I was a complete novice when I set out on my wavy hair and silver hair expeditions.
First came the waves in February 2021, followed by the silver a month later.
You can read about my James Joyce style quest here: https://shinyhappysilver.com/silver-transformation-part-one-the-first-47-years/
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Thankfully, other women had followed the silver brick road before me – with far more elegance and courage. Me? Well, I had the scarecrow hair.
Not only did the posters on social media actually know what they were doing, but they’d made tutorials about it.
To quote the band ‘Queen’ (sort of) everything I had to know, I watched it on YouTube video.
Sure, I had to sit through some duds. The unboxing, where the creator is still caressing the barcode after 15 minutes.
And the DIY hacks for making ‘simple’ hair masks out of the contents of your fridge. That is, if your fridge is stocked by Fortnum and Mason.
But kiss enough frogs, and you find your princess. In a crowded space, the influencers I follow stand out. Not just for their content, authority and results, but because they are relatable and helpful – with a sense of humour.
The spirit of reciprocity
Each has carved their niche. They know what they’re talking about, even if they might feel like they’re winging it sometimes.
They are influencers, imaginators, inspirers and innovators, who make this road to self discovery better.
When you hang in their club, you don’t feel so odd for saturating your hair in enough apple cider vinegar to cover a large portion of chips.
Neither do you bat an eyelid as the creator stands in a shower in their swimming costume, while demonstrating how to ‘squish to condish’. An honorable mention to Hanzcurls by the way, whose pre-Raphaelite curls, and ‘tutorials have been a real inspiration during this process. https://www.youtube.com/c/hanzcurls/featured
There’s generosity of spirit, and a community with support, sharing and encouragement. Women paving the way for other women.
Influencers don’t set out to be therapists or revolutionaries, though. I mean, waxing lyrical about silver hair is hardly Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp is it?
I’ve already penned a post asking if having silver hair is brave: https://shinyhappysilver.com/is-it-brave-to-have-silver-hair/
There was an almost unanimous “no!” However, some women pointed out that swimming against a tide of sexism and ageism is brave.
Actually, hair is important to me – and to lots of people. So if an influencer can build us up, help us (even if we’re simply looking for instructional videos), then I’d say that was a pretty powerful service.
Every day, women lose their hair, go grey, or find their formerly straight hair is now curly. This might be due to chemotherapy, alopecia, menopause, and other reasons. For them, the community provides an anchor when they feel adrift.
Others might simply want to find out what on earth the dye strip method is – and that’s OK too.
I lost my hair and my self
I want to do some un-boxing of my own. When I was 30, I developed a scalp condition. My already fine hair started to thin and fall out.
The GP prescribed a shampoo – which I was allergic to – and the problem was exacerbated.
It took a long time for my hair to return. I ditched the dye, trialled different hair remedies and tried to reduce my stress.
My scalp never fully recovered. Probably because I reverted to slathering it in chemicals almost weekly. It’s improved now I’ve stopped dyeing, but it’s not completely cured.
I had taken my hair for granted. Even after the hair loss warning, I continued to abuse it. You can read more about that here: https://shinyhappysilver.com/month-by-month-one-year-of-silver/
Without all my hair – even though it never been my crowning glory – I felt exposed, unattractive, and not myself. I’d underestimated the role hair played in my identity.
I felt guilty for being so shallow in a world where women lose breasts, wombs, babies – their human rights. Where people battle unthinkable atrocities.
And then I felt shallow again in 2021, when I was feeling lost and perimenopausal and unable to find any beauty within myself. Because it took a seemingly superficial grey hair makeover on the outside to the improve the inside.
From goth to silver moth
Each of the wonderful women mentioned below has influenced me at different stages of my metamorphosis.
I absorbed the digital creators’ content. I watched, learned. I gazed in awe at ringlets, I fawned over big, bouncy, silver bobs.
I tried to copy a winged eyeliner look (but merely resembled Norma Desmond). My attempts at contouring made me look like Adam Ant.
I have since moved on to brightening up my makeup and clothing. I’m desperately trying not to look like a children’s entertainer, or that Picasso has applied my lipstick.
