6 Jun 2017

The Whole Going Grey Thing

The Whole Grey Thing on vickiarcher.com

Lately the whole going grey/being grey conundrum has been on my mind.
As most of you know I have been taking the leave-my-hair-alone approach for a couple of years now.

Let me start our discussion by saying grey hair is not for everyone and I respect that opinion. Friends either love or hate my grey hair; on the whole most days it would seem I am winning. Yes, maybe it is more ageing or should I be more specific and say it doesn’t let me fool anyone. Grey hair generally means we have been around the block a few times and seen our share. Most days I am absolutely 100 % with that but there are days I find it confronting. I don’t wish to fool anyone else but every now and then I would happily indulge in a little self-denial.

Going grey requires large doses of patience, a fair amount of self-confidence and a not-giving-in kind of approach. Grey takes time; not only to grow in but also to become accustomed to. Grey hair changes the way we look, the fashion we wear and the colours we look best in. I see women much older than me with blonde, red and brunette locks, looking perfectly streaked and coloured. I won’t fib, it confuses me and I do question what I am doing. And yet, I am still here and haven’t given in. Will I? Who knows but not today?

There are ways to wearing our hair grey that avoid feeling like Granny May Clampett or looking like your worst nightmare. If we are going to go grey we must not only rock it but also own it, any doubts need to be banished and pride in our approach must be front of mind. I need to remind myself of this on a daily basis.

I wear my hair longer because I like the contrast of colour, length and age. An older woman was once expected to cut her hair short or wear it up in a twist or bun. Forget that, I find long hair much more attractive and will wear it down for as long as I like. This is where the cut is ever important. Whether it is short or long, a blunt or layered look, hair when it is natural must be well groomed; it makes you feel so much better and more confident about wearing the grey. If a short cut is your look and you are fortunate enough to suit one, then go for it. If you are a mid shoulder length girl, add a few inches to the length and see how you feel; you may well be pleasantly surprised.

Grey makes me want to be more fashion conscious and to take better care of my appearance. I might leave the hair old school but my accessories need to be of the moment and my clothes, while classic, should look current. Again it is working the contrasts to suit us. Khaki, black, white, navy and the jewel colours are where I find my greatest inspiration.

In many ways grey hair has made me bolder when it comes to my accessory choices. It sounds ridiculous but a fab pair of shoes and a great jacket make all the difference to how I feel about the grey hair. I am on the move again today, wearing my airport uniform of all black plus the khaki jacket but it is the fun shoes making me feel better put together.

One other thing.

The hair might be grey but never my eyelashes and eyebrows. Those have to stay tinted.

How do we grow the coloured hair out and be patient for the grey to grow in?

This is the question I am asked most often and without doubt it is the hardest part.

I won’t fib, it is a tough process and if you are have dark coloured hair it is much more difficult.

My process involved colouring less and less and blending the greys with the highlights until I stopped altogether. Eighteen months later and I was pretty much natural. My hair was a mousy brown but I had worn it blonde for many years so it is safe to say, I made an easy transition. I now look silvery as opposed to blonde.

If you have dark hair and you are tired of tinting and feel the dark tone is too hard near your face then all I can say is you will need patience or a very strong constitution to go cold turkey. I am not saying don’t because dark hair gone grey is the prettiest of all; I am just saying it is a challenge but one worth taking. (Trust me when I say, it is so worth it and if you need me to talk you through on the “difficult” days, I am here to help.) The longer you wait to start the process the harder it is to keep the dark colour up; tinting becomes more frequent not less as your grey becomes more prolific.

My recommendation is to start highlighting on the top and very gradually become lighter over time. To go “fair” in one hit is pretty daunting if you have always had dark hair. Let the streaks intensify over a period of 6 to 12 months, tinting lighter each session until you are ready to have only highlights on the top sections of hair.

Once a highlighted look becomes comfortable start going longer between colour appointments and let the greys seep in. Your colourist will advise on the shade of highlight to suit your skin tone and your hair colour once he knows you want to transition. Naturally, hair colourists are never as pro going grey as others.

It won’t be easy but in the longer term, if you like the idea of grey, the sense of freedom will be enormous and my bet is you will love it.

What do you think? Are you a grey hair lover like me? Please share your tips and tricks to going natural; we all love to know how to make this an easier journey. xv

images yasmina rossi

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In This Post:



Melinda Miller

Vicki, I decided to let my hair go grey about a year ago. I’m 65, but have been coloring since my early thirties as I started turning grey very young. I have a fair complexion and just thought the grey would wash me out. I wore my hair long and just had it cut in a medium bob to even my layers, but will grow it out again! It’s a very long and difficult process and yes, you must have plenty of patience. My natural color is really a very pretty silvery blond so I am looking forward to the day when the process is completed!! You are right, I find I pay more attention to my makeup, especially my eyes, and also my clothing style. I don’t want to have that “old lady” look with the stiff, styled and coiffed look!!!

