11 Apr 2019

The Grey Diaries: Grow As You Go

The Grey Diaries : Grow As You Go on vickiarcher.com

Go grey and go long?

It is a daunting combination for many women and I was no exception.

I remember very clearly the decision to leave my hair be and see what eventuated without regular highlights but I don’t actually recall deciding to grow my hair past my shoulders. A continual struggle with highlights – either too Goldilocks gold or orang-utan orange – where the colour either wouldn’t take or it took too intensely made the decision for me. The longer I left it, the more I let it be and it wasn’t without doubt or challenge. Going grey is a tough thing to do, not in the scheme of real life but as a woman looking in the mirror at a significant change and facing the future head-on.  It has its tough moments.

The longer length happened in time.

Growing in the grey meant many haircuts and a shoulder or above the shoulder cut. My hair still didn’t look properly silver, like it does now. Today there is no turning back or if there is it means a serious investment and back peddle. During the “growing out phase” I observed women wearing their grey hair longer and came to the conclusion length could work. I liked the contrast of grey, seen for a particular age and stage, worn in a way traditionally reserved for a much younger woman.

If you told me ten years ago I would have hair past my shoulders and without colour I would have denied the suggestion rigorously; never say never.

Long hair in my world means mostly tied up.

It is either in a bun or barrette and maybe I will find myself with a permanent up-do. It’s an old fashioned notion and one that could work. As much as I like wearing it down, when it’s styled properly, the up and back styles are pretty easy. For now, my hair is long and long enough. How long it will stay this way, who knows? It’s a learning curve and a daily dilemma. I understand grey is not for every woman, we agree to disagree on that and it is the same for length. Long hair or short – what counts is what suits and what works for us.

Would you like to go longer?

A longer length does not necessarily mean set and forget. Growing out a haircut or working towards a new style takes perseverance, time and a few tricks. Bad hair days and indecision will become part of life.

*Regular haircuts make it possible. Little and often is the way to a longer length and especially with short layers. Take one out at a time and have the hair products nearby.

*Excellent condition, when growing out and growing long, is vital. Use a hair mask regularly.

*Invest in a professional blow-dry when possible. It makes the “bad-hair” days so much better.

*When the urge to cut is strongest have a barrage of photographs to inspire. I have a stock of “grey-headed beauties” on my computer who made it possible. When I doubted, I reflected and reinforced the mindset I wanted. I still look.

*Don’t take advice from well-meaning friends. You’ve got this. Try it, you might even like it and if you don’t a shorter look is only a hairdresser away.

*Invest in some fab sunglasses to love and a vibrant red lipstick. Always works and I should have been wearing mine in this pic.

*Use hair accessories – clips and hairbands – to keep it out of the way when it is in-between and won’t do what it’s told.

*Have patience, so much patience.

Long hair or not, grey or not, a change is everything and nothing has to be forever. Not even long hair. xv

Wear With The Grey

lace midi my favourite back in stock  ||  lace and pintuck dress  ||  broderie anglaise dress  ||  x oliver peoples LA sunglasses

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Red lipstick. Good shades. Frequent clips make it all happen. I have been doing all of this for the past year and Vicki, it’s happening! My hair is growing and it seems to grow even faster when I do get that trim! THANK YOU and again, you look marvelous!

Eileen Azzinaro

Well, I haven’t gone gray yet, just the roots, haha. I was told by my hairdresser that my light skin tone would look terrible with my less than attractive gray. If it was a pretty gray, I’d reconsider. I wish I was a braver person. I color my own hair and do it every six weeks so it’s not really a burden on time or expense. I am growing my hair longer as well. That older chopped off look is not for me. I do think about it often though as I see older women, so fashionable with long gray hair. We’ll see.


For those of us that have colored our hair forever, the mystery is what’s under there. Luckily I have silver streaked with dark. I got a jump start from a professional that removed quite a lot of the dark color then spent a few months a goldy-gray until it grew out. My hair grows quickly and I opted to go short (I’ve always gone back and forth between long and short) so within 6 months it was natural. I absolutely love it and am often told that I look younger. It’s staying short because it is so easy. I thought about it for a long time – thanks for the inspiration – and all of a sudden it seemed the right time. And that’s my advice to people who ask – don’t be talked into it, just wait until YOU feel ready.


Yes! I agree… when you are ready, you know :) I don’t listen to everyone’s opinions about whether it is good or not.. mostly people try and talk you into their agenda… that’s my experience.. which is normal, but it doesn’t help you find your own way :)

Linda B Kerr

I have greying hair to my mid-back, lightest by my face, and I find it quite flattering. I wear it in a multitude of ways, rarely just loose, but on a good hair day, with definite height at the front of my hair (that’s important) it looks sexy. Conditioning is huge! My lipstick is usually a deep rose. Rose Stiletto Rouge Pur Couture by YSL is perfect for me.
Thanks for the topic.


The lips are vital… I forgot mine today (how could I do that??) and feel so washed out… A good strong colour makes all the difference :)


The colour of your hair is fabulous and with the talk of grey hair I have become more observant of women who prefer to stick to their natural colour However, I’m not quite there yet and am the opposite for length. Having always had shoulder length hair I decided to go quite short for me and it took a while. Like you I found photographs everywhere until I decided on a style and then just booked a hair appointment! Now a couple of months in and another trim I’m quite happy with a shorter look now. I suppose patience will come when I decide to grow it longer again!! I think somehow we all have to have patience with our hair at different stages in our lives.