These women lit the way. They gave me hope that a) my barely wavy, candy floss hair might be able to impersonate the tumbling curls of Alex Kingston in ER, and that b) I could grow out my grey without scaring the children away.
In ‘Wayne’s World’ style, I am not worthy!
You know that part in Bridget Jones where Mark Darcy jokes that Bridget just “fannies around with press releases”? Well that’s how I feel about my blog. I dabble. I go off on tangents about Mrs Slocombe, napkin folding and E.T.
I still can’t coil my hair around a Denman Brush without surgical implements being needed to separate my hair from the brush. And I still can’t use purple shampoo without looking like Barney’s done a whoopsie in the bathroom.
But I do love the idea that I might just help somebody on their own silver/wavy hair mission.
Growing out, growing in
Inspirational silver hair blogger Jineen Marie Silvery/Color Me Silvery @jineenmariesilvery posted recently about all the benefits – not just the aesthetic and physical sides – of letting the dye go: the freedom, the fun, the friends and opportunities. Her Facebook group is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/448731612815095
Of the many benefits of this quest, the creative part has been another unexpected plus. It’s reignited my passion for writing. OK. so I’m more Austin Powers than Jane Austin, but I do love to blog.
A decade ago, I was enjoying blogging about motherhood (mainly Lego, germs, and soft play centres – sometimes all three together) and then I stopped. I stopped doing something I loved, because I was too stacked on the conveyor belt.
I forgot the creativity that feeds my soul. This silver/wavy trip has inspired me to write again.
In my last blog, one of the tell tale signs of being obsessed with silver hair is creating a blog site – about silver hair. https://shinyhappysilver.com/2022/07/24/10-signs-youre-obsessed-with-silver-hair/
These women lay it bare. Be it Trinny Woodall in her nude underwear, Donna Ashworth on grief, or Nikol Johnson on IVF, I admire, respect and thank them. Their authenticity and ability to post ‘naked’ makes them relatable to the everyday woman.
Some of these women will cringe at the term ‘influencer’ because they’re merely sharing their hair tips, art or humour.
But each has helped me join the dots to move from a fried orange frizz ball cloaked in black, to a silver, wavy haired blogger, dressed like a children’s entertainer.
Ladies, I salute you!
(Please note that I have linked to the platform where I first discovered these women. You will find most of them on other platforms too).
Influencer roll call
Marisa’s Curls https://www.youtube.com/c/Marisa%E2%80%99sCurls/featured
I was already mesmerised by Marisa’s curls when I came across this particular video on growing out her own natural hair colour, which is so unique and healthy. https://youtu.be/PDqO-ZYwlIY
I was so inspired, that I decided to grow out my grey, there and then (not knowing that 16 months later, I’d still be snipping away at those last reminders of the dye).
Katie Goes Platinum https://katiegoesplatinum.com/
After making the decision to go grey, Katie’s was the first silver hair transition site I found.
It was so helpful to see a fellow brunette’s grey progress, month by month.
On a personal note, Katie Emery and the admins at her Facebook group ‘Silver Revolution’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/silverrevolution have been very supportive of my posts.
Here was an influencer who was not only wavy, but going silver too!
I devoured her videos, month by month, admiring the curls, following the grey grow out, and then dreaming of her pixie.
She inspired me to get a pixie, and now that we have both experienced the pixie grow out, it has been really interesting to see her progress.
I could get lost in Nikol’s hair. It’s big, it’s bouncy, with a wonderful silver pattern.
From her glowing skin and immaculate makeup, to her chic couture, she is flawless.
But those of us who follow Nikol will know that she has had her own struggles, and I admire her candour, vulnerability and confidence – and she is even more radiant for it.
With Nikol’s timeless style and supermodel beauty, it would be easy for her to only move in fashionista circles, but instead, she helps women. She makes us all feel good.
I will never be able to stroll pool side in a cut out swimsuit, while nonchalantly slinging a vintage pink Chanel jacket over my shoulders – but I can aspire to it!
Anjana Silver https://sparklingsilvers.com
Not only is Anjana one of the younger silver hair trailblazers, but her transformation is absolutely stunning.
