Going Grey Naturally

going grey naturally

Going Grey Naturally?

I’ve written about this before, think about it every time I notice grey roots showing again, and I’m thinking about it again now: going grey naturally? Is there a way to go grey naturally and gracefully?

For myself I wonder is allowing my hair to do what it wants to do and go grey naturally a kind of ‘giving up’?

Is it lazy?

Am I just being tight with money?

I wonder too how others will judge me (because I know they will) and how much I’ll care?

And what does going grey really mean?

Some Reasons for Going Grey Naturally and Gracefully

1. I’m completely fed up with sitting for hours in the salon.

Even though I take my ipad and read stuff I find interesting rather than the dilly gossip rags most salons offer, I’d really rather be doing something else.

There were years when I’d enjoy the down time, like when my kids were young and it was a delight to have some free time just for me. Now that my kids are adults I’m feeling that colouring my hair – no, tell the truth Sandy: covering my grey – is kinda boring.

2. I’m completely fed up with feeling embarrassed about the ‘stripe’ of regrowth.

I wonder if people are noticing it when they’re looking at me, and I feel that momentary flush of annoyance and judgement and I supress the desire to explain that I know I “need” to get my hair coloured but I’ve been busy…. and you know, it’s not always appropriate ot have the “I’ve decided to go grey naturally” conversation….

3. Most hair products really irritate my scalp, they have done since I was a teen.

I don’t have other allergies so it’s clearly a contact dermatitis.

And as I watch hair colour washing down the drain I can’t help but wonder where all those chemicals end up. Do they poison our drinking water, the plants in Moreton Bay, the fish that feed other larger fish, and the fish that come to the table? If the chemicals irritate my scalp, what else do they irritate?

I know several hairdressers and they all have problems with the skin on their hands. Admittedly they are all older women who’ve been in the trade for years and perhaps their bodies are less tolerant of the chemicals they work with every day.

So is a little okay but a lot too much? How much poison is okay?

Walking lightly on the earth, knowing I’m just a caretaker of the earth for our children’s children, is important to me. Adding my bit of hair colour pollution to our oceans matters, so does stopping doing it.

One person at a time, one woman going grey naturally at a time…

4. I’m completely fed up with routinely paying over $200 every couple of months to have my hair coloured.

Colouring it myself is also irritating – it messes up my towels and I think it’s just a daft way to spend my time. And really, isn’t the whole covering grey thing an annoying extension of negative body image?

5. If you’ve read anything else at this blog you’ll know that I think the way ‘beauty’ products are marketed to women are damaging to women’s sense of self-worth.

Women with lower self-worth are prone to depression, anxiety, being stuck in abusive relationships, earning less than their skill levels would suggest they should because they’re reluctant to put themselves out there or take a risk that would benefit them, suffering ill-health, withdrawing from social contact, and so on. Is advertising and marketing 100% to blame.

Clearly not, even though women’s magazines are the number one source of health information after the doctor. It certainly doesn’t help anyone’s self-worth when we are told at every turn (directly or not) by the majority of the thousands of advertisements we see every day that beauty is everything, and beauty looks like you don’t but if you buy this product….

6. Going grey gracefully could be a kind of giving up.

I posted a short statement on Facebook asking women who were considering it to please contact me. Within 10 minutes a bunch of friends and relatives had posted back a ‘not me!’ One said “you just can’t love going grey!”

Here’s what I just can’t love: pretenting to be something other than I am.

My self-worth is hard won.

My ability to keep getting out of bed and doing what needs doing to flourish, is hard won.

My awesome daughters and my sometimes-tough relationship with them is hard won.

I have earned the right to enjoy the emotional maturity that I have now, that I most certainly did not have when I was 20, 30 or even 40. I’m 50 now and if I can’t stop pretending to be other than I am then what’s the point? There’s a lot to appreciate about being my age and choosing to stop pretending is far from giving up. Who says a mature woman isn’t gorgeous? Not me, not any more.

7. Others may well judge me.

I’ll deal with that the same way I deal with people who judge other things about me and my choices – smile, thank them for sharing, and send them a buzz of compassion. That’s the plan ;), it remains to be seen how I’ll go!

grey haired man 8. What does doing grey mean anyway?

