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LifeStyle

To Grey or Not to Grey, that is the Question

That’s really what it comes down to — what makes you happiest, whether it’s covering up your greys hair or fully accepting them.

The most beautiful trend that Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022 showed us is that there are no trends, only the freedom to be yourself, choosing a make-up and a hairstyle that respects the natural beauty of the face and hair, and that tells about our personality and our plurality.

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, many girls and women have started to let their white hair grow naturally.

And, knowingly or unknowingly, they joined the international Silver Sisters’ Movement.

This is a community of women dedicated to celebrating the natural phenomenon of grey/silver/white hair on the everyday woman— but it’s about so much more than just hair.

The transformation of the Silver Sisters is all about one’s way of being, to discover our true colors and show them freely to the world out there.

Some of the Silver Sisters saw their first white hair appear as little girls, others during adolescence, most of them after the age of thirty-five.

All, for a long time, underwent the ritual of dyeing white, grey or salt and pepper roots and all, in the end, chose to stop.

To the cry of: ditch the dye!

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

To get the lowdown on how to go grey gracefully, I talked to an expert: hair ambassador Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

Silver Strands of Glitter

Finding joy, humor and motivation in growing gray hair.

Dye Free since October 2019.

«Hi! My name is Whitney. I am 41 years old, a wife and a mother of 4. I enjoy traveling and visiting National Parks, I love to read, paint, cook, and spend time with my family.» 

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

What is the “Silver Sisters’ Movement” and what is its mission?

«I think that the “Silver Sisters’ Movement” is a shift towards embracing parts of yourself that some people have been made to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. It’s about reminding people that they have a choice in how they want to age, no matter how that looks to them.

It’s doing what makes you happy and not worrying about what other people think.

Which isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.» 

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

When and how did you decide to stop dyeing your hair?

«I stopped dyeing my hair in October of 2019.

Years ago in a conversation with my uncle, he asked me one simple question that I still think about, “Who are you dyeing your hair for?” My response was “For me, I’m coloring it for me.” Later that day I asked myself that question again. “Who am I dyeing my hair for?” Was I really dyeing it for me? Was I really that passionate about coloring my hair?»

I didn’t stop dyeing my hair solely based on this one question, in fact it would be another 6 years before my last dye job. But his question was a seed that was planted, a stepping stone that led me to more conversations, questions and introspection.

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

Was it difficult to keep your purpose?

«The first 6-8 months were challenging.

Growing your natural hair color is a very visual journey and insecurities can creep up and comments and stares can leave you feeling self-conscious. And in those moments, I remind myself why and for whom I am doing this.

I didn’t necessarily start out with as much patience and self-love as I would have wanted but it has developed and deepened, slowly and gradually, just as my silver growth has.»

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

We are talking about hair but we are not just talking about hair… The transformation of the Silver Sisters is something complex and very deep, right?

«One of the most surprising things I’ve learned is that growing your grey hair out is about so much more than growing your grey hair out.

It is both an external and internal transformation. 

Exposing your natural greys is one of the quickest ways to find out how much of your own self-worth is tied to your appearance. It forces you to look beyond the superficial and start appreciating the many things you have to offer the world beyond what is visually apparent. 

This journey, for me, has been a celebration of self, a feeling of freedom and a shift towards celebrating a beauty that does not necessarily conform to society’s expectations of what a woman should or should not look like.

Too often we spend our life devoted to or living by someone else’s ideas of beauty. Not coloring my hair is in resistance to that and an effort to encourage myself and others to start thinking outside the prescribed beauty box. 

And as I mature and gain a better understanding of my own self-worth I recognized that grey hair has no bearing on who I am and what I have to offer.»

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

How did your friends react to your change of look? And what about strangers?

«The reaction to my grey hair has always been overwhelmingly positive. That being said, everyone has an opinion and the choice to ditch the dye is not for everyone.

But comments and opinions, whether they be good or bad, are simply comments and opinions and they don’t and never will have any bearing on my self-worth or the decisions that I make for myself.

One of my biggest supports through this entire process, both with making the decision and the ongoing journey, has been my husband. His encouragement and love have been invaluable.» 

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

How does the beauty routine of silver / grey / white hair change? Are there any products that are more suitable than others that should be used?

«Since growing out my natural hair color I have taken better care of it than I ever did when it was dyed.

I have paid special attention to protecting and moisturizing my grey hair to keep the new growth strong and healthy. 

My grey hair is on the dryer side so deep conditioning has become something that I have incorporated weekly which not only hydrates my hair but helps to tame some of the unruly gray hairs growing in. I also make sure to use a heat protectant whenever I am styling with heat tools and wear a hat when I know that I will be in the sun for a prolonged period of time as to prevent any yellowing from the sun. Purple shampoo is also a good option to use on occasion if you notice that your silvers are starting to yellow or need a bit of brightening.»

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

Do you think that someday you will dye your hair again?

«I’ve learned to never say never but at this point I don’t think that I will ever go back to coloring my hair.»

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

Three tips you would give to the Silver Sisters who have just embarked on this journey…

«If you have just embarked on this journey, my first advice is to not put too much pressure on yourself.

This journey is hard, and it’s long.

You may find after a few months that you are not ready to ditch the dye. You may find that you feel more comfortable with your hair colored. Either way it’s ok. It’s more important that we love and have patience with ourselves. That we feel comfortable in our own skin and understand that one person’s journey may not always be our own.

I would also suggest surrounding yourself with cheerleaders and people who will encourage and support you whether that means the support is coming from close to home or from the many online social platforms with people on the same journey as you. Not everyone will agree with your choice and not everyone will love your hair and you will need to remind yourself why you made your decision to go gray. 

And lastly, I would remind people to always speak kindly to themselves.

Growing your natural gray hair can be emotionally complex, when you are feeling discouraged speak kindly, speak confidently and take it one day at a time.»

Whitney Lichty, aka Silver Strands of Glitter.

Growing out your greys is like a child going through puberty. It’s awkward, embarrassing, ugly, and you feel unsure of yourself. But once you get passed that, and get to the other side, you develop a new found confidence and comfort in the way you look.

And think back, puberty didn’t even last that long. It’s all just a small awkward dream now. Growing out your greys is quite similar. You will forget how hard it was to grow it out at first. It will turn into a distant memory. What you achieve after the awkward stage is well deserved.

Growing out your greys is a lifestyle. Yeah… It’s a lifestyle. It comes with changing your own definition of beauty. Letting go of useless beauty standards. Overcoming doubt. Accepting both criticism and praise but in the end doing it for yourself. It doesn’t mean letting go of the self-care part of hair because your grey hair needs love and maintenance.

Your entire being does.

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