It’s that time of life isn’t it? The grey hairs are not just one or two anymore, but rather appearing in clumps of whirly-swirly-curly things that resemble wire wool.
Well, mine do.
And they tend to stick up.
After a recent trip to the hairdressers to have my roots coloured again, which cost me a fortune I might add, I began thinking about the possibility of not dyeing my hair ever again, and letting it grow out au naturel, whatever shade of grey that may be.
To go grey? Should I? I wondered?
Should I go grey?
I expect many of you have had similar thoughts?
So I contacted some friends who have made the switch and are very happy with the results, and I think you’ll agree that in all their different shades of grey they look absolutely gorgeous.
First up, Jan and Janet who were both once brunette and recently took the plunge to embrace grey and both enjoy their new colours.
“I wanted to save money. I was also really concerned about the adverse health effects associated with the use of permanent hair dyes. I think spiky styles nullify the aging affect of grey hair.
My haircut make makes me feel happy, attracts positive comments and makes other people smile,” Jan told me, while Janet said, “I’ve been very happy with my decision to stop colouring my hair brunette and I love the result.”
Jan and Janet, beautiful before, and drop dead gorgeous after.
Another friend who has recently stopped dying her hair is my lovely blogging buddy Liz Lennon from Life Dreaming .
“My hair has always been a straight bob and 2 years ago I decided to grow all the silver out. For the first few months I looked like I had a landing strip on the top of my head then as it grew out I looked like I had some kind of funky blended hair colour.
It’s all grown out now and I ADORE it,” she told me.
A beautiful Lifestyle Fifty reader called Jenny who’s originally from Australia (she now lives in Milan) and writes a blog called Our Milan Transfer was actually the first person to make me think about the possibility of going grey and writing about the subject on Lifestyle Fifty, and she had this to say:
“I’ve noticed while living in Europe that many more women don’t colour their hair. For me going grey has been a liberating and really positive experience.
I haven’t had many negative comments, apart from those made by some Milanese hairdressers! I’d thought about not colouring my hair for a couple of years and when I discussed it with my hairdresser in Sydney (as my white roots were showing through every 3-4 weeks) she convinced me to wait till I was older, like when I turned 60.
Once I arrived in Milan I realised that I had the perfect opportunity to stop colouring without having to deal with the opinions of others.”
Jenny also said that she was conscious that she wouldn’t be earning a salary in Milan, so colouring seemed like an extravagance, plus there was the challenge of having to explain the colour to her stylist.
“With my non existent Italian! So for many reasons I decided to stop colouring. When the silver roots started to shine through around my hairline at about week 5-6, I found a hairdresser and asked for streaks of white, or as close to white as they could get, to sort of merge the roots. I was really pleased with the result as it actually looked quite good, well I thought so 🙂 From then on I’ve just let it grow, found a lovely hairdresser who is enjoying the process with me. I’d like to keep my hair at shoulder length.”
5 Tips for going grey
- Talk to your hair stylist – should you go for an all over grey, or highlights, while the grey hair begins to take over.
- Consider cutting your hair short so that you don’t end up with a two-tone head. Think Jamie Lee Curtis’ famous grey pixie cut.
- Have a style make-over – firstly because probably your age-old, go-to hair cut won’t suit your new silver look and secondly because once you take the plunge and go grey your make-up may not suit your colouring anymore.
- Because grey hair can be drier and coarser, find and use a really good hair conditioner.
- Check out all the different shampoos and conditioners that add lustre to naturally grey or white hair and consider using violet-tinged products which prevent hair going a brassy colour.
5 Celebs with grey or white hair
Judi Dench, Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren, Emmylou Harris, Meryl Streep.
Over to you Lifestylers – have you taken the plunge into silver or white? Will you, or won’t you? Do you have any concerns?
How to Go Grey. 79 Survey Respondents Tell ALL!
Short Hairstyles for Women Over 50
It was good to re-read this post, particularly after going grey myself over a period of 18 months. And also to look back on my comment on your original post, in 2015, in which I declared I wasn’t ready!
I boldly did the 2-tone head thing after abandoning spraying the roots after a month or so. I also wrote about my process of going grey, both practically and psychologically: http://www.josimplywill.org/thinking-about/on-my-way-to-grey-tips-for-making-the-transition/
My hair is now the longest it’s ever been, below shoulder-length, and since I’ve come this far I’ll keep going. Sometime in the future, I’ll work out what to do next.
