It’s not about what your hair looks like. It’s more about how much you believe in yourself and feel good about who you are. Real confidence comes from embracing your uniqueness and being comfortable with yourself, regardless of how you look on the outside. Ankita’s grey hair story proves it wonderfully:
Hi! I am Ankita. I am proud to have my identity tied with my natural long silver hair. I was in standard three when I first got my grey hair. I was not surprised because my brother had already gotten his first greys. So, I assumed it was hereditary, and it had to happen.
But subconsciously, how my family tried covering it and the stereotypes associated with early greying, I lost my confidence. I couldn’t face people without first doing henna to hide my “ugliness”. Henna spoiled my hair, so I eventually started colouring it when I started college.
I could never talk about my grey hair because I was ashamed of it. It played havoc on my self-esteem. I used to avoid my friends during that period when my roots started showing white in between the colouring cycles. And by this time, so many of the chemicals had already spoiled the quality of my hair.
While I was working, I first started experiencing depression. I was alone, could not adjust to my colleagues, hated work, and my self-confidence hit the lowest.
The decision to chop my hair felt sudden, but I guess I have subconsciously had enough of hiding and feeling so little of myself. I did not choose to have greys, but I was born with this, and it’s high time I accepted myself before expecting others to accept me just the way I am.
Though it doesn’t seem like a big thing standing today, at that point, it was the biggest decision for me. To finally be courageous to break off the shackles against the advice of several people. I chopped my hair off so that I was able to have a better hold on my grow-out phase.
My parents did not talk to me for some time. My boyfriend was the only person who did not bat an eye off; his support helped me greatly.
I was nonchalant about my looks in the initial phase of my grey hair growth. Since I did not think I looked good. I would avoid taking photos. I liked how I looked and felt once the hair started growing past face length. The confidence started sparking back. I felt like a new me. I got several compliments from my peers, but at the same, I got several backlashes from strangers of the older generation. I did not let that affect me because we all are victims or survivors of our environments. It’s how we perceive our surroundings.
I am genetically blessed with a thick and wavy texture. I love how they complement my other love, which is being decked up in sarees. I love how messy and bountiful my hair is; hence, despite being a fan of short hairstyles, I cannot bring myself to cut off my long strands.
I did not change my dressing style or make-up because of my hair. My dressing changed after coming back to Calcutta. I fell in love with traditional clothes and how my hair complements my love for sarees.
There’s a small brand called Moxa, which specialises in handmade skin and hair care products. I use their keratin range to mitigate my frizziness while keeping it ultra-soft. I use their ayurvedic hair oil/ coconut oil twice/ thrice a week before shampoo and their hair regrowth serum to my roots near my parting area.
My inspiration was and will always be Nafisa Ali, who has embraced her greys from a young age and always looks her best.
A lot has changed in the last few years, including people’s perspective about greys. The previous generation would continue to perceive it negatively, which is fine. It isn’t easy to unlearn a lifetime’s teachings. But this generation has opened up so beautifully to such changes. I get to hear from so many of my peers that they wish they had grey hair and that I am so lucky.
But I know there’s still a stereotype in many households that affects kids’ morale, like how it did to me. It would take some unlearning, but then social media’s positive impact comes in this sphere. We have such amazing examples of people rocking their greys, which is so empowering for the next generation.
It’s okay to feel embarrassed. The journey to a healthier self-worth cannot be achieved in one day. We all were made to be loved and appreciated, especially by our own self. When you look at yourself, feel the love and confidence. That is what is reflected outside; that is what others see. Not a grey-haired / any other hair-coloured person. But rather a confident person who is comfortable in their own skin.
Follow Ankita on Instagram: @ankita.banerjee05.
Gray hair transition stories have inspired many ladies going gray as they give hope and encouragement to stick on our journey. I hope you find Jennifer’s story inspiring.
Read more Gray Hair Transition Stories here.