Accepting Greys

On Head and In Life

I went shopping for a handbag the other day in an all-in-one store, and while I passed the cosmetic section, the lady said, “Ma’am, any makeup?” I nodded a No (not the Indian nod, the proper nod for a No), and as I walked ahead, she quipped, “Ma’am, any mehndi-based natural colour for your hair?” I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge her and walked straight ahead to the bags section. I wish I could have retorted, “No, I love how it is!”

Growing up as girls, we tend to look in the mirror far more often, every time conscious of our looks, at least a bit, if not wholly. So when the first strand of grey hair appears, we silently curse or instinctively pluck it. But then the not-so-golden words of a distant aunt start ringing in, “The more you pluck your grey hair, the more will appear.” And guess what? They do!

No one discusses the problematic narrative of how ladies at the parlour give unsolicited advice about one’s skin and hair. Why can’t you do my eyebrows and let me go instead of going on and on about my blackhead and tanned skin? Please don’t try to sell me your organic facial and natural hair serums. I am right now just trying to keep my eyebrows in one consistent shape.

Unasked opinions often fuel our biggest insecurities about body image, skin tan, and thinning hair. Body positivity and changing beauty standards are active conversations on social media, but they do not reach the grass root levels of what begins them. Being kind customers, we politely ignore the comments from the parlour lady. We do not try explaining to them that these statements could play along in the mind when you have walked past the door. You return home and look in the mirror, closely observing your blackheads, wondering if you should have just finished the facial. You should have booked an appointment for a mehndi application too.

Grey hair has been stigmatised, especially in our country, as you’re becoming old! However, it’s another reason for stress if you are in your mid-20s and have grey hair. “You are not even 40. What tension do you have?” the questions come in every time you meet someone who can see your prominent greys.

The core of this problem is the sheer negligence of understanding that lifestyles have changed, hormones are acting up, and hair turning grey is entirely natural and based on one’s genetic makeup! No amount of applying dyes and root touch-ups could alter that.

Today, I have a lot of grey hair, but I, too, had my share of insecurities with them, trying to hide them under the crown, changing my partition, and so on. As a result, I coloured them just once, a couple of years ago, when I was to be a bride. But I am happy to report that a few pictures from my wedding still show my grey hair, but my smile is the brightest.

Even today, when I visit the local parlour, the lady asks me, “Don’t you do anything to your hair?” I quip, “Because I learned that acceptance is cheaper than repeated hair treatments.” But I am lucky enough to have a hairdresser who, on my first visit, told me, your greys and hair texture are beautiful. You should rock it! Along with busting a few myths about greying hair, I walked out of the salon with confidence that greys are fashionable. People out there pay to get their hair done grey, and I am transforming it for free.

When we learn our lessons through life, we know it cannot be painted in black and white alone. We all have moments of greys, where some good and not-so-good things coexist. If we try to compartmentalise everything into set structures, then how are we different from the archaic norms?

We all adapt to accept the grey moments in our life, so how about we become more accepting
towards grey hair too? This recent tweet I read about greying hair has stuck with me as a solace of acceptance:

It is ultimately the comfort of knowing that I am embracing the natural which empowers me every time I see a new grey on my head. If you are someone who has been hiding them for too long, it may be time to show off a bit. We have been behind makeup foundations and facials for a while. So let’s let our hair be loose and grey.


Writer by day, an overthinker by night. I let my thoughts flow through my writing. As a definite misfit, I let my words speak louder than my actions. Welcome to my journey of sailing through emotions and experiences, with words as my paddles.

Follow Riddhi Jadhav

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