Mandy Lane Kinney

Thank you, I have always thought gray hair was striking, if the cut was right. My dear friend Wendy Jessen finely stopped coloring her hair, she looks fabulous! I am finally starting to turn gray at 66. My hair has been short for many years, my new hair stylist convinced me to let it grow, when my hair is down it’s more brown, when it’s up it’s silver, I’m having fun!


I turned 59 on May 17 and am considering the gray hair look. I really like it but am still a little unsure if it will suite me.


I love my grey hair. I was lucky that my hair started to go silvery at the front when I was quite young. It still refuses to go grey at the back so I still have highlight to blend the front and back and avoid any demarkation lines. I find now that I am grey short hair works better and looks more up to date.


Your colour is beautiful Josephine and the style suits you perfectly.. I would never have guessed you had touched the back it looks so lovely. You wear short hair well ( your latest shots look fab) but then I have seen you with a few styles now and I like it longer as well… :) I am not good with short hair.. never was I guess… might be about a round face or something like that ;)


Vicki, I love your grey hair! There are so many women who look absolutely gorgeous with grey hair, you are one of them.
I’m still coloring, my natural hair was dark, and right now, in my early 60’s, I’m not ready to “go grey”…I wouldn’t have a pretty grey, pretty much a salt and pepper coloring. I think if I was blonde, or colored my hair blonde for a long time, the transition might be easier in my mind. Not sure when the time will come, but when it does, I’ll be perfectly content with the grey!


You will know when you are ready Lidy.. :)
It’s all about the ready isn’t it? I must have been I guess.. My father was always grey and apparently started in his late 20’s so I guess it was easier for me because I was used to it. My mother still colours and she is 100 in August!!! If she could see me clearly I am sure she would tell me to get to the hairdresser immediately!!


Although aged 60yrs, I had mousey brown hair with no grey but I’ve recently lost all my hair due to chemo. It can apparently come back curly when it was straight, or any colour. I don’t know whether it will come back grey but if it does, it seems like the perfect moment to go with the flow and not have to deal with colour transition.


Absolutely… I have heard the hair can come back completely differently both in colour and texture. Good luck and it will be gorgeous however you chose to wear it. Look after you, that’s the most important :)

Felicity Lock

Hello Vicki, I decided to ‘go for it’ 18 months ago. We were off to Aus for 5 weeks and thought that was the right time. I New my true colour was silver but wasn’t sure whether it was all over. I had silver highlights put in and kept increasing them. Because I’m on lots of medication for rheumatoid arthritis, my hair had been suffering besides the fact that putting chemical on my head for 40 years seem daft! So now I’m silver all over. I tried to grow it but it was too fine. Now I have a longer version of a ‘Ronin Wright’ which suits me better. All you girls out there, think about it and dive in – you can always colour again – you will have awful days so expect them! Vicki, you are right – I now take much more time and care over my clothes. Good luck gals!

Dinelda Adriaanse

Hi Vicky. What fo you treat your hair with to prevent them from becoming dry and lifeless.


I use Leonor Greyl “miel” shampoo and one of their masques from time to time.. absolutely fabulous :)

Linda Cashman

I just turned 67 and I color my strawberry blond hair professionally. My stylist puts several tones in it and it looks great. I also wear my hair long and use lots of great products like hair oils and conditioners on it. Hair tends to dry out as we age and mine is glossy and shiny. I also take lots of vitamins, especially biotin, and watch what I eat. My skin is too fair to go grey or white–it washes me out. I also am a great lover of fine jewelry and I am lucky to have had a husband who bought me lots of nice jewelry, which I like to put with my large wardrobe of different black tops and pants. I find I always gravitate toward wearing black and accessorizing with scarves and various statement gemstone or pearl jewelry (I am kind of known for that among my coworkers and friends and family). I have a lot of colorful clothes, I just feel more comfortable in black or chocolate brown.

Linda L

Hi Vicki, thanks for your tips and words of encouragement.
I went grey 5 years and never regretted my decision. Being Italian descent with thick dark brown hair I was touching up my roots every 10 days for years. My hair was damaged and looked like straw. I recognized I had a streak in front so I purchased a can of platinum spray at Sally’s whereby I widened and lengthend my streak. Viola, with time, patience and frequent trims I love my silver hair. As you said Vicki, makeup, and clothing colors will need to be adjusted with pleasure when you see how you glow!
Thank you Vicki. Linda L Palm Beach Gardens


I have seen some beautiful women with striking silver grey hair. I remember one woman in Paris with long grey hair wearing a sun dress. She wasn’t young but she turned heads! I think the key is being ready to be grey, and when one is ready, then one can own it, have fun with it, experiment with new colours, new make up, new looks and enjoy being beautiful with their new shade.

Wendy Going Forward

I love your grey hair! I am 60 and have been highlighting my dark blonde hair since I was 20. I am finally getting a few grey/ white streaks in my natural hair. I will highlight less and less as time goes on. I am proud of my grey and my age. You are correct, not everyone get it!!

