For the past couple of years, celebrities have been going gray on purpose, and it’s infiltrated the mainstream. Does that mean I’m cool now?
The hostess at our local deli has been sporting a very, very short hair style in gray. I asked her when she started to go gray and she said, “It’s dyed. Gray is all the rage now.” So I Googled the topic, and sure enough, she is correct.
For the past couple of years, celebrities have been going gray on purpose, and it’s infiltrated the mainstream.
From The Daily Mail:
Previously the colour thousands of women desperately dyed their hair to disguise, grey has undergone somewhat of a makeover recently.
Led by a host of A-list celebrities from Rihanna to Pink and Kylie Jenner, silver locks have become a new -and niche- fashion statement.
Somehow the stale shade rocked by grannies the world over has become a must-have for those looking to push fashion boundaries.
In the condo where I live, there are a large number of senior citizens like myself. But most of the older women have blonde hair, because gray has long been identified as making women look old, while on men it is still described as dignified.
From the New York Times:
Gone are the days when guys would actively avoid graying hair. For a new generation of adventurous men, dyeing one’s hair gray is gaining traction, appropriating a naturally occurring phenomenon from older men and giving it a millennial twist.
Now, with the Millennials, sporting silver locks is the latest “in” look. (“Silver locks” sounds so much cooler than “gray hair.”) And it gives the Millennials a concept they can own.
The term “silver fox” has morphed to including younger men and women who are volunteering to go gray, not just older men, like Sam Sheppard, George Clooney, or Kenny Rogers. Do we equate those silver streaks to the wisdom that comes with age? Or are they just more attractive with a trendy look? Either way, are the Millennials are stealing our aging thunder? We’ve earned our silver tresses — as well as the lines on our faces to go with them! (Not all of us can afford Botox or surgery.)
In college, one of my classmates told us she started going “prematurely gray” in high school, and by our senior year of college was well on her way to being totally silver. I thought the look was unique on someone so young and did not associate it with growing old, because she was obviously so young. But the term “prematurely gray” is no longer operative, because younger women and men are choosing to be gray.
Actually, I see many women in their 50s and 60s sporting all-white hair, having foregone the never-ending process of coloring. My good friend Rhoda was blonde until she noticed a great deal of white coming in, so she kept it blonde until her hair was mostly white, and now she looks fabulous! Perhaps the trend of younger people with “bottle gray” allows us older people to be more daring.
For women, one of the positive aspects of this phenomenon is that now older men are not the only ones considered to be more attractive or dignified with the onset of gray hair. Perhaps now both women and men will share equal billing.
Think back not long ago when young men began to go intentionally bald. Whether they shaved their heads (and legs) because they were athletes who wanted an edge or because they wanted to cover up the fact that they were actually going bald, all of a sudden I was seeing more and more hairless young men. When I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, baldness equalled “too old to date.” That’s ancient history.
When I married my second husband 12 years ago, he was in his late 60s and was almost bald, except for a rim of white hair above his ears and neck. By then, I was beginning to turn gray myself, with periodic henna touch-ups, and thought nothing of his hair color or shiny dome, except for the fact that he used hairspray to keep his locks from flying away in the wind. That was a first for me, dating a man who used hairspray! When he decided to shave his head, I needed a couple of months to get used to his new look. It was his choice, and I honor that, although I still go around thinking: “Don’t change a hair for me…” Now, of course, being bald is still cool, maybe not so cool as having silver hair, but still quite acceptable.
Is all this hoopla about gray hair important? What does hair color really say about us to other people — and to ourselves?
Aside from the fact that constantly coloring your hair with chemical dyes is not all that healthy for your scalp, changing and maintaining the color of your hair is an expensive investment. I went auburn for years to cover the gray, but I got tired of the extra expense and the DIY touch-ups. I allowed my hair to go salt-and-pepper. And because I never wanted to be a blonde, I ride the latest trend without even trying: silver!
In the end, I think everyone, young and old, wants more control in an overwhelming world, and if Millennials think that silver locks demonstrate that control, who am I to stand in judgment? At least hair color is much easier to alter than the tattoos and body piercings. And since my own Millennial grandson has wild, trendy “big hair,” I may be biased toward accepting hairstyles of any kind. Except for silly comb-overs and bad toupees. (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump.)
The next time I see a young person with silver hair, I won’t ask about turning “prematurely gray. “Orange may be the new black, but I am now savvy enough to know that gray is the new blond!