I have an outing to make: I have grey hair. Like really grey grey hair, not just a few streaks but proper patches of grey hair. And I forgot one detail: I am 36 years old. Actually my hair started turning grey when I was in my early twenties. I got that from my mom and her side of the family in general. It started off with a few single grey hair, that I would rip out (ouch…), and it became more and more over the years. Not all my hair is grey, it’s mostly the front part just above my forehead. Exactly, the part that everyone can see. So basically I have been colouring my hair for most of my adult life. It started with highlights and then at some point full head colouring.
A few years ago I noticed that my hair was really fragile and damaged. I often had an itchy scalp and I lost a lot of hair. It was longer then and the hair lying around everywhere annoyed me so much.
I decided to go a hairdresser who uses natural and plant based products to colour the hair. I liked the result and did that for a while. I even cut my hair really short to get rid of all the damaged hair and to allow my hair to grow in a healthy way. The thing was I had to go to two hairdressers: one for the colour and for the cutting. The colouring hairdresser did haircuts but I did not like the style very much. The cost and time involved did not make it a sustainable solution over time.
So I went back to the chemical stuff and my scalp started suffering again which I tried to ignore and play down.
Then earlier this year I found out that I was pregnant. Yay to starting a new chapter in my life! Nay to letting any chemicals into my body that could potentially harm the baby and myself for that matter.
Which means that since March this year I have not coloured my hair. And it also means contemplating the full extent of the damage every single time I look in a mirror. I cut the hair shorter again for a cleaner look and I try to style it in a way that the grey is not “protruding” too much. But I can no longer deny the obvious.
I was quite confident at first, doing the “going all natural and simply being myself and accepting myself the way I am“. I tried being a good Yogini by practicing non-attachment. Easier said than done.
There isn’t a day where I wonder what I could do to hide the grey hair or where I obsess about everyone noticing it. Sometimes when I speak with people I have the feeling that all they see is THE hair. Or when I meet with friends I am convinced it’s the first thing they will notice. You know, not “oh look at your growing beautiful belly”, “look at your mama glow”,… but “OMG, what happened to your hair?” And when people actually notice and comment on it, I cringe on the inside and want to disappear.
I have to admit that I have been roaming the internet to find examples of younger women wearing their grey hair with pride and confidence. Nothing has really convinced me so far. Well actually there is an example that inspired me: a Luxembourgish politician who is about my age and she is wearing her hair all natural and grey.
I have been telling myself that once the baby is there and after breastfeeding I can go back to colouring again. Not so long to go, Maud. But then I am thinking: do I really want to go back to itchiness and losing hair? Do I really want to put something onto my head that is potentially damaging and let it enter my body ? Do I want to spent my money and time on this? Do I really want to pollute the water and earth out of vanity?
Or can I simply accept that my hair is changing just as my body is changing during pregnancy. That changes are part of life and to be embraced. Changes don’t make us uglier or less likeable. They don’t make us a different person or worse a less valuable person. On the contrary they are part of the story of our life. They make life and they make us more interesting.
So I think I will continue my practices of non-attachment and of letting go. And next time I look into the mirror or that someone make a comment about my hair, I choose to smile and grow a little more confident.
P.s.: Just in case, if you have any ideas on hairstyles that make grey hair in younger women look all nice… you know, just in case… let me know. 😉
Credits: Photo by Faithlord VSCO grid, illustrations by Linda Dieschbourg.