Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beauty Banter....shades of grey

Wookie Mayer

Whenever a friend mentions that she is thinking of "going natural" and letting her colour grow out..I am the first to say "embrace the grey"... "you should, really, it will look wonderful on you"..."the best decision you could make"... "you have the perfect skin tone for it"...and they do and it always look wonderful.

I wonder then...why I can not practice what I preach? I had a passport photo taken a few months back...the kind of photo that makes you look like you are on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. It was devastatingly clear in the photo, the fluorescent lighting enhanced it...I was turning shades of grey.  With the photo in hand...I ran to my hair salon and blurted out..."Help..I am turning grey, do something".

Let's just say, getting use to the end result has been a process...maybe more of a state of denial. I reckon that if I go to to the bedroom mirror on the east side of our hair colour is perfect. Using the mirror in the entrance to our house (north) or the guest bathroom (west) is clearly showing shades of red, which would be fine if that was my intention. I keep thinking it must be a mistake. My daughter, Miss Christine, quickly cleared it up for me. One morning she looked at me over a cup of coffee and said "Mom, when did you decide to change your hair colour to red?" To which I replied..."it is not, it is the lighting, and having my hair pulled back...and we need to go the the mirror on the east side of the house"...kid's say the darnedest things.

So now I am a redheaded woman on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list..who is going to wait patiently as she turns shades of grey..with a little help from a stylist.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Been there, done that? Do you stare down the impending grey or wait for another day?

Ingrid Bergman 


  1. I have to say that as a strawberry blonde or golden blonde naturally and a hair stylist in my time. Grey hair does not really suit those of warm colouring, we need warming up. I know this from personal experience .. Years of trying to be ash blonde.. and looking washed out. I would keep colouring with a semi permanent colour through the roots and a smattering if highlights .. or just high and low lights as it is far more flattering xx Hope this helps

  2. I know I'm grey now - but only when I see the roots appear around week 4 of the color schedule!!! I have my hair professionally colored every 5 weeks (which costs a small fortune!) as it grows fast, and yes, I've been a bright redhead for many years but now toning it down and going more toward brunette with reddish bits......more appropriate perhaps for a woman of my advanced years, sigh! Will I ever grow it out? Been thinking about it a lot lately, but it's hard to do and rather scary. Guess I'd have to chop my chin length bob into a pixie and go blonde first so it didn't look so obvious - and all that seems so much work and stress that I just keep on the way I am!!

    Happy day wherever you are in the world dear Jeanne.
    Hugs - Mary

  3. I will let mine go in a few years...I am not ready for that.
    I look best with a warm golden blonde!

  4. I have naturally cool coloring - dyed blonde just looked worse and worse as I aged. HIghlights are a pain in the neck, plus the gray meant that I started to need lowlights, which seemed like adding insult to injury and I quit. My hair is now long and calico, i.e. some brown, some blonde, some gray, some almost white. I have to say, I love it, and feel as though any witchiness is a net plus:).

  5. I was a natural redhead, as were my mother and grandmother. I fought the family shade of platinum they both embraced for years, coloring the white strip of outgrowth every two weeks until my scalp would not take the color any longer. Now, I've embraced the platinum color of my hair. It has become a sort of "trademark" teenage daughter and her friends say it's AWESOME....enough for me.

  6. Hi Jeanne, I think that you would look gorgeous with grey. You should try it and see how you feel. I let mine grow in after I developed a chemical sensitivity, and I love it. My daughter said it looks like I had highlights added to my hair. Gotta love that! Happy Day:)xob

  7. This is where being blonde has its distinct advantages. The grey is showing up as silver and I look like I have had an excellent highlighting job. I mustered the courage to ask my longtime hairdresser how much "silver" there actually was, to which he replied... "oh, about 30%". Gulp. That's when I put in the pink streak.

