Don’t Touch My (Grey) Hair


In more recent years, I’ve been going through that awkward start of getting grey hair. I always had this one random straggler, and then when I worked as cabin crew from 2012 – 2013, I suddenly noticed a few more appearing. I assume it came as a result of all the stress I was under (the company I worked for is notoriously merciless), that, and I tend to work myself up over my own anxiety even further which probably made them sprout even more. Somehow during the same time, my anxiety gave me IBS too, but that’s a whole other story!

Anyway now I’m faced with one really weird phase. I have a thick head of long, dark locks and I’d say 20 – 40 grey hairs. At times I’m left wondering, do I now start buying box dye to make it uniform or those little hair mascara type things to cover up my new salt ‘n pepper every month, or do I wait until it all accumulates to a more substantial amount worth dyeing? When’s the right time and what is the right amount? In many ways it feels like puberty all over again. 

On the one hand, I know eventually it’s going to make me look older, yet ageing is a process I would like to try to embrace with all my might, but only when I feel it’s due. So while I don’t plan on getting nipped, ripped and tucked to slow down the clock, it doesn’t mean I won’t take harmless preventative ageing and health measures, like exercise, diet, sunblock and eye cream, for example.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not embarrassed about my grey hair. It’s just weird, and new! Kind of like when you get boobs or your period. We’re getting to know each other and I’ve made peace with them as a permanent fixture. At first I would pull them out. Photoshop them out. But then I thought about it. I feel like at age 27, I’ve done some pretty cool things in my life and, God-willing, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I think I’d be sad if I was grey and didn’t do much living. I feel like I have proudly earned these silver stripes, and I feel like everyone should stop assuming I want and should fix them immediately now that they are more prominent.

A grey-haired woman I met over a year ago, Faheema, really inspired me. She is the marketing manager for one of the biggest beauty brands here in SA. Faheema is one of the most strikingly beautiful women I have encountered, in an understated, entirely relatable and aspirational way. I think she must think I’m creepy because I always tell her that! She has thick, long 100% pure virgin grey and white hair, dead-straight and super long, hanging all the way down to her butt. Her piercing light eyes, endearing smile and nature is so gorgeous inside and out, in a way that comes across as the kind of woman I want to be; real. I don’t even know her age, I always just thought she was timeless. She told me she started going grey at a very young age and she just embraced it and went with it, and now she is silver-maned hair goals, with the personality to match. She is so comfortable in her skin, and I think that is beauty. Not a dye job.

I work in a typically superficial industry but in the same way I refuse to reveal my body no matter who says what, for the time being, while I work through this awkward hair phase, I’m quite happy to define my own idea of youth and beauty.

For me, youth is more an attitude, a lust for living your life and doing everything you ever wanted to do (that doesn’t harm anyone of course). I think ‘old age’ is holding yourself back out of fear, and if you give up on your dreams you can be “old” even in your twenties. I think youth is the grandparent that rolls around in the grass with his/her grandchild. Youth is the 50 year old that goes back to study. Youth is the ability to laugh at yourself, your stubbornness, and challenge yourself to change despite your comfort zone. For me to not appreciate this slight change my body is going through, would mean in a way I don’t appreciate my life. Will I dye it someday? I’m quite sure I will. Am I in a rush for it to be now, because I’m insecure? Most definitely not. 

I know a lot of you are roughly my age or older, what are your thoughts on your colour-changing locks?

I’m going to leave you guys with some lines from a song I’m loving, and can kind of relate to right now; Solange – Don’t Touch My Hair. In my case, don’t touch my grey hair.

Don’t touch my hair
When it’s the feelings I wear
Don’t touch my soul
When it’s the rhythm I know
Don’t touch my crown
They say the vision I’ve found
Don’t touch what’s there
When it’s the feelings I wear

They don’t understand
What it means to me
Where we chose to go
Where we’ve been to know

You know this hair is my shit
Rode the ride, I gave it time
But this here is mine
You know this hair is my shit
Rode the ride, I gave it time
But this here is mine

What you say, oh?
What you say to me?



Photographs by Malick


By sharing her personal style, fashion and beauty advice, written reflections and more, Fashion Breed is a place for women to learn, relate and connect.

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