A woman in her twenties has shared how she's learnt to embrace her grey hair after spending the last decade dying the silver streaks she first discovered as a teenager.
Jade Connor, 29, a photographer from Newcastle, always associated going grey with old people, but was just 15 when a friend first noticed some grey streaks in her hair.
By the time she was in her early 20s, Connor says the her greys were much more prominent, so in a bid to cover them, she went through two dark brown boxy dyes every three weeks.
However, after noticing other women celebrating their greys on social media, earlier this year, she decided to ditch the dyes and started letting her grey locks shine through.
"My friend was straightening my hair when she noticed the grey streaks at the very back of my head," she says of the initial discovery of her greys.
"She took a picture and showed me, and I couldn't believe it. Luckily it was covered by a top layer of hair, so it didn't bother me too much at first.
"However, by the time I was 18, I was noticing more and more speckles, and as I reached my early 20s, it was coming in even thicker and faster."
Despite experimenting with different colour browns to find the best way to hide them, Connor says her grey hair started impacting her confidence.
"Everyone associates with ageing and something that needs to be covered up," she explains.
"I didn't know anyone else my age who had hair like me."
Read more: Woman who went grey at 16 encourages other 'silver sisters' to embrace their natural colour (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)
Connor says she used two dark brown box dyes every two weeks to keep on top of the greys and would also use cover-up sprays in between dyes.
"It was so tedious, and eventually I'd had enough," she says.
However, Conner's journey to accepting her prematurely grey hair hasn't been an easy one.
She first started to let her hair go grey during the pandemic lockdowns, but hated the way it looked and went back to dying it.
"I'd seen celebrities such as Marina and the Diamonds growing out their natural hair in lockdown and she was my original inspiration to do it, but it didn't last long," she explains.
"Life went back to normal after the pandemic and I wasn't comfortable with going out and about with my grown-out grey hair, so I went back to dying it every two weeks."
The turning point came one day while scrolling TikTok and Connor came across a woman, @pipjduma, who was really celebrating her grey hair.
"Her attitude towards it was amazing," she explains. "And I realised I needed to do the same.
"My hair was only going to go more grey so I just needed to accept it."
Read more: Stress really does turn your hair grey (Yahoo Life UK)
Connor spent the next six months letting her natural grey hair grow through, and while initially it grew out patchy, with the help of her hairdresser, Chloe at Aqua Hair Salon in Brockley, she has now learnt to love it.
"I am so much more confident," she says of her new blended look. "I feel like my grey hair is a conversation starter and I can't see myself ever covering them up again.
Connor hopes that by sharing her story she might help some of the stigma associated with going grey.
"I'd love to help other women embrace their grey hair too as it has been so liberating," she says.
"I wish I had done it sooner because accepting my natural hair colour how made me realise how beautiful it really is."
Watch: Gwyneth Paltrow is thinking of keeping her grey hair
What causes premature greying?
According to consultant trichologist, Eva Proudman grey hair is typically caused by the ageing process.
"We have cells called Melanocytes that produce melanin; melanin puts the colour into our hair and as we age the melanocytes start to fail, less colour is produced and so we get grey hair," she explains.
But why do some people go grey much earlier than others?
"Premature greying is defined as starting before the age 35 years old," says Dr Aleksandar Godic, consultant dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic.
While the exact cause of premature greying is not known and contributing factors can vary from person to person, Dr Godic says some environmental and lifestyle factors in individuals who are genetically predisposed can have an impact.
"Though exact pathways are not known, it can grow in families," Dr Godic explains. "If parents or close relatives suffer from premature greying, there is a higher chance the affected individual will develop it."
Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B12, iron, copper, and zinc can also affect melanin production and lead to premature greying.
"Some autoimmune conditions such as Vitiligo have been associated with early greying of hair," Proudman adds. "Research suggests that this is due to the melanocytes being more affected by oxidative stress."
Additional reporting Caters.