18 Mar 2021

The Grey Diaries: Up, Up Or Cut And Away

The Grey Diaries: Up, Up Cut and Away on vickiarcher.com

When it comes to the grey “the more things change the more they stay the same”.

My grey hair or silver journey, as it is now, continues. The 50 shades of grey are becoming lighter and more silvery as the original shades give way to the passage of time. That’s about the only difference.

As time marches my hair is the same in style and length. There has been one major haircut in the last year which I didn’t like – six inches off and an awkward length – and now I will be sticking with the regular one inch trim when hairdressing re-opens. This is unlike me. Historically I was a change the colour and style person on a very regular basis. I have been blonde, brunette and most colours in between; short, long or layered and I’ve tried them all. Short of a pixie cut that is. I was given a version as an impressionable 11-year-old and have never gone back. An accidental cut like that can have long-lasting effects and it certainly did with me.

Now as my hair is fully grey I find I need the length to keep it interesting. It’s the contrast of all grey with a long hair look I like; the unpredictability of the combination. The age + grey = short mood was once upon a time long ago; thankfully those kinds of dictates are a thing of the past.

When the hair is manicured I wear it out and when it’s not I tie it back or wear it up. I’m looking for hairstyles that don’t look matronly with my silver but still retain elegance. A hairstyle that I can do myself is an advantage and the longer length makes it all much more possible.

What kinds of up-do works with a silver mane?

There is the ponytail – low or high, which I like.

And there is a double over high version of the ponytail; I wear this style often.

There is what I call the “cottage-loaf” style bun on top of the head; worn loose or tight it is one of my favourites.

A French roll or twist as it is known – less easy to perfect – but good-looking all the same.

Decorations and braids I am less convinced about at this age. Simple clips and smoother styles work for me. I am such a fan of braiding but I don’t think it’s for me. A bit like a mini skirt – best left as a distant memory. As for any kind of pigtails, bunches or side plaits, the answer is “no”. Any wear-it-up suggestions, I would love to hear?

Hair whether it is the style, length or colour is such a conversation divider. We women generally have firm opinions on what works for us but I am surprised how little I have changed my hair in the last four years. It was a conscious decision to stop colouring and that’s one we reach when we are ready; it is not always an easy transition and nor is it for everyone. I ask myself is my lack of “hair variety” due to boredom or a lack of interest, even with the last year as it has been, I don’t think so.

I believe hair like fashion is an evolution and finds its rightful place. Long or short, silver or crimson – we know what we like. xv

Wearing Black And White

flutter sleeve  ||  b&w collar  ||  **round neck  ||  poet sleeve  ||  balloon sleeve  ||  pussy-bow   ||  **printed woven   ||   silk chiffon polka-dot


paige vintage crop white jeans  ||  madewell vintage high waist  ||  heron loafer  ||  starling loafer  ||  queen bee slipper

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Wonderful Vicki, can’t imagine you with an other colour than grey/silver but would be interesting to show us old pics with shorter and brown hair.

Linda B

I had my first haircut in a year a few weeks ago (now that I am vaccinated it finally felt safe to do.) It was actually almost exactly one year, and in that time, my hair went from about chin length to long. I have had every length under the sun in the course of adult life, including about 12 years of a pixie cut, which actually worked surprisingly well for me (though required fresh cutting every 3 weeks as my hair grows fast.) I was surprised to find I love it long again. I found a new stylist who does wonders for curly hair like mine. Btw, my hair is very gradually going silver. Very streaky and interesting at this point, in my view.

Which brings me to say, it is really our own view of what we prefer that counts, as you said! No one else gets a real say, though loved ones maybe are entitled to share their thoughts? Maybe it is just trusted girlfriends?


Linda, after many disasters along the way, I have learned by now to trust my gut feeling and at the end of the day, that’s what will make us feel more confident. Plus a good chat with the girls :)


Color is great! Change up the cut, if you don’t like it you can always grow it out. Change is good😃


What I have learned is to ask my daughter. She gives brutally honest advice which usually turns out to be correct! You are very fortunate to have a full head of hair with waves. Almost any style will work except the very short ones. The color is fabulous. I have gone pixie during the pandemic. A combination of me badly taking a whack at my hair and my daughter looking at YouTube videos trying to find a solution!


Yes, daughters are the font of all wisdom.. well most… I do love their take on everything :)

Michelle Freeman

Hi Vicki
I too grew my hair out and am now a steely clean grey. I like it because it suits my skin tone better.
You look fabulous with your grey hair, would you think of going shorter? I went shorter and layered and it is a fabulous cut. The only down side is with hair shorter it needs to be styled every 2nd day, (well mine does) I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.
Warmest regards from New Zealand!


