A Silver State Of Mind
Thank you Julie, aka Instagram's The Fiftyist, for this fabulous guest blogpost and accompanying video. It's an emotional read, and I hope you find it as empowering as I did! If you're thinking of transitioning to your natural silvers you might want to check out this previous blogpost about caring for silver hair.
Over to you, Julie...
Have you decided to ditch the hair dye and transition to silver hair, then talked yourself out of it because you’re too scared?
Well, I can reassure you that you are not alone—I’ve been there too! It’s such a big decision because grey hair has so many negative connotations.
So, what would it take for you to finally reach your point of no return, step over
society’s grey wall of shame and begin a transition from dyed to silver hair?
I thought I’d share my thoughts on how I reached a Silver State of Mind…
It’s summer, 2018, and I’m scared.
I have to transition because I’ve become increasingly allergic to hair dye and am worried that soon I’ll have a more serious reaction.
The fear I feel is largely to do with the acceptance of others; I don’t know how people will view me with grey hair.
Plainly and simply, I think I will look old, and that’s because historically, society says I will.
Yet this need to stop the merry-go-round of dyeing is overwhelming. It feels like the right thing to do, and it is, but I do nothing, for a long time.
A key issue is that society starts to throw a giant invisibility cloak around women as they age. They become gradually less visible on TV and in the media in general. Youth is prized above all else, and despite the value of the ‘grey pound’ (such a sad term), advertising for health and beauty, fashion and fitness products are invariably aimed at young people. Value is placed with youth, not the youthful. There is embarrassment and shame about having grey hair. In more recent times, there have been improvements but there is still such a long way to go.
Back in 2018, I’m deeply worried that I will become invisible, ignored, undervalued.
The moment that changes everything for me is when I start to find, on social media, a few beautiful and famous models, actresses and activists who’ve taken this giant step. Although many are beautiful and would literally look good with green hair and wearing a paper bag, I feel that times are changing.
Then I come across a small group of Silver Sisters on Instagram who are not famous, yet have taken the step and transitioned. I am elated. I can suddenly see myself—they are me; I am them.
And they look amazing! They are glamorous, elegant, fun, quirky, brave and SILVER. And they are normal, just like me.
I’m at the end of my tether with my allergies to the dye and this is the push I need.
Suddenly all is possible—I know I can do it now. There are visible silver-haired women out there, confidently owning their natural hair colour. I take a deep breath and stop dyeing my hair.
This is my moment of decision, but how do I keep going after my first hairdressing appointment passes and I see the first signs of silver peeking through?
Well, I soon find out what it takes...
It takes…bravery, confidence and a touch of sass. To be brave in the inimitable words of Brene Brown I must make myself vulnerable. Stepping into the unknown, even in such a small way, exposes my inner core to the world. I’m on Instagram by now, and although my family and friends are supportive, the comments online from others can be thoughtless and cold. I hurt a little inside at times, but I soon realise the trick is to totally ignore rudeness or give as little information as I can. If I’m feeling anxious, I pretend to be confident, and it works. Here and there I cultivate a dash of sass too – it helps to be bold!
I learn that it takes… patience. The months are long but remembering how unbelievably fed up I was with the fortnightly root touch-ups and 6-weekly hair appointments spurs me on (along with the extra money I’ve saved!).
It takes… realising that I am happy with myself regardless of my hair colour, because it sure as heck doesn’t define me. This acceptance is a huge step on the journey and one that I am so proud of.
By the final months, I am pushing through to the end confidently, feeling fabulous and owning my long silver hair and new look in a way I never thought possible.
I’m trying new colours and makeup that wouldn’t have suited me with my old unnatural colour but suit me with silver. I’m learning how to look after silver hair with sulphate free products and am regularly using my wonderful hair towel from Karen at Good Wash Day to keep my silvers soft and shiny.
I’ve made thousands of new connections on Instagram and am part of a tribe of women who are all in this together—it’s a remarkable feeling.
And, ultimately, what spurs me to the final trim of my dyed, dead ends is realising that in losing them, I no longer subscribe to the old manipulative outlook on grey hair.
I’m refusing to wear society’s invisibility cloak. By ditching the dye I’m making the statement that I refuse to be side-lined.
I’m here. I’m visible. It feels amazing.
I’ve attained a Silver State of Mind.
So… if this was my journey, it can certainly be yours.
Why not talk yourself into it again, get sassy and go for it?