Is it just me or are other people getting a little bit attached to their grey hair? For the first time ever, looking well-groomed is almost a bad look. Scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I saw some influencers wearing hairbands and headscarves. That's not been too unusual; I have been sporting a baseball cap since April to hide the silver hair proliferating at my temples and roots. These influencers, however, were covering up their lack of roots and regrowth because they had broken the rules and seen their hairstylists.
In the past, the things you may have feared would look unsightly or unkempt - unmanicured hands, grey hairs, unruly beards or Einstein wild hair - are badges of honour. There is an economy of compliance now. The physical manifestations of your obedience are virtue signals to society.
In the same way I might have kept wearing a wristband from a music festival long afterwards to signal what I'd been doing for the summer, I have now dispensed with the baseball cap and am shaking my salt-and-pepper look with pride.
As we move through the coming phases and our salons reopen, I've seen notices online from stylists saying that they will be prioritising customers who have waited for their services. Some have even gone on to say that any client who has seen another stylist or done a home dye will have to wait until the waiting list has cleared. I spoke to a stylist friend who said she would know her own work a mile off and all dye jobs are not created equal.
I wonder if having grey streaks, or visible roots - or, in my case, looking like a badger - are the pandemic equivalent of a "I was good at the doctor's" sticker. I love a good flag day. I like to donate to people shaking buckets but I'm far more likely to do it if I get a daffodil, or any kind of sticker in return. It's a signal of what a good little citizen I am. It makes me feel proud of myself. My grey hairs serve the same purpose now.
All that said, for me, it's a look to dye for rather than to die for. It's not something I'm going to keep up. I'm itching for the day I can sit, gowned, in front of my stylist, eating one of those tiny biscotti with a cup of coffee. I wonder how many people will rush to the salon and how many will decide that, actually, their new look is the way forward?
There must be people who are realising that now, after months of going grey, they actually quite like the look. Perhaps the hardest part of going grey is the period when it looks like a mistake, when the regrowth isn't long enough to seem intentional. At this point, if you have short hair, the grey may be longer than the coloured section. It's possible women will finally give up the dyeing ghost.
I had a thought the other day when looking at my wardrobe. I have a few pairs of jeans that have designer rips in them. The idea of pre-distressing clothes - purposefully ripping, tearing or slashing threads even before being sold - has been around for years. It's fashionable to have clothes that look like they've been nibbled by a goat. I wonder if a lockdown look will become a trend. Or will people rush to erase the traces of lockdown abandon? Could it become a fad? Is going grey the new avocado toast?
I hear some of you screaming no! One friend of mine in LA hates her current state so much that she has turned bravely creative. She has harnessed her extreme psychic distress into giving herself a tattoo and bleaching her eyebrows. She looks like the cover of a David Bowie album. She wanted a constructive thing to do during lockdown and knew that if it went badly she had enough time away from people's gaze to get out of it. She said she woke up every morning feeling low, hating what she saw in the mirror and decided it would feel less demeaning if she could take control and curate the chaos a little.
She actually loves the tattoo and is now a little regretful that she can't properly show it off. She wears sleeveless outfits while grocery shopping so people can see. Although the first shop she visited was one that sold sunglasses to cover up the eyebrow failure.
I have found it a bit liberating. Prior to this global shift, many women have rarely felt free to be seen in an unkempt state. Since the invention of the first beauty product, we have always been made to feel aware that there is more we could be doing to make ourselves nicer to look at. Perfectly concealed roots, glossy talons, and glowing skin that is contoured and powdered to perfection.
While I'm eager to get back to the salons, it's been nice to realise that I'm just as worthy with grey roots and chipped nails.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine
Is it just me or does anyone else find themselves looking at dates in the calendar, at plans they had, and imagining what those days would have been like even though they're not happening?