What Jennifer Aniston's grey hair praise tells us about ageing - and it's not good.

A few days ago, 54-year-old Jennifer Aniston appeared in an Instagram reel to promote a new haircare mask from her brand LolaVie. As she casually chatted to the camera in her activewear while holding the product, eagle-eyed fans noticed a small patch of grey at the front of her otherwise honey-coloured head.

Jennifer's glossy hair has always generated column inches and has been coveted by us regular folk for decades. But this time the commentary focussed on praising Jennifer for being 'so natural' as she appeared to show her age-appropriate greys for the very first time.

Watch: Jennifer Aniston on The Ellen Show. Post continues below.

Video via Ellen

There were articles celebrating 'grey as the new black' and thousands of gushing comments under her Insta post. "Well done for allowing grey to come through – refreshing," was one, "Thank you for leading the way on grey!!!" was another. 

And my personal favourite, "Girl you look so beautiful! Aging gracefully with your beautiful gray roots! Still got it!"

Ageing gracefully. Refreshing. Leading the way. 

All for 'allowing' a barely visible cluster of silver hairs to sparkle at her crown. 


Showing natural signs of ageing at 54 with a few grey hairs is hardly revolutionary, and yet with such limited representation of celebrity women ageing in this way, it feels revolutionary, even in 2023.

And how depressing is that?

Because when you think about it for more than a second, congratulating someone in their mid-50s for having a 'refreshing' take on showing a few grey hairs is quite mad. Jennifer is 54 so OF COURSE she has greys under that expensive honey-blonde. 

She is also beautiful and has the luxury of time and money to work with professionals to curate her little grey sprinkle, while still looking otherwise 30.


But with so few famous female role models who are genuinely ageing with no help or 'tweakments', it's no wonder Jen's grey hairs spark so much discussion. Especially when we are used to seeing her on the cover of magazines showcasing her ripped abs and ageless face.

While the trend for going grey and hashtags on Instagram like 'grombre', 'silversisters' and 'ditchthedye' show there is a movement towards embracing the physical signs of ageing in some spaces, women are still given very little room to fully relax into midlife.

Men have always enjoyed the luxury of being able to embrace their 'dad bods' or go grey without the need for supportive hashtags. Grey-haired men have been silver foxes for decades and with the male-only 'salt and pepper' look comes maturity, gravitas and power. 

There is no equivalent of a male 'hag' or 'crone', that derides a man purely for daring to age as nature intended. 

Consider Justine Bateman, the actor from the popular '80s sitcom Family Ties and now author and director who was lauded for her beauty until one day she discovered how weirdly invested people were in how she had aged.

When she was researching her book on fame, she turned to Google to remind herself of a past event.


"I put in my name and then the autocomplete came up with 'Justine Bateman looks old' and I was only 40 or 42 at the time," she said in a magazine interview.

"I looked at the pictures they had as 'evidence' and I didn't see what they were talking about."

She later said in an episode of 60 Minutes about ageing, that she could have a lower facelift if she really wanted but "Then I would erase not only all the authority I have now, but I also like feeling that I am a different person now to the one I was when I was 20. I like looking in the mirror and seeing the evidence." 

While Justine is happy to show evidence of her advancing years and her life experience on her face and body, like so many of her male contemporaries, she is still a minority in Hollywood, as the global reaction to Jennifer's 'refreshing' grey hair proves. 

Listen: Mamamia's Outloud trio discuss Paulina Porizkova's views on ageing. Post continues below.


Kim Cattrall, 66, gave an interview this week about her cameo in season two of And Just Like That and how if she wants to keep working, she can't afford to look her age.

“I’m in my sixties now and I’m all about battling ageing in every way I can,” she told a UK newspaper.

“There are fillers, Botox, there’s so many different things that you can investigate and try and see if it’s for you."

She said that the work she's had done on her face is "not just a vanity thing," but that it helps her to keep getting the sorts of roles she is famous for. "I play a certain kind of woman who looks a certain kind of way. And professionally I am looking after myself.”


I know she is no regular 66-year-old grandmother enjoying her retirement years, but that Kim Cattrall is still worrying about how she looks in her seventh decade just makes me feel so tired. 

And also, sad. 

There is no doubt that what goes on for the women in La La Land, filters down to affect us regular women. Just look at how the Kardashians have inspired a generation of women to look like they do with smooth skin, contoured cheeks and plumped lips. I see them everywhere and I don't just mean on Netflix.

But as an ageing woman in my mid-40s who still dyes my hair, how am I supposed to feel about these mixed messages around growing older?

Do I feel relief that Jennifer Aniston has finally shown us something real and 'refreshing' with her grey hair? Do I celebrate her authenticity or feel depressed that the bar is so low that these are the crumbs I have to celebrate?

I don't believe that wanting to look good or stay healthy as we age is bad, and I believe the focus needs to shift from less about how we look to how we feel in midlife.

In a recent interview with Vogue Magazine talking about her exercise routine in midlife, Jennifer commented that while she hated the backhanded compliments about her age, she otherwise felt fit and happy.


“It drives me bananas; I can’t stand it,” she said about being told she 'looks good for her age'. 

“That’s a habit of society that we have these markers like, ‘Well, you’re at that stage, so for your age… I don’t even understand what it means. I’m in better shape than I was in my 20s; I feel better in mind, body, and spirit. It’s all 100 per cent better.”

If Jennifer is happier in midlife than in her twenties, then perhaps there is hope for the rest of us. 

And it pays to remember that there are many ways to exist over 50 – especially for those of us blessed to live outside of Hollywood's glare.

Go grey, don't go grey – it's up to you. 

Celebrate Jen's greys or don't, I guess that too is up to you.

I just hope that one day we are not shocked by a 54-year-old celebrity's grey hair reveal because there is more diversity in representation of how women age and appear on screen after 40.

Perhaps in 10 years I too will be proudly showcasing my greys on Instagram and not caring what anyone else thinks. 

Or maybe not, but I guess it will be up to me.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Instagram @jenniferaniston /Canva.

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