In 2019, GLAMOUR reported that the grey hair revolution had begun — and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic expedited the process exponentially. Since then, women of all ages have begun to proudly embrace grey hair.
Brides have gone viral for sporting grey on their wedding days, while celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, and Sarah Jessica Parker have all worn various takes on the shade. Now grey-friendly hairstyles are all the rage: See the herringbone highlights trend and the grey-blending balayage craze.
But the grey-hair movement also prompted a surge in something slightly more unexpected: A massive demand for easy-to-install and accessible grey hair extensions.
“Currently, grey extensions are one of our biggest demands — clip-ins, pony, volumisers, tape, keratin, hand-tied, and even braided headbands in different shades of grey,” Lisa Richards, founder and CEO of RPZL Hair Extension & Blowout Bar, tells GLAMOUR, explaining that after having appeared on Good Morning America, the number one request she received was to add a grey extension line. Translation? It’s not that people don’t or didn’t want grey hair extensions — it’s that they didn’t know where to find them.
“Now we have a lot of clients in their eighties wearing our grey hair extensions and loving them,” Richards says, as RPZL added an extensions line in August 2022. “They are purchasing up to four grey hair extension products on our site — as soon as I saw the demand for it, it was overwhelming. I had to add new products and new grey extensions. ” Indeed, Luxy Hair is the only other mainstream extensions brand currently selling grey hair extensions in the US — and the line only launched in spring 2022.
While it may seem paradoxical — the ‘authentic’ aesthetic of grey hair juxtaposed with the high-maintenance aesthetic of extensions — it’s actually the conglomerate of two contemporary cultural fads. Post-lockdown, demand for hair extensions skyrocketed — partially due to the pandemic-prompted rise in hair loss (both from COVID-19 and stress), partially due to increased awareness and subsequent accessibility of extensions.
“TV shows, celebrities, influencers, news anchors are all talking about extensions — they’ve been normalised,” says Richards. As a result, seamless-to-install clip-ins are easier than ever to order — and match to your hair colour — online, all of which can be done from the comfort of your own home office.