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Friday, March 27, 2015

Is Grey Really the New Blonde?

Whew! I feel so much better. Actor Antonio Banderas says it's okay for women to get old. And's it unfair older actresses are pushed aside by young beauties.

Combine that with the news that grey is the new blonde - or is it the new black? - and things are looking up. Even young women are dying their hair grey. (Gray for my American friends.) Because grey hair is now cool. Actresses like Jamie Lee Curtis, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren are becoming role models for beauty. Even Lady Gaga, never one to miss a trend, has played with grey.

"Gray hair becoming a hot look for 2015," claims The Province Journal. They open the article talking about Joan Didion's appearance with her "chalk-white hair" in a spring advertising campaign for Celine. I never thought I'd live to see the name, Joan Didion, and the phrase, hot look, in the same article. Of all the adjectives I can come up with to describe one of my favourite writers  - brilliant, haunting, meticulous, fragile - hot has never been one of them.

Then Joni Mitchell, with her long white hair, was chosen as the new face of Saint Laurent. She does look kind of hot. And she's always been cool.

It's not surprising two French companies are behind this. The French with their love of women "of a certain age," are far less restrictive when it comes to standards for female beauty.

On my pessimistic days, I see this whole "grey hair is cool thing," as a trend in the fleeting meaning of the word; on my good days, as as a trend in the developing, changing meaning of the word.

I do hope it's the latter. I remember seeing both my grandmother and my mother in the last days of their lives, their white roots spreading wider on top of their dyed hair. They were both highly intelligent women; accomplished for their eras. But neither could accept grey hair even after they were eighty. So I promised myself I'd never be that woman, worrying about her hair colour to the end.

But I have worried about my grey hair, which started in my 30s, and I've done my share of hair dyes and henna rinse.. Grey hair has always seemed just another sign that it's time to ignore a woman. I'd like to think my grey hair is a sign of achievement, not coolness, a sign that I am older and wiser and live with more equanimity. And I'd like to believe others are starting to see it that way too.

I guess in the words of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I want to see it as a sign I'm "pro-aging,"and so is it the world. D

Addendum: A reader pointed out the Julia Louis-Dreyfus advertises for Clairol so maybe she's not the best person to go around taking about accepting her age. And by the way, I'm still ambivalent about going grey and understand why other women are too. Just hope one day any woman who wants to go grey can do so without all the baggage. Oh, and I was being sarcastic about Antonio - don't believe him for a moment. D

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