19 January 2024

It's a grey-volution as women embrace their changing hair colour

| Zoe Cartwright
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hairdresser and client

Marissa Walsh, at Hair HQ Woonona, is one Illawarra stylist supporting clients who are ready to let their silver strands shine. Photo: Rebecca Mauger.

If you stumble into a particular corner of Instagram, past the uber-filtered selfies of semi-professional models, you might find something refreshing.

Women as young as in their 20s and 30s are embracing their grey hair, growing it out, dolling it up, taking photos of the journey and celebrating their silver locks.

The hashtag #silversisters has more than half a million posts, and Australian influencers such as thesilverlining_1970 have hundreds of thousands of followers.

The trend exploded after lockdowns made it impossible to get to the hairdresser, and many women saw their natural hair shine through for the first time in years.

Marissa Walsh, of Hair HQ Woonona, said she had noticed an uptick in clients wanting to enhance, rather than hide, their greys – and she loves it.

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“Quite a few clients after COVID had regrowth and decided to just keep going with it,” Marissa said.

“I think there’s a beautiful softness about grey hair and women embracing their ageing.

“It can be very liberating for a lot of women when they make their mind up, and it can be even more stylish than what they were doing before, just rocking that confidence and owning the grey.

“There’s a definite shift in how it’s perceived as well. It’s become more about rejecting ageism, and the more of that the better!”

One of Marissa’s clients, Bec, began to grow out her greys in January.

In her early 50s, Bec has been going grey since her mid-30s, around the same time she became a mum.

She wasn’t just self-conscious about her changing hair colour, but how she would be perceived as a mother.

“A lot of it was about not wanting to take him to school when he was little and have people think I was his grandma,” she said.

“There’s so much wrapped up in dying your hair or not dying your hair. It’s more than a colour, it’s this whole re-evaluation of who you are and how you’re perceived.

“In my mind, I always thought I’d be ready when I’m 60, but I was at the point where I was spending three hours every four weeks in the salon.

“I’m pretty low-maintenance all around, and to spend all that time – sometimes you just don’t want to be a slave to that.

“I was sick of feeling disappointed that I didn’t look young, and then I thought, hang on, I’m not 20 anymore, why have I still got this dyed hair trying to cheat what my face is telling the world?

“Why don’t I try to be the best version of me?

“When Marissa said she had other clients who were embracing their greys, I thought, OK, let’s do it. I’m happy to look as nice as I can and be 52.”

grey hairstyle

Classy, stylish, funky – going grey doesn’t mean abandoning a fashionable cut. Photo: Kieraville Cut N Curl.

Bec said that although the first few haircuts sans colour had been confronting, she trusted the process.

Now, almost a year later, she says she’s just impatient to have the last bits of colour on her ends cut out.

She’s hard-pressed to think of any downsides to ditching the dye.

“It gives you more self-assurance and confidence, and people can take me as I am,” she said.

“I have the freedom to choose how I present myself, and seeing all those stylish women on Instagram is inspirational – you can still be fashionable and attractive and look after your appearance.

“I was pleasantly surprised that I like the colour, and my son hasn’t said, ‘Gee, mum, you look old’.

“People have been quite complimentary and that’s nice but I’m doing this for me and I’m happy with it.

“No-one cares about your hair as much as you do, and the money I save on my hair I can spend on other things.”

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Marissa said women who were wavering should have a chat with their hairdresser, as everyone’s grow-out process was different.

She also had a few tips for women ready to take the plunge.

“Look for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, and commit to trying for a few months before you decide whether to go back or push through,” she said.

“Like with any hair colour change, you might need to change your makeup or incorporate more bright colours into your clothing and jewellery.

“Some women find the texture of their hair changes, so they need to find different styling products, but it’s definitely easier to keep healthy.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about what makes you feel better, and if it doesn’t make you feel better it’s not your time yet.”

Original Article published by Zoe Cartwright on Region Illawarra.

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