Taste of France

The women I see who look fantastic with gray hair usually have a great cut. You have to be a model like Yasmina Rossi or Linda Rodin to pull off the long, straight look (or even an updo, which could go Granny Mae Clampett in a hurry).
I have pretty dark hair and am starting to get some grays, and rather than cover them, I added highlights (meches) to make the transition easier.
However, I might decide one day to take full advantage of age and go radical/eccentric, with shocking red, or maybe blue or pink, hair.


I struck the pot of gold … or silver .. when I went grey. I am/was a blonde .. all my life .. so when I started to get grey, I just noticed that my hair was lighter. It used to be called “dirty blonde”, if I wasn’t in the sun it would get more mousy looking. When my white hair started showing up, it was like having a highlighting .. with one solid white streak in front that I love. Now .. I am a white blonde .. there is still natural color so it puzzles people sometimes … Is your hair naturally that color ?? lol …I smile and nod.
ps … someone told me once that she thought people asking a woman if her hair was the natural color was like asking her if her breasts were really that size lol …


I decided to embrace my steel gray hair two years ago at age 50. I had been coloring my hair a fabulous shade of red with copper and tiny blonde highlights, but after letting my natural color grow in for a couple of months, I found I loved it! I am blessed with a hairdresser that was able to strip out the color and blend in the old and new growth so I could just let it be (and with hardly any damage save the tips which were cut in subsequent trims!). It’s made my blue eyes pop! I’ve had to make changes to makeup and wardrobe colors, but feel more myself. Now to just find that elusive perfect hairstyle!


Love this post! Love your long hair!
I’m 73, I wear it long (so much easier to take care of!) and still a lot of brown — maybe half. It is turning sooooooo slowly. Every time I look deeply and see more gray, I am happy! Maybe by the time I’m 84 it’ll finally be there.


Vicki, I am 65 and have not given up the color process. I actually think my hair is getting lighter with each processing! Still getting compliments on it, though. My opinion is that the decision to go “natural” should be like every other decision we make about ourselves. When you look in the mirror – how do you feel? The goal is to Feel beautiful, Feel vibrant, Feel alive, and Feel we are our best selves. That’s the way to rock our look and know we’re on the right path, for that moment.


Thank you for this post today Vicki. I am going around and round with the going grey idea. I thought I was there and then the grow out looked so bad I coloured it again. I am going to take your suggestion of lots of top highlights and see how that goes. My question is, as they grey grows in all over the top of the head do you colour the grey that has not been highlighted? I am afraid it would look a right mess. Anyway, I am willing to give it a shot again. My hairdresser wants me to go grey so that is helpful!

Mimi Gregor

I color, and it’s not so much to fool other people about my age (although I don’t mind if I do!), but to fool myself. I have seen women with grey hair who looked magnificent. But it IS aging. I have problems with the whole aging thing, as I associate it with eventual decrepitude, then death. Sorry to be a downer, but isn’t that what’s really behind our fear of aging? Also, people tend to treat older people differently. They become invisible. I am fortunate that my skin still looks youthful enough to carry off darker hair (naturally oily skin and not tanning helped there), so I will dye until I die, probably. My husband’s 96-year old great aunt still dyes. She’s not fooling anyone, nor do I think that she is trying to. It’s just how she is used to seeing herself. I still expect to see a fairly youthful looking Mimi when I go past a mirror. To see me “au natural” would be too much for me.


Another post chemo person here. I had wanted to let my dark colored hair grow out and see what my natural color was for years but I had a stylist and friends who argued vehemently against it! When I started chemo I cut my hair in a short pixie but by the last cycle it had all fallen out including brows and lashes. Now that is a washed out look! There is nothing to stick false lashes to and no brow shape to follow! Anyway, I love how the color it is growing out, a nice salt and pepper but I still have days of indecisiveness. “Do I really want to do this? Is it too monotone?” And yes, now that I have lashes I feel I have to do more with lips and eyes to carry off the hair. BUT it is not just a change in color, it is only about an inch long, super curley, and coarse, kind of like Kramer on Seinfeld! LOL. It is SOOOO tempting to color it because that is the only aspect I can control. But I think I will love I as it grows out. So I wait. I like that I can wear a cool color palate again. And I feel my hair and skin are more congruent now. My colorist had moved me to a warm brown. A lot of adjustments. I certainly feel more authentic at 59 having a more natural color but, like you, I was never coloring to fool anyone, just self denial. And it’s had to indulge in self denial when I look in the mirror now. It’s frankly a shock sometimes.


I think the tone of your skin and the colour of your eyes will dictate whether to embrace your grey. It is much less maintenance if you are lucky enough to have the complexion and pride in your advanced years, to be able to carry it off.


Tania, definitely ! If I had gotten grey ( which I think is a different shade than the grey that blonde turns into) I would have had to wear a hat .. grey washes the color right out of my skin. But lucky me, my hair just kept getting lighter, it turned white .. no one ever really noticed the difference :)
Of course, I was living in a different country where most people didn’t know me lol
My hair is very long right now too … which I like, it is easy. But from the back, do I look like a blonde girl then when I turn around I am a scary old lady ?


