the silvers to our advantage and embrace our better, not younger selves. Yes, if you look as gorgeous as Andie McDowell or if the growing out is over and you are sporting a full head of silver streaks, it must be easier. Arriving here, whoever we are, means we have all thought long and hard.
I do not believe it is easy for anyone. It’s a journey and one we embark on very differently.
Once you are there, what next?
My theory about silver hair is that it is not static.
Daily changes occur as more of the original colour wanes and the pales come in. Then there are the external influences. Air pollutants, sunshine and a host of other conditions depending on where you live will affect the colour. My hair is protected by a mild climate so the amount of silver shampoo I use is infrequent. I use the same shampoo and masque from a French brand for the last 20+ years – having first discovered them on holiday in southern France – and I still like them as much, if not more than ever.
With my extreme stages of hair colouring over the decades, I have tried so many of their products. Good products do make a difference and finding what works for a new head of hair is worth a little experimentation.
Changing the style helps.
Grey hair does not automatically mean an old-fashioned hair-do or very short hair. Embracing our silver locks means it is all possible. Once upon a time very long grey hair was a No-No. Not anymore and just as well as my hair is longer than ever.
I like the contrast between the very long and the lack of colour – it’s unpredictable and that’s how I believe grey works best. Yes, it requires a sharp cut, permanent blow-drying (I wished I had invested in the Dyson when it first came out – a game changer) and excellent condition but when my hair looks its best, I do feel more confident. I haven’t had long hair for many decades – I favoured a short bob in my blonde years – so this is a big change for me and therein lies the answer; change it up. The same can be said for a fabulous crop or layer cut – wear what suits but not what is a habit.
Enjoy the freedom.
There is freedom in leaving the colour behind. Accept the changes and champion the idea to be better, not younger. I promise it is life changing and avoiding tired assumptions is invigorating. The obvious financial reward and time benefits are there but more than that it is the feeling of being proactive about how we look, of not falling for “others opinions” and doing what we want. It is a choice as much to wear the silver, as it is to colour.
The choice is irrelevant as long as it is us who are making it. xv
See THE EDIT here
Must Haves If Going, Going And Gone Grey
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andie mcdowell in cannes via w magazine