  8. I must say I admire women who let their hair go grey without any second thoughts about doing so. On the other hand, I can commiserate with those whose grey turns out to provide a rather mousey look. I was never a full-time "colorer," but quit doing anything in that regard when it became too much trouble to do it myself, besides being very expensive. There are, however, great products on the market to keep the grey from looking mousey. and if the grey doesn't look good with a particular skin color, I'm sure there are products on the market to change that as well. Clinique makes a great line now to reduce the red appearance of the skin, and Aveda has a line of shampoo/conditioner to take the brassiness out of the grey. Going grey is something we all have to deal with sooner or later, but in the long run, I decided I'd rather spend my money on a great hair cut. Jeanne, if your hair turns into a beautiful salt-and-pepper grey, like that of a Brit friend I used to know (who had peaches and cream skin as well), you will still be one beautiful woman.

  9. I coloured my hair for years to cover the grey. I have let my hair grow out and had it cut short to speed up the process. I love my new grey. Now I wonder why I spent all the time and money covering up my greys.
    Be brave, embrace that grey!

  10. Jeanne, you might like to read Cyndi Lee's book May I Be Happy -- in which she writes a whole section about allowing her long hair to turn completely gray. SHe's a yoga teacher, our age, lovely -- but has always struggled with body image. It's a good, honest memoir about making peace with our appearance on the outside, and then turning that energy in positive directions.

  11. Born as a dark brunette, I would feel not at home being white. My shade of brown hair does not grow into a pepper gray, which would be great, so I´ll try to stay as I am for now.

  12. Gray is just another way of saying, "I am who I am." These days my graying hair seems to go with the rest of me. You might get a kick out of a book called On Going Gray which I referred to here:
    Try it, Jeanne, it's not so bad.

  13. Jeanne I know how you feel. I have been fighting the grey since I was 28. I know that I will never have surgery for sagging skin but I just cannot embrace my grey. I have very pale skin and I think with grey hair I would look like a ghost. That said I guess as they say, never say, never.

    I hope that you do whatever makes you happy but in the meantime lease share a photo of you with your new shade, I am sure you look beautiful.

    Have a great week,


  14. It's a hard topic, Tish. At nearly 67 I am still medium brown with only the few gray hairs scattered here and there. The color still looks nice, but everyone, that's EVERYONE, assumes that I color and i get comments about when i plan to stop coloring so dark. What? I don't want to lighten it just so that folks will think that I am not doing anything. it's like reverse discrimination. I think that we each just have to do what we think is best, or talk honestly with three friends, and a good hair dresser.

  15. The red shows up if the color they use has a red undertone, or if they go too far off of your natural color. For me, I was born blonde, turned brunette as a child, but after time in the sun, my hair would get lighter and lighter. Fast forward to my 40's, and there are some grays showing through. Salon one made my hair almost black. Salon two brought it back to my natural color and threw in some highlights. Phew! It looks much more like my hair always did, since it tended to lighten in the sun. For how long do I continue? Well, my grandmother passed at just one month shy of her 103rd birthday, and she was a brunette til the end. I figure I'll hold up the family name ... or is that mane?

  16. I love when woman are natural and let their hair be grey. That being said, I am not at that stage and we will see how I am embrace grey when I am. It is a big step. You can try it and if you do not like it you can always color your hair.

  17. Your dilemma is pretty real. I used to tweeze the grey hair, then it got to be a giant project. So started coloring and never turned back. I love women who embrace grey. I think if one is blonde, it is much easier, a more soft look. I don't know, maybe someday ... not sure when that will be.

    This is such an interesting topic.

    Karen in VA

  18. Aah.. the dilemma.. its easy.. just do it Jeanne.. you wont look back.. think of all the money you'll be saving.. I've never colored my hair in all its life.. and its going this gorgeous salt/pepper look, with a small concentration of grey in the front now.. I love it! I'm light brown in coloring.. thanks for the thoughts - as always, provoking x j

  19. I have a lot of white hair for my age (44) but my Grandmother did too so I am not too surprised. As a redhead, I have to be realistic about my options. I have been told that I can never have a true to life color by dyeing it and frankly, I can't afford it! So I am just going with it. For now, it feels part of who I am and like my wrinkles, I have earned the white hair through living an interesting but challenging life!

