I went completely grey at 16

The reality is not the same as glamorous Instagram models portray

Like many girls my hair is and always has been a huge part of my identity. Over the years my hair has been cut, back combed, glitter sprayed, straightened and everything in-between but there’s one thing I’ve never been able to control properly. The colour.

When I was 16 I started notice my hair was going very dark, not by choice. It was turning a kind of jet black and I was getting roots but I’d never dyed it before. By 17 I was going full on Gandalf the White. Within a year I had gone completely grey, and I had no idea why.

Nobody has seen my natural hair since 2012.

My hair just went from light brown to this in a matter of a month or 2

Now in 2017, after years of dyeing, everyone thinks grey is great. I’m here to tell you no, it really fucking isn’t. This might sound like a first world problem but natural grey (the kind you don’t get in a bottle from boots) on a young person can destroy their self-confidence. I looked like I was suffering from severe shock.

Friends tried to cheer me up by saying “Oh sweet you can look like rouge out of X-Men” or “I like the Cait Moran look”, even if they are cool styles neither of them where me.

Grey skies calls for grey hair ?? love love loving my new hair from @evahairofficial ?

A photo posted by Esther Yi (@estherryi) on Jan 12, 2017 at 4:54pm PST

I hate that a big part of my self confidence smells of bleach and comes out of a bottle, I even hate when friends say but you’ve got a distinctive dark colour (it’s all lies)  but it makes me feel more like my old self. I’ve been blonde, bronde, ombré, black, red and brown and even I don’t know my natural colour anymore. I’m the queen of reinvention.

See your hair is a huge part of your identity, I grew up with the nickname Liz Taylor (thanks to my grandmother) for having such dark tresses but the trouble is with grey hair if you don’t start dyeing it when grey first starts to happen it will become too obvious further along. At 17 years old I just wasn’t ready for white hair.

Dyed grey hair is very different, it’s not as severe and it’s very graduated. In short you control it, which must be lovely, with natural grey you have no control. You’re on a night out with pals and its glinting in all your photographs, so you trudge back to your girl cave and hang over the sink, dyeing it all over again.

For me dyeing my hair isn’t a fashion statement- it’s about feeling my age. I started with toners, to cover up. Soon there was too much grey and it was onto semi-permanent and now I’m full bitch hand me the peroxide and ammonia infused goo.

I dye it every four to six weeks, I try to make my it seem like fun by with ombré and edgy colours but truth is I dye it because grey isn’t that magic bluey grey colour Instagram and pinterest make it look, it’s more frizzy and porous than your natural hair and makes you look like a baby owl.

I’ve destroyed my scalp, all because  I’m 22 and I’m vain. My hair is now thicker and kind of coarse meaning it takes a long time to grow and will probably never hit past my collar bone. Worst part is everyone tells me daily “Oh but I see girls with grey hair on Instagram all the time you should embrace the real you”.

My very brief stint as a red head

No, what you see on Instagram is engineered grey hair, real grey hair goes off brown almost green and then white. No middle shade, no silver fox, white. The real me is a girly girl, someone who loves to do her hair and look glam and for me white just didn’t suit me. There was no reason I should have to stick with it.

Just because Kylie Jenner looked good with it doesn’t mean I want it.