Come and talk to me about going grey...

(73 Posts)
NightLark Tue 02-Jul-13 10:22:08

I could do with some insight here on how this is likely to progress, as I am allergic to hair dye and haven't the money or the inclination to go to the hairdressers for complicated colouring.

My very, very dark, thick, straight, chin-length hair is going grey, fast sad.

Seriously lots of grey in every handful kind of grey.

So from a distance I look dark haired, but close up I am clearly getting greyer.

Plus, the grey hairs aren't straight like my 'real' dark hair. They are curly. What's that about??

Help, am I going to end up with a head of grey frizz?

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 11:56:23

I had high lights put in so the grey would blend in, that was over a year ago and mostly it's my natural colour now, I quite like the grey.

Nothing wrong with grey, I much prefer it to obviously dyed hair tbh.

shoebun Tue 02-Jul-13 12:49:43

I'm in a similar situation to you - long, thick, dark, straight hair so the grey is very obvious!

I had virtually no grey until about 12 months ago when it seemed to double in number every night. I had a few different hairdressers try to talk me into colouring it but I was very nervous that they wouldn't get the colour right and it would just end up being black and goth like, rather than the very, very dark brown which is my natural colour.

DH was great at convincing me that he thought it looked pretty, like natural highlights, and I started calling them silver rather than grey which also helped me feel more positive about it. So, over the past year I have got used to the idea and now rather like them as being part of me and the story of my life.

I have started noticing how many women dye their hair and in many instances I think this can actually be more ageing. So, maybe give yourself time to get used to the changing you? You could try wearing your hair a different way (I stopped tying mine back for a while as most of the grey was around my hairline and this made it really noticeable, to me anyway). If you let the greys grow, you may well find they stop being curly as they get longer.

NightLark Tue 02-Jul-13 12:58:29

Thank you both - I like calling it silver, I shall go with that idea smile

I've had it cut shorter, with a fringe, and stopped tying it back and up, which has helped a bit (I was looking every inch the crazy old academic lady), and live in hope that the curly bits will drop. But they are very curly, with a real crinkle in each hair, so I won't bank on that bit.

Off to try and embrace my true age...

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 13:02:23

To combat the frizz I started using hair oil, its very goodsmile

happyreindeer Tue 02-Jul-13 13:37:30

I let my hair go completley grey and it was a nice colour but I felt very old and people treated me as if I was much older. I have really blonde hair now and I only needs done at the hairdressers about every 8 weeks when before when it was a brown it really needed done every two weeks.

happyreindeer Tue 02-Jul-13 13:38:19


SnoopyLovesYou Tue 02-Jul-13 13:49:20

Henna? Totally natural.

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 13:51:17

I think henna can look really ageing <runs away fast!grin >

neriberi Tue 02-Jul-13 16:46:18

I've been going grey (on and off) for the last few years, letting my hair grow out lots then resorting to lowlights and highlights (T section only) then cursing myself as it grows out because my naturally dark brown / black hair starts to shine through so I resolve to let it go grey "this time", anyway I have actually knocked the lowlight / highlight thing on the head and now have a lot of grey.

I'm a mere 38 and have been fending off grey since my 20s / 30s, there is something rather liberating about not dying my hair, I've always looked young for my age and reckon I still look young-ish but not so much that I'm asked for id when I buy a bottle of vino.

I've changed my make-up & tinted moisturiser to sit with the Caryn Franklin styled grey streak I seem to have and I've changed the colours I wear so that I look a little less ghostlike, apart from that I like my grey!

I'm of the persuasion that after all the shite I've dealt with in my life that I'm entitled to a few laughter lines and silver streaks.

EldritchCleavage Tue 02-Jul-13 16:53:37

I'm just letting it happen. I am now developing a stripe, which is fab. Like Cruella de Ville in reverse.

Rooble Tue 02-Jul-13 16:54:13

I've had mine highlighted to manage my transition to grey, but that's because I'd been dying it brown for 15 years and didn't want to spend 18 months watching the grey increase inch by inch.
It looks really good! Can't tell you how many compliments I've had, and I think it's because your skin colour changes with your hair so the dark no longer suits. Have started wearing strong-coloured lipstick to compensate for the lack of colour

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 02-Jul-13 17:13:46

I think you've got to condition it more, I think keratase does a range for aged hair.

