Friday, April 11, 2008

Growing old 'grey'cefully?

It has been rather serious around here lately, so I thought I'd do something really trivial and silly today!

There was a feature about grey hair on yesterday's Woman's Hour on Radio 4. Apparently dyeing one's hair is not the secret, shameful thing it used to be. Nowadays, grey hair is not a sign of wisdom and experience but the mark of someone who doesn't care about their appearance or, perhaps, has given up on life. Everyone is afraid of dying so they are staving off the evil hour with hair dye!

In case you're wondering about the odd picture, below, this is the only record of the minutes after baby Amelia's birth. I forgot to explain to the MM how to use the auto function on my camera and the picture is overexposed. However, it does illustrate that Amelia appears to have inherited my hair colour - our hair and the chair being the only parts of the picture to have been recorded for posterity. As yet, I haven't needed to consider hair dyes. You might notice a few silvers among the brown but not enough to concern me.

Ah, now you have it: "concern me". The language we use about our hair colour reveals that underlying feeling that grey is not necessarily a desirable shade. I don't know why that should be. My sister and most of my friends have been grey for years and I think they look great but I wonder if I want to join them.

Another point the programme presenters made was that the colour people choose to dye their hair is not, as it used to be, blonde but dark brown. Ironic, isn't it? I now look like a grey-haired woman who has dyed her hair!


  1. I (at 50) stopped dying my hair and went grey (my natural colour after many years of having my hair dyed every month) and have actually found it incredibly liberating. I admit that I may not have done this if I had not been diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago and lost my hair through chemotherapy, but I decided then to accept whatever grew back. Initially friends told me it was like an old movie where a character is aged by being given grey hair, and they end up with a young face and grey hair.
    However I am now very comfortable with it and get a lot of positive comment. I read a article recently and discovered that by doing this I am apparently 'celebrating middle age'. Go for it I say!

  2. My hair is mousey brown and, like a lot of people with that hair colour, it's not going grey very early. I have quite a few grey ones but mostly it's still mousey brown! I can't see me ever dying it, I really can't. I've never been one for a great deal of fuss in the hair dept. As long as it's cut regularly and always clean I'm quite happy.

  3. Well M, no one who has seen you face to face 'in the hair' as it were would doubt that yours is naturally, gorgeously chestnut, bouncy and glowing and I am delighted for Amelia that she has inherited such a wonderful gift. My hair as you know has now gone from rather interesting auburn to entirely white and I like to think that each hair has a life-tale to tell. While rather enjoying how my white-haired friends frequently change their hair colour, it is something I have never really wanted to do – but I am still trying to make up my mind about having my ears pierce. Perhaps for my 65th birthday….

  4. ooh, lucky you, M. I started going grey in my 20s and I'm afraid that just wasn't something I was prepared to 'live with'. And it still isn't. I'm not sure when it will be, but I do know that I have no wish to be a wrinkly 90-year-old with anachronistically dark hair, which I don't consider a 'good look'. So somewhere between now and 90 I will have to do the "grey'ceful" thing. Meanwhile, my five-weekly visit to my hairdresser is my 'only weakness' - but an absolutely vital one! (Coincicentally, I'm off to be tinted and highlighted this very afternoon!)

  5. Well, ladies, I hope you've all been entertained today! Thanks for your responses.

  6. What foolishness! Gray is the new black!


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