When I first began the journey of going gray, of ditching the dye and embracing whatever my natural color was, two things I never imagined happened: finding a fabulous support group to help me through this journey, and a reason I would need them…the horrible things people say. Surprisingly, the worst comments I’ve received were from stylists in Ulta. Which is strange, given they seem to sell every-single-thing known to humankind to achieve absolutely any look you are trying to achieve. While I only have experienced a small handful of these insulting incidences, I know many people suffer with other people’s unsolicited and often times hurtful opinions.
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We often say kids say the darnedest things, but adults can be, absolutely, the rudest. The things you see online, or hear people say, it always reminds me of the three wise monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. For me they have always symbolized, not speaking badly, ignore or look away from someone who insults you, and refrain from speaking badly yourself. I try to keep that philosophy in mind when I encounter rude people… but I am pretty snarky when I want to be and while I think manners are a worthy attribute when someone says something rude, being prepared with a good comeback is very helpful.
Here Are My Top 12 Ways to Reply to Gray Hair Insults:
1. “You’re too young to be gray!”
The most common one I have heard. I heard this when I’d say I was going to get my roots done, and I hear it now that I’ve stopped dyeing. I started going gray when I was 13 years old, nowhere in my DNA did a gene say, “Hold up, she’s too young to be gray yet.”
My patent response, “Evidently my hair didn’t get that memo!”
2. “You just need ME to color it.” ~Random stylist
As if, her dye is somehow magical. How in the world does a specific dye technique change the desire to embrace one’s natural gray hair?
A great response, “I’ll get back to you on that.” (Never).
3. “You’ll never get a man.”
Wait! What? If a man isn’t interested because you don’t dye your hair, that’s just the first excuse. He’s just not interested. There are plenty of men out there interested in women with silver hair, just open a public account on Instagram, you’ll have at least 10 marriage proposals by the next morning. LOL
A great comeback, “I hope I never meet the man who can’t love me because of my hair color.”
4. “You’ll make ME look old!” (usually a parent)
Obviously, for any parent it is difficult to watch your child’s hair turn gray. I’m not a parent, but I would imagine seeing my children age and live a long life with dye or not is all that would matter.
If you can be snarky back to your mom, “Dye isn’t a magical cloak of youth.”
5. “Are you leaving it like that for __________ (insert your special event or theirs)?”
Special occasions are tricky. A wedding picture will always be that one day. There are a lot of tricks and tools to help hide the demarcation line temporarily if you are still in transition, or OWN IT! Be with your family and friends and create memories that last a lifetime. Be in the wedding with silver hair, show up to that graduation gray and proud…it is hair.
Whippy comeback, “I didn’t know this special event was about my hair.”
6. “What about your vacation pictures?”
Again, the vacation is about the trip, the adventure…not the hair. I rarely see vacation pictures where everyone’s hair looks on point and amazing. Usually, it is windblown, messy, and looks like it is having as much fun on vacation as its owner. What I see in vacation pictures is the joy of living.
Simple reply, “What about them?”
7. “You don’t have the skin tone for it.”
Everyone has the right skin tone for their natural hair color it is hard coded into their DNA. I have NEVER seen someone look worse with their natural hair color; on the contrary, the eyes are brighter and sparkly, the skin is softer…often younger looking, and the lips tend to drift upward in a constant smile.
Respond with, “My natural skin tone and my natural hair color were made for each other.”
8. “You will look terrible.”
How in the world could they possibly know how you will look, especially if they have only ever seen you with dyed hair? You won’t know and they won’t either until you fully get through the process of ditching the dye.
Make them think about it, “And how would it make you feel if I told you, you would look terrible if you did something?”
9. “You will look ten years older…”
I don’t understand this magical 10-year number for gray hair. It makes zero sense. Who made up this rule? Anne Kreamer author of Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters was able to prove in her research that this simply isn’t true.
A great retort, “Older than who?”
10. “Oh, I could never let my hair go gray…”
Most people out there think they cannot go gray. “It won’t be as pretty as yours,” or “my hair is _______ so I just can’t do it.” As Brené Brown puts it, “You can’t take criticism and feedback from people who are not being brave with their lives. It just will crush you.”
The supportive response or the snarky, depending on your inflection, “Well if you ever change your mind, I’ll support you.”
11. “My husband won’t let me.” / “What does your husband think?”
Shockingly, there are still people in this 21st century, this modern day, who think the husband rules all. While I care what my husband thinks, he would never MAKE me do something with my appearance. If you still need to convince him, discuss the money and the health issues associated with dyeing. Ask him to give it a chance, you never know what beauty might be hiding under there.
To the other comment, “My husband thinks my silver hair is amazing.”
12. “Are you letting yourself go?”
This comment always makes me wonder; where am I going if I let myself go? I do understand there was a certain level of expectation for a woman where her figure and her looks were concerned…in 1950!!! We’ve come a long way from 1950 though…hopefully!
“Yes, I am letting go of hiding my natural color, I am letting go of the three week obligation, I am letting myself go into a new phase of life…dye-free.”
In the end, what matters is what you think of your hair. Snuggle the compliments and disregard the insults. Ultimately, it is your hair, your health, your time, your money, and your decision. Say it, own it, claim it, be it. When all else fails silence is golden and walking away is easy.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.
As always it is about so much more than the hair.
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You can also check out at Katie Goes Platinum’s post
How to Handle Rude Comments About Your Gray Hair.
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