For me, the decision to go grey was a no-brainer. I looked at all the dye stains in my bathroom from those twice-a-month touch ups, calculated the amount of money I spent at the salon, and decided it was time to let mother nature take her course. At the time, I was almost sixty.
Of course, my hairdresser tried to talk me out of it. She said I’d look older, and perhaps the color grey wouldn’t be flattering. I told her that I’d take my chances. I could always go back. Besides, I started going grey in my twenties, and at thirty my bangs were snow white, not the mottled grey many women experience.
It also helped that one of my half-brothers has snow white hair, and a picture of my birth mother at fifty reveals a young face with the same bright white color. Time might not be on my side, but DNA certainly is.
How to make the transition was the looming question.
To keep me as a client, my hairdresser was suddenly very supportive. She suggested cutting my hair short, which was fine with me, and adding very light highlights. This way, the grey would be less noticeable as it grew in. At some point, she added low lights. For a very brief time, I resembled Cruella Deville. When I walked into the house, my daughter started humming the theme song. Let’s just say the contrast was a bit much for my skin tone.
As I recall, the transition from brown to blonde to white took about a year. Miraculously, one day, I had a head of white, almost translucent hair. I’ve never looked back.
The key to pulling this off is having a contemporary style and wearing lipstick—especially the lipstick. Otherwise, I look a bit ghostly and washed out.
Since going grey—or, in my case, white—I’ve experimented with a variety of hair styles and streaks of color. I also played with hair chalk.
My favorite streak of color was purple—probably because it lasted so long. But teal highlights garnered a lot of attention while I was on vacation in Cabo. Most recently, I added a lot of teal, and the color was so bright I freaked out. My daughter Lexi, who is a hairdresser, suggested washing my hair with Pert shampoo, whose power is a beauty school legend. Fortunately, after three or four washings, it toned down the color to a very soft, pretty hue.
If you’re thinking about going grey, why not give it a try? It’s just hair, and you always have the option of going back to color. If it turns out that your particular shade of grey isn’t what you hoped for, there are many options to brighten it up. The simplest one is purple shampoo, which strips out any dulling yellow.
After reading this post, Lexi added, “If you’re even thinking about going grey, it’s best to switch from a permanent hair color to a demi-permanent one, which blurs the line between the color and the new growth.”