I started to go grey in my 20s – it took me 30 years to embrace my stunning hair
When men go grey, they’re called ‘silver foxes’.
They ‘age like fine wines’, while turning heads with ‘salt and pepper’ flecks in their manes.
As for women? There’s no complimentary buzzwords for us. We’re just told that we’re ageing. That grey hair makes us look old.
For us, grey hair is associated with age – not attraction.
Well, not for me. As I posed and laughed down the lens of my latest modelling campaign, aged 55, dressed to the nines and ruffling my bright silver tresses, looking and feeling ‘old’ was the furthest thing from my mind.
Truthfully, I feel better – and younger – than ever after embracing my greys in my forties. I discovered that it’s certainly not your hair that makes you look old, but your aura.
I noticed I was going grey in my early twenties, while I was at university. It was super stressful, and I spotted grey hairs growing in as a result. I hated it, and thought it was unforgiving. It aged me.
Coming from Argentina, the standards of beauty in my hometown were high back in the eighties – they still are now, to an extent – and you had to meet them, for fear of being an outsider. Women were slim, with straight, coloured hair. Certainly not grey.
Plus, the only person I knew back then that was grey was my grandma, and she was in her early seventies. I was still young. White hair was for grandmothers, not me.
So, I started dying and straightening my curly, naturally very dark hair in an effort to try and hide the steadfast silver streaks.
I kept this up for years, and it cost me dearly in time, money and energy – but I just saw it as something I had to do. To me, it was part and parcel of being a woman.
When I left university, I started embracing my curls – it took me at least half an hour to straighten my hair everyday, and it felt like such a waste of valuable time.
And my hair was beautiful. But still, every three weeks, it was dyed – all shades of brown, and blonde. I tried balayage and highlights – anything to get rid of the grey. It felt like an obligation – like taking medicine, almost.
I even had to plan my hair around events – booking in hair appointments well in advance of parties, or important meetings with clients in my job at a market research agency.
It was exhausting.
When I moved to London, aged 47, I started to question why I invested time and so much money in something that wasn’t giving me anything back.
Why men were seen as handsome with grey hair, and why women weren’t. Why women, even with jobs and in high positions in life, like me, constantly had to battle to look younger.
Women in London, or Paris and New York City when I travelled with work didn’t fit into those beauty standards – but they still looked great. They were older, with grey hair, and were still super stylish – not caring about what anybody else thought, but themselves.
They were free – I wasn’t.
I realised then that, if I went grey, simply no one would care. And if they did – so what? So, I stopped booking hair appointments. Let the white roots come in – and they did, thick and fast.
But my colleagues, who were in their late twenties and early thirties told me I looked cool with my 3cm roots… not old! I felt empowered, and it spurred me on to grow the rest out.
I won’t lie, it was hard. It was like giving up an addiction, especially when my roots got bigger, and more obvious. I was itching to dye them, or hide them.
The truth is that I never doubted my decision – I was 100% determined. I sometimes dreamt I coloured my hair and was relieved in the morning to know it wasn’t real!
Even in the dream, my mindset was, ‘Ok the mistake (colouring) is done, I have to start growing the grey again’. Even when unconscious, I never gave up.
Whenever I went home to Argentina, boasting 6cm roots, friends told me in hushed voices to dye my hair. It was almost as if some of them were embarrassed to be seen with me! I don’t blame them though, women in my hometown have had to constantly ‘take care of themselves’ – and take care of appearances.
They told me that I was ‘too young’ to go grey. But, if anything, it made me more determined – power dressing, with my head held high, keeping the fashionable women of my travels clear in my mind.
I think people could feel the confidence starting to ooze from me, and respected me more for my decision.
After about seven months, I got my once-long dark hair cut short into a grey bob – and, from that day, my life was changed forever.
I felt bold, confident. Contrary to women’s belief that men don’t like women going grey, I started to get compliments from men – like it ever mattered to me what they thought! But in turn, it bolstered my self-esteem.
I commissioned some head shots for my professional portfolio, and felt so at home behind the camera – posing and showing off my new locks.
Within five minutes, I was told by the photographer that they’d already snapped the best shots – with them then advising me to use some pictures to apply to a grey hair modelling agency.
‘Why not?’ I thought. I had nothing to lose…
I sent a range of snaps to a few agencies on a Tuesday and I had my first job booked in for that Sunday. It felt like a dream – like my calling.
Since then, everything has moved so fast. Thanks to my grey hair and newfound confidence, I’ve done shoots for magazines, fashion brands, and acted in television commercials. It comes with long, unsociable hours – but I enjoy the work so much, and it feels natural to me.
I then got so much work that I immediately quit my job to do this full-time – all near turning 50.
I’ve started posting my journey on my Instagram, too – and I get so many messages from women who told me that my confidence has inspired them to bite the bullet and go grey.
I’ve even recently set up my own naturally derived grey haircare brand, Silvina London, too, after noticing that colouring my hair had it super dry. Over the years, I’ve realised that shampoos for grey hair were expensive, bright purple and full of toxins – or dyed my hair bright blue…!
Now, I make a living from something that I was so scared of. I’ve embraced my uniqueness and I am free to do what I please with my natural beauty – regardless of my age.
It’s not my weakness, but my strength.
Buy grey haircare products from Silvina London here: https://silvinalondon.com/
Age is Just a Number
Welcome to Age is Just a Number, a Metro.co.uk series aiming to show that, when it comes to living your life, achieving your dreams, and being who you want to be, the date on your birth certificate means nothing.
Each week, prepare to meet amazing people doing stereotype-defying things, at all stages of life.
If you have a story to share, email [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article