Ive always loved my red and gold highlights, but during the pandemic, I started enjoying my greys. The silver strands peeking out of my long hair gave a beautiful dimension to my tresses. Yet, I was not too confident about ditching hair colour, completely. I started by keeping a few grey strands and colouring the rest. Around the same time, I decided to get myself a short crop and realised that the scattered whites looked better in short hair. However, before making the switch, I spoke to two elegant and chic ladies, Nishat Fatima and Archana Jain, for inspiration.First ReactionsEver since Ive known Nishat, former editor of Harpers Bazaar, India, she has always sported a short, crisp haircut and paired it with vibrant red lipstick. Thats her personal style. Nishat got her first streak of grey hair when she was just 12 years old, and she liked it. It made her feel special. On the other hand, Archana, the MD and CEO of PR Pundit, has the most gorgeous curls of silver. She shares that her greying earlier than usual was perhaps due to her frequent experiments with hair colour and hair straightening in the 80s and 90s, which damaged it as the treatments were not as sophisticated as they are today. I started greying in my mid-20s and, much like Archana, I think my experiments with hair colour were the reason. My early greys could also be due to my genes, as my father started greying in his early 20s, too.How Does Hair Turn Grey?Our hair and skin contain a pigment called melanin that gives them their colour. When melanin production stops, our hair starts looking grey. Apart from that, our genes, health conditions and chemical processes can strip off melanin earlier than usual.Embracing With GraceWhile colouring your hair is, of course, your choice, not choosing to colour it is your choice, as well. Delhi-based hairstylist, Rod Anker, says, If you dont want to colour your hair, simply stop colouring it. Own it. It boils down to the attitude with which you wear your hair. When Nishat was 37, in certain lights her hair looked too grey. She wondered if it was making her look too old. But after flaunting my greys for two decades, I wasnt suddenly going to colour it, says she. Nishat felt that she just had to deal with the fact that it was what it was. She shares, I will age. But as long as I am interested in things and learning something new, I dont have time to dwell on this.Archana embraced her greys to look mature and be taken seriously in her profession, and also to avoid spending time on touch-ups in the salon every other weekend.So, how did their decision impact the fashion industry? Nishat says, I think it gave me an edge in the fashion industry because there was hardly anybody with grey hair. Many people said, its so cool, youre so brave, I couldnt do it, she recalls. As for Archana, the fashion industry welcomed her curls and greys. The industry, like me, felt it lent me a distinctive personality.The Big SwitchTransitioning from coloured hair to grey hair takes time, as you will have to grow out the coloured portions, which could take up to a year. The process is quicker if you wear your hair short. Last year, my hairstylist accidentally cut my hair shorter than I had wanted, but the silver strands looked cool. The short crop made the greys look chic and natural, and it also offered a sharp and crisp dimension to my look. I loved it. Over the last few months, I have been snipping off my hair monthly, to keep the hair short, because of which the greys have started looking more natural.Nishat wears her hair super short, too, and says, It wasnt the fact that it was grey, but that I had lost a lot of hair when I was 19, which ensured that I would have short or shoulder-length hair forever. That made me realise the importance of good haircuts and the value of spending money on them. I couldnt agree more. Short haircuts do require a good stylist and investing in it is a wise choice. A change of hairstyle has the power to completely transform your look and persona. However, it comes together when you have the attitude and confidence to carry it off.The AdjustmentsThe texture of your grey hair is different from that of your other strands. For instance, my greys are a little wavy and dry, while my dark chocolate strands are poker straight. This is because, with age, our scalp produces less oil, which makes the hair dry and unruly. Since these hair strands are lighter than your natural hair, they stand out even more. In general, my hair quality is fine and thin, but using a texturizing hair spray maximises the thickness, making thin or fine hair look voluminous. I have also realised that washing my hair with shampoo every day makes it look thin and scanty, so now I wash it every other day and use my own concoction of a hair spray lavender and tea tree essential oils in a spray bottle filled with water, topped up with alcohol. This keeps my hair fresh and adds some texture and volume to the hair. I am also a big believer in oil massages, so I oil my hair at least twice a week. The gentle massage stimulates the blood circulation in the scalp, and thereby nourishes and conditions the hair. Switching from regular shampoo to one designed especially for grey hair, such as purple shampoo, can make your silver strands sparkle and shine. Ask your hairstylist for recommendations. As a home remedy for vibrance, you can also use apple cider vinegar as a rinse once a week.Since Archanas curls are a little dry and frizzy, she uses a hydrating and fizz-control shampoo and conditioner every alternate day. She applies serum on her wet strands, followed by a hydrating and styling cream to tame and frame the unruly strands.Unless your hair is voluminous, avoid using heavy hairstyling products like pomades and waxes, as they weigh it down, making it look limp and greasy.Take A CueFor inspiration, look to celebrities who wear their hair grey or have sported it in movies. Who can forget Meryl Streeps iconic hairstyle from The Devil Wears Prada? The short white crop has now become a classic. Judi Denchs platinum pixie cut is another cool way to embrace ones greys. In India, however, not many female celebs have flaunted their greys. While men like Milind Soman, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan have set examples, women have a longer way to go before they can embrace their greys. Unfortunately, while Indian men with silver hair are called silver foxes, women with grey strands are told they look old. While a Kumar comfortably fits into the shoes of a hero, it would be unlikely for his leading lady to be sporting grey hair. Of course, yesteryear actresses like Jaya Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman and Asha Parekh wear their greys with grace. However, if not in the film industry, there are women who are wearing their silver locks with confidence. Think Seema Anand the gorgeous author of the book Art of Seduction. Her wavy, white hair, paired with her gorgeous sarees and jewellery, has become her signature look.Busting The MythA conversation on grey hair remains incomplete without discussing the biggest hair myth if you pluck a grey hair, six more will appear. If this were true, then plucking grey strands would increase the overall number of hair strands. Remember, there is a high contrast between your naturally-coloured hair and your greys. The white strands stand out evidently, so when you start plucking out the lighter strands, especially around the top of your head, they start to grow out again, much like your other strands. But the problem here is that now you have tiny white hair sticking out of your head along with the darker strands, making the whites even more prominent. If you allow your greys to grow with the rest of your hair, they blend in with your natural hair. Also, keep in mind that the act of plucking out strands can damage the hair follicle and cause inflammation at the hair root and scalp, which, in turn, may lead to thinner strands that break easily.