Last week I had the distinct pleasure and honor to be a panel speaker for Dove’s Love your Silver event. You darlings know how passionate I am about changing the narrative of white hair. As a woman who’s embraced my silver hair for over 20 years I’m all too familiar with the harmful beauty ideals and stereotypes that come with silver hair. We live in an “anti-aging” culture that lends to unrealistic beauty standards. Ones that tell us that women with white hair look old whereas men with white hair look distinguished and sophisticated.
As an influencer I’ve had my share of, “you’re beautiful BUT you’d look so much younger if you dyed your hair.” Or the viral “This is the finest Grandma of all time” type memes with my photo that has circulated social media because surely only grandmas have grey hair.
There are so many reasons women are afraid to go gray. You might remember the poll I took on IG stories a while back where many of you shared all the reasons you’re afraid to go grey ….
- Tired of dying but I’m terrified of looking old
- The grow-out phase is too daunting
- I’m too young for white hair
- I’m worried about criticism from my friends and family
- I’m not sure how to manage (e.g. texture, yellowing, etc.)
All of these reasons and more are why Dove’s Love Your Silver Hair event was so important to me. Now babes, I’ve spoken on virtual panels before but this was my first time ever being a part of an in person panel. What made the event even more special is that May and Carol were able to travel to New York with me. It was amazing to have their support because if I’m being honest, I had moments of imposter syndrome creep in a few times and they were always quick to shut that sh*t down. Darlings, if you don’t already, start surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones who lift you up. My besties believe in me and make me feel like I can do anything!
There were five of us on the panel and can I just say that Dove chose a phenomenal line up of badass women to represent the Silver Hair Movement. In addition to myself, the panel speakers were Ty Alexander (author, speaker, blogger, and DJ), Maayan Zilberman (visual artist and founder of Sweet Saba), Karen Walrond (author, attorney and activist), and Paula Pell (writer, actress, comedian, and producer). If you don’t already follow them, be sure to go do that! It was so inspiring to hear each woman share their unique experiences.
As I listened to everyone’s story, one thing that really resonated with me was how impactful those closest to us are in our natural hair journey.
Whether you’re on a silver hair journey or a curly hair journey, the people in our lives have the ability to positively or negatively impact how we feel about our hair. When I reflect on my own natural hair journey, I can still hear my maternal grandmother’s words. “Are you going to do anything with that hair?” I could feel the judgment of all the things my unruly natural hair represented. You see, while my mom had beautiful “good hair”, my hair was big, fluffy and curlier by the day.
The kind of hair that was terrible to manage. Yet I would spend my entire childhood trying to do just that, manage my hair. While I never relaxed or straightened my hair, I never actually fully embraced it either. I always felt the need to pull it back in a pony or braid to make it conform. So much so, that my Dad nicknamed me Pony Girl. Even as a young working adult, it was hard to see my curly hair as professional, chic and modern.
My curly hair journey can only be described as EMOTIONAL and white hair is no different. I have felt the full spectrum of emotions when it comes to seeing my hair turn white. Frustration. Embarrassment. Ugly. Less confident. Unique. Liberated. Back to frustration. Beautiful. And LOVE!!
Despite the negative emotions I never wavered in my decision to embrace my silver hair. When I reflect on why, I know that at least in part that has something to do with my Grandmother on my Dad’s side. For as long as I knew her, my Grandma Rose had brilliant white hair. I loved her to pieces. I’m 1000% sure I get my premature white hair from her and I LOVE that!! Having her as a beautiful example of someone who embraced her white hair undoubtedly helped me do the same. Fast forward to today, my daughter May who is 26 is sprouting beautiful white hair of her own. What’s even more beautiful is how she feels about it. She’s never once felt any of the negativity that I had. May loves her white hair and has never once considered dying it. Watching May embrace her silver hair journey could not make me more proud. Proud to watch her become such a confident self assured woman but also proud that I could be the example she needed to feel empowered on her silver hair journey.
Unfortunately, we don’t always get the support we need from the people closest to us. If that resonates with you, then I hope my TTL community makes you feel supported, loved and beautiful as you embrace your own natural and silver hair. I’m always happy to share my knowledge with you – comment below or send me a DM! Also, as part of the #KeepYourGrey movement, Dove has launched the Love Your Silver Specialist Directory to share resources and access to silver hair specialists in your area, so that you can “Love and nourish the hair that makes you, YOU.”