It is still colour, condition, cut and confidence. If you are fortunate to have “good” hair nothing changes. A head of healthy hair is beautiful. Just be well maintained whether salon coloured or grey. If you need a beautiful toner to lift greyish hair to the extra-ordinary why not – no one rocks the yellow of a pantomime dame’s wig.


Love, love, love living authentically. I was a natural redhead until around my 50s my hair started darkening then became salt and pepper. I’m highly sensitive/allergic to hair dye so that option was out for me. Embracing my natural coloring was not easy at first, but now, for me, I find it’s the best path to follow. On a crazy whim several months ago I cut my hair super short (ultra pixie), and I’m in the process of growing it out. Some days, it does appear more granny than chic and fun, but I will get there.

@JJ My best wishes and prayers for you!!!

@Vicki, many thanks for addressing this subject.


Thank you JanJan for the prayers and good wishes.
I have done quite a lot of Colour Consultations (seasonal palettes) and come to the conclusion that I will never have a more perfect match of skin tone, eye colour and hair colour than my natural colouring. I have had blonde, red and brunette hair all quite successfully but I find my eyes are clearer and my skin most luminous when my hair is my natural colour. I’m excited to go natural when my hair grows back and I’ll have a soft feminine, wispy cut and embrace the grey if that’s the colour that grows. I think grey hair can look absolutely stunning with the right cut and make-up.
Great topic for discussion x


I got so luck y with hair color . My mom had dark hair but she started getting silver/white when she was only 16!! I took after my father in coloring, blonde hair .. One day , maybe a year or so ago, I noticed my blonde was really shiny and almost looked highlighted … the white, not grey, was coming in .. I now have a head full of white blonde hair ..
I wear it long and mostly in a pony tail these days .. When I move back to NY .. I will get a haircut :)


Your hair looks wonderful, Vicki, and in fabulous condition. Have never coloured mine – it started out blonde as a child then went strawberry blond as a teenager. It later darkened a bit but was always naturally streaked with blond in the top layers, probably from the sun I guess. There were also some strands that were reddish. Sounds weird and I guess it is but hairdressers generally love it. I kept telling my old hairdresser that I would have it coloured when more grey came but she absolutely refused. So now there are long sliver white strands by my ears, but covered by the rest. Still completely natural. My grand-daughters talked me into growing it long to be like them. But now I wonder if it’s too long. It’s way below shoulder length – I usually have it blowdried straight but my regular hairdresser when I’m in Paris likes to give it “movement”. I’m thinking of asking him to cut it to just below shoulder length while I’m here? Would appreciate your thoughts. Happy travels and best wishes, Pamela


Why not have a trim with your Parisian hairdresser… but not too much.. your hair sounds gorgeous, Pamela.. Send me a picture, I would love to see :)

marg gibbs

I am turning 60 next month and started the grey process 2 years ago because I was tired of constant colouring. Fortunately the front pieces fall naturally grey and suit my face. When I brush my shoulder length hair back into a ponytail, there is a softer more delicate transition that doesn’t scare me. My friends tell me my look suits me. I also like the mature me and enjoy wearing lovely scarves and earrings that tone in with the grey.


Once again you have hit on a timely subject for me Vicki. I’ve been seriously contemplating having my long dark hair colored dark gray with highlights on top, which should blend in with my natural color as it grows out. I’ve had advice for and against from all sorts of people: my husband says go gray; my Mom says keep coloring until I retire. There is such a thing as age discrimination and a lack of respect as we all know. I really don’t know what to do.

Marzi P.

Vicki, This is such an encouraging post. I am a natural redhead. Since red fades quickly, I went au naturale at 54 – I’m now 58. I’ve also had a white streak in front since my 20s. It became increasingly difficult to find any type of red color that looked as good as my own, additionally, to keep it “fresh” I was having to dye it about every 2-3 weeks which was really a pain. My “gray” is very white, but my whole head hasn’t turned yet. Since my brother had the same red color hair (he’s 5 years older) and his is completely white now, I know it won’t be long! One could look to members of their own family for inspiration! I had a short style when I was letting it go gray – and recall cutting it to about an inch, because patience wasn’t my strong suit when dealing with my hair. Now I wear it curly and long and am loving it. The money I would have spent on color, I spend on a perm, but only have curls and trims every 6 months. More money for those fab shoes! I’ve had strangers stop to tell me they love my color. It looks like a streaked strawberry blonde with the white in it. So much fun! Will have to admit that this is not necessarily for everyone, but how will you know until you try? One less maintenance issue to worry about. Again, thanks for the wonderful post. I love the picture too…I have a tall, thin, gray haired gorgeous friend that looks very much like this model. Hugs


