Lately the whole going grey/being grey conundrum has been on my mind.
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
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