So I say do it Jo! Go forth and embrace your grey!
Go you Jo – I’m going to pop over to your blog now for a look-see! Thanks for sharing your experience!
Oh my gosh, what a timely post for me. From March 2 – June 7 we were traveling abroad and six of those weeks were spent walking the Camino. By the time we arrived in Portugal my hair was a disaster. I colored it right before we left home but of course my gray roots were 2 inches out and my hair was as dry as straw from walking for 6 weeks. We arrived in Porto, Portugal in desperate need of a hair, which I found a great young woman who cut it really short (shorter than usual) but she did a good job and I felt human again. Walking the Camino gave me the courage to stop coloring my hair and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself!
Awesome Patti! So great that walking the Camino was life changing in more ways than one!
Life Images by Jill
I missed this post when we were away Jo, but I am glad I have caught up now as I am in that stage where grey is creeping in. For the last couple of years I’ve had half head foils every 5-6 months or so to banish the grey which has worked well for me, but of course it comes at a cost and now I am “retired” cost is important to me. I am at the stage where I need to go to the hairdresser again. What a decision to colour or not to colour! Especially when I have long hair and the grey is going to take a long time to take over. Being a blonde, I think natural silver or white would be nice! Meryl Streep – she would look beautiful whatever her hair colour!
It’s a worry isn’t it Jill. I think being blond might be just a little easier, but even so … and your natural blond is a lovely shade.
Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers
All very lovely ladies rocking the silver, I’m definitely starting to think about it after a medication treatment has accelerated the rate of colour loss. I’m using platinum blond highlights at the moment to blend it out as its still pretty patchy but the chemicals are harsh, regular colouring is costly and if you want to travel around a bit it’s not always practical to get to your trusted stylist.
Here, Here Toni 🙂 I hope you get your colouring under control or go silver happily 🙂
Raychael aka Mystery Case
I would love to. I’m 90% grey at the front and not so grey at the back, it’s not a good look though that whole in between stage.
Are you letting it all grow out Raych? It must be difficult being at the half and half stage, and pose problems of its own.
I recently discussed going grey with my daughter and she said “NO way, you are too young just yet”. However being a brunette I have to constantly have the regrowth done on my hair which is not only time consuming but expensive. I think all of these women look great with their grey hair and I only wish I had the courage to do it. Maybe when I turn the big Six Zero!
I think the big Six Zero is a good date for big changes Kathy, and I too will see it as a bit of a watershed birthday I think (soon!)
Hi Jo, thank you for adding my comments and photo to your post. I continue to enjoy being a ‘silver sister’ and am frequently surprised by people complimenting me on my hair. That certainly wasn’t a reaction I’d expected.
Two resources I found helpful, after I decided to stop colouring my hair, which might interest others are: Cafe grey, an online forum for ‘silver sisters’ in progress and the YouTube channel by Susan Paget called the Change Guru. In the long run it is ‘horses for courses’.
Thanks so much for those suggestions Jenny. So helpful for other readers. I’m not surprised you get compliments, your hair really suits you 🙂
Some women look really terrific with grey hair, particularly if it’s that whiter shade of grey. I’ve talked to my hairdresser, who feels that it would really age me to go grey. Looking at the before and after photos on this post, whilst both women look lovely I think they do look older with grey hair. What I don’t know is what the timeframe was between the before and after photos being taken. I’m not sure if I’m game just yet! But you are right Jo, the cost is an issue. I’ve just come from the hairdresser where an all over colour and cut cost $126. From what I hear from others this is quite reasonable, but not sustainable every 5 – 6 weeks particularly after women leave the workforce.
Hello Jo, thanks for your thoughts on this. I know it’s a big decision, and perhaps when people decide to go au naturel it’s about the feeling of liberation (and money in the bank!) that are the great feel-good factors. I agree, the money side of things is just not sustainable (by the way, where is your hairdresser, that sounds a lot more reasonable than in Perth, WA!)
Great blog! I have been ‘rocking my platinums’ for over a year now and am so glad I took the plunge! No more hours and hours in a chair (every 4 weeks!) no more chemicals to worry about (I started going grey at 21), extra money in my purse and my hair has never been healthier! I had to fight my corner hammer and tongs with the ‘lads’ at my salon and had to go ultra short but it only took 3 cuts. I have had more positive comments sporting my natural look than I ever got with my colour on top of colour! It is not for everyone for sure but it is for me wink emoticon and the really cool thing is – I can still colour it if I ever want a change! Win Win xxx
I love how positive and happy you sound, Heike. You’re an inspiration for others to follow 🙂 Thank you!