I think dyed hair can look a bit aging too.

Jan45 Tue 02-Jul-13 17:28:48

I think grey hair on anyone is ageing so I would recommend highlights. If you have dark hair then the grey will show up like a beacon. The amount of women I have seen who look fabulous then you see the horrible grey hair and think, why, it does nothing for you apart from age you.

Sorry I feel really strongly about this, it's personal I know but grey is a no no, no matter your age.

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 17:33:42

Nahhh,I think it's much more ageing to see a woman with dyed hair unless it's very well done and had lots of colours.

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 17:34:09

Why is grey hair 'horrible?'

Jan45 Tue 02-Jul-13 17:38:57

The only female I can think of who looks good with grey hair is Helen Mirren and even at that, it's a softer look of grey. It's a personal thing I suppose but to me, esp on a woman, grey hair actually makes you look older than what you are.

To me, it's horrible because it's usually coarser with no real shine and the colour is a mixed black and white, not nice.

Out of all the colours I could have my hair grey would never be one of them.

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 17:40:54

Caryn Franklin looks fab though.

Lauren Hunt-used to be a super model iirc looks fab.

My mum!grin

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 17:44:10

I can't do links from my phone, but if you google images of grey hair there are stunning pics of women with grey hair.

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 17:44:40

Too many 'grey hair'in that sentencehmm blush

intarsia Tue 02-Jul-13 18:06:13

I started going grey at 16 and stopped dyeing it 3 years ago (42)
It looks great BUT the most important thing is to have a great hairdresser and a really good cut.
Long grey hair rarely works due to the wirey nature of it and I suspect the greyer you go, the shorter your style will be. It doesn't have to be old lady short though. Mine is really choppy and textured

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 18:07:31

And updating your make up is a must!

Scarletohello Tue 02-Jul-13 18:41:02

All I can add is that I used to have dark brown hair but its so much easier to be blonde now because of regrowth. It's also softer on the skin town. Grey hairs are more wiry so extra conditioner is good. Is there hair dye you can try you aren't allergic to? There are lots of vegetable dyes around these days. Going grey is a pain but there is a lot you can do to still have great hair..!

soupmaker Tue 02-Jul-13 20:37:24

I'm grey. I agree a really good cut is essential to pull of grey hair.

I'm nearly 43 and have a naturally curly grey bob. I use touch of silver shampoo and conditioner. Mine has gone really grey in the last 5 years. I had a short French crop for years when I started to go grey then grew it out once it was more silver than dark.

I have lost count of the times I've been complimented on my amazing highlights! I don't think grey does age you if you look after it. I also have the advantage of having a 5 yo and being pregnant so no-one believes I'm over 40.

A poor colour job and you'll look so much older than having well looked after grey.

NightLark Tue 02-Jul-13 21:34:13

So this coarser grey stuff is par for the course?

Not chuffed. Am going to try hair oil etc.

After a lifetime of looking 10 years younger than my calendar age, I'm not ready to embrace elderly all of a sudden, but not feeling like a return to henna either (went there a lot in my 20s!).

Murraylover Tue 02-Jul-13 22:20:22

Grey gracefully or this, this, could be you

valiumredhead Tue 02-Jul-13 22:23:42

Fiona Bruce?confused

Murraylover Tue 02-Jul-13 22:25:00
Nacster Tue 02-Jul-13 22:30:40

I've just started finding greys around the hairline. Getting a bit of a stripe. I'm liking it so far, but there's no difference in texture (very fine dark blonde hair, undyed.)

Hoping for an end look like this.

I'm not going to dye it. Too many women I see with helmets of solid coloured mahogany or aubergine. I think it's more ageing than the grey.

Nacster Tue 02-Jul-13 22:31:20

I've just started finding greys around the hairline. Getting a bit of a stripe. I'm liking it so far, but there's no difference in texture (very fine dark blonde hair, undyed.)

Hoping for an end look like this.

