August 5, 2022
Women of Egypt launched the digital campaign “Silver is the New Black” to celebrate naturally gray-haired women.
Women who chose not to color their gray hair, are always questioned about their choices, because living with unnatural hair color became the norm.
It takes courage to go against the grain and to stand up with their silver heads raised high. Embracing gray hair is not giving up on one’s self.
We have invited members from Silver Strand Group who are all proud of their natural gray hair, to share their personal stories and journeys about choosing to make the transition; how they overcame the insecurities and built the confidence to face the world with their natural look.
The campaign is also in partnership with The Hair Addict, a natural hair platform that challenges societal norms around naturally textured hair. It encourages women to use natural remedies and organic products to healthier, fuller and shiner hair.
“Three years ago, at the age of 49, I decided to leave my silver hair. During the transition, until I cut all my colored hair, my family and friends thought I looked weird. When it got all silver some of them loved it and others are saying it makes me look older. I wouldn’t really say I suffered from any personal struggles while going silver. However, during the transition whenever I had an occasion and wanted to look nice in the photos, I sprayed the silver strands. But now I don’t suffer from any struggles what so ever. Not only that, but because of my silver hair, I am now at the age of 52 a model for TV commercials, and I was hired because of my silver hair. Sawsan Badr is my gray hair idol. role model. My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to start the process of going silver is to be patient. Patience, patience and patience. Don’t listen to those who are trying to discourage you. It takes only few months to freedom.
After I turned silver, I never thought of what color to avoid to wear. Let me say I only avoid colors that make my skin looks pale.”
– Mona Maher Elshinnawy, 52
“What I like most about my silver hair is that it is unique and it makes me feel different. I receive a lot of criticism for my gray hair, specially it is in the front and very visible. People tell me all the time that I am so young and why don’t I color it. Their comments don’t really bother me. It makes me look really unique, especially that it had started turning gray at the age of 16.”
— Sandra Milik, 28, Makeup Artist.
“Last time I dyed my hair was in January 2020. I love everything about going silver and wish I had done it earlier. I don’t receive a lot of criticism for your gray hair. My mother was against it at first, now she loves it. I’m also not the type of person who really cares what other people think, as long as I’m happy, that’s all it matters.
My favorite compliment I received about my hair was, “you look so elegant and chic, you actually look younger, you look like a movie star.” I transitioned to gray hair cold feet. I usually have short hair and I did during Covid, so it was easy. My hair dresser didn’t want me to go grey. At the beginning he tried to convince me not to go gray, but now he keeps showing it to everybody when I go for a haircut.
My favorite thing about being gray is the freedom it comes with it, not worrying about coloring the roots every 10 days, and my hair never felt better, so healthy and soft. I absolutely love it, plus the fact that when I enter a room people notice me immedietely.”
— Reem Sherif, 45, Investment Manager at ElSewedy Capital
“When I saw my first silver hairs I was shocked and I started covering them with mascara, but after a while I accepted it and liked it. But when the silver hair increased, I colored it with black henna. I didn’t like dyes and chemicals. The henna really nourished my hair, but after a while I got bored and decided not to color it anymore. That was about 4 years ago. I was in my late thirties.
I heard some negative comments, why don’t you color it? You are still young. It will make you look older. But these comments were not from many people. Most of the comments about my hair were encouraging, especially from people close to me.
I do not see any mistreatment to women who decided not to color their hair. I feeling this culture is growing a little. This makes me very happy because I want people to understand that this is a natural thing, and silver hair looks nice, like the high light that women do and pay a lot of money for, but the difference is this is silver, not gold. For this reason, I was excited to co-launch Silver Strand, a group that encourages women who want to stop coloring their hair, but are still indecisive, to feel how proud we are with our silver hair, this can help them make the decision.
— Mayar Makki, Co-founder of the Silver Strand Group
“l tell people who say that silver hair makes a woman looks older, l believe your spirit is what makes you feel old. The color of my hair is changeable at any given moment. How I feel on the inside is what makes me feel young, old, happy or depressed.
It’s how you handle yourself that makes you look a certain way. Silver hair is gorgeous with the right makeup and the right attitude I can rock it. Silver is a color and it’s God’s given. They say as you get older you should lighten your hair because it looks better. I’m letting Mother Nature take its course and lighten my hair. I see that it is what’s meant to be.
When someone asks me, why do you do this? I responded why wouldn’t I do this? And l also ask why do you color your hair? It makes it dry, it’s unhealthy, when the color starts fading or growing out it looks ugly until you fix it again. No one asks you why do you do this?
I do this because it’s different, it’s a new look. I like it on me.”
