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Returning to grey/natural hair. Not going well. I have some questions...

(45 Posts)
40SomethingFabulouslyClueless Mon 02-Jun-14 14:59:14

I decided nearly a year ago to return to my natural (brown with grey/white) hair colour. I have long hair and didn't want to crop it short.

First hairdresser gave me a semi-permanent brown colour, saying it would wash out/fade and the natural colours would start to show gradually. Well there was nothing semi-permanent about it and ended up with a horrible, solid red/brown mop that looked like a wig. I didn't go back.

The next hairdresser suggested weaving a few highlights through and adding a toner, so that the greys would show through and it would blend the roots as they grew out. It looked lovely and I've been back twice since but all that seems to happen is more grey gets highlighted and it's not growing out at all! The highlights go brassy orange and the condition is now dry and frizzy. So now I have a mix of orange, blond and dark hair with grey bits showing at the roots. Not good. So...

How do I transition to grey gracefully? Or do I just have to suffer the 2-tone effect? What colours might be better? I don't want a short crop, but is there a longer length cut that wouldn't look too frumpy that might be a compromise? And why does my hair go orange?!

dottytablecloth Mon 02-Jun-14 15:03:38

My mum has been going grey for years!

She kept going from one hairdresser to the the next asking for help and advice and for them to put fine grey highlights through to soften and break it up.

Nothing ever worked! In her experience most hairdressers will not want you to stop colouring your hair!

She hasn't touched it for about a year now and it's looking good but she did have to suffer the stripe look for a while!

Sorry, probably not what you want to hear!

40SomethingFabulouslyClueless Mon 02-Jun-14 15:23:31

Oh no! That's not what I want to hear! I need a magic wand that will cure all my colour-disaster woes. confused

MargotLovedTom Mon 02-Jun-14 15:29:44

Can't you find a relatively short style you do like otherwise it's going to look pretty grotty when you're trying to grow it out. Also the condition doesn't sound great, so chopping a load off might be the best thing from that pov as well.

Do you want to eventually have long greying hair? I just feel that's a really hard look to pull off, it can be very ageing and 'witchy'. I think an edgy short style looks much better in grey than long hair.

BigArea Mon 02-Jun-14 15:33:45

You want something that will strip out the colour (my DM used baby shampoo as advised by the hairdresser) and maybe something to calm the orangeyness in the meantime (that purple shampoo perhaps?). Agree going short now will make it a quicker process for you.

bluewisteria Mon 02-Jun-14 15:38:50

Toner? Doesn't that take out dye? I'm sure some salons offer a treatment to take dye off.... But presumably this means stripping the hair.

I've heard good things about johnson's baby shampoo. At a few pounds it is probably worth a punt?

ChippyMinton Mon 02-Jun-14 15:52:16

Have a long bob to chop out the worst of the colour.
Buy some purple shampoo / conditioner for the brassy tones.
Make sure any highlights are cool ash blonde not golden tones.
Drop the brown toner - foget you were ever a brunette and embrace being blonde.
It is worth persevering, and a decent cut will get you through.

FWIW, I started the process after the brown base faded and the highlights went brassy over the summer. I had ash blond highlights put through and an inverted bob cut every 6-7 weeks. After a few months, and experimenting with different shades, I've achieved a balance between the greys and blondes, roots are barely visible even after 8 weeks. It was costly, even with a mobile hairdresser, but so worth it to get away from the fakey brunette and badger stripe scenario.

nervy555 Mon 02-Jun-14 20:45:19

The howbourgeois blog is brilliant for this!

nervy555 Mon 02-Jun-14 20:52:20

I'm doing the same... I don't want temp colours (that aren't) or highlights because I want to be actually dye natural roots feel so much nicer..soft and healthy.

I'm cold turkey-ing it. I have also had my hair cut into a very short bob , which isn't my ideal but will mean I will have natural hair sooner .

I'm planning on wearing hats/sunglasses on my head for the next 12 months or so :D

Nerf Mon 02-Jun-14 22:24:42

I did this:

Long red hennaed hair to chin length bob, inch stripe of grey

Asymmetrical bob, grey undercut, weird scissored thing to keep the length but have teeny layers

Grey hair!

Than I thought WTF after a few weeks and had it dyed peroxide blonde...

ChippyMinton Mon 02-Jun-14 22:27:16

Nerf grin

bonzo77 Mon 02-Jun-14 22:38:15

Go short(ish) and then cold turkey. That's what I'm up to. Mine was shoulder length, now a short graduated bob (not quite jaw length at the front). 6 months in and the front half the total length is grey and the back about 80%. Once I'd grown the first inch or so out it was fine. I'm getting it trimmed every 6-8 weeks to keep the shape nice.

PacificDogwood Mon 02-Jun-14 22:44:06

Ha! Nerf, I am at the long-hennaed-hair stage grin

I've never in my entire life been a blonds… <ponders> Nope, cannot see that happening!

40something, I'd go for the crop and grow it back.
As stated above I am still colouring (natural colour is mid brown with salt-and-pepper grey), but had a v short crop 3 year ago and its now over-shoulderlength.
I suppose it all depends on whether you'd consider that 'long' or not and how fast your hair grows.

