There are so many ways in which I could start talking about this topic. I could talk about beauty, experience, age, emotions, life or colour. Talking about the color grey, I often wonder is it even a colour or merely a shade? Does it represent uncertainty or indifference, boredom or modesty or age and maturity? Not a favourite colour for many, certainly not mine and yet why did the first sight of this colour in my hair NOT make me jump up and run to the salon to get it coloured?
The reason was quite simple really. My greys got me thinking.
I believe that life takes you through different stages as you move from one decade to the other. There are bound to be new priorities, new developments, new challenges and new concerns. I chose to see my first grey as a step towards realising that a whole new chapter in my life was about to begin. I was then all of 35 years old.
Ever since my childhood, I had very thick hair that went right down to my waist. Every morning half an hour was dedicated to oiling, brushing and plaiting! No easy task considering that we did not have hair conditioners in those days! The full credit for my thick tresses goes to my mum. I loved my hair and was very proud of them. That was just the first decade. The second decade as I moved towards my teenage years my hair took a rebellious turn! From front flicks to fringes I tried it all, my tresses no longer long but in a fashionable ‘layer cut!’ Then came the unnecessary coloring during my heydays in the modelling world. Modelling for leading brands of shampoos and oils where hair had to be dyed jet black and then ironed poker-straight not with tongs but with a real iron mind you! Blow-drys, curlers, straighteners, I had to do them all! I also loved being in the sun, playing in the sand, never once bothering to protect my skin with sunscreen or my hair with a serum.
The third decade was a very different phase for me. My two pregnancies, a chance to be reborn as a stay-at-homemum kept me very busy and very happy, but it all came at the cost of losing a lot of my hair. Not to mention the endless sleepless nights worrying about colic, gas, constipation and whatever else a new mum worries about! The days consisted of non-stop running behind toddlers, and a one-off hand brush through my hair was the best grooming I could make time for!
At 35 faced with my first set of grey’s, while I may not have rushed to get them coloured, eventually the need to change my overall appearance did take me to the salon. I went through the beautiful shades of reds as shown by the salon staff on an extensive shade card – the brilliant hues from luminous mahogany, a scorching auburn to dark cherry, I was biased towards red. I tried on all the shades, year after year, enjoying them like the changing seasons, revelling in the compliments that followed. Till one day I noticed that the greys were standing out more, and they showed much earlier than their annual appearance and in more clusters than ever before. It was like they were seeking attention, demanding justice, asking me to acknowledge their existence! The more I colored, the duller the reds got, no more as luminous as the lovely shade card samples. My hair started getting dry, very dry and frizzy to the point of looking and feeling more like the overused broom kept in my kitchen corner! Haircuts became more frequent to get rid of the dead hair, but if your hair starts looking dead right from the roots, a haircut is not a solution. Unless you plan to go bald! I stood staring at myself in a mirror one day after just having a fresh colour session, and I saw a tired, aged woman looking back at me. There were faint lines on her forehead, crinkles near her eyes and her head was covered with dull, lifeless, red hair. I felt as if my hair did not match my face anymore! It was in that moment, that I decided never to color my hair ever again!
That was nearly two years ago when I turned 40. And not once in these 2 years have I been tempted to cover my greys. Was it an easy journey? No. It took time for me to get adjusted to the look, to let the greys grow out. A totally new, much shorter hairstyle and a stylist who I could trust, definitely helped. I learnt that my friends and family needed time to get adjusted too! They could not watch me turn into an “old lady” and always tried to change my mind with their well-intentioned suggestions. But I had made up my mind and I was determined to make it work. In order to tame the greys which were getting frizzier by the day, I started doing keratin treatments, once a year which worked wonders for my hair. Soon I had the same friends commenting on how elegant I looked and how they wish they had the guts to do the same!
I can’t say that I am proud of having greys but yes I am proud of the fact that I stuck to my guns and did what I felt was right for me. I no longer have to hide behind caps, different kinds of ‘cover the grey’ hairstyles or spend endless hours in the salon wasting my time and money getting the right colour done. More importantly my hair is once again a part of my personality, defining who I am. As for the greys, well like I said the greys conceal the story of my life within those strands! So “Go Grey!” I say.