Like every optimistic 20-something, I always said that once I started to go gray, I would embrace it…until, at 22, I found my first silver hairs, which I decidedly did not embrace. Imagine my surprise, then, when Kelly Osbourne, who has experimented with hair color for as long as she’s been in the public eye, actually chose long, silky, Emmylou Harris-colored strands. The look is being roundly rejected–Kelly herself, apparently, hates it–but why is going gray something so horrifying anyway?
According to Us Weekly, Kelly’s pewter ‘do (which, objectively speaking, is actually kind of pretty) was an experiment that’s “not staying.” Her mother, Sharon Osbourne, concurred, stating that Kelly “hates it.” Which seems mean to women who have gray hair–there are a lot of them–and makes me wonder: what’s so hateful about gray hair, anyway? Is it evolutionary? Are we hard-wired to prize the look of youth to help preserve the species? Or, are we just culturally conditioned to dislike anything that hints at aging? And why are men, like Anderson Cooper, praised as “silver foxes,” while women are terrified to let their roots show?
Maybe Kelly hates her gray because she’s so young–just 27–but the truth is, eventually, everyone goes gray, and for some, it’s much earlier than others. In fact, your chances of developing gray hair increase 10-20% every decade after the age of 30. And aside from never visiting whichever stylist did that to Kelly, there’s not much to be done to avoid it. Contrary to what you may have been told (by your mother, when she was angry at you), stress isn’t a factor in graying. However, there have been some studies which indicate that deficiency of B vitamins may cause premature graying (defined as gray hair before the age of 20), which may be reversed by adding supplements to your diet. But for the most part, you’re just sort of stuck with your silver.
Going gray is a totally natural occurrence and yet, like wrinkles (also natural), we’re loathe to let it happen–and are flabbergasted when a young woman chooses to look this way. Kelly–and the commenters on the internet who have called it “horrible” and “hideous”–may not be thrilled with the look, but it’s something that will eventually befall all of us in some way or another. Maybe some embracing is in order.
Image: Us Weekly