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Are You Afraid of Going Gray?

Do you fear going grey? Do you wonder if you should take that leap and transition completely to grey hair? This is a really opportune time during the lockdown to go natural because our usual routine of going to the hair salon has been interrupted. But, if you’re still on the fence about completely going gray just remember you can always go back and color your hair once things start to slowly reopen. I realize that going gray can be scary for many of you. It was for me and I’ll tell you why.

My gray hair started to come in when I was in my late 20s. I was really scared because my biggest fear about going gray was that I wouldn’t be able to work any more. I was afraid that I would lose my job. As some of you already know, I am a fashion model. When I started to go gray it was about 40 years ago and at that time there were no Classic Divisions in modeling agencies. Clients were not phoning in asking for gray-haired models, like they are today.

It was a scary time for me because I was certain that I would be irrelevant in my profession and then not have an income. That was a really big fear and I let it get the better of me by giving in and coloring my hair for the next ten years. But then, after all that time, I reached a point where I just knew it was ‘enough’ and it was time for me to fully transition regardless of the consequences. I looked my fear in the face and conquered that fear by jumping into it. I love that expression that everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Fear will come up and stop us in our tracks and stop us from going after what we want, even though we strongly want it. There I was, I brazenly looking at my fear of losing my job—threw it out and tossed it to the wind—not letting it affect me anymore because I wanted to stop going to the salon every few weeks. I was ready to accept I might lose my job. I was completely ready to get on the other side of that fear by looking fear in the face. Once I did that, the fear diminished.

Lo and behold, I was able to keep my job in the industry because society had begun to change how they looked at gray-haired models. The demand grew and I was very fortunate with the timing of going gray, becoming older and being able to fill that niche in my line of business.

It goes without saying that, of course, I hope you won’t lose your job if you gray.

I think our society has a bit of dysmorphia around our hair. Haven’t you heard women say, “I like how gray hair looks on you, but I don’t like how it looks on me.”? Why is it that we don’t like our own gray hair? I think it goes deeper than just the hair. It reflects how self-critical we are and that’s a whole other topic to dive in to in another blog post.

Let’s stay focused on the topic at hand—fear of going gray. When you jump into that fear, the fear diminishes. You become happier because, first of all, the fear is gone; you’re moving towards something that you know you want. You’ve reached a point where you know that the fear has no more hold on you. It’s similar to love. It’s hard to explain and describe when you’re in love, but when you are in love, you know it without a doubt. It’s the same feeling when you know you want to transition. You reach a point when you’re done with dyeing your hair. You just know you’re ready and fear has no more hold on you.

If you’re on the fence right now, wondering if it’s the time for you personally to transition, give yourself time, be patient. If you haven’t been to the salon in months, you already have a head start in your transitioning. That’s a great step that you’ve already conquered. But I realize, it’s a big transformation. For one—you’ve been looking at yourself with dyed hair for years. There’s comfort in familiarity. That reflection is what you are used to. It’s an emotional adjustment to see that familiar reflection slowly fading away and this new you slowly appearing. It can be a struggle sometimes to have that feeling of ‘Who am I looking at? Who am I becoming?’ Be patient with yourself. Maybe there’s comfort in knowing in the back of your mind you can always return to the salon. However, there is one thing I am certain of and that is that the transition period won’t last and it will be over one day.

Once you are totally gray, you will be so happy! The feeling is indescribable of having your natural hair color crowning you. In the meantime, there is a huge support group out there of women who have gone through it themselves and are ready to cheer you on, especially on Instagram. Look at the hashtag 'silversisters'. Jump into this community of women who will offer their advice and help you through your struggles and doubts and answer your questions. These women are there to let you know that that was the best decision that they’ve ever made in their life.

It’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made, too, to ditch the dye. I love how I don’t have the chemicals on my head nor chemicals pouring down the drain into Mother Nature. I’m so happy that I’m one less person using t