Hi Vicki! Both you and Josephine inspired me to grow out from my mousy brunette to grey and I am happy with the decision so thank you! I am one year into it and I would say another 6 months before I will be 100% natural. I started by changing from permanent to semi-permanent for a few months until the roots were really coming in. Then my stylist added highlights to blend the brown with the shades of grey which were beginning to show. I won’t lie, the first 3-4 months were hellish! It’s been ongoing highlights, toning and a lot of conditioning to keep it looking healthy. I’ve also recently gone very naturally curly so I just had my stylist give me a cute shaggy bob and I’m loving that. It’s carefree, a bit messy and has enough bob to keep it stylish. I’m 52 and had originally thought I would wait until my 60’s but am feeling so liberated with my natural and sassy do. I look forward to no more chemicals, fewer trips to the salon and spending my hard earned dollars elsewhere! Love your blog! XX


I’m 52 and going through the tough beuinetteb part. I had forgotten what my own hair color was after years of henna, salon highlites, tints and emergency weekend box touch ups. My hair stylist was very against my choice to no longer color, bleach, tone diwn or touch up these roots. So on the bad days when I feel very ordinary, but on the good days I am finding this such an empowering act of self love and acceptance. My kids thin it’s rad, my husband loves that I spend more time doing the things I love. It’s seven months since o had a chemical treatment that made my eyes water hand my head ache. So I’m lengthening and styling and feeling remarkably content. In fact I’m celebrating the transition. Eyebrows, I’m going to own those forever. X

Carla Marion

I made the decision to go gray about 7-8 years ago, I am about to turn 66 in August. I started graying when I was in my late 20’s. My sister spotted it and said ‘Oh you have got to color’. Thus began the journey I was so eager to end. I am by nature, a very natural person. I wear light base makeup and mascara. Fortunately I have thick dark brows, very dark hair when I was young, so no tinting necessary there. I love my gray but Vicki, you are correct, others love or hate it. My worst hater is my Dad. lol. On the other hand, I have more men than women compliment my gray, which shocks me at times. Anyway, love the gray and won’t stray. The transition was hard but a good hairdresser and patience will get you through. I spend less money and time on my hair now than ever. It’s got natural curl, it’s long and easy to wear up if I am feeling a change is due. I frequent the gym and am athletic so longer works better since it can go up or back in those workouts. I say go for it ladies, you will never regret that feeling of confidence and liberation the change will give you have. Take care to be current, wear current clothes and shoes (yes girls I still love my heels) and throw in statement jewelry which is your personality. Don’t look to copy others, it must be truly you, if you want to feel that soar of confidence in your natural, beautiful gray color.


I saw the most striking woman a couple of weeks ago that had grey/black mixed hair (but mostly grey hair.) It was thick and long (to her waist) and kind of in ringlets. When I got closer I realized she was in her early 30’s I’m guessing. She was extremely put together looking and wore very chic clothes. So, I think that grey works on some but not all. I think you have to have pretty, thick, healthy hair. And like you said, you have to be more conscious of your clothes. I think you wear it well Vicki!


I am 37 and started the process 4 months ago. At first my hairdresser wanted to convince me by telling me that I am too young. I politely ignored her. Now most of my friends are dropping subtle hints by sending me pictures of hairstyles and color options, I find it hilarious! I’m sticking to my guns, I’m doing this!

Margie Wilson

As someone who started going grey at 16 – yes sixteen – I coloured my hair for years. Then in my fifties said to the hairdresser enough is enough – and she agreed. But instead of leaving it to grow out – she stripped the artificial colour in one go saying that if I didn’t like it I could always put the colour back. Luckily I loved it – a real platinum blonde shade. and that is how it has remained ever since. I love it and often get remarks on what a great colour it is. (And I am now 71.


I wondered if that was you in the picture–so pretty!! A couple of friends challenged me to go “authentic” for my 50th birthday. It’s next month. I started the process about a year ago–heavy highlights so the roots would not be so obvious, then I had it cut short, then shorter to lose the still-colored ends. My mom liked it, which made me seriously reconsider the decision, but we are moving to the Paris region soon–next week!–and I will be happy to save the money I would otherwise be using to color my hair every 3 weeks. When I doubt myself, I do a search for curly grey hairstyles and remember the goal.


I stuck it out, I’m there, I like it. But your words about the nagging second thoughts, twirling twirling, making us re-commit again and again [especially whenever I see someone my age wearing a “well preserved” appearance in my previous brown tinted color]. But Vicki: for those of us who’re there and happy, doPLEASE advise at a later date on how to get/keep out these yellow tones in silver/white/grey places.


I am still fighting the battle and coloring my hair every three weeks. I’ve been coloring it since I was 26 and now I’m 54. Back then it was simply to hide a few greys and now my hairdresser tells me it is 95 % grey. I think about letting it go grey and how much easier it would be but I can’t bring myself to take the plunge. I see stylish women with grey hair and I think it is beautiful. I see a change in my future just not sure when.

D. A. Wolf

The model above is stunning. However, I do think that if one is not stunning and in either the job market place or the dating market place (or both), there is a certain “competitive” pressure to keep the gray away. (Sigh.) Certainly true in certain regions of the US.

That said, on some women, silver or gray hair is just beautiful. I do think that confidence matters, as well as overall style, and taking good care of one’s hair so that it is healthy and properly styled.



