21 Jan 2019

The Grey Diaries: The Hottest Hair Colour

The Grey Hair Diaries: The Hottest Colour on vickiarcher.com


The hottest hair colour of the moment?

And the winner is?


Yes, you guessed it. Grey.



Apparently, according to Rory Satran of the Wall Street Journal, grey hair is hot.

Not wishing to say I told you so or anything like that but finally someone gets it. The article is worth a read, it doesn’t shed anything entirely new on the debate but the great point is it highlights the possibilities of grey in a different light.


This year I want to talk more about the “silver”. So a new series is born entitled, “The Grey Diaries”.

This will be a conversation for those of us who have already embraced this hot trend and for those of us who might like to. It’s not an easy challenge and I don’t believe anyone who says it is. I want to talk about the best way to get there, how to look after it, what to wear with it and most importantly the confidence we need to pull it off. There are most certainly fears to overcome. Will we still be employable? (Big question and yes, it’s a concern.) Has the grey aged us more than it should? (That we can work on easily; it’s about our presentation, choices and attitude.) Will we still be attractive to our partners? These are just some of the questions I have struggled with on this “hair journey”.


Going grey is confronting.

For those of you who would like to, I am here to encourage you. I needed all the help I could muster when I started and there are days when I still do.  Dyeing hair platinum when you have a full head of non-grey hair is not the same as letting grey rest in its natural state. Platinum wearers are changing colour and following a trend; those of us who have chosen to stop colouring our hair are in it for different reasons.


Going grey is not for everyone.

I love a good colour more than anyone and if I could have successfully maintained mine I probably would still be in the hairdressers once a month. It wasn’t working for me so I tried something different. Something I had never been for many years – completely natural. It took time and it was physically and emotionally confronting. It required perseverance and a dose of bravery.


Going grey is about so much more than colour.

Grey hair in most cases denotes a new stage of life. For most of us the grey starts slowly, a few strands here and there – easy to cover and not that problematic. Until it is. Once the grey starts its creep it requires a confident level of acceptance to fully out it. Maybe we won’t be ready to see ourselves as grey-headed women? Can we lasso our youth by staying “natural”? It does work and in many ways, colouring is an easy fix. Except what do we do when it is no longer an option?



I chose to leave my hair because I actually like it grey.

Not every day but I am winning more days than I am not. For me, it is about acceptance and now it’s who I am and how I look. That took time to say.


The Grey Diaries is here to help if you want to follow this direction or even think about it. There are so many questions I asked, so many ways I floundered and so much I have learned along the way.


It may well be the hottest hair colour right now, but it’s so much more. It’s a way of life. xv




softly, softly in grey

sweater dresses

neiman marcus dip-dyed cashmere  ||  neiman marcus cashmere turtleneck  ||  rag & bone knit  ||  roksanda striped knitted

 

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57 Comments

anitapelayorivera

Oh Vicki, how I’ve missed you. I know your travels took you away from your duties here at VA, but I’m glad you are back. This is such a fabulous topic and transcends the issue of hair color. As I read each of your paragraphs, your words evoke such great thought on the stages of life and how to face them. I totally agree that our journeys are all about how we “present” and our “attitudes.” Joy and grace are the best beauty products and are a healing balm that promotes the growth of courage. A grey head is a crowned head. I totally believe in leaving my hair alone and oddly enough, after all these years of debating whether I should allow it to grow out but end up cutting it off, I’m FINALLY allowing it to grow and now at almost 61, I’m finally getting grey hairs. I’m like my mother, who was the oldest of four girls, who went grey last! I am anxious to see more of your insights, but for now, I’m rocking this hair and my attitude toward becoming the woman I dream of being.

Reply
Vicki

Brilliant Anita!
This year I am really focusing on what affects us, women, as we embrace not only “going grey” but also a million other changes, insights and decisions. It is a year of “better, not younger” at VA and all roads will lead to the encouragement of that. So lovely to have you on this journey with me. :)

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Jen

Love this. I’m in the process of growing out my 30+ years of blonde highlights (since August – rocking a mean grombre). I seem to be an ashy blonde + silver and I love it. Wish I’d done this years ago as the growing out process is hard!

