Most of us have spotted the infamous sign of “getting older” … the dreaded gray hairs. Once this happens, we have to ask ourselves should we color it or go gray? The question I want to ask is why is this even a question we have to think about? As women we are conditioned to fear getting older and taught to dread the very moment we find gray hairs. It happens though to most of us. There is a clear double standard when it comes to graying with males though. Men are seen as becoming more “distinguished,” more “debonair.” The salt and pepper look seem to make males more appealing, yet when it happens to females, we are to run and hide until such time that we can color those bad boys.
Silver hair seems to be a current trend, yet it is mostly the younger generation that it seems to apply to. We often see pictures of young ladies in their twenties and thirties who are purposefully dyeing their hair this beautiful silver/gray color. While I find it ironic that this seems to be acceptable for their age group yet not ours, I also find this a wonderful step in the direction of doing away with the social stigma of gray hair.
With these younger ladies finding it beautiful to have silver hair, they will also not dread it as much as they naturally go gray when they get older. This silver movement has thrown open the door for older women to happily embrace their own natural graying hair. Recently, Sharon Osbourne has joined the movement of going with her natural gray hair, as well as Jane Fonda.
I began wondering why women are more inclined to stop coloring their now natural graying hair. I wondered if there was a common thread running through this change of attitude. I posted this question on our Prime Women Group Facebook page and asked numerous women personally their reasons. I found two distinct reasons: no longer viewing coloring as healthy and the cost of coloring.
Almost all the women who responded stated that as they have gotten older, they no longer liked the idea of putting chemicals in their bodies. According to the American Cancer Society, some hair dyes do have chemicals that can be absorbed into the body through skin or fumes inhaled from the air. While there has not been a definitive conclusion as to whether dying our hair may cause cancer, there are some studies that have shown links to some blood related cancers such as leukemia and lymphomas. So, when you are considering the risk factor of coloring your hair, you must consider how often you do so. For some women, they color their hair maybe 2 or 3 times a year which means the risk factor may be much lower. However, other women color their hair 1 or 2 times a month making the risk factor higher.
The second common reason given for no longer coloring graying hair was the cost of doing so. It is astounding to me (as I am certain it is to many of you), the cost of doing this. I live about an hour south of Atlanta and coloring my hair is $85. However, salons in and around Atlanta the cost is between $100 and $200. The cost greatly varies based upon the type of coloring being used. The cheaper coloring works but may not last as long or cover as well. However, the cost is cheaper. The more exclusive salons use higher end products and, thus, making this service more expensive. Round the cost off with having to do these numerous times a year and the money starts to add up.
As women we all want to look and feel like a goddess. We want to be attractive and beautiful. This is intrinsically a part of who we are because we are socialized to think so. However, we are also socialized to believe gray hair means old and old equates bad. Let’s change this mentality! I am seeing so many beautiful women on Instagram who are challenging this and having the courage to step forward and say, “I am beautiful, and I have gray hair!”
I began looking at different Instagram pages with various Prime Women who have begun to defy the myth that we should cover our gray. Fox news even had an article stating that silver may just be the new black. There seems to be a journey or a movement of sorts to becoming silver. Allure did an article on 32 hairstyles that are Instagram worthy. When more and more women embrace the silver, the less the stigma attached will be. Let’s show the world that Prime Women can show how going gray is beautiful!
As women we are so good at standing together in support of each other. We have the power of change. I truly believe that we can change the misconception in society that gray hair on women makes them be seen as “old.” Gray does not equate old. Gray is gorgeous. Gray is confidence. Gray is strong.
If you are considering letting your hair turn its natural gray, I say go for it! Find your sisterhood in person and on social media that will help you on this path. For those who aren’t at that point yet, let’s just start changing our mindset of what gray hair for women means. Let’s advocate for the beauty of it. Let’s send the message that gray is the new wave!!
Myth Busters is part of an ongoing series about myths surrounding women over 50 (like they can’t try new things) and the women who break them. Part of the Myth Busters series. Read Myth #1 and Myth #2 here. If you would like to join discussions about this series or possibly be included in an article yourself, please join the Prime Women Facebook group. And don’t miss any of the Myth Busters series by signing up for our newsletter.
Subscribe today for free to receive our weekly update and never miss an article.