She did a really good POST on the PRODUCTS for GREY HAIR plus her hair is AMAZING!


I follow her blog and love her post on Grey Hair Products. Picked up the cleansing shampoo and the whitening shampoo and love them both. My hair color has really brightened. Highly recommend her blog for fashion for your closet and home.


I have decided to transition. I don’t mind going for cut and color every 5-6 weeks, but I need to go every 3 weeks and that is not acceptable. I have lightened my hair to blend with the white and I like it. I’m thinking by this time next year I will be completely white/silver/grey. I use a bluing shampoo now however my hairdresser friend in swanky SF recommend the Oribe purple shampoo. I’m actually pretty good with it all. My hair is shoulder length and I’m thinking I will keep it that length and probably not much longer. Too much of a good thing and all :) I always said I would color my hair, but enough is enough. And it’s not wise to say “always” and “never” :)


I enjoy this conversation. First of all, in my house we call it silver. Grey sounds so drab. I have long, very thick silver hair with natural fine threads of white, pewter and browns. I rarely realize how white and silver it is until I see a photograph of myself. At 57 I am the only one in my family with silver hair. My 85 year old mother still has brown hair with a bit of silver and doesn’t color it. She actually wishes she had hair my color. I think healthy hair, a great cut, and a confident attitude is the combination for going silver. I work in the African bush and coloring it was out of the question…to much work, too much time, and little access to good colorists. My silver hair is now a signature of who I am. Local market women know me as the white woman with the silver hair. When I travel I have had people in Amsterdam, London, and Capetown stop me on the street to compliment me on my hair. My color choices have also changed as my hair has changed. My clothes are more colorful, bolder rich colors that compliment my collection of great ethnic accessories. I rarely wear black unless it is a wonderfully striking piece of clothing. Maintaining healthy hair with a great cut is essential to being silver and ageless at the same time. Have fun!


I’m 31 and starting to get some salt & pepper! I plan to keep my hair natural and let it transition slowly over time. My mom went cold turkey from dyed dark brown to silvery grey when she was in her early 50s! She looked great in both ways, but the silver suites her well now that she’s in her 60s.

J. C. H.

I colored my hair an auburn red for 25 years. After sitting in a church pew and viewing the multiple, dull, dry, monotonal auburn died heads in front of me, and realizing the back of my head most likely looked the same, I made the decision to give up the bottle and go natural. That was my 50th birthday gift to myself, and 11 years later, I have no regrets. I not only went cold turkey, but had my hair cut to about 2 inches for an immediate effect (I had let my roots go too long anyway). I have worn my silver hair in just about every hairstyle imaginable (hair is a great form of self expression). Vicky is correct when she states we must own it and not neglect the other aspects of our style. This must also include personal health and well being. I am blessed with a young face (a curse when I was a teenager) and work out everyday. This is an absolute must for proper posture which signifies confidence. A decade ago, I also switched to a primarily plant based diet which has improved my energy significantly. Today I work in Africa and wear my hair halfway down my back, usually in a braid. I am an oddity – the tall white haired woman, sticking out wherever I go. This has taught me the importance of a big heartfelt smile (the best de-aging tool in our arsenol). Yes, going grey is empowering. Where I used to feel self-conscious, I now own my hair, my health, and my emotional well being. Though perhaps this is all less to do with going grey and more to do with the wisdom of age!

Anita Rivera

Oh I am so, so late here Vicki! And I think I am one of a several who had specifically requested this conversation. THANK YOU for coming through, and eloquently written.

I have struggled with letting my hair grow long again. When I was younger (20-late 30s), I had the most gorgeous head of thick, black shiny hair. And it isn’t until you yourself are in the process of aging that the phenomenon of realizing that your youth is so fleeting that you actually understand how true it is! It must have been the surging hormones of youth that for a temporary period of time, I had a “chevelure” that literally made people stop in their tracks to tell me how beautiful my hair was. But then something happened: I changed.

I have often wanted to get that long hair look back again (people told me in the 70s that I looked like Cher due to my long straight hair), but while trying to grow it out, the few but distinct and wirey gray hairs at my temples have dissuaded me from growing out my hair. But here is my error: I was looking for that young girl again. She will never come back. What I’ve learned from you is to accept the woman I am today. Will I have the courage to see what a 59 year old version of myself would look like with long hair? However, I do love my short cut for several reasons. It’s easier for my fast-paced lifestyle. I can wear diamond studs and they appear more prominent. I have a long and for now, a wrinkle-less neck, and it’s in style no matter what. But oh, do I have great memories of sporting a head of hair that truly was my glory.

I think you look magnificent in your long hair, and thank you for this piece; your fashion and beauty tips truly go skin deep and teach me about embracing who I am today. HUGS!

