What is Grombre? Well, I didn’t know what it is, either. But then, it became the tagline for one of the biggest transitions in my life. A transition that was met with both opposition and fantastic support. This transition? The journey of going silver.
What Is Grombre Hair?
Grombre (‘gray’+’ombre’) is the way of letting your dyed hair gradually grow out and transition into the natural silver hair. It is the opportunity to find confidence and show your true colors, forgetting about the “necessity” of hiding what is natural and actually beautiful. Grombre allows women to feel authentic and beautiful in their skin, going naturally gray with grace and self-acceptance.
I saw my first silver hair around the age of 19 (I prefer to say silver instead of gray.) It was then that I started dyeing my hair. That would continue for the next 30 years. Of course, because my silver was increasing as the years passed, the frequency of my dye jobs was increasing, too. By the time I was in my mid 30s, I was basically 80% silver and I was needing to cover my skunk stripe in the center of my head every 2 weeks. So, in my mid 40s, I decided I wanted to stop coloring my hair. Unfortunately, there were many immediately around me that were naysayers. I also consulted many hairdressers, and they rejected helping me with a plan for transition. It took two years before my transition actually started.
Grombre Movement and Instagram Community
I spent that time scouring Instagram, looking for people who had silver hair. It was then that I came upon the term “grombre.” I would see the term hashtagged in many posts of beautiful silver-haired women. But, I soon discovered, it wasn’t just a term to describe the transition to silver/gray/white hair. It was a COMMUNITY!
A community that is rather a global movement of women who want to live fully, beyond the imposed beauty standards. The followers of this movement find it necessary to challenge the usual perception of what we all think “beauty” is, as well as to reconsider into what we really should put our energy, time and attention. The purpose of the community is also to show that there are so many other things in the world that really matter, that can make us much happier than aligning with the things that will eventually turn out to be someone else’s expectations and desires.
This wonderful community is full of gorgeous women in various stages of silver, gray or white hair that are a huge source of inspiration for other women on the same journey. These women empower each other to feel beautiful and valuable in their natural bodies and embrace their natural gray hair because it is just as gorgeous as any trendy coloring can be. It is a group that offers support and words of encouragement to fellow grombres. They share their own stories of transition, or they even post a play by play of the various methods of their own grombre journey. Some are brave and patient and grow out their natural color. Some opt (this is what I did) for color removal and bleaching to match their root color while it grows. Most importantly, the group holds an extensive and varied amount of wisdom that assists in the dos, don’ts and musts of the grombre experience, all the while sending positive affirmations and championing for their community.
The Journey to Grombre
In my research of the beginnings of “grombre,” it started around 2016 on Instagram and is defined as a global movement of women who are embracing natural, undyed hair. Now, “grombre” is more and is even described as a lifestyle.
#1: Consultation with My Hairstylist
So, the grombre community ultimately led me to the woman and hairdresser that would guide me through my own transition. After many nights laying in bed scrolling through Instagram page after Instagram page of hairdressers and their work… I finally found a wonderful woman that was geographically close to me. She didn’t have an example of a silver transition per se, but she had many examples of beautiful icy white blondes. Close enough. I booked a consultation.
During my consultation, the stylist combed through my hair from root to waist-length tip. She looked at all the various stages of dye that existed just in one strand of hair… from my silver root, to layers of overlapping dye jobs, to the bleached-out ends. It was pretty bad. But the best part is that she was totally honest with me about that fact. It wouldn’t be easy. She said to me, “I will do it, but you will need to be patient. I don’t know how long this will take. But, each time you leave here, I will make sure your hair looks pretty.”
The fact is that to obtain the desired effect, the hair should be evenly bleached and then tinted. Using tinting, the stylist can achieve both a light silver shade and a dark metallic gray color. It all depends on how long the paint will be left on the hair.
#2: Patience and Waiting
The colorist kept her promise. The first session was 10 hours and 4 people. She got my near black mane of hair to a medium/light brown. My head was so sore from the entire process, I came home and drank wine. The second session was 8 weeks later (she waited so my hair could “rest”). This time it was just 2 people and 8 hours. I was now a very light blonde. Even she told me she was surprised to get my dark hair to that level in only 2 sessions. From that moment on, I lived in purple shampoo to tone my newly blonde hair to more of an ashy tone to match my natural silver roots.
#3: Enjoying the Result
Now, 2 years later, my silver hair is an all-natural me. There is hardly a day that passes that I don’t get compliments on my silver hair. Uh….that didn’t really happen when my hair was dark brown! Do I have regrets? You bet I do! Why didn’t I do this sooner? My hair-dyeing process was incredibly time-consuming and expensive, and I wish I wouldn’t have been so fearful that transitioning to silver was like succumbing to some awful disease. Now, silver hair is so popular that younger women (20s, 30s) are coloring their hair silver on purpose! Silver was also recently named hair color of the year.
Grombre as a Lifestyle
This all leads to why I started my Instagram page @glamorousaging. I wanted to show that having silver hair or being over 50 doesn’t mean you aren’t glamorous. Aging isn’t a bad thing, it’s a beautiful thing. There are things that you might adjust as you get older: fashion choices, makeup application, hair color, etc. But it doesn’t mean you turn frumpy, plain, or literally and figuratively “grayed out.” Instead, there are many approaches to beauty and lifestyle that can not only help someone to age gracefully, but also to age glamorously.