I’m in my forties and I’ve never coloured my hair before (I’ll omit the brief fling with sun-in back in the 90s), so mine isn’t a story of transitioning to grey and I’ve no dramatic ‘grow out’ images to share with you. However, I can assure you that doesn’t mean my decision to go grey naturally hasn’t involved some pretty hefty internal conversations. Because, as many women at the same hair stage as me will know, going grey is about so much more than the colour of your hair.
I started to notice the odd grey hair in my late 30s and I will admit to plucking them out. It was all pretty manageable and I assumed I would consider hair colouring options at a later stage, because that is what you do when you go grey: you cover it up.
By my 40s the greys were coming in more frequently. It seemed that for every hair I plucked four more would appear. I reluctantly put away the tweezers, it was time to consider my options.
As I’ve never really coloured my hair before, why was I considering it now? The expense, the time spent at hair appointments, touch ups, products. The thought of all the maintenance, and actually just all the extra thought about my hair in general, was pretty overwhelming. But the alternative was to admit to ageing and to accept the natural passing of time.
I started to worry that I’d look tired and washed out if I didn’t colour my hair, perhaps my partner might not find me attractive, and maybe I’d look more like my kid’s granny than their Mum at school pick-up. And then I realised these were all things I’ve been conditioned to feel about ageing. The more I thought about it the more I realised the presence of grey hairs didn’t actually bother me. Why did I want to hide the fact I was ageing? This was as much of an internal conversation as an external one.
I’ve now come to accept that a battle with Mother Nature isn’t one I can win. However, maybe we can team up and go on this shaky journey together. One grey hair at a time.