Nerf Mon 02-Jun-14 22:48:48

See, I wish I had just had the riots coloured to blend in with the henna. But no-one suggested that until too late and I kept being told you can't dye henna.
Then I became all evangelical about going grey, managed it, and it felt like a punishment. I'm just not ready to do it.
I have seen some fab grey ladies, but only once they have no dye left, and definitely not the ones hanging on to long hair. Sorry.
The blonde is brilliant. Shortish crop, long sweep, I feel all 'me' again.

BranchingOut Mon 02-Jun-14 23:07:13

I'm not quite ready for the grey, but I have gone much more natural. No more salon dyes.

Have you tried Aveda colour conditioners? I am using a combination of a Daniel Field colour with a top up from an Aveda colour conditioner twice a week and I am pretty pleased with it. There is one that might suit you, I think it is Blue Malva.

Also consider a clarifying shampoo like Nutrogena (amazon).

JRsandCoffee Tue 03-Jun-14 07:24:26

Hi, I tolerated the two tone, then went to a bob and now growing out! I'm so grey that semi permanent, highlights or conditioners wouldn't have worked at all! I fiddled about with clips etc to actually accentuate the good grey bits which kind of added interest and kept it out of my eyes when bobbed as I was and am used to being able to tie it back. Good luck, it is worth it!

WitchWay Tue 03-Jun-14 07:38:21

I've just had my first salon trip without a dye job in 15 years - now aged 49. My hairdresser, the lovely Wayne my age with salt & pepper hair is totally on side. A couple of years ago I let a grey streak grow through my fringe as the roots were so obvious & it added Cruella style interest. Hoping that the rest will sort of grow through under cover of the streak - I'm progressively less grey towards the back of my head.

noddyholder Tue 03-Jun-14 08:20:15 I love long grey hair and although I have none really ATM at 49 I know it's coming and hope it goes like this! I would put lots of highlights through a friend had this done at Xmas White blonde sandy it was quite expensive to do but she has grown out her natural now with no stripe!

40SomethingFabulouslyClueless Tue 03-Jun-14 09:52:32

I'm impressed with those of you that have managed to return to grey (even if you went blonde straight after grin)

That's a great blog, her hair is amazing. It's so lovely and thick. Mine is quite fine (although lots of it) and slightly wavy when it feels like it, alternating with completely limp with a kink or 2 when it's not co-operating.

I obviously need to rethink my plan. I only have grey seeping through on the top, the rest of my hair is still brown, which I guess complicates things colour-wise. But I'm very scared of going short. Last time I had a short cut I was 15 and it was hideous. I looked like a boy. I can't do a normal fringe either, it goes into 'cow horns' (this will only make sense to those who suffer this affliction - we are the chosen few). But I definitely need a new cut. It's just long and shapeless today.

Everyone looks amazing with their natural hair on the Pinterest photos, but I notice they all either have model looks, or sophisticated makeup. Am I going to have to learn how to do make up properly too? I can't do make up. blush

Milmingebag Tue 03-Jun-14 13:24:46

You can use straighteners on kinks. I think one way of doing it is to buy Roux tween time crayon, grow it for three months and then pixie it. The Roux thing just washes out. Buzz cut and wig is also an option.

I have had quite a few attempts but my grey is blocky and concentrated above my ears and is still dark on top. I like my hair short so it doesn't look great.

I now have to dye my hair with a profession dye and 30vol developer because the normal dyes just wash straight off my grey.

I wish I was a great grey....

Cocolepew Tue 03-Jun-14 13:39:13

I have a pixie cut and decuded to go grey. I went blonde and Im now back to dark but Im thinking if going blonde again hmm (I home dye).
I just can't make the leap into grey. I want lovely silver/ white hair but I'm scared I end up with steel grey.

It doesn't help that I have very dark brows and think I'll look like Alastair Darling.

Bearleigh Tue 03-Jun-14 13:44:56

In her experience most hairdressers will not want you to stop colouring your hair!

This is absolutely true - I wanted a soft blonde, but with highlights it always turned brassy/golden if you are being polite. I decided to see what would happen if I had no highlights and my hairdresser was definitely against not having colour. Now I have the exact shade I wanted, except it's all me. She does no say it looks good. She did persuade me to have a blue shampoo 'to get rid of brassiness' - but I don't like purple hair - and it's far less brassy than when it was dyed.

The best bit is the condition is so much better - I always had what I thought was gently colour but even so it never really shone. Or maybe the best bit is not having to pay for colour...

EyelinerQueen Tue 03-Jun-14 13:47:59

I went hardcore and shaved my head.

That was in January and I now have a very short bob shape thanks to getting my mullet trimmed this morning.

My hair is incredibly thick and healthy and in fact looks a lot like the How Bourjois bloggers so I'm planning growing it long.

I can happily embrace my grey but grey and short is too ageing for me - I'm only 34!

noddyholder Tue 03-Jun-14 15:49:54

I have strawberry blonde/red hair so not sure what it will be like.

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