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Young Women With Prematurely Greying Hair Embrace Their Manes On This Instagram Account

It can be very, very hard to let go of societal beauty standards. Even if you think they’re stupid. Even if you are exhausted by trying to keep up with them. Even if you literally can’t keep up with them. A big part of that is that even if you decide a “beauty obligation” doesn’t work for you, you’re still surrounded by images from the dominant culture of whatever it is—a skinnier waist, hairless armpits, perfect blowouts. It’s overwhelming.

That’s why online communities often form around seemingly niche issues, because they’re not really niche. They’re just not getting the representation they deserve.

Grombre is an Instagram account that supports women who have started to go grey early.

The word is a play on the hair color technique called ombré, which is like a gentle fade of color from roots to tip. On Grombre, women share their stories of learning to accept their grey and even love it, like this woman who gave up on dying her white streak after her sister was diagnosed with cancer:

I spent a decade fighting them, pushing back at every bright, wiry hair with chemicals and grim determination. But one day about 9 months ago, I was done. Life had been showing me my priorities in a not so gentle way — and I finally received her message. I no longer have time or patience to achieve an expected hair color. I’ve survived and thrived through so much worse than disappointing societal standards and expectations.

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“When I was 21, my sister was diagnosed with cancer — and my first stripe of white almost simultaneously appeared smack dab in the center of my head. We lost my sister a handful of years after her diagnosis after a long, painful battle. Within the same three months of losing her, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, my father had a massive heart attack and I underwent a mastectomy of my own. With every major event, more grays appeared. Amidst the chaos of life, I still found time to be horrified at this new addition to my hairstyle. I spent a decade fighting them, pushing back at every bright, wiry hair with chemicals and grim determination. But one day about 9 months ago, I was done. Life had been showing me my priorities in a not so gentle way — and I finally received her message. I no longer have time or patience to achieve an expected hair color. I've survived and thrived through so much worse than disappointing societal standards and expectations. Now at 31, I embrace my white hair and everything it stands for — every last hug, kiss or I love you, every tear or day that I'd have rather stayed in bed and didn't, every war my family has fought and won. I am a warrior and my hair is a battle scar.” @torirt88 #grombre #gogrombre

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Not everyone on Grombre has been through extreme circumstances to get in touch with their natural color, but many say they fought the grey for years before letting it just happen. And they’re so glad they did, like in this story about watching the grey “weave through the dark.” Very poetic:

It’s been over a year and a half since I last dyed my hair and I couldn’t be happier with that decision! Leaving the stress, mess and frustration of the relentless dyeing cycle behind has been incredibly freeing. I love my hair. I have watched in fascination as the silver slowly weaves through the dark.

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“It’s been over a year and a half since I last dyed my hair and I couldn’t be happier with that decision! Leaving the stress, mess and frustration of the relentless dyeing cycle behind has been incredibly freeing. I love my hair. I have watched in fascination as the silver slowly weaves through the dark. But the process has been about so much more than hair. It’s been about accepting this change – about accepting myself. It’s been about connecting with amazing and supportive people who are walking a similar path. And it’s been about encouraging others to see, even if it’s not the right one for you, it’s a path worth taking.” @baskinthegray #grombre #gogrombre

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Though some have always loved their grey, like this woman whose hair started changing at only 17:

I’ve never dyed my hair because I consider my grays part of my identity. It reminds me of who I am and where I came from- I am my mother’s daughter, full of strength and resilience! It also represents my bond with my sisters, who are going through a grombre transition as well.

While the stories are inspiring, so are some of these looks. If you’ve never been excited about going grey, try scrolling through some of these amazing styles and color gradations. Everyone looks like they paid a colorist to get these shades:

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“It's been quite a journey to get to this point…but totally worth it. Don't get me wrong, I loved the look of my long, dark-coloured hair…but didn't the love the price I had to pay to have it – in time, money and effort. I wanted to stop colouring for some time, but my hairdresser didn't want me to do it…she said I'd hate having grey hair. So I looked for a different hairdresser and found someone who was happy to support me through the transition to my natural colour. I got my hair cut really short which I loved, had the dark colour removed and used toners to have some fun as I went through the process. My hair’s grown since then…and I’m loving my natural silvery locks! (I sometimes use a non-yellowing shampoo which gives it a blue-ish shimmer). And I love how healthy it looks and feels now. I get loads of compliments which makes me feel great. Most of all, I love knowing within myself that I was able to overcome the pressure that exists to keep ‘buying in’ to colouring my hair – and instead embrace the natural me.” @fiona_ross_sings_trad #grombre #gogrombre

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“I was unsure at first as the silver slowly began taking over my head. I had been covering my grey for the last 20 years and it was as if I was seeing the real me for the first time in a long time. But day after day as I told myself to just let it go and not to run off to the salon something began to happen. Each silver strand I saw claim it’s place gave me so much more of an appreciation for my hair. It was stunning these pieces of glimmer in my hair and it made me wonder why we have been taught for so long that we needed to hide it. I love my grey now and can never imagine hiding it again. I also love how it can empower other women to release their sparkle as well. In the end it’s all about doing what you feel best about it, dye or no dye but I am happy to be surrounded with other women who have ditched the color too, showing off their shimmer and glimmer to the world.” @elynnc78 #grombre #gogrombre

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There’s nothing weird or wrong about going grey, and as the women of Grombre attest, it can actually be pretty hot.