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Vicki

It requires perseverance to grow out the grey.
In my next writings, I am going to talk about having a “grey buddy”… :)

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Beth M.

Love, love, love the long gray hair! I’m about to do “Soft Silver Blonde” (L’Oreal) my own head, and if my results are anything like this, I’ll be jumping for joy! Yours looks wonderful!!!

Reply
Vicki

Good luck!
I can take no credit.. mine is very much as it grows.. ha ha.. it changes a little, gets lighter I guess… but I’m becoming so used to it, I hardly notice… Let us know how it goes…

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Rosemarie

A tip on grey hair, if your hair is long there may be some yellowing at the ends. This really bothered me. I found a solution that works well and is simple. As necessary (no more than once a month), make a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 1 part water, 1 part conditioner for grey hair (this usually has a slightly purple tone). Make enough to brush through your hair (particularly the yellowing part) and wait 10 minutes befor rinsing. I had tried everything before I read about this. I was amazed how well it worked. Shampoo hair before applying.

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Vicki

Thank you Rosemarie,
I know yellow may well come but I am always torn about some blue shampoos… they can be too blue… This sounds like a good option..

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Sandra

Grey for me is freedom from the bondage of hair color. Keeping those roots colored was a full time job. I have gotten more compliments on my hair since I went gray than I ever did when it was colored.

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Linda B

In commenting on previous posts on this lovely topic of “grey” I have noted that a) all shades of grey really please me aesthetically, when it comes to dressing; and b) in my family we are late greyers. My mother at age 82 still has the salt and pepper combination of dark brunette and light silver strands. I barely have any silver in my light brown hair; it basically looks like highlights. People rarely guess I am in my early 60’s, also because I don’t really dress or act my age in many ways.

What I am finding oddly a bit disconcerting to deal with currently is that my first grandbaby is on the way. Don’t get me wrong–I am over the moon ecstatic about this little girl who will be born around 4 months from now! But it is a jolt to take on the identity of “grandma”. It feels like it is aging me rather suddenly (though one can hardly call 9 months sudden!) in perhaps the way that you felt in letting your hair go grey. I guess I will adjust to this new identity that more clearly marks me as someone older!

Reply
Vicki

Linda,
I will let you in on a little secret… I am not only “going, going, gone grey” but will also add granny to my bow in a few months… (insert screaming with excitement but also trepidation here!!) I have no idea, can’t see myself this way and yet… I am so happy and delighted I have no words and a permanent smile…
As you say… we will adjust… and I am sure it will be an easier transition than my hair… ;) ;)

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Maryanne

You will love it Vic, I can’t describe how much I love Caitlin’s little bloke, Archer, who turned one last month. A different kind of love. The idea of being a granny was a bit daunting, but I’m just “Merry” and that’s how it will be going forward.

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Magriet Rossouw

I believe nature knows best! I started going grey in my early thirties and loved it but so many people, especially men, asked why I don’t do something about it.. I got fed up and started coloring my hair. It never was in good condition again and my husband encouraged me to let it go grey. I decided to cut my hair very short and my hairdresser knew that I would never coulour again. She loved the naturally me. Wear my hair longer now. As for being a granny I can just say that it definatly isn’t aging. It is in fact the opposite. I love every moment I get to spend with all seven of my grandchildren. They get me to do things like climbing a jungle jym and slide down from way up high! Running after them, playing ball, swimming, rowing, etc keep me fit. Love this stage of my life. Don’t now why people fear the silver years..

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Ellen Shook

Looking forward to your new series. I have never looked back once I saw what my hair actually looks like! I had dark red hair, but grey hair looks peach when dyed red, unless you do a complicated multistep process. That takes more time and money that I am willing to commit. I also wear my hair long, though it is usually up unless I have time to deal with it. Your hair is beautiful!

