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Hair colour advice. How to go grey gracefully? Loooooong one!

(15 Posts)
sprinkles77 Sun 28-Aug-11 23:10:59

I have a lot of white hairs, if I didn't dye it I think I would have quite an eyecatching white streak on one side and a varying amount of salt and pepper elsewhere. The rest of my hair is a sort of medium brown, though I've been dyeing it for so long I couldn't say if it was more ash or more red. I use Nice n easy 117 medium golden brown to cover the greys. I only do the front and it looks OK, if that makes sense. I also only do the roots, using about 1/3 of a packet of dye every 2-3 weeks. My hair is shoulder length, a bit dry and damaged, but not terrible. I get a trim every 8 weeks. I'm a fairly young looking 33, and can definitely carry off something a bit unusual, but need to be presentable for work (no bright red bits etc, sadly).

I don't want highlights. I look shit blonde. But I want to let my natural colour take over for less maintenance and probably better condition long term. I know I could just cut it all off and then let it grow out like that, but DH loves my long hair, and it's only just reached a decent length from having it cropped a few years ago. Any suggestions as to how to do this? I have used colourB4 with success in the past. But I know that even if I use this I am going to be left with very very orange hair due to the amount of peroxide from the nice n easy.

Could a professional put some very very very white high lights through the grey parts only? May be just very fine ones? Is it possible to get all the artificial dye pigment out like this? Will a hairdresser even do this to hair that has been dyed as much as mine has? (in fairness I am very careful and use a brush so only do the roots each time). I'm not talking about bleaching the whole badger stripe. Would this look shit? Or maybe I should continue colouring my roots, but go gradually lighter. But this will look odd too eventually with lighter roots.

If you've been arsed to read all that, well done. More so if you can reply!

BranstonPickled Mon 29-Aug-11 00:14:54

Any decent hairdresser will do a strand test and will most likely refuse to put highlights in heavily coloured hair - going by my own numerous experiences anyhow!
Could you have a few inches trimmed off and then lighten it all over - do it yourself if necessary?

If it's any help, I've recently tried to revert to my natural colour (brown with a few greys) and gave up after 5 months of looking like shit.
I dyed my short hair as near to my natural colour as I could (from dyed red), then left it for 5 months but had it trimmed every month. I had psyched myself up to go grey and even admired a few colleagues who had done it, but when faced with dull brown hair with grey strands I'm afraid I caved in and went for a salon colour - back to red.
I'm annoyed with myself as I had grown most of the colour out (my hair is now very short) and I'm a lot older than you.

I came to the conclusion that grey/greying hair adds 10 years onto you and I couldn't face it, but good luck if you manage it.

timidviper Mon 29-Aug-11 00:20:26

I love natural grey or white hair but gave up trying with mine as it looked too shit. I have gone back to having mine coloured a simlar brown to yours with some fine blonde highlights through the top and front.

BranstonPickled Mon 29-Aug-11 01:21:01

Apologies, I wasn't being rude - I meant that I looked like shit with natural brown/grey hair. I've often admired random strangers who are grey and groomed looking, iyswim.

spiderslegs Mon 29-Aug-11 02:18:39

Let it grow, I am, I think I prefer the grey to the dyed, I've been on the slide since 16, I'm 37 & almost all grey now, keep it groomed would be my advice. I think if your face, clothes & make-up are neat, grey/white hair is beautiful.

Just don't let it get witchy......

sprinkles77 Mon 29-Aug-11 13:35:49

thanks all of you, and branston, you didn't sound rude to me, so don't worry! My problem is the looking shit while it grows out. I just hate that 3-inches-of-white-roots look. As for getting witchy...it's the nice spikey hairs on my chinny chin chin hmm that make me look like a witch. Oh and the hat!

Has any body used a temporary or semi dye on white hairs? Maybe if I do this it will fade as it grows out.

I do want to keep the length, but have occasional flash backs to a spinster chemistry teacher with long white hair in a plait with a thick fringe (like mine, eek).

CMOTdibbler Mon 29-Aug-11 13:44:40

I'm going grey/white at the moment, from dark brown. My saving grace is that the hair round the front is totally white - so I used colour b4 3 times, and then having grown my roots in to see what was going on, bleached the coloured bits of the white sections so that they were white too.

