OPINION

The silver lining to a grey cloud of hair

HAIR GLITTER: Not actually my head, but you get the drift.
HAIR GLITTER: Not actually my head, but you get the drift.

I just had a haircut.

This might not seem very exciting to you crazy people, with your six-weekly visits to the hairdressers and your frequent changes in style, but for me it's quite the event.

I've mostly had the same long, unexciting hairstyle since about year 3 (I was almost bald until I was two, so it took until I was seven to get longish hair).

I did get a chop every time I had a baby (there's nothing like a newborn grip on your tender tendrils to send you for the scissors), but grew it out the rest of the time, so I usually only bother getting a trim a couple of times a year (birthday and Christmas, to make it special).

But this cut was different.

You see, I'm one of those women of maturing years who has been "growing out my grey", as they say.

Over the last 18 months, I've resisted the temptation to throw a packet of supermarket dye (or let a hairdresser charge me a ransom to do much the same, only with a head massage thrown in) over my tresses.

The result is quite a lot of silvery streaking.

I think of it as 'hair glitter', a bit of jazzing up through my dark locks.

I'm a little ahead of the pack on this (such an early adopter), as most women of my age generally colour their hair, for fashion or to disguise the grey.

I do know a few purists who have never dyed their hair, but they're in the minority.

The thing is, I was just sick of it.

Sick of throwing the money at it, sick of giving up a couple of hours I could have used much more productively, and sick of seeing my roots after two weeks and knowing I'd have to do it all again.

Even though I'd generally had streaks rather than an all-over colour, the regrowth around my face - where most of the 'glitter' is - was obvious almost instantly.

I couldn't stand living the lie any longer.

The fact is, my hair is starting to go grey and I don't really care who knows it. Why on earth was I bothering?

My hair is starting to go grey and I don't really care who knows it. Why on earth was I bothering?

So back to this haircut.

While I've been growing out the grey, my hair was two-toned - the naturally dark mixed with silver on top, and below it the caramel brown my hair once was and later was coaxed to be out of a bottle.

It wasn't all that dramatic - one of the reasons I decided to do it now was so I didn't end up with pure white regrowth contrasting with the coloured part - but you could see something was going on.

It looked pretty awful at first, and it may indeed be that people thought, "Oh, Michelle is really letting herself go, isn't she?"

They would not be wrong - 'letting myself go', with its connotations of freedom from social expectation, is something I'd be proud to claim.

But as time went on, I became quite fond of my 'grombre'. (That's a play on 'ombre' for you fashion ignoramuses, which is usually dark hair that is gradually lightened to blonde at the bottom.)

I started to notice other women, of all ages, doing the same thing as me.

We would give each other a knowing look as we passed in the street, smiling as if we were part of a secret society. (Or maybe it was my imagination. I certainly smiled at them.)

But today I asked for a long bob and said goodbye to the last of the coloured hair.

It fell to the floor and I felt free, unshackled from something that had become a pointless chore, slavish obedience to keep up with society's demands, one in the eye for those who think women ought hide their age. Hurray for me!

Now I suppose you want to see a photo. Just a minute, I have to put my makeup on first.