Michele Gavaletz

Vicki, I have always had long dark brown hair and loved it. Unfortunately at age 66 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer and chemo took all my beautiful hair. That was 2015 and today is my 68th birthday and my hair has come back in gray, white and black with a little curl. It has taken a lot to see such a dramatic change but I am liking not having to color it anymore. It’s short but I’m waiting for it to grow long again and praying I can stay on my present chemo that doesn’t cause hair loss. I love your hair and hope mine looks as good!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY and love from all of us… I am sure your hair looks wonderful… and we are all crossing everything for a treatment program that keeps your beautiful hair growing strong… :) xxv


Patience….. I had a bit of a chuckle. Two weeks back I went ‘poof’ and is now proudly grey.


Yes I also have considered letting my greys grow out. It’s a beautiful look for those who are comfortable with it, it shows maturity and beauty. Costly at times to maintain. But I also love the grey ends with a touch of colour. Grey hair rocks.


I hear it’s your birthday so Happy Birthday Vicki.
You have convinced me to give going grey a go.
I have dark hair so I know I’m going to have to be very patient! I will come to you if I need reassurance about this.


I was just thinking about it this morning. I am 37 and about 85% grey. Considering letting it grow out. Only thing worrying me is that my husband is 49 and completely grey. I don’t want people to think we are our children’s grandparents!


You won’t!
That’s where your personal style becomes your signature… and makes sure to avoid all that :)


I am 43 and has gone natural grey/silver for the last 7 years. The costs to maintain it was getting too much and the dye does not stick on the silver, home or salon dye. my partner is bold and the other day he asked for pensioner’s discount as a joke in a supermarket, the lady was quiet confused seeing us together. Be bold and enjoy it the silver/grey.


In my 30’s I started ‘streaking’ my dark hair to blend in the greys. Now 68, my hair is still quite naturally dark underneath at the back but, after going through a lengthy ‘blonde’ stage, the rest is now silvery white – so I still get the top streaked – just to brighten it up – and over the years the streaks have become lighter and now just blend with my overall silver/white which many people (even strangers in the street) comment on (favourably). But as a bit of a rebellion to older age, I sometimes get two coppery streaks on either side of my part, at the front, on my shoulder length straight hair – and you wouldn’t believe how many people comment on how pretty it looks. Just a bit of a change, and after a few months, I just get the copper streaks lightened out again. I can’t help feeling though, that I do look like my mother (in a good way but ageing) when I pull my hair into a pony tail, so I wash and blow dry it each day so that I can wear it out loose. Moving to warmer climates soon at the Gold Coast (Aus), I dream of getting a tan and having a short, platinum cut (as I said … dream!) , otherwise I’ll have to do the pony tail thing more often and pay good attention to my lipstick and good diamond earings!!! It’s a worry but great to read the discussion – we’re all similar aren’t we?


I have been grey since I was in my 20s, but always covered with red, but now I have come to accept the fact that unless my hair is dyed every week the grey is fighting the good fight to come out and eventually won. I am 45 and have accepted my grey, I will not be going back to red or even blonde, my hair lucky is not the salt and pepper . You are right add a little more to the face and clothing and the grey is not that bad.


My hair was a light brown when I started going grey at the age of 21 and totally freaked out about it! I coloured for maybe 10 years but then got fed-up with spending my life at a salon. My hair grows extremely fast and I would have a 1 inch regrowth within 3 weeks.
I’m turning 47 and am now completely silver. And I absolutely love it!
So many people ask who my colourist is and I just smile and point to heaven and say: “it’s natural”.
I keep it in a very short pixie cut and wouldn’t dream of ever colouring again.


I am happy to see grey hair being on trend right now. I love grey hair but as the French say,” all grey or all dyed, salt and pepper is for the table.”

Mary Diane

Hi Vicki,
Love your hair just the way it is…easy care and beautiful with your coloring! My long hair (which has never been short since I was in first grade!) has never been colored and now at the age of 68 it is a lovely soft shade of platinum. My original color was a soft light ash brown with lots of gold highlights and starting in my mid forties, it slowly started to turn very gradually into my platinum shade…a soft white with subtle gold highlights without gray. I used to perm it for lots of curls, but I haven’t had a perm for quite a while and I like it…when I want some curl, I do the old bobby pin regimen and will probably get a soft body perm eventually. Don’t like the heat of a hair dryer…very dehydrating for long hair and not a good thing for me, unless I am in a hurry! I inherited my grandmother’s English complexion and always wore a sunhat when gardening according to her instructions! So I have had many compliments over the years and am so glad that you are embracing the beauty of your beautiful gray hair! On a final note, I just want to add that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder…if you radiate confidence in your appearance, others will will see your beauty as well! When I think of all the really great women that I have admired over the years, they all have exuded this confidence in themselves!!! I think that you are perfectly lovely just as you are….


