The Silver Snooper: My Interview with Carrie

I met Carrie recently on a forum, on a discussion about going grey. As she is about my age, I thought it would be interesting to get her thoughts. Usual format – pics and a few questions:

Carrie
How old are you? 33

When did you first start going grey? I got my first grey hair when I was a teenager (a friend’s dad ‘kindly’ pulled it out stating “that’s what happens when you dye your hair”) but I’m not sure when I started properly going grey because I never really saw my natural hair between then and now!

What made you decide to stop dyeing your hair and go fully grey? It was a culmination of a couple of things that made me think about it carefully. Firstly, I am very particular about what goes onto my skin and scalp but I was still dumping dye on my hair every 6 weeks and that made no sense. Especially because it would make my scalp itchy and even flakier than normal. Secondly, and more of a cliché, I wasn’t doing it for me. When I first started dyeing my hair, it was to try out fun colours (which I loved!) but then it was all about faking it. Faking it made me anxious because grey roots showed through very quickly, so I was constantly aware of how my hair looked to other people. I didn’t want them to think I was lazy. Finally, I thought I might as well try and grow it out whilst I still had some colour in my hair to avoid the classic badger look.

Was it a difficult decision? Yes. A few years ago I managed four months without dye but caved in because I was interviewing for jobs at the time. I didn’t want employers to think I didn’t look after myself or take pride in my appearance. This could be a coincidence, but I dyed my hair the night before an interview and got offered the job. From then on, I continued dying my hair for another 18 months or so because I had then set the expectation for work (and myself) that I dyed my hair! I think the main thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m far too worried about what other people might think.

How did it work logistically? I just went ‘cold turkey’. One month I got to the point where I needed some new dye. I began doing research about more gentle/ natural looking ways to blend grey (professional treatments aren’t in my budget) and essentially learned that there wasn’t one. So, I picked up some semi-permenant dye but just never got around to putting it on my hair. There wasn’t much I could do to disguise the short roots and initially the lengths of my hair went through an incredibly brassy stage making my natural hair look more dramatic than it is. Also, the roots looked darker which often made my hair appear greasy. Now, the old dye has calmed down a lot. I had my hair chopped into a messy bob and mostly just leave it. My biggest concern was managing the coarse, wiry nature of my greys. These days I generally co-wash, use lots of coconut oil and keep my straighteners to hand!

How have people responded? No one said anything initially, and I didn’t make a public declaration about what I was doing. Once it was obvious that I’d made a conscious choice not to dye my hair, I got a few comments, mostly positive although my mum has said that she feels old when she looks at my hair!

How do you think that having grey hair will change your makeup/wardrobe, if at all? There are some things in my wardrobe that I’m slightly more aware of – I make more of an effort to look smart/ put together but nothing drastic has changed. I don’t wear much make up, but I haven’t stopped using any of my current products because of my hair.

What do you think that going grey means to women vs. men? I’m not sure – I know that because I’d spent so many years colouring my hair I was worried that I would be perceived differently but a part of me also thinks that I was projecting my worries onto other people. I know that I was stuck in a catch-22 situation: I set the expectation to dye my hair so I kept on dyeing my hair and I wonder if this is true of other people too.

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