Jackson Hau walked into school last April immersed in anticipated discomfort. His newly dyed hair, which was previously dark blond, was now a striking silver.
Inspired by social media platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr, the first-year undeclared humanities student participated in the trend that later became known as #GrannyHair. During the past spring and summer, the fad was popular among celebrities such as actresses Cara Delevingne and Dascha Polanco, making silver hair a new trend. Although well-received by the fashion community, it hasn’t seen the same ubiquity on campus.
While Hau said he has noticed multiple silver foxes besides himself around campus within the past few months, Ally Kolsky, a second-year communication studies student and writer for UCLA’s fashion magazine, Denizen, said she has only seen one student participant. Due to the cost associated with dying one’s hair silver and the challenging technicalities surrounding the health of dyed hair, Kolsky, who frequently dyes her hair, said these factors might prevent students from following this trend.
Hayley Hammons, a first-year molecular cell and developmental biology student, said “granny hair” is a trend that compliments certain individuals. Noting her own hesitation toward the particular style, she said dying hair is a highly personalized experience, indicating that silver might not be the color for everyone.
“You just have to see what fits you and what works for you,” Hammons said. “If you are super trendy and artsy, then it will probably work for your style.”
Rita Effros, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, teaches a freshman general education cluster titled “Frontiers in Human Aging.” She said she was unaware of the silver hair trend and had not noticed it around campus or in her lectures. Like Hau, who sees dying one’s hair silver as an equivalent to dying it any other pastel color, Effros believes #GrannyHair was simply a trend and not an appreciation for aging.
“Yes, they are dying their hair silver, but they are also dying their hair pink, red and green,” Effros said.
Effros has noticed a humorous yet truthful irony with the rise of the silver hair trend beginning last summer, and thinks grey hair is not necessarily indicative of age.
“Many older women especially are dying their hair back to brown or red and getting rid of the silver,” Effros said. “It’s funny; everybody wants something else – what they don’t have.”
Due to UCLA’s proximity to the Los Angeles pop culture scene, Kolsky said students may be influenced to follow certain trends endorsed by celebrities, like silver hair, especially if they are of a similar age group. She herself was inspired by Karen O from the band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to dye her hair blonde in 2013.
In a similar fashion as “Once Upon a Time” actress Ginnifer Goodwin, Kolsky suggests adding a hint of lilac to the dye can enhance silver hair. By doing so, she said the hair will achieve added dimension and be more visibly appealing.
“If you are going to do this, you have to fully commit,” Kolsky said.
Just like Hammons and Kolsky, Hau stepped out of his comfort zone by dying his hair. He was neither ashamed nor afraid while walking around school displaying his new and more metallic appearance. Rather, he felt he was truly expressing himself.
“It was something that I always wanted to do,” Hau said. “I wanted to do something different.”