To dye or not to dye…

In a world where grey-haired men are considered distinguished and grey-haired women just old, the Silver Sisters are bucking the trend and proving there is life after grey.

Tina dyed

Dyed – photo by Beverley Perkins

Sitting in the chair watching Carla chop off my hair was both exciting and terrifying; exciting because it was the first step to the new non-dyed me, terrifying because I hadn’t had short hair for years.

The decision to stop dyeing my hair was easy in comparison to how to manage the transition. There are two choices when you decide to embrace your natural colour: grow it out and put up with the strange stripe that gradually descends from the top of your head or go for the pixie and cut straight to the chase. I took the short cut. I hate short hair on me but I am so glad I did it.

June, my fellow Silver Sister, was one of my inspirations for going natural. When I first met her nearly 10 years ago, the first thing that struck me was her stunning white bob. Another friend’s beautiful steely grey locks also got me thinking maybe I could do it too. Far from ageing them, their white/grey hair gave them a sparkle and an aura of self-confidence.

Authenticity – or the lack of it – prompted my desire to ditch the dye. One day I looked in the mirror and the woman I saw, lovely as she was, did not match with the woman I felt inside. I wanted to embrace the woman I had become, not the woman I was still trying to hang on to.

Tina cropped

Cropped – photo by Beverley Perkins

Responses to my decision ranged from ‘you’re so brave’ to ‘don’t do it; men don’t like women with grey hair!’ I approached a well-known women’s glossy about tracking my journey – their response: we don’t do grey.

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Then there was the brouhaha last year when Fiona Bruce admitted dyeing her hair (as if we didn’t know), just as the then Director General of the BBC commented he’d like to see more grey-haired women reading the news. Article upon article hit the airwaves about grey hair and how it ages women. Going grey, for a woman, means giving up or letting herself go.

From Cleopatra and the ancient Greeks to the modern media of today, humans have had an obsession with youth. We have always been on this mission to find the elixir in a bottle or a pot that will keep us looking young. Over the centuries we have tried all manner of bizarre things to that end (check the weird history of hair dye), and annually we spend billions of pounds on ‘anti-ageing’. No wonder we are so afraid of going grey.

But the truth is that colouring your hair will not stop you getting older. Nor will it always make you look younger.

If your skin tone works better with natural hair, colouring it will age you. If you are a sun-worshipper your skin will look its age whatever colour your hair. And how good you feel on the inside has a direct bearing on how youthful you look on the outside. If colouring your hair makes you feel better about yourself, then keep hitting the dye bottle. Personally I feel younger, more vital, more vibrant and sexier with my shades of grey than I have done for years. And far from letting ourselves go, June and I are just beginning!

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Is grey just another colour choice? Are you wavering over the question of ‘to dye or not to dye’?

Wedding photo

With my fully grown bob taken at our wedding in April with another Silver Sister, Alison Knox and our husbands. Photo by Lara Nouri.

For more information on transitioning to grey here’s some helpful tips.

About Tina Bettison

I’m a writer, bestselling author, and broadcaster. I am currently writing a book about how to navigate your 40s, as I’m nearly at the end of mine and have plenty of stories to share!