Thank you for that. I’ll b 50 in a few months and have decided to find embrace my grey. I started going grey at 20 but coloured my hair. I have started dying my hair grey with a bit of purple. When I was very young, older ladies in South Africa, as in grannies, all had purple hair. I said ” when I’m older I want purple hair”. Now I do. Lol. I’m getting less purple and more grey to blend with my roots. I was a brunette so yes growing it out was a mission and my fringe section is still dark at the roots which made it harder to grow out. Although I am 90% grey and finally appreciating and loving it


Hi Vicki! Thanks for your article. It’s very reassuring. I decided to let my 50th next year be the time when I let my grey take over. I’ve had it for a while and have been coloring it for years .I found myself spending a lot of time this year thinking about making a serious change when I noticed how so many women have been embracing the grey look to the point that it has even become a fashionable color! I even saw one of the Kardashian had dyed her hair grey at one point! So thanks for the inspiration and hallelujah!


OMG! If that is your portrait at the top of this blog post today then GOOD GRACIOUS! What is the discussion? You look gorgeous! I am freckly with deep auburn hair when it was natural and now at 68 a 2 process to keep the color broken up a bit with highlights. I think my complexion would not look great all gray…..at least not yet. Maybe in a few years. However if I looked like you I would not have hesitated. FABULOUS VICKI!!

Tracy- lee

I started going grey at about 25 my dad was very grey by the age of 21 so it was not news to me when I started . I have just about always could reduce my hair . As a young girl my hair was just brown . Nothing special so I started with red , first highlights then eventually full colour a beautifull warm deep red . But as I got more grey it became more of a nuisance to keep it that way having to do roots every 2 weeks if I wanted to do up styles . My hair was almost at my waist . When I decided that spending R1700 on colour a month was crazy . So the ‘ grow out” process started and at the same time I kept cutting every few weeks . My hair grows fairly fast . Once I was a a very short bob it was easier . I got my hairdresser to cut quiet a short style but ypu could still see quiet a bit of red she was hesitant to make it to short . 2 months later the cancer shaveathon came along and my hubby dared me to shave it .. I was 39 . Shaved it a number 4 and have never looked back . I’m very white/ grey in front , my temples and neck line. The back is a darker salt and pepper.
I wear it quit short when I feel like it and long when the urge hits .
I love my grey colour . Many people have said I’m lucky to have a “nice ” grey .

Senta Colombo

I started going gray at 30. I have very long light brown/reddish hair, a color I was always proud of. I could never seem to find a color close enough to it. So I dyed it red, darker, or blindfish, always missing my real hair color while trying to cover the grays. I usually used brands that washed out in a month. I don’t know what happened but last year at 44 I decided to skip dying for a bit…maybe I just got busy. I started noticing the gray growing in at the roots, with some of my natural color still there. I was like, that’s ME. And it would all be gray soon. I wanted to see my natural color again, even if it was only half there amongst the gray. So I didn’t dye it. It’s been15 months now, and some of my friends haven’t been supportive, but I love it. LOVE it. I’ve become actually obsessed with gray hair, noticing it’s gorgeousness on other women, especially if it’s long. Long gray hair is like a mermaids, or silvery shimmery clouds, or an angel’s….I don’t know, I just can’t get enough of it, which is why I clicked on this link from Facebook to see your gorgeous locks with the beautiful cloudy undertones. I do notice when I wear eye makeup my eyes look lighter now. I still turn heads. And I really like having natural hair, no more stress. 💕


I have had my gray hair for a number of years. I love it. Your post hasgot me thinking about my makeup and color. Would you consider doing a post on makeup colors? How do you choose a color? Is it based on eye color? Would makeup choices be different if your eyes were green rather then blue or brown.
Thanks for this post and the many replies from your readers. I makes me happy with my decision


When I am without my Biocare vitamin b complex I notice a lot of greys come in a matter of 2 weeks. I restart and bingo it all settles down again. My old nanny taught me this years ago but I have tried other b complex brands and they do not work!!
I have my natural dark brown hair with a reddish highlight in summer and love my colour so never did colouring. I have dark skin and for me it’s the old Miss Kizzy from Roots image that keeps me taking my b complex.


I had wanted to go grey for some time as I had been a red-head from a box since 1992. My natural color was a dish water blonde and the grey came in early and evenly. In January of this year my hairdresser actually did a weave and bleached every other row which was a pleasant surprise. Then we waited for the remaining red to fade and I kept my hair trimmed shorter than usual. I thought I would be all silver white like my mother but the back is a pretty slate grey color. I picked out some new glasses (new color/shape frame) and I am making it a point to put on make-up as I feel it makes me feel better and brighter!!…I love the feeling of not having to deal with roots any more!!….I am 65 and feel that I am being true to myself my letting my silver shine!!


I have always had shorter hair. It’s more “me”. I wish I could grow it longer but don’t seem to have the patience. I let my natural silver streaks begin around 40. People liked it as I did too. Others begged me to color it. I have recolored and re grown out again a couple of times. Last year I decided that I was done dying my hair every two weeks as the entire top is silver white. At this point there are only a few salt and pepper areas. I can’t wait for it all to become silver. Now everyone compliments me on my silver. It’s short and I wear it all messy and piecy which does not make me feel old at 62. Always have had messy hair with pomade deliberately. It’s all good. I love your hair. Even my colorist loves it over the blonde. This woman will Never dye her hair again! Great article!


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