Why Millennials Are Embracing Granny Hair

Peace, love and grey hair (via @Milon_Jon on Instagram)

Getting older? There’s a silver lining: #GrannyHair is trending—for both the young and the young at heart.

The hashtag #GrannyHair is spreading across social media on photo sharing websites like Instagram, but these posts aren’t accompanied by pictures of grey haired grannies or chic, silver foxes.

Instead of seniors there are selfies of 20-somethings sporting strands that run the  gamut from dark grey to pure white and styled in loose waves, box braids, and pixie cuts.

But, this grey matter isn’t new.

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Tilda Swinton for NARS, spring 2015

Advertising campaigns are now showcasing mature, grey-haired beauties. There’s Joan Didion for Celine, Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent, and Tilda Swinton for NARS. Who wouldn’t want to be in the same company as these formidable women?

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St. Vincent and Lady Gaga stay grey

Street style photographers have captured young It Girls sporting the look for some time, but the trend made a splash over the past few months thanks to increased attention on social media.

Last fall, pop star Rihanna rocked the look in a photo spread for Tush magazine, while Kim Kardashian’s sister, Kylie Jenner, launched an army of copycats when she added long, grey extensions to her dark tresses. Lady Gaga’s worn white hair on and off for years, while singer/songwriter, St. Vincent, is easily recognizable because of her signature #GrannyHair coif.

Whether they opt for a sterling shade or a darker hue, Millennials are loving bold hair. And they’re not sticking to classic variations on blonde, brunette and red. Pastel colour, or so-called #UnicornHair, such as pale pink, baby blue, and lilac is still a trendy look after several years of popularity.

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Kelly Osbourne and Nicole Richie wear whimsical hair colours

Even highlights have been given a new twist.

Ecaille is not the name of a New World chardonnay, but the French word for tortoiseshell and the look achieved when one’s hairstylist expertly applies colour, using a balayage technique no less, to resemble it.

This is not to be confused with “babylights” (delicate, subtle highlights) and its more extroverted cousin ombré (a more obvious gradation of colour). By the way, ombré is still simply known as ombré (at least for now).

But, why would anyone put themselves through such drastic hair experimentation? Especially when as YouTube vlogger DyeYoung points out, bleaching your hair to achieve the perfect shade of grey can be a daunting task.

For the same reasons that motivate all young people: to stand out, to be cool, to differentiate themselves from their elders.

Ironically enough, #GrannyHair puts the youngins in the same realm as their grandparents.

And that’s another hairy situation to sort out.