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Bold Beauty

The author of Gorgeous Grey Movement on embracing our natural selves

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Even as we age, we change, and a growing number of white and grey strands appear—a stark reminder of our mortality, but also of our resilience, strength, and growth. Here we explore the beauty of embracing our natural selves as we age, including our natural hair.

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Journey to the Grey Side

Although she now enjoys a healthy head of long grey hair, Nicole Scott, registered holistic nutritionist and author of Gorgeous Grey Movement: How to Boldly Own Your Sparkle (2021), wasn’t always a fan of her grey locks.

Although she began seeing hints of pewter in her twenties, her identity was firmly rooted in her dark hair. So she simply “followed the herd,” and dyed the grey away for many years.

She learned about the dangers of hair dye during her studies and had considered going natural in response to a family member’s illness.

But it wasn’t until she found two lumps in her breast—thankfully benign—that the decision to stop dying her hair stuck.

“My breast health is more important than my vanity,” Scott reasoned.

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The downsides of dye (and other artificial enhancements)

There are two prices women are paying for artificial enhancements or the ways we conserve youth, says Scott. The first cost is the cost of the service itself. The second cost is the potential side effects of modifying our appearance. For instance, Botox is a neurotoxin, which can cause side effects, while carelessly performed surgeries can result in unintended consequences.

Our children also pay the price when we create unrealistic expectations about what our bodies should look like. “How beautiful would it be if we could take that pressure from them?” asks Scott.

If you’re feeling the weight of societal pressures to hold on to “youth” and “vibrancy,” Scott suggests reflecting on your values, beliefs, and priorities.

“I was really clear that my health was my top priority,” says Scott. “That made it easier.”

You may also want to experiment with what it feels like to go au naturel by going without a part of your makeup—say, lipstick—or wearing minimal makeup.

For Scott, her mother’s mentorship was helpful: she taught Scott to question our culture’s beauty standards and practised what she preached, embracing her own silvery strands in her fifties.

Scott encourages other women to also “follow the women who have gone before you,” by seeking mentorship in various places, including social media influencers known for natural beauty or grey hair.

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Self-care, naturally

We may not be able to outrun aging, but the more we nurture ourselves on the inside, the more that will show on the outside, says Scott.

This means engaging with the basics of health:

·         eating whole foods

·         considering fasting for mitochondrial health (with guidance)

·         lifting weights

·         supplementing properly

·         undergoing testing to see where we might lack nutritionally

·         making sleep a top priority

·         building a health team to care for the various aspects of our health

Managing our stress can also slow down the aging process. “Take that deep breath, go for a walk, think before you speak,” suggests Scott.

For healthy locks, Scott suggests natural oils such as argan, keeping heat applications to a minimum, and visiting one of the many organic salons across Canada.

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Charting your own course

Life is constantly changing, and when something isn’t working for us, we need to reflect and course-correct when necessary, explains Scott.

Women need to feel permission to be themselves and know that every step forward is a brave act, especially since this often involves breaking longstanding generational patterns, says Scott.

Your unique journey doesn’t have to involve embracing your grey hair. You may want to start with a “brain dump,” says Scott. Ask yourself: How am I? What am I doing? Do I need to pivot?

“Take care of you, make yourself a priority, and trust that the nudges have always been there for you to start your unique journey,” says Scott. “If everyone showed up as their authentic self on their path, we’d have a very different world.”

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Help for your hair

Whether used topically or internally, these supplements can help support healthy strands.

Hyaluronic acid 

Aging often goes hand in hand with hyaluronic acid deficiency. Symptoms of a deficiency in this nutrient include dry and thinning hair. Supplementation may help add moisture to your hair follicles.

Omega-3s 

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods such as fish, flaxseeds, and plant oils. A 2015 hair loss study found that a six-month supplementation with omega-3 and -6 plus antioxidants worked efficiently in improving hair density and against hair loss.

Coconut oil 

Coconut oil is often used to help moisturize hair and may also help create a barrier to protect hair and scalp from bacteria and other irritants.

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Check your vitamin B levels

Premature greying may be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency or a problem with your pituitary or thyroid gland, which is reversible if the cause is identified.

This article was originally published in the May 2024 issue of alive magazine.

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