I'm not going to dye it. Too many women I see with helmets of solid coloured mahogany or aubergine. I think it's more ageing than the grey.

elQuintoConyo Tue 02-Jul-13 22:33:37

I'm also 38 and have grey silver hair, have had them since 18.
I've been dying it my natural colour, mid-brown, for about ten years now and I'm sick of it, every four weeks - then another 2-3 weeks to find the time to dye it, by which time it looks like the largest seagull poo hmm
I'd love, love, love to grow it out. I'm naturally very pale so not sure I'd suit blonde or highlights at all.
I'm petrified that it will age me incredibly. I've had my hairstyle about 15years, the only one I've ever found to suit me: bobbed, short at the back, longer at the front very pre V Beckham , would that look ok grey silver? What colour clothes go with silver?
<too nervous to think>

Murraylover Tue 02-Jul-13 22:36:07
Murraylover Tue 02-Jul-13 23:17:50
AdoraBell Wed 03-Jul-13 04:23:13

MIL wasn't allowed to Go grey, Nothing to do with work it was just the control freak she's married to. I'm pleased to say she finally stopped dying her hair yellow (it really wasn't blonde) in her mid-70's and is completely grey now.

I started noticing grey hairs when I was 23, 45 now, but I still won't dye them because my hair isn't just one shade and I don't want to change it. I once had a hairdresser tell me 'oh, señora, your hair is so beautiful with all these colours, even the grey' and that was good enough for me.

shopafrolic Wed 03-Jul-13 09:44:01

This type of product helps to smooth out my wiry greys
mythic oil
but I do still get mine highlighted. My hairdresser says I should embrace my grey but I've said not until I'm in my fifties, for now it is going gradually lighter so I won't be so shocked when the time comes...

SirRaymondClench Wed 03-Jul-13 09:50:28

I dye my hair myself as I am not ready to be grey and have long dark straight hair naturally so it really shows.
Recently I dyed my hair (3 weeks ago) and noticed that the grey hairs are showing through (ie the dye seems to have worn off them) WTF??
What can/should I do about that? The bastards are fighting back!! confused

peasandlove Wed 03-Jul-13 09:55:29

i had naturally very dark brown hair.. I started going grey in my 20s so covered them with dye, which eventually built up till it was almost black.
2yrs ago I started getting blonde highlights and wish I'd done it years ago. I'm now a blonde, people who didnt know me before dont know it's not my natural colour. (luckily I have pale skin and blue eyes that looks natural blonde).

peasandlove Wed 03-Jul-13 09:56:36

SirRaymond, make sure you're not using a harsh shampoo like the dandruff ones, they literally rinse the dye off. Also grey hairs are more resistant, you have to leave the dye on longer - I'd leave a semi on for about 45mins

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 09:56:48

Mythic oil of fab so is L'oreal extraordinary hair oil. I use both after a year of using argan oil,I prefer them.

GobblersKnob Wed 03-Jul-13 10:00:35

I started going grey when I was about 19, I would love to grow mine out and am seriously considering it, I just know it is going to look crap growing though and not sure if I can face it.

AgathaF Wed 03-Jul-13 10:51:28

Lush henna - even though you said you don't want to use it. Tis fabulous stuff.

EldritchCleavage Wed 03-Jul-13 11:34:40

grey is a no no, no matter your age

Gosh it's depressing to read that. Why is it a no no? Why is it so terrible to age? Why are we expected to chain ourselves to these money-draining beauty rituals men are never expected to do?

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 11:36:53

I think older people with dyed hair is a no no, an 80 yr old with dyed hair looks bizarre imo.

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 11:38:20

Gobblers you need to to it gradually and perhaps go gradually lighter so it's easier to grow out. Have a chat with your hairdresser. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was tbh.

AgathaF Wed 03-Jul-13 13:12:38

I think it depends on the 80yrs old really valium. Not sure how old Joan Collins is, and I know she wears wigs, but she looks great with her hair colour.

