Author Diana Jewell, center, founder of the Silver Sisters and author of the book Going Gray, Looking Great! leads the Silver Sisters Strut.

Story and photos by Chris Stone

“Guru of gray” Diana Jewell brought her “megatrend” campaign to San Diego this weekend to promote women’s natural allure with gray hair in a rebellion against what one fan called “beauty terror.”

“I really love this new movement of being gray and being natural because I think that’s the way to go,” said Sabina Reichel, a German who wrote a book about the topic and attended the Balboa Park event.

“It’s a healthy, wonderful attitude especially of the ’60s generation, and I say: ‘Let’s be as rebellious as we have always been. Let’s carry on that spirit of independence.’”

Reichel said she was reminded about how good women look with natural hair, “especially if you are proud. I call it Gray Pride.”

Jewell, founder of Silver Sisters, organized the event Saturday to preach authenticity, empowerment and confidence with the natural look during sessions about fashion, hair, makeup and style experts at the Prado.

Jewell has taken her message to Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and North Carolina. Besides being an author, Jewell is a former marketing director of Vogue, and promotion director of Seventeen Magazine.

Jewell hosts and Cafe Gray based on her book, “Going Gray, Looking Great.” There women get support in making the decision or the transition from colored to natural hair color.

The presentation concluded with about 50 women locking arms in solidarity in their “Silver Sisters Strut” in front of the fountain at Plaza de Panama near the Museum of Art.

Some women had already gone gray; others came to gather information about the movement. The event sponsors were Jhirmack, CHANEL, Marquis O3 and Go Raw.

“It’s a feminist thing, quite frankly,” Reichel said, “and basically we have to give up this kind of beauty terror like once you hit 40 you have nothing to say or are not sexy. You know, the big fears women usually have.

“What it takes is just to be different. Go for it. You change the world by being different. I think it’s a great start. If they see other women, they say: Hey, that looks good. I can do this, too.”

Others concurred.

Rachelle Lasater said, “I just found out about the Silver Sisters, and I was so thrilled to know that there was a movement going on of more and more women going natural because I decided at a very young age when I was turning gray that I couldn’t deal with dying my hair the rest of my life.

“But I felt alone and got a lot of pressure from family and everyone to color my hair and I just didn’t want to give in, she continued.

“So now it’s so wonderful to see all of the support for women and today was awesome seeing all the other women and seeing all the tips about hair and makeup, about clothing and about color because as you get older, your hair color changes all those things need to change along with it ,and most of us don’t know that.”

After the event, attendees said they enjoyed the tips about reducing chemicals in their hair, deep conditioning the locks so hair is not damaged further and clothing suggestions.

Colorist Arden Reece told the group that the system of choosing clothing based on “seasons,” is not effective.

“Seasons don’t work because it puts people in boxes,” Reece said.

Saying that there are 110 skin tones, Reece advised women to examine their skin, hair color and eyes with its mixture of colors and base clothing choices on that.

Reece encouraged women to select clothing that matches either the hair color, eye color or skin tone to find “essence” colors that compliment a woman. She urged the guests to use the complements of those colors to create a “wow” look.

The colorist for Jhirmack urged the women to experiment with various saturations of colors and keep in mind their introvert-extrovert personalities.