In society, grey hair has always been associated with ageing and negativity. Specifically, women are being emphasised on hiding their grey hair as society finds it undesirable or unattractive.
However, there are women who have embraced their natural grey hair challenging societal norms and redefining beauty standards sending a powerful message that ageing should be celebrated and not feared. It can bring a shift in societal attitudes and age-positive culture where people of all ages are valued and respected for who they are, regardless of their hair colour.
Fauzia is one of them. She embraced her grey hair and found it to be beautiful and unique. She believes that the more we normalise grey hair, the more it becomes normal.
Read her amazing grey hair transition story as she narrates:
At age seven and I felt my world had fallen apart. I was distraught because I was different and didn’t want to be different!
It came out of the blue. A shriek from my school friend at a plume of snow-white hair winding through my pristine black-haired plait. What? When? Why? How?
Only now that I’ve fully transitioned can I only think that my dear mother hid the fact that I had a mallen streak growing at the back of my head.
With some conviction, she would bind my hair into a perfect plait and hide the mallen streak so it would go unnoticed.
From there on, through my junior and high school years, my dear mother would ritually and meticulously cut out the white hairs as they multiplied at speed.
Fast forward to the day, I left the family home to venture into the wide world.
At the back of my mind, I knew my white hair would catch up with me at some point and become visible again.
Funnily enough, I felt unphased by it, loving that I had a different hair colour. Proud of it, I embraced it and showed it to the world.
I recall a visit back home at 25, which came out of the blue.
My father made no bones about his disapproval at how he felt I had ‘let myself go’, to look in the mirror and look at ‘what I had become’ and that I should ‘sort myself out’.
Once again, I felt distraught because this time, I felt my father’s opinion and approval were what mattered.
Also Read: Go Grey with Online and Offline Support
The following 27 years were fuelled by a chemical relationship, a ritual of monthly salon visits, increasing to bi-weekly.
A heavy set dark brown consumed my hair shaft, time consumingly laborious, and the purse felt the impact too. Hence, home DIY dye (hubby conscripted) was the only way to ensure I continued hiding my ‘shameful’ white hair.
Holiday time was also afforded the necessity to colour roots after a week. It ruled my life and, indeed, became a chore.
Over the years, I lamented not having the choice and freedom to grow my natural hair but let alone society, culturally, it wasn’t acceptable for a woman to let her greys grow.
Considered ugly, old, past it, unworthy and undesirable, it wasn’t an option I felt I would ever be supported with.
Fast forward to March 2020 and COVID!
Imprisoned behind closed doors, I cautiously contemplated letting my natural hair grow out.
No one would see me. If I didn’t like it, I’d colour it again.
I started researching white-haired women on Pinterest and I saw some fabulous ladies with fabulous natural hair.
That led me to Instagram. Enough said, that gave me the kick up the proverbial that I needed and had longed for!
22nd March 2020 was the last hair dye. I knew it was primarily white but didn’t expect how much of it had lost my birth colour.
I have my dear mother to thank as she went white prematurely, and although my colour is more hereditary than age, it’s still my natural colour which is unacceptable even now for some.
I loved my transition journey. I bought a cap and touch-up root spray but loved my grombre so much that I didn’t hide it.
I wanted the world to see it for what it was. I’m eternally grateful for the Instagram #silversisters community. The support, encouragement, joy, fun and, above all, respect is immense.
Beautiful ladies who have since ditched the dye are heart-warmingly amazing.
The true beauty of it is that we’re all unique, with different shades, patterns, tones and depths. What could be more fascinating?
I totally love seeing more grey/white hair representation in society, it’s not before time, and I plan to continue to share, support and inspire.
I hope this encourages those in transition to cross the finishing line and those contemplating a transition to jump the starting gun.
The more we normalise grey hair, the more it becomes normal.
Let’s show upcoming generations of girls and boys what it means to have the freedom and choice to be who we are and to live our lives openly and without fear.
I didn’t choose my white hair, it chose me. I’m blessed, and finally, I’m wearing it with pride.
My wings had been clipped but I’m flying high as a bird now. Don’t anyone try and stop me, I am unique and I love it!
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 Fauzia’s story inspiring.
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Read more Gray Hair Transition Stories here.