“My hair started turning gray in my early twenties. By the age of 25 it was covering all my head, and I had a big chunk of white hair in the front. That’s when I started coloring it. I think it was the normal thing to do because of the cultural opinions. It took me 10 years of coloring my hair before I decided to let my gray hair grow. I had long dark hair and one day without telling anyone I went for a haircut. I cut it very very short without coloring it. I was 35. My friends and family were shocked. No one was happy about it. It took them time to accept it.
I faced a lot of challenges at that time, but I am the kind of person who would not be be easily shaken up, if I had already decided on something. And my decision about not coloring my hair was strong.
I was tired, though, from the comments I received from everyone. I didn’t receive much support to what I believed in. People thought I was being eccentric, loosing it, being a hippy.
I overcame my struggles by being patient. I continued doing what I believed in. I surrounded myself with some friends who supported me, and I kept reminding myself why I did this in the first place; which was to be my true self, and to love myself inside out.
By time family and friends started to actually like it and now I get compliments. Outside my inner circle, sometimes I would get compliments in the street from younger women, and this gives me hope that teens are changing the cultural norms.
My advice to women who want to start the process of going gray is to be patient. It can be a long process but you’ll get there. Stick to people who will encourage you. Stay focused on your goal and don’t let others put you down.
Research and learn how to care for gray hair so that you can style it however you want. Take it as a curious experience, explore yourself with this change and see where it takes you. I sometimes avoid wearing grey colors, specially if the grey is very close to the color of my hair. It makes everything look dull. Brown doesn’t go well either. But all other colors are great with gray hair.
— Corinne Lucas
“Being gray is liberating. I found that I used to dye my hair because people don’t like to see it, not because I didn’t like it! I embrace my gray hair, I am no longer self conscious when people stare at my silver streaks. I like it and if they don’t, they should look away. The solution won’t be me sitting in a chair for 5 hours wasting a whole day from my weekend every 6 weeks so that people like my hair – I like it the way it is.
My advice to anyone looking to start the process of going silver would be start now. Do your 70-years -old self a favour and start now!
The idea will always be on your mind and the longer you push it the harder it will get. Transitioning to gray from few hairs spread across your hair or even big streaks is easier than transitioning when all your roots are gray and the rest of you hair is dyed.
The best way to transition to gray hair is gradually till you get used to it. I wear my hair in a bun and I use protective styles, like braids on the front or the sides of the bun. Braids look lovely with multiple shades of hair.
My gray hair idol is Helen Mirren.
I tell people who say that gray hair make a woman look older that your age will show no matter how hard you try to hide it. Gray hair doesn’t make you look older. The way you dress does, your attitude and life style does but not your hair. You can still look older with a black head of hair. And my response to anyone who tells me it makes you look older, is I am older. I am just more at peace with it than you.”
— Batoul Farouk, 40, married, Government Approvals Advisor in an Oil & Gas Company – Perth, Western Australia
“My hairdresser tried really hard to persuade me to color my hair, but I believe going silver is a normal cycle of life. I like how my silver hair lights up my face. I also like how it shows that I am not shy to show signs of aging, even my wrinkles. I tell women who are hesitant to go silver is to have self confidence and go for it. It may not feel comfortable at the beginning, but you will like it. And you will feel different, in a nice way.
My father had silver hair. He was my idol and role model. Since he passed away, I see him when I look at myself in the mirror.
I wear all colors with my silver hair. It’s inner happiness what gives you the shining look.”
— Cherine Elkimary, 53, Procurement and Logistic Officer in European Union Delegation to Egypt
“We grow up rejecting the idea of silver hair. That’s why when I saw my first silver hairs, l felt I suddenly aged, even though l was not yet 30. I colored it at first. But at the same time l was thinking that l didn’t want to color it. I looked for women who did not color their hair. I found the group Silver Strand. I read every post in it. I also followed bloggers for silver hair. Both made a big difference.
I colored my hair a lot, until it started falling. I decided to stop colorist in January 2022, that’s 8 months ago. I used to color it at least once a month. I used to like my silver hairs when they started growing so l decided not to color it and see how it feels, especially that all the women with silver hair who l met were very cool and content about their looks. I bought a hair color spray in case l got bored of the silver strands, but l haven’t used it, not even once.
Silver hair definitely affects women, especially those who lack self confidence, as people judge each other by their looks. Definitely, women who choose not to color their hair receive a lot of criticism; Why are you letting yourself go; Are you going through depression?; Why do you look dusty?; You are so young, at least add blond highlights to cover it.,
Even people l didn’t know asked me why l don’t color my hair, not to mention my hairdresser who asked me the same questions every time l visited the hair salon. The whole society, especially the older generation, they don’t accept the idea.”
Yomna Fahmy, 30, Married, mother to a daughter and Real Estate Senior Property Consultant
** If you liked this article, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and receive our articles by mail.