Her website – which features lots of interviews and stories with real women (as well as her own story) – paints a positive picture of just how life affirming embracing the silver can be.
Dawn French https://twitter.com/Dawn_French
I’m not sure how well Dawn is known outside of the UK, but here, she’s comedy royalty – half of the iconic French and Saunders duo, creator of the Vicar of Dibley, actress, author and all round funny girl.
Dawn started growing out her silver around the same time as me. She went for a cropped quiff as I opted for a pixie.
She absolutely rocks her new hair. I’ve always loved Dawn and her originality and creativity, and I am so pleased to see her owning her silvers.
Trinny Woodall https://www.youtube.com/c/TrinnyLondon/featured
I’ve been a fan of straight talking Trinny since watching her show ‘What Not to Wear’ in the ’90s.
The ‘Trinny London’ brand is hugely succesfful, while the ‘Trinny Tribe’ ensure a huge and loyal following on the socials. I really enjoy watching her videos – especially ‘Friday Twinning’.
We’re polar opposites. She’s a tall, slender ‘neutral’ with a swan neck, I’m a short, stout ‘winter’ with a Touché Turtle neck.
What suits Trinny, often looks awful on me. I cannot carry off the famous Trinny Yellow, and I look like the Tom Hanks kid in ‘Big’ if I wear an oversized jacket.
This influencer has helped me to discover the world of amazing technicolour, darling!
Donna Ashworth https://www.facebook.com/ladiespassiton
I did the hair, the makeup, the clothes. Then I tended to the soul, nurturing my love of reading and writing.
I first became aware of Donna after seeing her pulling no punches in her magnificent ‘Maverick’ post.
It inspired this post of mine: https://shinyhappysilver.com/keanu-where-are-the-other-silver-sisters-my-age/
Donna’s wise words connect with women worldwide. They inspire, lift and comfort readers, and they speak many truths.
Poems such as ‘Remember Her?’ really resonate with me. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02PuXgayyYAREGCWtsutFo488qP7QnmEK3CbUUYjFDQHHEm9G5JR9YFCEnJQJdCsEvl&id=100044362152366
I recently purchased Donna’s ‘I Wish I Knew’ book, which has encouraged me to dabble in poetry.
While my own comedy style cannot hold a candle to the wit and weight of her work, I am so grateful to Donna for sharing her words.
Tangled Silver Magazine https://www.tangledsilvermagazine.com/
A magazine celebrating the joy and beauty of silver hair gets the thumbs up from me.
This publication (available in both digital and print) is a visual and editorial treat.
Packed with pages of uplifting images, articles and advice, it is such a glowing and helpful collection of silver positivity.
Editor Robin Salls is an absolute breath of fresh air (with equally impressive hair). I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with her recently, and Robin’s passion and dedication to her fellow silver sisters is clear!
Next, we have the community social media groups. If I’ve missed some out, then apologies – I may not be aware of all the fabulous groups out there – just add their names in the comments.
There is one notable omission, however. It’s a big group, but one which left me feeling rather small, due to the site’s rather dictatorial and ungracious manner – but that’s another story.
Let’s celebrate the groups who’ve supported me along the way:
Silver on Purpose. Makeup by Choice. https://www.facebook.com/groups/751913855147396
Going Gorgeously Gray! https://www.facebook.com/groups/160203277333108
Silver Sisters https://www.facebook.com/groups/welcometosilversisters
Curly Silvers https://www.facebook.com/groups/1943436612549095
Going Silver And Loving It https://www.facebook.com/groups/683309845158927 A huge shout out to Denise Allen Batista for always supporting my work!
Going Grey Early https://www.facebook.com/groups/416439573156300
Silver Hair, Don’t Care! https://www.facebook.com/groups/198893858792728
Going Gray All The Way https://www.facebook.com/groups/1475926585920360
Wavy Silvers https://www.facebook.com/groups/WavySilvers
The Gray Hair Project https://www.facebook.com/groups/1027682204081413
Warmth and thanks to each and every silver sister. As individuals, we shine, but collectively, we burn even brighter.
Who are your favourite influencers? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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