Real women share how learning to accept their greys made them feel empowered
Ask any woman about her hair and she’ll have a story. Whether it’s recalling the tale of a bad haircut at the age of 12, or a more complex, life-long struggle to accept the natural texture she was born with, one thing is clear: Hair is more than just superficial to women.
For centuries women have used their hair as an extension of their personalities and as a means to express their individuality. On public display for the world to see, hair has become a deeply personal part of the female identity and is closely tied to a woman’s self-esteem.
The relationship between hair and self-image is universal, transcending race, culture and socioeconomic standing. According to Psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller for the Huffington Post, positive self-esteem is linked to feeling in control of our bodies, decisions, and personal image. And hair is one of the easiest ways we can take control of all three.
But with all the positive associations between hair and self-confidence, there’s also a dark side to it. What happens when a woman’s hair doesn’t fit the mould of society’s conventional beauty standards? What if she struggles with textured hair, thinning hair, sporadic balding, or seborrheic dermatitis? What happens to a woman’s self-esteem when she starts going grey?
We wanted to deep-dive into this topic and hear first-hand how hair affects a woman’s self-worth. We asked real women of all ages and backgrounds to share their hair stories and will be revealing their testimonials in an on-going series.
First up, going grey. Here’s how three real women learned to accept their greys and gained even more self-confidence in the process.
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“There have been times when I've been having a bad hair day and didn’t want to be seen in public. You can't change your face easily but your hair is another story…When I started dying my hair purple (and pink, blue) for me it was about self expression and having fun. But my husband also told me he felt it was about freedom. I don't have a lot of control over certain things in my life, my epilepsy means I can't work and I can't drive. My hair is something I have total control over. Purple hair is more common now, so maybe that's why I'm going 'against the grain' once again and letting my grey hair show through. I've had grey hair since I was in my late 20s and now I don't care about hiding them anymore. I think it's another freedom I’ll be getting back in my life - freedom from [colouring] and hiding what's there. Why conform to what people consider young and attractive and normal?” - Lisa359
“My hair started to go grey in my early twenties and I dyed it with permanent hair colour. It has taken me nearly six years to come to the realisation that dying my roots is [just too] hard to maintain. I decided to let my natural hair colour grow out and cut it short for a while to cut off the colour ends. I felt such a sense of freedom that I didn't need to colour my hair anymore, that I didn't need to conform to what other people expected. My hair is a natural salt and pepper and I have decided to grow it out now so I can have it restyled into a short bob for the summer months. I found it rather freeing to let my hair go back to its natural colour, like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like I can truly be myself.” - Margi59
“I, too, have let my hair go naturally grey. I have just turned 70 and it started about ten years ago - I think after I had a couple of really big operations on my back...I then dyed it blonde as that was my natural colour but it was hard to get my colour the same. I got so fed up with it that after a few years I thought, ‘Hell, I'm not a spring chicken anymore I will just let it go.’ I have never been happier. It is now almost all grey and my husband is quite happy about it as well, he thinks I look better.” - shaper
To share your hair story, click here.
Does your hair play an important role in your identity? Would you let your hair go grey?