There are so many ways in which I would like to start this post. Talk about beauty, experience, age, emotions, life, colour. Grey colour? Is it even a colour or merely a shade? Does it represent uncertainty or indifference, age or maturity, boredum or modesty? Not a favourite colour for many, certainly not mine and yet why did the first sight of this colour in my hair NOT make me jump up and run to the salon to get it coloured?
The reason was simple. My greys got me thinking. I believe that life takes you through different stages as you move from one decade to the other. There are bound to be new priorities, new developments, new challenges and new concerns. I saw my first grey as a step towards realising that a whole new chapter in my life was about to begin. I was 35.
Ever since childhood I always had very thick hair. Thick and very long going right upto my waist. My sister had the same thick, long hair too. Every morning half an hour was dedicated in oiling, brushing and plaiting our hair! No easy task considering that we did not have hair conditioners in those days! The full credit for my thick tresses goes to my mum. I loved my hair and was very proud of them. That was just the first decade. The second decade moved towards teenage-hood was where my hair took a rebellious turn! From front flicks to fringes I tried it all, my tresses no longer long but in a fashionable ‘layer cut!’ Then came the unnecessary colouring during my heydays in the modelling world, modelling for leading brands of shampoos and oils where hair had to be dyed jet black and then ironed poker straight not with tongs but with a real iron! Blow dry, curlers, straighteners, I did them all!
Plus I loved being in the sun, playing in the sand, never once bothering to protect my skin with a sun screen or my hair with a serum. But I continued to love my hair! The third decade was very different though with two pregnancies, a chance to be re-born as a stay-at-home-mum which kept me happy but with a falling hair problem after each baby. Not to mention the endless sleepless nights worrying about colic, gas, constipation and whatever that a new mum worries about! The days of non-stop running behind toddlers when a one-off hand brushed through my hair was the best grooming I could get!
But hold on, at 35, while I may not have rushed to get my greys coloured, after a while the need to change my overall appearance did take me to the salon. I went through the beautiful shades of reds as shown by the salon staff on an extensive shade card – the brilliant hues from a luminous mahogany to a scorching auburn to dark cherry, I was biased towards red. I tried on all the shades, year after year, enjoying them like the changing seasons, revelling in the compliments that followed about how much the colour suited me, complimented my skin colour and so on. Till one day I noticed that the greys were standing out more and more, and they showed much earlier than their annual appearance, in more clusters than ever before, seeking attention, demanding justice, asking me to acknowledge their existence! The more I coloured, the duller the reds got, no more as luminous as the lovely shade card samples, my hair started getting dry, very dry and frizzy to the point of looking and feeling more and more like the overused broom kept in my kitchen corner! Hair cuts became more frequent to get rid of the dead hair, but if your hair starts looking dead right from the roots, a haircut is not a solution, unless you plan to go bald! I stood staring at myself in a mirror one day after just having a fresh colour session. I saw a tired, aged woman looking back at me. There were faint lines on her forehead, crinkles near her eyes and her head was covered with dull, lifeless, red hair. It was as if my hair did not match my face! That was the decisive moment. I never coloured my hair ever again.
That was nearly two years ago when I turned 40. And not once in these 2 years was I tempted to cover my greys. Was it an easy journey? No. It took time for me to get adjusted, to let the greys grow out. A totally new, much shorter hair style and a stylist who I could trust, definitely helped. I soon learnt that my friends and family needed time to get adjusted too! They could not watch me turn into an “old lady” and always tried to change my mind with their well-intentioned comments and suggestions. But I had made up my mind and I was determined to make it work. In order to tame the greys which were getting frizzier by the day I started doing keratin treatments, once a year which works wonders for my hair making them tamer and more luminous! Soon I had the same friends commenting on how elegant I look and how they wish they had the guts to do the same!
I can’t say that I am proud of having greys but yes I am proud of the fact that I stuck to my guns and did what I felt was right for me. I no longer have to hide behind caps, different kinds of ‘cover the grey’ hairstyles or spend endless hours in the salon wasting my time and money getting the right colour done. More importantly my hair is once again a part of my personality, defining who I am, and as for the greys, well like I said the greys conceal the story of my life within those strands! So “Go Grey!” I say.
Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so please do leave your comments here.
This piece was a featured in a Hong Kong based local magazine Beyond the Boundaries.
“Beauty fades, but confidence is the key.” – Nafisa Ali
My first grey hairs appeared in my 20s. In my late 30s, they were tiny coils sticking out of my fair, light-brown, reddish hair. They gave me a weird halo. Professional coloring took care of that. But during the next 10 years, my hair would turn orange soon after it was colored. It made me look old. Finally, when I had received an excellent highlight treatment, I let my roots grow in, and within a year, I was free of the orange. My husband told me he thought my grey hair made me look older. I told him he was going to pay for that. I went to the salon where I had my hair cut, and I asked the colorist what she would do with my hair. “Nothing.” She refused to do ANYTHING at all. She said it looked beautiful. I went home and told my husband that she saved him a lot of money. I am sometimes told that my hair looks professionally highlighted. I’m in my 60s now. I concentrate on keeping my complexion in good condition.
Thanks for sharing the story of your red to grey to orange hair. Yes I treat my hair as highlights too! And like you mentioned about the ‘coils’ I had them too but keratin took care of that. I rather keratin than colour. Makes me confident that I am presentable at any point of time rather than having to rush to the salon to do a quick cover job! Thank you for writing to me and hope to visit my blog again.
You’re looking fantastic Mehroo! Your hair colour isn’t going to change that!
Thanks dear Elodie! In case I ever waver in my resolve I know who to call! Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.
mrinalini ruban says
Hey Mehroo… Having seen you personally you look gorgeous in greys…You remind me of Nafisa Ali who I admire for going grey so gracefully … Loved your post and your writing style… Your post stirs lots of thoughts and a down memory lane moments even though our paths are as different as chalk and cheese…
I was a cautious one .. Always .. Never did anything ever to my hair besides henna which was suppose to be good for hair.. As you said no conditioners back then …. But as I see, just like you , post 40, more and more greys in the mirror I get more defiant .. Determined to do more henna.. Not sure if it’s that I don’t feel it in my bones or I think this is the time to experiment with hair color finally …I still don’t see a 40yrs old in mirror but same girl who I was years back…somehow the greys feels like the odd ones not me 🙂
I am sure sooner or later same thought will cross my mind … Will surely remember you then.. Till then would continue humming 18 till I die .. Off course with lots of experience 🙂
Ha ha ha Mrinalini you remind me of a friend who pulls out her greys every time she sees one, more determined than ever to keep age at bay! Do whatever works for you I would say just as long as that keep you going and young! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.
Vishal Bheeroo says
I love the way you view things, aging if I may call it, so gracefully, More power to you. I have streak of grey hair and I jump to the parlour everytime to get it colored. It’s my confession. The grey hair has come earlier and I stare at an old man in front of the mirror.
Hi Vishal, You are a man of your word..reading your first comment of many, just like you had promised. I laughed as I could actually visualise you jumping off your chair and running to a salon! Wait till that changes to colouring at home. Till waiting for just ‘one more week’ to get a ‘good crop of greys’ to colour, to getting totally fed up! Whether you give it up or not is upto what makes you happy and complete and that’s a personal decision, but what I’ve written before is sure to happen 🙂
Jyoti jivan says
Great meeting you yesterday .love the post on grey hair . I had shaved mine to get rid of coloring and wore a hat for three to four days . Flung it as my kids had commented “why hide ” . My hair grew back really quickly but amazingly have a dark border and the rest turnoinggrey to white . The Truth : wish I had done it sooner . Love my hair and at the stage in my life I can truly say it makes me smile when I hear the comment” where can I get a colour like your dyed !!
See you around Mehroo . Great hooking up .
Loved your blog
Hey Jyoti, so happy that you read my blog, specially this post. Yes going grey is one of the best things I did too! Thanks for sharing your experience and so glad it worked out for you! We must catch up sometime…sure to find some other common threads too! Are you on Facebook? Will look you up.