Like many women, I’m a good girl.
Since leaving the womb forty-something years ago, I’ve worked hard to meet the societally imposed obligation to always put my pretty face forward. This involves long nurturing an aversion to grey hair, which over the last 15 years has seen me spend countless hours — and thousands of pounds — obliterating offensive greys.
But now I’m in a quandary.
Over time, I’ve increasingly felt my hair dyeing regime is becoming a drain on my time, energy, and bank account. And if there’s one thing I loathe more than my grey hair at this stage of my life, it’s wasting time, headspace, and money on stuff I consider unimportant.
After wrestling with the question of whether my hair dyeing regime justifies its costs, I tentatively decided to try my grey on before committing to ditching the dye for a few months. It’s a decision that prompts the growth of mighty prominent grey streaks in my fringe — Cruella de Vil style.
But what strikes me as odd is my reaction to it. While I’d expected to be horrified by my new grey-streaked hair, I’m weirdly invigorated. I look quirky AF, particularly when I couple my cat-eye specs with my Cruella-esque do. And I love it.
If you buy into society’s narrative, grey-haired women fall into the old and unattractive camp, which is a world away from the youthful and pretty (read: desirable) one we’re expected to take up residence in from birth.
It’s a fate women are conditioned to delay for as long as possible unless, that is, we favour making our transition to absolute invisibility before the end of menopause.
Yet, a revolution is going on.
Grombre is a global movement where thousands of women are doing away with the dye. A radical celebration of the natural phenomenon of going grey, it’s about so much more than hair. It’s a community of women committed to the belief that life’s most important things don’t involve conforming to the beauty standards we’re so often told define our value. Because they don’t.
We’re so much more than the colour of our hair, the size of our thighs, the clothes on our backs, or the paint on our faces. Yet, we’re conditioned from an early age to believe these external factors determine our worth. And we can spend our lifetimes striving to meet the ever-growing list of society’s beauty demands while never quite feeling like we’re making the grade.
It’s exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive — not only financially but mentally and emotionally, too.
I have a choice.
I can go back to the dye and continue toeing the societal line of being a conventionally pretty woman. Or I can permanently ditch it to present a version of myself to the world that better aligns with who I am.
By allowing my grey hair to come out of hiding, I’ve recognised it as just that — a part of who I am. And I’m no longer ok continuing to hide my true self from the world to meet external expectations of how a woman should look, if I ever consciously have been.
I’m done with being a good line-toeing girl.
I now see my grey hair for what it really is — beautiful and natural, rather than ugly and ageing. And I also see that, contrary to what we’re conditioned to believe, women can choose for themselves what beauty looks like. We don’t need outside influences to dictate to us what beauty looks like.
Turns out it’s empowering to be free of being conventionally pretty. And it’s not only men who can be silver and foxy.