One of the many changes that happened to me after giving birth was the arrival of grey hair. As a new mom, I was already going through a lot of emotional and physical changes, and spotting a grey streak freaked me out. I remember myself frantically checking if I’ve got more and immediately googling ways to stop greying. After I had calmed down, I asked myself, "So what if I have a few grey strands?"
While it’s considered cool for men to sport a "salt-and-pepper" look and are called "silver foxes," the game is completely different for women. Society tells us to "cover it up," because women can’t afford to look old. Women are told to always hold on to their youth and good looks and that greying makes us unattractive. Isn’t it time we broke the double standards set by patriarchy and embraced our bodies? Isn’t beauty about how we embrace our looks and carry ourselves with confidence?
Young Women Embracing Grey Hair
Let’s hear it from five wonderful women who started greying in their 20s and 30s but have chosen to embrace it rather than fall prey to social pressure.
"I got a couple of grey strands about 1-2 years ago. Initially, I felt like I was getting old already, but then I realised that it’s pretty common due to stress, changing water, etc. I didn’t cover it up per se, as it was just 1-2 strands. Then several of my friends started greying, which sort of normalised the situation," said Deeptha Sreedhar, a 29-year-old MNC professional.
Vidya Venkatramani, who has had a couple of grey strands since the age of two, said, "Greys have prominently started showing up right in the middle of my head in the past six months. Initially, I got a little conscious, but not once did I think of covering it up. It’s just a natural occurrence, and I didn’t feel any pressure or need to cover it or colour it up. I’m embracing my greys happily," said the 29-year-old MNC professional.
"I’ve had a few grey strands here and there for the past two years. Though it’s not prominent, I did panic a bit initially and feel old, but I don't bother much about it. Our generation is starting to grey earlier, so I’m kind of chill about it. It’s best not to worry about things that can’t be fixed. I might probably highlight my hair with organic products in the future if I feel like it," said Kiruthiga Elumalai, a 29-year-old IT professional.
"I started getting grey hair in the 11th grade, and it has been a very tough time accepting it. Of course, there was extreme pressure from female relatives to cover it up. I put henna on the whites every month, and now my hair has deep red streaks in between that shine bright when I’m out in the sun, which I love. Though I do get sceptical looks from my husband’s family, who have a tough time accepting women in their mid-late 20s having grey hair, I’m tired of explaining, so I’ve learned to walk away from all the chatter," said Ragini Daliya, a 26-year-old journalist.
Niveditha Sreenivasan, an MNC professional, said, "I think white hair is not always related to ageing all the time. I don't remember when I spotted my first grey hair, but I do remember freaking out, thinking something was wrong with me that I got it at such an early age. After researching and finding out that there were several reasons for greying, like not taking enough nutrients, I stopped caring. I would love having a salt-and-pepper look and would definitely embrace it with all my heart. Since I love experimenting with colours, my hair is currently in a goldish brown shade and also has white strands, but it doesn't bother me."
It's refreshing to see more young women willing to change the narrative that women going grey is unattractive and something to feel ashamed about. Thanks to many social media influencers and celebrities like ">Neha Dhupia and Sameera Reddy who are embracing their silver strands with pride, it’s making the normalisation process a lot easier. While men can still be attractive and not be called "old" despite the greys, why should women feel intimidated by a natural phenomenon like greying?