Reply
Vicki

Mine is often up too… that’s one stage I want to perfect.. I get stuck on the ponytail but I need to be more adventurous than that.. Maybe find a good bun that looks chic and not dull… I need to practice.. :)

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Diana

Going grey is so liberating. And being a granny with three little grand daughters, it seems right somehow. I went grey about three years ago too now and have never looked back. I’m a bit more salt and pepper than you Vicki , having originallly been dark haired, but I love it. It feels much healthier and smells nicer too😉
You will love being a grandmother by the way. X

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Suzy

I am 67, and just cannot to grey. I remember my mother being grey when she took me for kindergarten enrollment…it’s just not for me. I am blessed with thick, wavy hair that I keep short , but free to do its own thing.

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Vicki

Each to their own Suzy..
My mother coloured hers until 100, so maybe I am going in the opposite direction ;)

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Julie Fluhr

I went grey about five years ago, but had been grey curious for about a year before I took the plunge. I enjoyed being an unnatural redhead (chestnut is the best description), but the maintenance became insane. A cancer diagnosis at 48 kicked me over the edge. I was fortunate it was caught early, (so no chemo or radiation required and my hair was not impacted), but it got me thinking about cleaning up my act and decreasing my exposure to toxins in general. I had my stylist cut my hair into a cute pixie, neutralize as much red as possible, and add some ashy highlights. Luckily, my hair grows very fast and I was back to my signature Anna Wintour-esce chin-length bob within a year. Turned out my natural color is a neutral brown with some chunky silver pieces–who knew? My hair and scalp are so much healthier and my hair looks great everyday with minimal fuss. I did have to adopt a more sophisticated color palette–navy, burgundy, forrest green, ivory–because brights and cool pastels just do not look good on me at all now. I also simplified my makeup routine A LOT since I do not have to adjust for colored hair. My husband also fessed up that he actually did not like my high maintenance hair color. Going grey was such a win-win that I wished I had done it sooner.

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Vicki

Wonderful story Julie,
I know it is not for everyone but when it works, it’s the best :)

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Lesley Mclellan

Your hair is stunning Vicki. I too just stopped dying my hair perhaps three years ago . My hair is fine and I have a thyroid condition , hashimotos, that makes my hair vulnerable. I massage my scalp and my hair is in such a better condition. I get lots of Diane Keaton type compliments ! It is very liberating ! I actually enjoy my hair somedays and for years and years I have not !

Reply
Vicki

I know what you mean Diane, I have never had so much thought go into my hair and what I wear with it since I left it natural… and as for the condition.. for me, no comparison.. I look after my hair with good products but even so it looks so much shinier and healthier..

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Stephanie

Grey looks fabulous on you Vicki! What I have seen throughout this transformation is a woman who has embraced aging with “pure” grace. I truly believe your beauty and self confidence has shown new “altitudes.” With the world in a cauldron it so lovely to read your positive and uplifting posts. You are beautiful x2.
Thank you keeping us in the present and not our past. Also, a big thank you for continually “uplifting” my senior status knowing that there is still a lot to learn and share. I couldn’t do it with out the knowledge and advice of this wonderful group of women like yourself.

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Vicki

You made my night Stephanie :) And a bit teary – how very lovely of you.
It is all of you who have given me the enthusiasm, creativity and desire to make this website a growing and empowering resource for all of us.

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Devra Long

So happy to read the comments because when I turned 60 (7 years ago) my gift to myself was to go natural and I have never looked back! My husband encouraged me and he loves it natural! So much healthier and no chemicals!
Silver hair and red 💄💋

Reply
Tishe

I remember years ago when you first had the debate with yourself about going grey. But tell us how? It is not easy making the physical transition. Do you just let the roots grow? Wear hats? Cut it short (never)?