It’s probably the biggest question of all, the meaning we ascribe to having grey hair. Mind you we run into the double standard as well – for men grey is distinguished, for women it means so much more – and seems to make them so much less….

It’s sad that we’re expected to ‘fight the signs of ageing‘ any way we can. Why?

To me there’s a pride in surviving to be age 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100.

It takes something special to not give in to despair when things get tough, when life doesn’t go the way you’d planned or dreamed or hoped.

It takes a special kind of courage to live an ordinary honest life in our celebrity-obsessed consumer culture.

I get that traditionally women have needed to rely on their feminine attractiveness to men to be able to survive, after all for a long time women had fewer legal, property and fiscal rights than men had. If you couldn’t attract a man your survival was potentially at stake.

And every man apparently wants a younger woman, right? Oh my that’s a whole other discussion… but the world has changed.

Women don’t need a man for his financial clout anymore, women can choose relationships with men they love and respect because hopefully we have our own money or the ability to earn it for ourselves.

There’s also the phenomenon of women disappearing after they turn 40 or “lose their hotness”, whichever comes first. (Again another whoooole topic!) Older women are overlooked everywhere all the time.

Not fun.

But also in our control, or so I intend to prove.

What’s the point of pretending to be other than who I am? Seriously, would you want to be your younger self again? I certainly wouldn’t, she was so hard on herself, I shudder to think!

Also, does keeping on covering my greys say anything about me other than that I’m a good conformist? I’ve never made a good conformist….

So – grey = increasing age. But when any day above ground is a good day (unless you’re a miner I suppose) because it means you’re still alive, why do we make getting older mean something bad? Hopefully getting older also means getting wiser, happier, wealthier.

Grey is only a colour, we give it meaning. So, wiser happier wealthier woman – choose your meaning. Consider allowing your hair to go grey naturally. And please share it below πŸ™‚

What to do then Sandy? Let it happen in its own time, take control and go grey gracefully, or keep pretending? I think I’ll take control, go talk to a good colourist because I really really dislike the ‘stripe’, and see what happens… opinion?



  1. Cathy on October 16, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I haven’t coloured my hair for about 6 years now, and really enjoy the emerging grey. I’m no longer bombarding my system with chemicals, have no regrowth and save a ton of money each month.

    I’m late 40’s and find going grey empowering. My hair naturally changes colour each year to flatter my changing skin tone, and I now buy clothes in the correct colour tones for me. I am beautiful exactly the way I am right now, and if others have a problem with it then it is their issue to deal with.

    I work in the natural health field, and prefer to nourish my body with foods that will make my skin glow and hair shine. I don’t have a problem with women that choose to colour their hair, it’s just not my thing anymore.

    • Sandy on October 16, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Cathy, that’s a great point I think – our skin changes as our bodies age and mature, so it’s natural that our hair should also be changing. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ I wish my blog had a ‘like’button πŸ™‚

  2. Dee on January 11, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I have been pondering this same topic of late. I am in my mid-40s and my hair is significantly grey. I keep my hair short (have done for over 20 years) and also hate the grow out line. I have been using lighter shades to colour my hair of late and have been seriously thinking about not colouring at all. I will be following with interest to see how things go for you with stopping the colouring.

    I have three grown up daughters. When people see me with them they ask if I am their mother. I am often told I look too young to have kids that old. My eldest is having her first baby in March… maybe going natural will ease age perceptions. I can’t complain about looking younger than my age though. πŸ™‚ On a side note, I am also asked frequently what my skin care regime is. I tell them I don’t use makeup or products and just wash my face with a warm face washer and use avon or supermarket moisturiser and that is all. they don’t believe me.

    • Sandy on January 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Hi Dee – that’s hilarious,thanks for sharing πŸ˜€ I have a similar skincare routine – I think we’re so oversold on the idea that we MUST use the pricey “miracle” creams, people don’t even question the truth of that. I love that you’re doing your own thing and disproving all the hype along the way πŸ™‚

      Thanks for reminding me about posting more about my grey journey – I’ll do that now πŸ™‚

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