Meet The Instagrammer Encouraging Women To Embrace Going Grey - Women's Health

Meet The Instagrammer Encouraging Women To Embrace Going Grey

After going grey in her teens, Kristen decided to rewrite the rules that have long defined society’s beauty ideals and instead embraced her grey roots.

by | Sep 22, 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve come to be acquainted with in lockdown, it’s our grey hairs. With much of Australia once again firmly gripped by the pandemic and the subsequent social distancing restrictions enforced as a result, trips to the hairdresser for a cut, colour and blow-dry have been off the table for most. Never again will we take for granted the head massage while shampooing, or the intoxicating aroma of hair colour being applied to our roots as various strands remain wrapped in tin foil. While some have been brave enough to try a DIY home colour or, like Blake Lively, con a partner into helping out, most have simply endured these last few months as something of a return to our natural roots – literally. For some, it’s the first time their natural hair colour has had an opportunity to come through in years, while for others it means getting comfortable with grey hairs. 

For the most part, grey hairs are seen as something that necessitate covering up. When they begin to appear, it’s an indication that it’s been too long since our last appointment at the hairdresser. But why we feel the need to cover up what is only a natural process is an interesting idea to unpack. Perhaps it stems from a desired look we want to achieve, or something more deeply ingrained in our psyche; the learned beauty ideals that have been inculcated in our minds since we could read glossy magazines. It makes the mission of Kristen – otherwise known to her countless followers as sweet.simple.nothing – one worth celebrating. After going grey at a young age (she first found a grey hair at the age of 16), she finally decided to stop dyeing her hair in 2020. In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, she explained that the decision was one born from fatigue. She was tired of spending her free time in salons just to dye her roots brown. 

“My hairdresser talked me out of it for two years,” Kristen explained to the publication. “She told me that she wouldn’t let me go grey because I was too young and I needed to wait until I was at least 40. So I started researching young women with grey hair on the internet because I didn’t know any in person. And I found women on Pinterest and Instagram who looked my age but just had silver hair and they looked beautiful.”

Even though Kristen found comfort in these women and came to embrace the style, she still received push-back from her stylist who discouraged her from going grey. Rather than heed the advice, Kristen just never went back and began her transition to grey hair. She says of the experience that it was an emotional one, but thankfully lockdown measures as a result of the pandemic meant she could do most of it at home. “I can’t really explain it, but I didn’t have to deal with as many people looking at my hair and whether or not they were actually passing judgment or I was projecting judgment onto them like, Oh, they must be staring at my roots.”

She adds, “2020 made it a lot easier. And I think that is evident when you go to Instagram and look at what is called the Silver Sisters community. There are a ton of people who started letting their natural hair grow around the start of the pandemic, whether or not they wanted to or they were forced to because salons were closed.”

Having now come to embrace her greys, Kristen looks back at the countless hours and money spent at the salon and realises that much of it was fuelled by external factors. “I think that we as a society are so obsessed with being youthful for forever and for women specifically, we’ve kind of been conditioned in a way, whether by media or whatever the case may be. We’ve been conditioned to think that we are not worthy if we are not young and beautiful,” she says. 

Some might consider Kristen’s transition as a mere change of hair colour, but in learning to embrace her natural roots, Kristen has redefined the beauty ideals we were long taught. She’s come to find strength and beauty in her natural look and in doing so, has become more confident in her own skin. “The process of simply stopping the dyeing of your hair has changed so much more than just my hair. My perception of myself entirely somehow seemed to change when I stopped literally covering a part of me, hiding myself out of shame for hair that’s growing out of my head. Now, I feel more comfortable in my own skin all the way around. I don’t look at myself the same. I see myself as a more beautiful person inside and out, and I don’t know any better way to describe it than just a liberation of sorts,” says Kristen. 

“That to me has been extremely surprising, just feeling beautiful in my own skin as a person who has always been bullied as a child, frizzy hair, buckteeth, lanky, I’ve always had these self-deprecating thoughts. And somehow over the past year and a half of growing out my hair, I shed a lot of those things and it’s really just been enlightening.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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