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Nella Miller

Vicki, a fascinating and never ending discussion! I have begun the journey and must say, it isn’t simple…I am told I have great hair, and choose to wear it longer like you do…this really helps…I really don’t look great with grey near my face, so I have opted to ease the transition by choosing a shade of white blond to help the process. I can relate to everything you have written here…will we be employable being my biggest concern! I am a wedding florist, working with young women half my age…constantly asking myself how am I being viewed with grey hair? I have been loving and listening to you since your first book and blog…French Essence…a voice I hear and relate to in so many ways…and pass on to my friends…grateful you keep these conversations going! xo

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Vicki

Nella, I absolutely know what you mean.
When I have been to “influencer” events ( how I dislike that word!) I am the oldest by sometimes 20-30 years – it’s a very grounding experience. You know what by the end of it I find I don’t feel alone, more I am flattered and rather privileged that the younger ones want to hear what I have to say.

As for employment – I was horrified when a woman, who was beautiful to look at with stunning silver hair, told me she didn’t get the job she wanted because of her hair. That was the company’s reason for not hiring her. I thought any HR stupid enough to say that makes it a fairly worthless company in any case! She’s better off without them… Still, it exists, most unfortunately :(

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Deborah

Twenty-five years ago, when my daughter left for college, I let my hair turn grey, much to her dismay. But, when her friends called me the silver fox, it suddenly became ok! Now at 67 it is white with black under tones. I now wear jewel tones and a lot of black and simple makeup making sure to wear eyeliner and have my eyebrows tinted to graphite not black. I love it, I have more interesting things to do then go to the hairdressers every four weeks for two hours!!

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Jeanne

I told my husband today about your article on grey is the hottest color. He said …I guess we are both in luck…haha. He actually likes my blonde better. I am one year into growing out my hair and will say that your articles on this topic were very helpful to me. My hair is 100% white on top with 80% silver at the nape of my neck and am soooo happy I did this. Looking forward to your new series.

What joy a grandchild brings to your life. I only have one granddaughter but love every second I am with her! Something tells me you will be the same:-)

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Joan

I got tired of running to the salon and shelling out big bucks to keep my grey at bay, so last spring I decided to just let it grow out (while keeping my blunt cut trimmed) to see what Nature has given me! My father’s side all went a gorgeous silver-white, my mother’s a mix of silver and a very flat brown – none of the lovely chestnut highlights they had as teens and adults. Mine is a mix, a few more darker grey/brown strands than I’d like, but I am willing to live with it a bit longer! If anything, I might even go the grey color route with highlights, worst case. But so long as I can keep a healthy weight, keep my skin looking good, keep smiling and count my many blessings, my hair color is the least of my concerns!

Reply
Vicki

Well said, Joan. It’s a small detail in the large scheme of life but one we women do ponder on.

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Laura

Interesting post! Grey can look great on certain women, and others may look a bit washed out.
I’m not to that stage yet, but would certainly give it a try to see how it looks, when the time comes.
Natural always seems the best choice, as long as it’s enhancing and becoming.

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Vicki

Like all things, grey does take work too… and some changes with make-up and clothing… but it’s definitely worth a try when the colouring becomes a chore…

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Barbara

Vicki, it’s such a personal journey on going grey. I decided to take the plunge when I was 51, I used to have dark brown hair and had been colouring it for years (unlucky genes). I was going to the hairdresser every 3 weeks and used to panic when we were travelling because I felt horrible with my skunk stripe. I decided over a couple of months as I was just sick of the maintenance. I always said when I went grey I would go short – I had short hair in my early 20s and new it suited me. I had my hair chopped off and the hairdresser coloured the brown with grey. It only took me a couple of months for my full natural colour – quite a light silver. I have never had so many comments on my hair – I have a great hairdresser who gives me a great cut. It is sometimes confronting but I would never go back, a la natural is wonderful and very liberating.

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Vicki

The cut is everything.. even though mine is blunt cut, I am very specific about it and go to the same hairdresser I have for years.. he knows my hair and how to deal with it :)

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Rosemarie Coppin

Vicki. Thank you. Many people I know will get a copy of this great article. I’m in the process of going a la natural now. I’m 66 and have died my hair since 14. I love my salt &pepper hair. My husband does too. My niece who used to be a beautician tells me, I’ll end up putting highlights in it. Her guy says “what’s up with your hair”? Seriously? Your right, you do need confidence. I think a little spunk helps too! Hah.