Vicki, though I know it seemed like forever for your hair to evolve it looks absolutely fabulous on you! I honestly can’t imagine it any other way! “Better not younger,” right? ❤️

Michelle à Détroit

I think that healthy, long, well maintained silver grey hair such as yours is a showstopper, Vicki. I absolutely love longer hair on mature women. Amazingly, there are still women out there who think that every woman should automatically chop her hair off once she reaches a certain age. And, if we don’t fall in line with that way of thinking, we must be “trying to be sexy” or to recapture youth. To that I say PHOOEY!!! If it suits her desires, long healthy hair can be gorgeous on every woman.

Linda B

Vicki, you are just so gorgeous and inspiring!

I haven’t colored my hair in any way for about 15 years, when I started wearing it super short. Five years ago, I started to grow it out, and it is in layers, and falls just above my shoulders. I have recently being wondering if it might be time to let it grow longer–but that means I’ll lose my lovey waves and curls, as the length weighs them down. Perhaps when I get a haircut tomorrow, I’ll talk this through with my stylist. You have inspired me to think creatively about hair length!

I love the small bit of silver threading through it, sort of like the frosted look that was popular for our mothers’ generation when we were younger adults. It is going to take some years I think to go totally grey, based on watching my mom and the generation older than her (may they rest in peace!)


Even though I’m 15 years out from chemotherapy, my hair never grew back the way it was before, plus I’ve run out of estrogen! Eeek! Just having enough hair so my ears don’t stick out is my biggest problem! I will live my long, grey hair fantasies through you. xoxox, B


I recently cut my hair but I’m still in the growing out and its not coming in so fast the GREY HAIRS!
THE CUT has definitely Helped out there with a few pills I took to increase growth.
Those older women with the UP DO’s are usually DARN EXQUISITE!


My gray is coming in and it looks ok–so far so good. My issue now is that my eyebrow hairs are fairly dark with white hairs popping in! I’m afraid that dyeing my brows won’t work or will look fake. Salt and pepper brows are not a good look on me. Covering them with brown pencil, powder, and wax also leaves them looking a bit heavy and fake. What’s a girl to do? : )


Tinting your eyebrows is a must… the trick is to ask them to mix a grey with the brown tint… it’s the best.. dark but soft.. I’m ok with the grey hair but not with the brows… ha ha.. a woman’s perogative.. :)


So agree about the brows! Salt and pepper brows are not a good look! As my hair has only some fine streaks of grey I ask the stylist who threads and tints them to match the darker colours. But these aren’t black. Black brows on an aging face with greying hair produces a really hard look. It was my dear dil who suggested the tinting and I’m so grateful. It makes a huge difference. Also the red lipstick as Vicki says. My hairdressers where I have shampoo blowdries know I’ve had a really bad morning if I turn up without lipstick and they’re extra nice to me. The red lipstick makes all the difference. Suddenly I feel bright and breezy. My hairdresser then lightly runs some argan oil througb the long hair – also makes a big difference. I tell her that having my hair washed and blowdried is my therapy for the week. Best wishes, Pamela


I tried a couple of times to let my hair grow out. When it gets to my shoulders, it starts to get stringy and that drives me nuts. So, I keep it short. A year and a half ago I stopped coloring my hair and went gray. Best decision I have ever made. I had people tell me that going gray I would have to change my makeup colors, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I still wear what I love. I think it’s all in what you love, long hair, short hair, it’s what makes you happy that counts.

Helen L Dehner

You are absolutely perfect! Going on 78 I let mine go white silver at 70. It is shoulder length and I never run out of creative ways to wear it!


Hello Vicki,
Your hair looks fabulous and especially love the length. Mine isn’t as thick as yours but have just added a fringe for the time in decades and it’s postponed wanting to go back to a bob. Go now it’s working xx

Moira Leech

Wonderful topic for women who are indecisive which way to go. My hairdresser control tells me No but can be an option in the near future. At 65 I have been going grey since I was in my late 20’s but have decided light highlights make me feel on top of my emotions and the selfish personality tells I am not quite ready but adore the styles and grey tones of women who are confident in their own skin. As for length we always were told that older women should go short but once again personal choice and admire ladies who challenge this old belief. I have been an admirer and follower of you for quite a few years and are delighted to age very graciously and gracefully together Vicki, thank you for your wonderful post.


Oh Vicki, I know you love the reds but as I opened and started reading through today’s blog I thought “WOW loving that shade on Vicki’s lips”. It is so much softer than some of the ‘harsher’ reds and it looks fabulous on you!!!! Ask Venetia, bet she loves it too. As for your hair – it is glorious! Healthy, thick, looks great long and I especially like it pulled back with a barrette. You can buy fashion but you can’t buy style – you Vicki Archer have it in bucket loads!

Juanita Bougas

Gone grey at 46 and long wearing red lipstick best decision ever good colour is MAC Ruby Woo for red lips 👄.

Patricia Hoar

I cancelled my subscription to you by mistake, I was trying to cancel collections from the Emporium as I live in south Africa and I am now unable to resubscribe, do you know what I must do please

many thanks Pat Hoar


I will sort it out Pat… I do ship to SA free of charge .. so keep looking ;)


I’ve just found your grey diaries and really enjoy the read.
I have grown out the grey just this year and can relate to the days I love it and the days I am not so sure.
I want to grow it longer and I like your advice of putting it up in interesting ways.
Can you run a blog on those interesting ways? I would so like to read that.


I just love your grey diaries. I consciously decided to stop colouring my hair a little more than 3 years ago. I have waist length hair (my natural colour is dark brown). I have continued to trim my hair throughout the process and although my hair is now shorter than I like it – mid-back, I decided to take a fair amount off during my last cut to speed up the final phase of growing out. I have around 6 months of growth left. It does take perseverence and getting to grips with the new person staring back at you. For me, it’s been absolutely worth it! Thank you for the inspiration!!


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