black woman - gray hair1

*When it comes to fashion, there have been few trends that celebrate aging as something desirable.

Modern culture’s obsession with beauty, youth, fame, and success sees Americans spending more money and effort on trying to remain young.  Multibillion-dollar industries have been built on tapping into our insecurities. This is perhaps especially true for our hair.

For many, the obsession with hair is ingrained at a young age. In order to achieve what society tells us is an acceptable look, many women spend hours in the salon for weaves, braids, perms and relaxers that can not only be costly, but damaging as well.

The first sign of gray hair prompts the next problem that needs “fixing.” The solution? Black hair dye. While there are many reasons that black hair color is worth the effort – it looks great against darker skin tones for one thing – there’s a growing trend that may change the way you view your grays. It’s called “granny hair.”

Why we’re suddenly smitten with silver

It seems to have started with Jean Paul Gaultier’s 2011 Autumn/Winter show, which featured models in gray beehive wigs reminiscent of the 18th century. He followed this up in 2014 when he sent three silver-locked senior models down the runway with mohawks and bouffant hair while wearing anything from kilts to sequins.

Soon, other designers and trendsetters were feeling inspired. Having attended the Gaultier show, Rihanna was among the early adopters of the look, along with Pink, Lady Gaga, Dascha Polanco, and Nicole Ritchie. With young up-and-comers such as Winnie Harlow (23) and Amandla Stenberg (18) seen sporting dyed grey or silver tresses since the beginning of the trend, granny hair has been spreading across Instagram like wildfire. So what does this mean for those who have the genuine thing?

Gorgeous gray: How to rock it with natural hairstyles

It could be a sign of our culture turning a corner, but it does indeed seem as if we are ready to start celebrating the older and wiser among us. And while certainly not the first to have done so, a growing number of women are embracing natural hair. Including the gray. No relaxers and no dyes. In fact, the transition back to one’s natural texture and color can be successfully paired together. Sometimes it’s a simple as going for a super short chic cut right off the bat and starting the process of allowing your natural hair to start emerging. It’s quite likely that this process will need to be repeated at least once, because if you’ve been treating your hair with chemicals for years, even hair at the root will have been altered.

At first, natural hair will require a lot more care and maintaining its moisture is particularly important; the scalp’s natural oils travel more slowly through curly hair and thus it has a tendency to be dry and brittle. If you’re not going to keep it short, once you have some growth to work with, you can experiment with various styles until you find the right one for your hair type. Top knots and braid outs are great places to start. If you feel unsure, look for tutorials online or find a salon that specializes in natural styles to get some tips.

Once you’ve had a chance to get to know what works for your hair, you’ll want to show it off. If you’re looking for inspiration for natural gray styles, sites like Instagram have an endless trove of ideas. These are just a few of the striking looks out there:

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Keeping up with fashion reporting on Instagram and other online sources is a great way to find more ideas for a new natural look. It’s not every day that the fashion world offers permission to celebrate one’s later years. This is one trend that is welcome to stick around a while.