Ladies, my hair is 100% gray, actually a white-gray according to my hairstylist. You will never see it, I am not a ‘silver sister’, and I will never ’embrace the gray’ as the saying goes…there are many of you who probably feel the same way, yet way more vocal are the countless other gals who feel ‘liberated’ to be freed of the effort and expense of routine hair coloring and choose to go gray. Thousands of women on Instagram speak out about how much they love their gray hair, and it’s super easy to find a published piece that touts the power and glory of gray hair and how hair coloring is related to ageism. HOGWASH, I say!
It’s time to hear from the other side.
Three reasons not to go gray:
- Gray is not a flattering color. Have you or a friend ever chosen a gray dress for a special occasion? Of course not! You will not not find a single item of gray clothing in my closet – no sweaters, no dresses, no coat, no blazers, no scarf, no trousers. Gray flannel trousers – those I may consider because they are not near your face, but anything from the waist up, forget it! Whatever your skin tone may be, gray washes you out, and gray is drab. Period.
- Coloring your hair is a SIMPLE way to vastly improve your appearance. We are visual beings and like it or not, people do form opinions about us based on what they see, especially when meeting someone for the first time. We choose our outfits with that in mind, whether for work, a first date, or when going on a job interview. We want our outer appearance to match the ‘message’ that we are trying to convey. Another way to improve our appearance is to maintain a fit body – this is certainly not simple! Yes, coloring your hair does take time and money, but anything of value takes effort. Would you stop working out, would you stop getting manicures?
- Gray hair makes you look older. Even if you are a stylish, stunning, and fit woman such as @greceghanem on Instagram, white/gray hair definitely makes you look older, perhaps even older than your actual age. You may look absolutely gorgeous, but the gray adds years.
So what, you say? You may point out that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with looking old! I agree that there are many gorgeous, smart, older women living active and exciting lives. While this is true, the stereotype of the older, smart woman who is tired and ready to slow things down is also true, based on the REALITY of aging. (This coming from a nurse with years of experience in a nursing home.) My point here is not to blame this perception as ageism when it is simply a fact of life.
As a soon-to-be-65 year old, I feel great and have no desire to slow down. While I am quick to disclose my age to the world, I want my outer appearance to reflect how I feel on the INSIDE: energetic and ready for fun! Coloring my hair is one of the many things that I do to look my best, and yes, to look younger than my years, and I am not ashamed to admit this. It has taken ongoing effort on many levels, it enhances my life, and it feels damn good.
Whether you ’embrace the gray’ or color your hair is obviously a personal decision, and one that isn’t life shattering since you can decide one thing today and tomorrow change your mind. It’s what feels right to YOU. As for me, I will be the little old lady in the nursing home with blonde highlights. 🙂
Ladies, would really love to hear your thoughts, regardless of which camp you are on…I was quite nervous about writing this post because it seems much more politically correct these days to be ‘natural’ and to write posts about ’embracing the gray’ – there are fewer than 100 posts on Instagram on #nevergogray! How can that be??? Let’s get a conversation going here…