25 Feb 2019

The Grey Diaries: Bring Back The Barrette

The Grey Diaries: Bring Back The Barrette on vickiarcher.com

It’s done; I am well and truly grey.

Some might prefer to say silver – I am ok with either – the point is it’s hard to turn back now.

Even if I wanted to and were brave enough, how would I choose the colour? You see I suddenly understood it is just as difficult coming back from the brink as it is taking the plunge. I appreciate that for many of you going through the process it can seem like the hair will never look decent, never get there. It does take time and it requires patience, lots of patience.

Like what we choose to wear, our hair is the same and I appreciate not everyone likes or wants to wear their hair grey. Some days I wonder what on earth I have done and others I feel a sense of total liberation. Now I am at the point of no return because all colour has been cut out and it is just me with whatever comes my way.

That’s where I am at right now and in another year I might want to add a little something. Who knows? Never say never.

I’m wearing my hair longer and longer which also means I’m wearing it tied up or pinning it up. The days it hangs are few and far between, partly because the yoga kills the blow dry and more importantly when it is long it needs to look slick. Long, grey and dishevelled are not a winning combination on me. I need a sharp cut and killer blow-dry far more frequently.

 I have re-discovered barrettes and how to use them.

There are barrettes and then there are barrettes. There are tricks to a good hairclip and after years of buying and trying, I have it nailed. A not-so-interesting skill but if you have more than a cropped cut, a good barrette can come in handy.

Here is what I know,

A good barrette needs decent length so the thicker the hair, the longer the clip for a successful hold.

The backing is everything for not only holding the hair but also for durability. How many clips are poorly glued and the back comes off first wear? When I buy a clip I make sure the backing is strong and can be fastened easily. The fine backs – like a hairpin- don’t last, however pretty.

Either place the barrette high, like mine in picture two – you can see it peeking through – or lower and leave the bulk of the hair on the crown, as in picture one. The weight of my hair is underneath the ponytail so the clip isn’t too stressed. It’s the same principle when the clip is worn high; the volume is left on the crown not straining the barrette.

Any kind of bun or twist is easy to achieve if the wider style barrette is used for the initial holding. It allows a softness and fullness an elastic doesn’t.

I like experimenting with my hair, I have had every colour imaginable, so now that phase has passed hairdos here I come. xv

Fasten The Barrette

rectangle barrette  ||  embellished 5 pearl barrette  ||  embellished 7 pearl barrette  ||  camelia barrette

alphabet necklaces from stone and strand

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Anne Woodyard (@MusicandMarkets)

Envious of your gorgeous hair! I’ve always had the challenge of thin hair, which of course increases (decreases?!) with age, so have had to switch from barrettes (which now slip off of my skinny pony tail) to embellished rubber bands, which I’m always on the lookout for in my travels – I find the best ones in Italy and France, and have quite a collection of faux tortoise shell, black, gold and neutral.


You may find the small barrettes work Anne… the finer and smaller closure on the back.. they also give the hair a bit of lift too…
My other trick is to make hairbands from old tights.. cut them across the legs in bands… and this is a great way to tie the hair up in a ponytail. the thicker the band, the smaller it is. So for thinner hair, it is a really great method of holding it back.


Perfect Vicki! You have enough volume to carry off those styles. I’m a little envious! Over lunch last week a friend and I were talking about whether or not, or when, to take the plunge and stop coloring. Neither of us is ready. I’ve always been convinced that getting the right shade of gray is crucial and often the shade of gray we naturally “turn” is not complimentary to skin tone. It’s tricky.


I’ve gone white/grey. I’m ok with the color. Don’t love it don’t hate it. I never go longer than my shoulders. And I condition the heck out of it to avoid the dreaded frizzy grey/white whitchy hiar. For me I simply do not like long grey/white hair. It’s almost too much grey, too much hair, overwhelming. I went a little shorter than shoulder length and it was ok. I pull back in a rubber band or twist into a bun. I’ve avoided the barrettes as I see those for much much younger girls. Not my grey haired self :) They look nice on you. If you like them that’s all that matters


I watched the ACADEMY AWARDS last night and I loved HELEN MIRREN HAIR CUT!!!!!!
ONLY if you decided to go shorter which NOT NOW your have so many UP DO’s to play with NOW but I can see you in HELEN’s CUT!THAT OMAN just keeps on getting better with TIME!!!!!!!!XX

Donna D

VA your hair looks fabulous and absolutely suits you! I am half way there and not a day passes that I do not wonder if I should rush back to my hairdresser to re-colour! Some days I like it, other days I miss my dark brown locks…… still deciding, however as I have gone this far I am trying to persevere.
By the way, the barrettes are gorgeous. I have loved them for years and have a favourite Parisian store I
purchase from. Thank you for the tips!


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- your grey/silver hair is gorgeous! I am inspired!
For me- mature women who cannot embrace the grey and continue to colour their hair, especially those who have to go darker and darker to cover the grey, look a little bit silly, especially if they are over 80!
It seems the key is to embrace it, embellish it with cut, condition and accessories. I think the right makeup, especially the lips – very important. Oh to be grey , gorgeous and proud!! I salute you beautiful women and look forward to joining you.❤️


Hello Vicki,
Would you kindly share the source of the hair barrette you are wearing in the photo. It is so classic looking.
Thanks. Linda


The closest I can find is the pearl one I linked below and the others I have … The backings are very good..

Michelle à Détroit

Vicki, your hair is lovely. You have such a youthful look that you can really work the grey. It’s stunning.
I’m still coloring mine but my length is identical to yours. I leave some grey strands in but haven’t taken the plunge. Whether I do or nor, I’ll never cut my hair short. It just doesn’t suit me.


GOod morning Vicki! I missed this post after I had already left for work…what a joy it is to open up this post to see your gorgeous hair! Yes, it takes a lot of patience but it sure pays off. Not only is your hair healthy and gorgeous, but your choice of barrettes is such a great move toward working with longer hair and with hair that you’ve allowed to remain in its natural state of color transition. Hair jewelry – what a brilliant idea! And my hair too, I’ve been allowing it to grow and it’s getting there…with great patience!

Catherine Lynn

Vicki I am 5 months into transitioning into grey. It’s salt and pepper rather ashy and I am loving it. It’s past my shoulders and I love hair clips of every type. Thanks for sharing xx


The Ficcare small clips will work well on fine hair. The maxima for e.g. comes in 3 sizes depending on your hair thickness. They have a whole range of clips and barrettes.


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