That’s my problem Michelle, styling every other day would be necessary with the waves and frizz. I might cut it to shoulder length but only when the hairdressers open and I can have it yanked out :)


I’ve been going grey since I was 17, I’m 65 and I reckon by now I’m completely white under my retouched roots. I’m really not ready to go there and, luckily for me my hairdresser agrees.
What I’ve also noticed as I age is my skin tone has changed from translucent to slightly olive.
I’ve been asking for blonde foils to soften around my face for years now. Previously it was burgundy and dark
caramel foils on brunette. It’s only been the last couple of years that I have been undergoing lightening of my hair colour with the blonde foils. I’m loving the look and wear my hair just on shoulder length.
I remember when I was young my mum used to try out the new perming products on my thick , fine hair, it was torture.


Wonderful post Vicki. I call my long hair “my mid life crisis hair” as a joke to defer the “your hair is sooooo long” comments since growing it for a family wedding a few years ago and then letting it keep growing. It’s about your length. After probably 25 years of some form of bob cut it feels pretty and feminine but I know most of my friends don’t approve. That’s where daughters come in. As one of your readers commented they are brutally honest. They say I “rock” the long hair and they love the grey coming through at the sides that I no longer colour as “edgy” . Ahh the terminology makes all the difference. “Please don’t cut it off and perm like my mother when you turn fifty” my husband begged. No danger there!


The Perm!!! That’s one thing I never had.. I did do straightening… how lucky I am to have any hair left at all… it was so harsh and brutal back when I did it… It’s funny I am “natural” now… after my reckless “hair” youth ;)


You’re very brave to keep it long and grey but it does suit you and you look fabulous. Do you feel creative enough to put your hair up yourself in a variety of styles? That’s my problem, I don’t! My hair has grown but is nowhere near your length and I’m struggling to do anything with it. I also need it be highlighted. I’m not fully grey at all and have stray ones but feel the darkness that is working down the highlights changes the colour of my face. So I’m definitely looking forward to having highlights in my hair again and it cut much shorter!!! I can cope with this shorter style and prefer how this brightens my face more. Only a few weeks to wait before a visit to the hairdressers. Hopefully by then you will have come to a conclusion about what to do with yours Vicki!!!


I am the opposite and can only manage with some length to tug it out, Janet! I do mine up but very simply and probably wear it up about 80% of the time.. because I am not having a professional blow dry… then it lasts for days and I wear it down. I highlighted mine regularly until the grey started doing the work… it’s the way to get there in the end.


I had to laugh when I read Jeanne’s comment that she’s learned to ask her daughter. When I was trying on clothes once, I remarked to the sales clerk that my daughter said I tended to buy a size too large. The clerk didn’t miss a beat as she said – “Listen to your daughter.”


Love this Jean :) OUr daughters make great commentary and 99% of the time I think they are right… I love hearing their thoughts and sharing mine with them… so lucky to have them…

Kaaren Eastwood

I grew mine out too ! All grey now I agree I think it matches our skin tone better BUT definitely have to wear lipstick ! My hair has a wave too and cowlicks but a mew hairdresser has told me how to blow wave to get better results just blow your hair the opposite way to what you want and keep your fringe straight


I do mine that way and plus over the top of my head from the underneath… it’s not the same as a professional job but it is the best for now.. then use the straightener on the end… I don’t have a fringe as my hair is too wavy/frizzy :)


Oh I am late for this very important topic to me!

Oh Vicki, you and I are the same; I know what I like, I know what looks best on me and at this age, there is no point in trying to do anything different that I perhaps should have tried as a young woman! For my straight, thick and very black hair, I’m keeping it long. Knowing I’ll be 63 next month has me questioning the status of my hair for the future, but while it’s still black (with a few grays at the temples) what I have found that works for me during my ZOOM meetings is to just wear my freshly washed hair down, behind my ears and to wear my best earrings (and of course, our famous red lipstick!) If there is any adornment for the hair, I have found it is in wearing my diamond studs or a pair of simple hoop earrings with the attention on my lips. That’s is. That’s what works for me.


I love looking on Instagram at @armelleperves. She has stunning grey hair and interesting to see her make up which complements this. Don’t know whether you have seen this Vicki but worth a little look.

Heather Robinson

I loveee love love your hair now. And I DO remember you before it was completely silver! :)
I will ALWAYS be a long hair girl but I am beginning to wonder if my ringlets are starting to look off. Unless they are first day curls, I think it is a tad messy, non?
But to spend ONE HOUR trying to straighten my hair…I am so bad at it! …it is like wrestling with snakes, Medusa-style.

Mona Turner

Dear Vicki,
Your hair is gorgeous! So feminine and elegant. I find that if I feel good on the inside with my style, then that’s my style! I wear my hair one length at the shoulder which is quite easy to style in different ways as you have mentioned yourself. My grand-children love running their fingers through it and tell me frequently to never cut my hair. (Besides my regular one inch trims of course!) My husband simply says, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!”


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