I’ll never forget the moment I saw it.
There I was, shopping in my local Boots when I happened to pass a mirror. Perhaps it was the lighting or the angle I caught my head but there it was. A single grey hair, sitting as bold as brass on the top of my head.
Mortified, I rushed home to show my sister, who promptly pulled it out. Of course, my mum was keen to point out that the minute you pull one out even more appear, but I was 18 and not about to let a grey strand tarnish my dark brunette hair.
The trouble was, they kept coming. At first I covered them with a home hair dye. Nothing to worry about, I thought, just a few random ones coming through.
But coming through they did and have continued ever since. I’m now 32 and would say I’m around 30-40% grey.
Even Kate Middleton isn't on top of hers and she has hairdressers on speed dial"
So the findings of a new survey from Charles Worthington, that found that one in four British women find their first grey hair at 25-years-old, grates on me.
That's seven years they've got on me; seven years of not colouring their hair, not stressing that people can see them and seven years of not throwing hundreds of pounds literally down the drain on hairdressing appointments.
Some respondents of the survey also said they find grey hair "can be a sign of wisdom and experience"; I'm not one them.
It’s just hair, you may say; age gracefully, others say; no way, I say. I spend enough time and money making sure wrinkles are kept at bay and I’m not about to let the side down with the slip of a grey hair.
Of course I can’t always cover them. Even Kate Middleton isn't on top of hers and she has hairdressers and colourists on speed dial. I’m having to get my hair dyed every four to five weeks, which is not only expensive, but time consuming too – not to mention embarrassing.
I used to visit the same hairdresser and apologise for the greys. I wanted her to know I know they’re there, that I’m not delusional that they’re not. I’ll never forget the day my usual colourist was off sick and a different hairdresser was assigned to me. He couldn’t have made more of a fuss that a 26-year-old was going so grey. I was embarrassed, mortified, sad, annoyed, ashamed – I didn’t need someone to point out the obvious to me, just to do their job and cover them.
Suffice to say I stopped going to that salon.
As some people start to show their age in their face, I think mine’s gone to my head. Literally. Thankfully there’s a solution that doesn’t involve needles and peels, as it does the skin.
I recently tried the new Joico Age Defy treatment at Eleven Hair, a way to colour the hair while replenishing at the same time. Think of it like an anti-ageing facial for your hair, a way to put the youth and body back into something that’s definitely missing it.
Arctic blonde is what my colourist Jacqueline called my greys. It’s a far more palatable way of saying ‘natural highlights’ that’s for sure.
To me, going grey is something the over-60s have to deal with, not someone who's only just old enough to legally drink"
I wish I could say that I’ll, one day, celebrate my greys as a sort of rites of passage. But I can’t. I just find it toe-crunchingly embarrassing. When I’m between dyes, I can feel people staring at them. I’m paranoid to a point. To me, being grey is something that the over-60s have to deal with, not someone who’s only just old enough to legally drink.
Someone once suggested I leave the grey bits to grow in my fringe, a Caryn Franklin-esque stripe. I wanted to drop kick them to the ground. Because you see no matter how many young celebrities like Rihanna or Nicole Richie go grey for fashion, it’s a choice they can make. The choice is already made for me and I’ll fight against it for as long as I feasibly can.
Vain? You betcha. But really, is it any different to loading up on fake tan or smearing on the anti-ageing cream? I think not.
Carla Challis is the editor of the Fashion and Beauty channel. She’s just had her hair dyed so if you see a grey hair, don’t tell her.