Wishihadabs Wed 03-Jul-13 13:22:05

I am 37 and have just decided no more highlights. Got DH to cut it into a chin length bob and am allowing my natural colour (with silver highlights) to come through. No way am I spending hundreds of pounds a year on covering up an entirely narural process

Chandon Wed 03-Jul-13 13:25:46

My mum still has brown hair and at 78 gets a bit of grief for being so vain about dying it "constantly" as you " never even have grey roots"

She almost wishes she was grey!

Almost nobody believes her. She has about 12grey hairs .

Sadly, I have more grey already!

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 13:36:39

Agatha-not imo ! She looks like she's obviously wearing a wig to me.

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 13:39:40

Chandon- my mum Kelly her natural colour until she was 60 then over the last 5 years has gone the most beautiful silver white.

snoworneahva Wed 03-Jul-13 13:41:27

My mum is over 80 and she still dyes her hair....she wishes she could stop buy can't face growing it out - I will go grey as it happens.

AgathaF Wed 03-Jul-13 15:12:48

valium I was thinking more in terms of the colour suiting her skin tone.

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 15:18:48

Agatha - I still think her hair colour looks very harsh against her skin.

BobblyGussets Wed 03-Jul-13 15:52:08

I'm a red head and I won't be bothering to dye it. I am 40 now and have a few bright white hairs. I used to love the "chilli pepper" type dyes when I was younger to punk it up a bit, but I think I would look more like Rita Fairclough if I tried it now.

Whitecat Wed 03-Jul-13 18:54:59

Try oil to tame the silver unruly bits. It will probably take a little time to get the quantity right but you might just have to wash your hair more often until you find the balance. I use argan oil which is very light, buy the pure stuff not the blended silicone concoctions that are out there. Other people swear by coconut you should be able to find one that is perfect for you.

I use silicone free conditioner and don't rinse it as thoroughly as when my hair was all one dyed colour. Leave some in for shine and straightening power.

Going silver is not straight forward. It's a mind game and your main opponent is yourself. Good luck. I'm loving my streaks now and it's amazing how many people think I pay for the privilege.

MadBusLady Wed 03-Jul-13 19:10:34

Marking place. My main problem with going grey is that I also have big, wavy hair and it looks at its best when allowed to be slightly wild and tumbling. So just the opposite of the "sharp cut" that everyone seems to say you need to pull off grey hair. Am I doomed to the dye?? Have a box of Casting Creme Gloss I've been umming and arring about. I really don't like that too-dark build-up look you see on people.

I've been wondering about helping on the grey a bit by putting a bleachy streak in the front and then a silvery toner - so not a "highlight" so much as a definite silver streak. Like Caitlin Moran's only hers is more blonde. Anyone done this?

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 19:17:14

I don't have a sharp cut either, but I do have a very good cut which helps I think.

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 19:21:43

Andy Murray's mum looks fab now she's gone grey/blonde.

MadBusLady Wed 03-Jul-13 19:28:57

I'm not sure what "a very good cut" is. sad I had one hairdresser when I was 19/20 who totally got my wavy hair and worked with it rather than against it. Nobody else has since, however much money I spent. Don't get me started...

GobblersKnob Wed 03-Jul-13 20:27:09

Vallium I have been putting henna in my hair for the past few years, and I have tried blonde over henna before, (done my my hairdresser) it went an interesting blue/green grin

However the more i have thought about it today, the more I want to do it.

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 20:51:06

A good cut is one that shoes off your hair to its best. Doesn't have to be anything fancy. My hair will only do one style, anything else and it's a mad bush, was quite a relief when a hairdresser told me to stick to what out does bestgrin

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 20:51:30

Out not out-effing phoneangry

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 20:51:57


valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 20:52:26

Gobblers-do it, you know you want togrin

soupmaker Wed 03-Jul-13 21:50:29

Mine is big, curly and grey MadBus. I have it cut into a graduated bob. It's long enough to tie back if I want to.

My hairdresser understands that I need a wash and go cut. I do just that, very rarely use a hair drier or straighteners and regularly condition. The result is lovely soft shiny hair. Even the wiry ones behave now!

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 22:00:24

I think the grey/ silver ones do settle down after a while and start to become softer and not as wiry.

