- Amanda Hanson is a psychologist, author, coach, and popular TikToker.
- She decided to stop dyeing her hair and went completely gray.
- This is Hanson’s story, as told to PollyAnna Brown.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Amanda Hanson. It has been edited for length and clarity.
“Why would you do that?”
It was such a simple question that slipped from my husband’s lips as I declared to him and our 17-year-old son in the kitchen that this was the last day I would be dyeing my hair.
I’ve lived most of my life inserted in places that are fashion-forward and beauty-focused. Places where Botox starts in your 20s, skin is meant to be dewy, and hair — hair is meant to be rich with various hues, so long as it’s not gray.
That’s why my choice to embrace the silver lining of my natural hair — to see the beauty of the next stage of my life blossoming — was a radical act of rebellion.
Enter the resistance
“Aren’t you worried that you’re going to look washed out with your skin tone and gray hair?” my husband continued.
“No. Actually, that never occurred to me. But clearly it occurred to you,” I responded.
That’s when my son looked up and said, “Mom, you’re going to rock it.”
I held true to my word. I never colored my hair again.
My husband wasn’t as excited or enthusiastic as I wanted him to be in the beginning. In my vision, he was overjoyed that I was embracing who I was and kicking beauty standards to the curb. But during my in-between stages of finding and learning to embrace myself in new ways, he wasn’t sure how to feel either.
That’s when I realized that I didn’t need him to be excited. I didn’t need him to love my hair this way. I needed to love myself this way.
One of the greatest teachers I’ve had in learning to love and accept myself has been my transgender child. It’s through him that I understood the true meaning of authenticity.
Watching your child go through the harshness that comes along with being different and misunderstood is incredibly painful. I’d take him to school in the morning, watch him get out of the car, and he’d turn and look over his shoulder at me.
He walked so proudly into school every day, fully owning who he was regardless of how isolated he felt from the negativity, ignorance, and even hatred he was subjected to. My son kept showing up, speaking with his voice, and embracing who he was. He never betrayed himself.
That was the level of authenticity with which I wanted to live my life. And that was the level of authenticity with which I made my decision to embrace this sacred process we call aging.
Stepping fully in
I decided that the things that were expected of me as an aging woman — the Botox, the hair dye, the whatever-it-takes-to-preserve-who-I’ve-been approach to life — weren’t in alignment with who I was as a human being.
Aging gracefully to me didn’t mean veiling the signs of wisdom I’d earned. The wrinkles that grace my face, and the silver locks that make up my hair — they’re part of my journey.
The truth is, radiance doesn’t come from youth. Radiance and magnetism and love — they come from accepting myself on my terms.
And that’s when my husband got fully on board this journey with me.
Now, he’ll stop me in the street to take pictures of my silver hair shining in the sunlight because it looks so beautiful — his words. The more in love with myself I fell, and the more I embraced myself as I am, the deeper my husband fell in love with me.