To go gray or not? How much easier life would be. Someday I’ll be brave but until then I guess I’ll stick to my every-two-month dye job. Its what I’m used to. Still, its nice to see such lovely women who have made the plunge.
Hi Laurie, yes these women rock grey don’t they. I think it’s all a matter of personal preference.
When I turned about 45 – and I have no idea why – I developed an allergy to hair dye, so I really had no choice. I like it, and wear it really, really short – but sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself and get a surprise. In my mind, my hair is still chocolate brown! You’re fair Jo, so not such a big change, but one thing to remember is that the change in hair colour makes a huge difference both to the colours of clothing that suit you and the makeup you wear. These days I wear brown, rather than black, mascara. I avoid red lippy and clothes which used to look good on me and have found that green – which I loathe – really suits me! x
Thanks Cheryl for those really helpful tips. It’s definitely something to be aware of. That’s funny about green! I hope you start liking it!
Some women look absolutely stunning with grey hair. I will continue to colour mine though for several reasons.
1. I’m too young (and I suspect I’ll always feel that way 🙂 )
2. Grey is not a flattering colour on me.
3. Short pixie cuts, which look great in grey, don’t suit my face shape.
I think you’ve given compelling reasons not to go grey, Anne! I think we are so fortunate in this day and age in that most of us can choose one way or another.
I would if I was a pretty grey, instead I am enjoying being a blonde. Another few years maybe, I have been grey since I was 25 x
I think blonde really suits you Rae, so why change something you like and looks good on you 🙂
For me to go grey I would have to dye my hair so I just keep it the way it is. But I still have a few streaks / tips put in a couple of time a year to brighten it up. I sometimes think I’d like to not worry about the streaks and just let it be darker blonde but the hairdresser reckons it looks better with the lighter streaks (well she would , wouldn’t she!). Anyway Those ladies in the photos look great – probably a la naturale is the way to go after all …
I know Ingrid, we can be persuaded to do all sort of things by our lovely hairdressers, can’t we! But your hair always looks natural and suits you well.
Yes grey can look quite nice. But I do think it can be a bit aging. I don’t like seeing 75 year old plus women with dyed hair as it is obvious, but at your age I’d sooner see you as blonde. You have a young face. All of the women you profiled look great because they’re happy, but they would all look younger if they coloured their hair. So it depends on what look you’re after. If you want to look over 60 – then grey is fine. But if you want to keep looking a bit younger, I think you need to colour.
Thanks Kathryn, yes I think Happy has a lot to do with how you look. I posted a quote by Roald Dahl on Facebook the other day about how sunbeams shine out of your face if you are happy and kind … or something like that! I agree, when we are senior-senior, we shouldn’t try too hard to look too young or it doesn’t look natural.
Hi Jo, I think all the women above look great with grey hair. I am so glad I stopped colouring mine and agree with Jenny that is very liberating.
You look absolutely fab with your ‘new’ hair colour Jan. Yes, not to have to spend 3 hours at the hairdressers every couple of months would be fabulous.
I actually love going to my hairdresser. She makes me laugh and as my hair is short and not coloured the time flies by. I just read your newsletter about spending the money saved from not colouring on ourselves and recommend Body Balance Classes for everyone. My Gym costs $420 for a years membership which works out to $8 per week. I go three times each week (when I am in Townsville). Before I started body baance (Yoga,TaiChi,Pilates) I had a stiff neck and pain in my shoulders and spent a fortune on Physio treatment. Now I am completely pain free and feel great.
Thanks for reading the Newsletter Jan and responding to it 🙂 Yes, for such a relatively small outlay you are getting such a big result. It’s a great heads up for us all to pay heed to. Thank you 🙂
I’m completely natural, which is a mixture of grey and brown, and I love it. I also have long hair for the first time in my adult life. It is so freeing, not to mention economical, not to dye all the time.
Hello Katie 🙂 You completely rock natural hair colour, and for someone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge to go au naturel I can only imagine how wonderfully liberating it must be (and to have money to spend on other things instead!).