Going gray a little sooner than expected? Join the 'grombre' movement

Martha Truslow Smith started 'Grombre' account on Instagram as a passion project

By Michelle Ganley - Graham Media Group

Photo provided by Martha Truslow Smith

Meet Martha Truslow Smith, a graphic designer from North Carolina who got her first gray hair at the age of 14, as she wrote once on social media.

Smith started coloring her hair, but instead of gaining assurance, she felt anxious and misrepresented. So when she was 24, she decided to go “grombre,” (pronounced "grohm-bray,") a play on the word “ombre,” which has been a trend in hair color over the past few years.

Yes, Smith decided to stop fighting nature: by embracing the gray, and letting it grow out, regardless of her age.


She started an Instagram account to document her journey -- you can find Smith @grombre -- and, get ready for this, at last check, the page had more than 66,000 followers.

"I said, 'Well, you know what? I’m just going to start an Instagram account, just kind of as a passion project,'" Smith said to Vox. "I was shocked when I had 20 followers after a couple of months. Oh my gosh. There are 20 other women out there that feel the same way that I do? And it just kind of grew from there. It was very organic."

As it turns out, there are women all over the place who are “leaning in” to their various stages of gray and graying hair. Below is a follower of Smith's named Terry, also known on Instagram @gray.and.beyond.


Dedicated to the very young lady (4 or 5 yo) who said (1-2 weeks ago) she liked my "bonded braids." I had 2 braids w/no loose hair like today and a baseball cap on when she saw me. I had to ask her twice what she meant, and she said, "...you know like Elsa..." I smiled and told her thank you and looked it up online later😊😁 : #grayandfree #grombre #grayisthenewblonde #grayhair #grayhairrevolution #naturalgrayhair #naturalhair #saltandpepperhair #greyhair #grayhairdontcare #goinggray #grannyhair #silverhair #silversisters #greyrevolution #greyandyoung #goinggreygracefully #embracethegray #embracethegrey #nomoredye #whitehair #longgrayhair #longhair #grayandproud #onlylipstick #cambodian #khmer #asian #simplelife #simpleliving

A post shared by Terry (@gray.and.beyond) on


She noted the strength of the women involved in this community.

And below is Marci, of @saltandpepperpixie.


How often do you hear the voices of women that raised you, come out of your own mouth? “Don’t touch your face.” I heard myself saying this to my oldest daughter the other day. Don’t touch your face and don’t touch flower petals. Both are beautiful and the oil from your fingers don’t belong on either of them. You don’t want to ruin their beauty by touching, touching, touching. How many times could my Grandma tell me this and I wouldn’t listen. I still have a habit of touching my face (sorry Grandma)...but you’ll never see me touch a flower petal, whether it matters or not. At least some of her advice stuck with me. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Œ Missing her as I hear her words. • • #saltandpepperpixie #silversisters #grombre #silverhair #silverwaves #wavyhair #grayhair #greyhair #goinggray #goinggrey #pixiecut #pixie #eyes #greeneyes #grandmasadvice #raisedbystrongwomen #strongwomen #love #donttouch #bw

A post shared by Salt And Pepper Pixie (@saltandpepperpixie) on

Going “grombre,” by the way, isn’t so much a trend as much as it is a movement. And the movement is all about empowerment. It seems as if society tells women that when we start graying, we need to cover it up. But the movement, in a way, begs the question: Says who?

Also, as Smith said in an interview with Scary Mommy, her goal isn’t to spread a message suggesting something like, “Don’t dye your hair no matter what!” On the contrary, she said, it’s all about doing what works for you, and what you feel the most comfortable with, even if that means regular trips your local salon.

Smith is very inspirational on Instagram. You can see why she has tens of thousands of followers. Women are constantly sending Smith photo submissions, so that they too can be featured on the account.

We’ll leave you with one of her posts, just to give you a little flavor of this growing community of women.

“This journey isn't easy, don't get me wrong,” Smith writes. “I've had my bad days and dye temptations, but man, is it worth it. I love my silver streaks that sparkle in the sun and appreciate the remarkable power of being my own woman unconcerned with others' battles with their own fears of aging. May our boldness dispel the chains of self-loathing for all women. So much love to you all, and may you have a blessed weekend.”

Provided by Martha Truslow Smith

Graham Media Group 2019