I was at the salon the other day getting my gray roots covered, and this 30-something woman with long, dark brown hair was asking for it to be dyed gray—that kind of “mermaid-y” lavender hair that has enticed celebs such as Kelly Osbourne, Zosia Mamet, and Rihanna (who doubled down—combining the extra super-long hair trend with a gray ponytail). With its own hashtags such as #grannygray and #grannyhair, this hair hue is becoming a full-fledged beauty trend.
For me, though, the metallic, almost-lavender hair reminds me of the blue rinse elderly ladies used to get at the beauty parlor when I was a kid. According to celebrity hair stylist Jet Rhys, who owns an eponymous LA-area salon, the blue shade was engineered to counteract white hair’s natural yellowing. (Think of the blue goo some detergents use to give the illusion of whiter clothes.) Indeed, to a certain generation, ladies of advanced age were referred to as the blue-haired set.
Suddenly, the intentionally, obviously silver shade is looking very chic. But for those of us at midlife who are giving it a second glance, know this: “Color on gray hair responds differently, especially with a gray dye,” Rhys says. “It can involve huge maintenance. We’re talking bleach and toner. There’s no way around it.”
So maybe I’ll keep my gray at bay for a bit longer. But I’ll say this much: I love that this faux gray hair is having its cool moment and making this sign of aging seem so enviable. Let’s consider this look a tribute, not mockery. And to any young women who are thinking of going full Iris Apfel, I say, yes: Honor your inner nana and #gogray all the way.