    And while I love that you are (for now) a Sister Redhead, you know which way I will encourage you to go...
    Because you are beautiful just as you are...

  20. Would love the freedom. My question is, how on earth does a dark brunette go completely grey without looking like a skunk for 6 months?!?

  21. As you know, I set out on the long, grey path on December 2012. I've never looked back, or taken any shortcuts to quicken the journey. With only 4" of old processed color remaining (plus a few stubborn long streaks of what is now honey gold weaving into my silver), I look forward to reaching my destination. I'm holding a lantern if you care to follow. You'll know when you're ready. See you soon.

  22. I started turning grey at 18! A freshman in college! YIKES!!!
    So I spent until 50 having low-lights, high-lights; you name it! Until we moved from Pasadena to Santa Barbara 17 years ago! A fortune spent on my hair!!

    My hair guy has been that for 35 years; and he is in Pasadena; (two hours away) and my roots were showing white! I just knew I couldn't spend that kind of time! He made it painless; by bleaching all but the roots and then let it grow out!! (no one else will ever do my hair!!)

    The best thing I ever did!! And it matches my husband's hair! (which he has never even thought about coloring; (although people thought he did)!!

    My hair genius puts a few streaks in the way back of my head; but all the rest is what grows out of my head!
    I get compliments all the time!!

    My granddaughter said: "Granny, why don't you let your hair be long like mine?" I said, "When I have grey hair, I think I will look like a witch with long hair!" She said, "Granny, your hair isn't grey; it's blonde like mine!"

    So there you go!!!

  23. If you have blonde hair you can descret turn into grey slowly but with brown hair never...I once tried it (not
    a long time ago because I was tired color my hair every 4 weeks) and when I saw about 5 cm of white hair I
    hurried to the hair dresser. For grey hair to my oppinion , the hair must be strong, straight and always in the
    best style. Just try a color shampoo . Jeanne. ..thank you for your kind and warm e-mail reg. my move. Very busy but happy to made this decision.

  24. No, I'm past all that. The gray is here but in a light ashen tone and my genius colorist makes me appear blonde in the same pale tone as the gray so that it looks OK when the new growth comes in...I have it colored every 5 months or so...I don't mind if the gray shows through a bit as long as the predominant color is pale in Norwegian (which I am).

  25. Jeanne you are "preaching to the choir" . About three years ago my daughter said "mom your hair looks like a frizzled mess". I had been considering going grey for months. My husband was on board as well as my daughter. It seemed every stylist I consulted said you will nate it, it won't be a pretty grey. With the help of a good stylist, it is not a bad process. I have never regretted it for a second, or ever received more compliments! Email me if you need encouragement!!!

  26. Natural blonde with some gray the past couple of years. Knew this time would arrive and I would make up my mind as I go along. Zero urge to do a thing. None.

    My sister, 3 years older, was a gorgeous rare strawberry blonde growing up but bleaches it regularly since her 20's. She is quite opinionated about my hair. Has said I should bleach it one too many times. Finally told her I did not want a processed look like hers it was quite aging. We both have pale white skin. She hasn't bothered me since.

    Mom offers me a salon bleaching every time I see her, she hates my aged hair. Thank you no, is the response to her.

    So, the wrinkles & gray are arriving, along with thinning hair, and I'm fine with it. Odd being forced into defiance by my own family.

    Remember, A PENNY SAVED IS A PLANT BOUGHT. My time/money are better spent in my garden, touring European gardens etc !

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  27. I let my gray come in about 10 years ago and have never regretted it. I hated the amount of time it took to do a foil, not to mention the money. I travel for business, and work in a mans world. I think it sends a message of confidence in myself.

  28. I gave in several years ago and have never regretted it for a second. My hair was beginning to look like cotton candy...said my daughter...


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