For a lot of women, self care can take the form of ducking to the hairdressers for a few hours to "treat yo self".
For others though, the idea of conforming to societal standards of what it is to be "attractive", means that the salon represents the complete opposite.
Our guest blogger Courtney Webb, opens up about how removing part of her "beauty" regime, actually made her feel a lot more herself...
Salt and pepper.
However you package it, going grey remains a contentious issue – especially for women.
Whilst men are lauded as ‘silver foxes’ or ‘distinguished’ as they go grey, women are generally sold a single, powerful message - you MUST cover up any visible signs of ageing because goodness knows no one likes to look like - or look at - an old lady, right?*
We women are told that you can (and should) ‘effortlessly cover greys’, that ‘You’re worth it’.
Don’t get me wrong – I loved dyeing my hair as a teen. I am all about freedom of choice to do whatever the eff you want with your own body.
My issue is with the pressure put upon us, as the female-identifying members of our species, to meet a certain level of appearance in order to be deemed ‘worthy’ of existence, of authority and of respect.
I distinctly remember my beautiful mum - who coloured her hair for years because she couldn’t accept that her hair was grey - flipping up her fringe to show me the regrowth, as she lamented not having time to visit the salon.
I was 13, totally naïve and I loved it! I exclaimed loud and proud, that if it was me, I would 100% show it off.
But Mum, in her early 30s, was mortified at the notion of exposing her greying shame to the world. She vowed she would stop colouring it when it was more of an ‘all-over grey’.**
I was first made aware of my greying hair in my late teens, when my completely white-haired grandmother pointed out I had a few cheeky strands at the back of my head. I wasn’t particularly surprised because I knew greying early ran in the family – on both my paternal and maternal sides (lucky me!).
Cut to about 5 years later – my hairdresser says ‘Oh, you know, you have a few greys back here?’. So, we chucked a bit of dye on them and I went on my merry way.
It wasn’t until I was 30 that I started to question my motives for continuing to colour my hair – was I still doing it for fun or was I doing it to cover up a perfectly normal part of who I was? Was I rejecting myself by hiding the truth of my prematurely ‘ageing’ hair?
I found myself thinking about the 13 year old me – and wondered if she would say the same thing if I showed her my now rapidly-greying fringe? I wanted to honour those innocent ideals because they were so pure, full of love and lacked any sort of negative judgement about what grey hair might represent.
It’s been around 7 years since I last dyed my hair – and I have never looked back. I still consider myself a brunette although my hair has progressively become less so.
I have strangers stop me and tell me how much they love my hair. Retail assistants plead with me to NEVER colour my hair. Some people even ask me where I get it done. (Ha! Nice one, strange person on the street.)
Sometimes I think about revisiting my youth and colouring my hair a lovely chestnut or mahogany (hey, it was the 90s, ok!) but I know that this is the real me. I’m not hiding behind a monthly 3 hour visit to the salon; and when I do go to get my hair cut and I see others having their hair bleached, toned, and treated I hope they are doing it because they love themselves, not because they feel they have to.
Courtney is the consummate Melbourne Jill Of All Trades.
She is one half of weaving duo extraordinaire Warped Threads
She teaches Barre and Pilates around town and you can catch her classes at Arise Studio Health
You can follow Courtney on the squares @court_makesandmoves