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Vicki

Confidence is key during this process and while we get used to it.. It’s taken me a couple of years to really feel “okay” with my grey…

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Janine Brett

Vicki, I love this conversation. I have been ‘natural’ for some time but as I get older I am finding it more difficult to keep the shine on my hair. Any suggestions on which shampoo and conditioner is best. I find the dark blue/purple too strong.

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Vicki

Me too oftentimes.. i will write more about how to care for it later as part of these diaries :)

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Linda Chakmak

Dear Vicki,
So many thoughts come to mind reading all of this. 1) You look fabulous. 2) Thank goodness that someone like you, who has SUCH a following, is tackling this issue and leading the way. It’s beyond time that grey hair is ‘acceptable.’ 3) It’s so kind of you to respond to everyone’s post! No, really. I find it quite touching. The internet can be so impersonal…and often so mean. 4) I started the transition to grey a year and a half ago and never once regretted the decision. A large part of it was curiosity. Who was I under all that hair colour? It was part of a re-examination and redefinition of my life.

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Jeanne

I must admit to some trepidation on this topic. My white-haired mother had a stroke and while in the hospital I noticed that the staff treated her as though she was passing. She was still working full-time and continued to conduct her meetings from her bed! Perhaps with the Wall Street Journal article, and conversations such as these, the societal perception of grey hair will change so everyone feels comfortable embracing it.

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Pamela

Vicki, you always look brilliant and the silver works so well for you. Once heard a TV personality being interviewed who said as her hair went grey she changed from gold to silver jewellery. I’ve done the same. It’s a really good tip. In my entire life have never coloured my hair so it wasn’t a big decision to stay natural. Started out very blonde it then turned strawberry with blonde streaks. My art teacher told our class my hair was TItian coloured. It sounded rather good so I decided to live with my chameleon hair and see what happened next. It darkened to a more reddish toffee color with honey blonde strands (sun bleached) as I grew older. Now the brightest red has toned down and the lower strands by my ears are white with silver threads appearing through the colour. But mostly covered by the top strands. So it’s pepper and salt but basically still a lot of colour. Even though I’m probably older than most of your followers. I tell my husband how much I’ve saved him in hairdressing bills! My gorgeous granddaughters, 14 and 12 both have naturally streaked hair too. One mostly very blonde the other brownish with reddish highlights. So perhaps it runs in the family. I apparently take after a great aunt in the hair department but sadly didn’t inherit her musical skills. So pleased for you Vicki, you will be over the moon with a grandchild!

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Pamela

PS, Vicki, you can see pictures of my natural hair colour (not yet fully grey) in recent Instagram posts, in between glaciers, penguins, architecture, beaches and garden pics on Pamela.in.Oz777 Cheers x

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Belinda

Thanks for this conversation! I thought I was alone out there in contemplating going natural. I’m 48 and have been fooling around with colour since my late 20s….mostly close to my natural dark brown….lighter browns/chocolate…demure and conservative. Over the last year, I tried out the more extroverted colours like teal, royal blue and even blonde highlights once I knew I was going to lose my hair during chemo. I am now bald and my stubble looks 60% grey. Wow! I didn’t realise I was so grey. I’ve decided not to colour once I get hair. I must say bald really has great advantages. No shampooing, blow drying and styling etc. I save lots of time not to mention money. Just shower, lotion, light make up and dress. I don’t even need to wear bras anymore after the mastectomy….unless I choose to go with foobs. If anyone told me 5 years ago I would be flat chested and bald today (hopefully, I can say grey soon), I would have rolled on the floor laughing. Life, hey, and those curveballs.

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Salochnee Arran

Lost my love to Cancer 4 years ago, donated my 35cm hair at shaveton, when my love started losing his during chemo I know what it did to him. HE had no choice. I have, I take it out during shaveton in honour of his bravery. My new growth is salt n pepper I love it. LIFE is about choices n this is mine, when I feel like it bold n beautiful or grey n glamorous.

Reply

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