Grey is the New Black April 28 2014, 0 Comments

Surprise. Sympathy. Fear. 

This is the progressive reaction of most women when I tell them I’m no longer dying my hair. Surprise, perhaps because if they know me they (justly) see me as vain; sympathy, because I’m going to look old (aka my age); and fear, because likely, my uncoloured hair is a mirror to the undeniable fact that they are aging too.  

Toxicity, Time and Money

I was pretty late into the hair colouring treadmill, starting to cover up my grey about 5 years ago. But from the very first time, I loathed sitting in the salon chair with dark goop tingling my scalp, getting in my ears and leaving a toxic smell in my hair for days. And as the rate of grey growth sped up, the need to do it increased to the point where every couple of weeks I'd see a grey hair and reach for a product to cover it up until I could get to my next appointment. 

Even low toxicity colour didn't seem to keep me from feeling silly about sitting in that chair and spending my hard earned money and my even more valuable time to keep my locks a perfect shade of chestnut. I felt like the star of a spray paint hair infomercial from the 90s.

The Influencer

When first I met green beauty blogger Andrea Victory-LaCasse of Shop Pretty, the conversation quickly sped off in all directions and as women do when they talk beauty, we eventually got onto the topic of hair. With some hesitation, I pulled off my tuque and revealed my grey roots which were at an early poor-thing-better-hit-the-salon stage. Andrea immediately pulled out a book from her substantial library and sent me home with Going Grey, How to Embrace Your Authentic Self with Grace and Style, by Anne Kreamer. It's kind of like the Malcolm Gladwell on going grey, or “silver” as Kreamer likes to call it, addressing the topic from various angles, with interesting field and desk research, documenting the author's own journey of going natural. 

Just one of the interesting bits was Kreamer’s hypothesis that on the dating front silver-haired women would be rejected, but would be accepted on the job front. It turned out to be the opposite! Men actually find women with "silver'" hair quite hot, but on the job front, it was the first thing recruiters suggested to change. Now, keep in mind this does vary depending on professions, but in the corporate world, grey hair was a little too authentic.

Funny though, that for men this is quite the opposite. Kreamer writes about an incident where a man she knows, gets passed over for an opportunity because the client wanted someone "with a little more snow on top." Shows experience and knowledge in their field! As for dating, men pull off distinguished quite easily but dyed hair on men...for me, personally, I would wonder about the gentleman's confidence and why he would need to take such measures!


Double standards aside (and there are so many jaw-dropping examples in the book), this is where I am headed, with help from Maria Petrou at worldSALON in Toronto, who, using products with no PPD and very low ammonia, is expertly transitioning my hair to natural silver through strategically placed lowlights and toners every 4-6 months. Maria said that she's seen a bit of a trend over the last couple of years with about a 5-10% increase in clients who are reducing or completely eliminating colour. worldSALON and its owner Brian Philips are committed to green and clean products and are one of, if not the, most mindfully green beauty businesses in Canada. They also happen to be wonderful people with a great line of hair care products. Watch the video Andrea made to start documenting my transformation. 

Living Authentically

Friends, family, associates: I will defy my age in different ways. I will do everything I can to keep my skin, my body and my mind healthy with simple, natural products, exercise, healthful food, work-life balance and a good dose of humour. I will likely always have long hair, I will be silly with my girlfriends and I will try to keep up with social media. But hair colour is something I am going to try and leave well alone and will RUN to Pinterest for inspiration when I think I may have made the wrong decision.

We are looking at a year, maybe two, before this process is complete. In the end will I feel OK with my new look? Will I be the Silver Vixen to my Silver Fox? Hopefully. And despite my uncoloured hair, my success in love and work will be abundant, not redundant.

To a balanced life!