The remaining coloured bits is a bit gingery, but I use Silver sensations weekly treatment which knocks out the ginger. By wearing my hair up, it hasn't been too painful a process, and I love my real colour

lowercase Mon 29-Aug-11 13:46:51

yes, use a semi, go a shade lighter every few months.

my mums hairdresser advised her to put blonde semi on it (her hair is dark brown) and never use permenant colour!

Flumptious Mon 29-Aug-11 19:51:35

Sprinkles, I'm going though this at the moment too. Had some lighter highlights yesterday even though I'd been using red or brown home dye for months. It's not turned out badly but I don't feel like me. I've always been a glossy reddy brown and although I think this will blend the greys more, It's not me.

Spider, you don't look grey on your photo?? I only noticed as I checked it yesterday on a thread about money or something. Not stalking!

If you are now though, I'd like to see it as your hair is very similar to what mine was so I can see what I'd look like if I ditched the dye. Is that weird and cheeky? Apologies if so.

TattyDevine Mon 29-Aug-11 20:07:45

Bleach cannot expose greys, so to speak, nor can ColourB4. Hydrogen Peroxide (present in both bleach mix and box colour mix) change the core of the hair.

The best way to "grow out" (which is a slightly painful process particularly if long haired) is to "break up" roots with highlights/lowlights (depending what you are) and then growing out.

My mum did it - she went from chocolate brown with blonde and warm streaks to grey, the proper blue-grey (she's a winter!) that some women are lucky enough to have. BUT - she had a spiky-pixie type crop and she's only just started growing it a year later (she has this idea that she wants to be a "proper" granny and has started knitting too - bless)

Its a long process. BUT. If you do go cold turkey on the dye, if nothing else, it will fade. At some point you could visit a hairdresser and see if they could bleach out the rest, add a "toner" to the lot including your grey roots and see if the transitional point was less obvious and you could just let the rest go.

MadameCastafiore Mon 29-Aug-11 20:14:45

Below chin length grey hair wll add years to you - crop it then grow when colour has grown out and see how you feel about the length.

Loveleopardprint Mon 29-Aug-11 21:05:05

I am 41 and gave had grey/white hair for 2/3 years. I love the freedom of not having to dye my roots every three weeks. I do however have to have short funky style so that I do not look like a granny. I have in the past had the fringe dyed white but it tends to look brassy and fortunately my fringe is now mostly white. I say go for it! I am proud of my grey!

sprinkles77 Mon 29-Aug-11 21:50:09

Sounds like the running theme is that long + grey = looks rubbish. I have seen grey look great, but only on shorter styles. Might have to go back to the chin - length bob if I want to grow it out, then do the high / low lights as Tatty (ever the voice of wisdom) suggested. Just really worried that it's going to look poo for ages and then I'll hate the end result and just go back to dyeing it. It took about 2 years for me to go from very very short crop to hair long enough to tie up, so I'd anticipate something similar with this. My grandmother just went cold turkey in her 50's and there are lots of photos of her with an ever increasing halo of white.

tatty supposing I let it all grow out for a bit (say a month or 2), then I did colourB4 on just the bits that I know are really white (so as not to go completely orange all over ), then getting a hairdresser to highlight those areas and use a toner to get rid of residual red tones (obviously waiting a week or so inbetween to stop it re- oxidising). And a cut at the same time. Do you think that would work? Would a hairdresser even be prepared to touch it? I went to a guy before who was pretty brave and managed to get some really bright red sections into my hair, despite my hair dye history. I guess I'd need to go to him and he'd do a strand test.

TattyDevine Mon 29-Aug-11 22:09:42

Yep, they'd be fine with it as long as you explain what you did, that you used a hydrosulphate to reverse the colour process and not bleach.

Strand test is the way forward.

Highlight, lowlight, tone, break up, cut off. Agree if you can bear to lose some length then do. Now is the time. If your heart is set on long, now is not the time to go grey.

That said, I disagree long and grey is rubbish, but it may well add years. To be honest my mum looks years older since going grey, but not in a bad way. I think she looks better, but she looks older, but older does not always mean worse, if that makes sense. I can't quite explain it. She didn't look her age before, and she looked good. She now looks her age, yet she looks better...

sprinkles77 Tue 30-Aug-11 16:41:46

thanks for all that advice. really scared that I might look old. And the expense of getting it done properly at a salon. Going to discuss further with colourist and maybe get my mother to pay as my birthday present!

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