Jamie Lee Curtis

Women Are Ditching the Dye, Embracing the Gray

For as long as most of us can remember, society has not “allowed” women to age. It often feels like as soon as a woman leaves her twenties, her value decreases more and more with every passing year. This increases exponentially when her skin starts to wrinkle and sag and when her hair begins to gray. Many women spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars every single year on anti-aging products and services, including dyeing their hair to hide the gray.

Since the pandemic, women, including prominent women, have been ditching the dye and embracing their gray hair. This is seen as a move to push back against society to say that women can age and still be beautiful and valuable.

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Women Are Embracing Their Gray Hair Like Never Before

For many decades now, women have been coloring their hair in an attempt to look younger or hide their age. This is because the message sent out everywhere we turn says that women are less valuable the older they get and the older they appear. Whereas men are celebrated for getting older, with products such as a touch of gray hair dye and society giving them the title “silver fox”. This is why the current generation of female Hollywood A-listers who are embracing their gray hair is sending quite the message to the world: That they are still beautiful, still here, and still relevant. 

While this trend of embracing gray hair started in Hollywood, more women are following suit. It is becoming so increasingly common, in fact, that The Wall Street Journal has named the trend of going gray at work the ultimate “power move”. Celebrities such as Andie McDowell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jane Fonda have all freely and willingly allowed their locks to go their natural way. This, too, is a power move, particularly because these women work in what has been traditionally one of the hardest industries for older women to work in. (1)

Read: Fashion Experts Say You Should Stop Wearing Jeans Once You Reach This Age

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Why Are They Going Gray?

Embracing gray hair has so many advantages for women. The two most obvious are time and money savings. Hair coloring is expensive. Typically, in the United States, just highlights will cost between $50 and $70. A full-color averages between $100 and $150. Depending on where you go, these prices can be higher or lower – of course, in many cases going with the cheapest option can leave you not looking the way you hoped to. The frequency in which you have to go is the other factor for price, as you will need to go every four to six weeks. (2)

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Time is the other big issue here. As already mentioned, you will be sitting in the salon chair at least once every month or a month and a half. These appointments are not quick, either, and can take more than a couple of hours depending on what you need done. On top of all of this are root touch-ups.

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You may choose to do these yourself at home, which will save you on some cost, however, they still take time. Many women, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, are finding that they just can’t be bothered.

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“I can’t spend time getting base color every two weeks. Can’t do it. Nope. Too much,” the actress said.

Another aspect that is making many reconsider hair dye is its potential health complications. Hair dyes, after all, are made up of thousands of chemicals which may or may not come with certain health risks, including cancer. The American Cancer Society currently says that there is no definitive link between these dyes and cancer. Some doctors suggest not using dyes while pregnant, just to be safe.

Naturally, there are other risks, as well, from using hair dyes. These include potential allergic reactions and even hair loss. While the health claims against hair dyes are all up for debate, you certainly avoid any and all risks by simply not using them. (3)

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How To Embrace Your Gray Hair

If you’re reading this thinking “I want to allow my gray to come in but I don’t want to have crazy-looking hair for the next six months”, don’t worry. There is a process that you can follow that will gradually introduce your natural gray without feeling self-conscious going out in public.

Firstly, you do have to allow for a couple of months of regrowth. Understandably, this can be uncomfortable, but it is very necessary. Hair grows at a rate of approximately a half-inch per month, so this process does take time. You can spray or dab on a tonal root touch-up product during these two months to help hide the transition.

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Other things to hide the line between dyed and non-dyed hair are putting your hair up in a bun or high ponytail or zig-zagging your part. These help to prevent regrowth from looking quite so obvious. Another option are what are called herringbone highlights. These will camouflage that stark line and also don’t require too much maintenance.

You’ll find yourself in the salon chair every four to five months rather than four to five weeks. Cutting your hair will also decrease the amount of time you spend awkwardly trying to cover up the regrowth line. The shorter you go, the shorter this process is. Of course, if pixie cuts and other shorter styles aren’t for you, at least getting your hair trimmed frequently will help to speed up the process.

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Treat Your Grey Hair Differently

As your gray hair comes in, you will need to treat it differently than before. It can be drier and more fragile. Particularly at first, you’re best to lay off the heat styling tools as much as possible. You’ll need to change your shampoo, as well. Gentle, sulfate-free shampoo should be your go-to. Skip purple shampoos, unless you find your hair looking slightly discolored after a swim in a chlorinated pool. Gently run a bit of argan oil through your hair to help moisturize it and give it some extra shine.

Finally, remember that going gray doesn’t mean throwing in the towel and yelling “That’s it – I’m just old now!”. Rather, it means embracing your beauty at every phase of your life. It is about no longer denying or hiding who you are, and no longer allowing society to tell you otherwise. Aging is a privilege that not everyone gets to have. Be proud of who you are and how far you’ve come. You deserve it.

Keep Reading: Sarah Jessica Parker Spotted with Natural look and Forced to Defend Her Gray Hair after Online Criticism

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Sources

  1. Women Are Ditching the Dye, Embracing the Gray.” ARRP. Amy Synnott. October 17, 2022.
  2. How Much Does It Cost to Dye Your Hair? | Average Costs.” You Probably Need. Debra Carpenter. August 9, 2022.
  3. Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk.” Cancer
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