StantonLacy Wed 03-Jul-13 22:19:49

I'm 36 and seriously grey. And probably outing myself here, too.

I found my first grey hair at 15 and have dyed it for twenty years. Twenty years, fgs- that is a ridiculous amount of time to be a slave to the dye. Not to mention the stupid expense, outrageous amount of time wasted and results that, lets face it, I only really liked for two out of eight weeks.

Because even if I went to the hairdressers, the results were never quite the way I wanted them to be. And then my roots would start showing after about two weeks. Or, if I did the dye myself it was always too dark/too light/too red and then once it had toned down to a better shade, guess what? My roots would be showing.

Last year, I had a bit of a 'moment' and decided to stop dying it. I am now almost evangelical about grey hair. I have a fairly thick white stripe on either side of my parting (pic on profile...not very clear, but you get the idea grin) and I LOVE it. I've still got a few inches left to grow out, but I am so, so glad I decided to stop dying. I only ever used a semi permanent, so don't have a particularly strong 'tideline' as such...even so, I was surprised by how much the semi colour just stayed.

The condition of my hair has massively improved. I always mistakenly thought that the dye made it shinier and improved the condition, but now I'm able to see my natural (undyed) hair, I can see that the dye has made it almost strawlike in comparision. I definitely don't see that the texture of the white hairs is different. I'm just as likely to see crazy wiry jet black hairs frizzing everywhere as I am the silvery ones.

Like lots of posters on here, I use the Elvive oil and think it's great. Once it's been blowdried and straightened, I love the look of it and look forward to an all white 'do'!
I do get it cut quite regularly into an inverted bob, but once all the colour has been cut out, I'd love to grow it long again.

I found some amazing photos on pinterest of silver haired women, but not so many of women my age, so I went on a bit of a google. I found these two blogs Highland Fashionista and How Bourgeois - both women look fantastic in my opinion. There are some great tips on both blogs about 'transistion' and pratical ways to deal with it. Going grey should be normal. Not like bloody 'Kate' and her four moves and fifteen babies...The ridiculous negative comments and connotations that people make about grey hair make my blood boil, truly. It's just a different colour, fgs.

And of the course, another unexpected bonus is that I can now use Batiste dry shampoo with impunity, as even if I miss brushing some of it out, it just looks like my natural hair colour grin

StantonLacy Wed 03-Jul-13 22:21:11

Apologies for the huge rant blush

valiumredhead Wed 03-Jul-13 22:34:52

Good for you !grin

Aquelven Wed 03-Jul-13 22:36:19
GemmaTeller Thu 04-Jul-13 09:27:59

I'm 53 and have long (bra strap) length mid to dark brown curly hair.

Home dyeing stopped covering the grey so I bit the bullet and went to the hairdressers asking about colour and transitioning to grey (I'm a bit loath to spend hundreds of £ on my hair).

How glad am I and what a fab hairdresser I've got!

She bleach washed all the dye out then put highlights and low lights in to blend the grey in.
I went back two months later to have the highlights touched up and a toner (?) put on my hair.

I can't believe how much my natural grey just blends in and how much my hair now lightens my complexion.

Plus I haven't lost any length.

AdoraBell Thu 04-Jul-13 15:43:09

My silver highlights (I do like that phrase) are much dryer than the rest of my hair, but I haven't tried any oils yet, although I did buy a bottle of Argan oil.

higgle Thu 04-Jul-13 15:53:30

Dyed hair is not ageing if you have it done by a really good colourist - it is mainly the dire reddish browns of the home dye kits that make you look older. I have lashings of high and low lights put in my hair to create a light brown / ash blonde effect. I've got quite a few grey hairs as now nearly 57 but you can't really see them.

mercury7 Thu 04-Jul-13 18:08:55

Stanton, thanks for those links, I think the Highlandfashionista woman looks great with her hair colour, looking at her pictures has made me think about letting my hair 'express' it's natural colour (I'm mid 40's with naturally medium brown hair and some grey)

Of course grey hair isn't inherently less attractive than any other hair colour, it's just that we associate it with older people.

If grey became a fashionable colour I guess the association would be broken and grey hair wouldnt be perceived as ageing.

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