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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > January 2019 > Why grey is growing on us…

Why grey is growing on us…

It used to be a dreaded sign of ageing, but as celebs, actresses and Instagram influencers are now surfing the silver wave with enthusiasm and style, it could be time to ditch the dye and go natural, says Leah Hardy

GREY HAIR is having a moment. Last year, Kim Kardashian swapped her Cher-style ebony locks for a silver-grey mane. Singer Rita Ora adopted a steel-grey crop, while model Cara Delevingne was seen with an ice-white bob. Silvery strands even appeared on the Chanel catwalk. The trend was dubbed ‘granny hair’ and had its own hashtag on Instagram, while celebrity stylist Jamie Stevens declared ‘grey is the new blonde’.

Research by L’Oréal Professionnel suggests he’s right. Nearly four in 10 women voted platinum the hottest new blonde shade and 28% said they’re embracing their grey or considering silver for their hair colour.

FEAR OF GREY

But for every faux-silver siren, there are plenty of women who would rather dye than go grey. That’s because grey hair still has negative associations for many of us. In 2016, a survey found that 72% of women who responded claimed they dreaded the sight of their first grey, compared with only 36% of men. The survey of 1,000 men and women was conducted by a hair transplant specialist, Crown Clinic, which also found that eight out of 10 women immediately plucked their first grey hairs.

But why should going grey spark such fear? Partly, it’s because our hair colour can be tied in with our identity. We tend to attribute personality characteristics to hair colour, and if you’ve always seen yourself as a feisty redhead, a serious brunette or a light-hearted blonde, it can be difficult, emotionally, to let go of that.

Women now marry and have children later, too. A woman who has her first baby at 40 may be worried about being mistaken for her child’s granny, or may simply want to look as young as she feels.

THE PROFESSIONAL DRAWBACKS

It’s not just a matter of how we feel, but fear of how we may be treated that drives the desire to dye. With the state pension age rising to 66 by 2020, many women have no choice but to continue working. So, as there’s a pressure to appear youthful for longer, it can be seen as too much of a risk to give in to grey hair. In 2015, Dr Ros Altmann, the government’s then-business champion for older workers, published a report called A New Vision for Older Workers.

In it, she describes being told by an HR executive that ‘talent progression stops for women around age 45’, which is at least 10 years earlier than for men.

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About Healthy Food Guide

What’s your craving? Beat that sugar, carb or fat addiction and lose weight on our nutrition editor’s smart meal plans. Get into healthy plant-based eating with guest editor Deliciously Ella’s 25-page section of recipes and advice for healthy, tasty and filling meals. And face down winter by snuggling up in the bedroom – the experts explain how sex can boost your health!