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Grey*

Remember way back in the Fall when I mentioned I would stop colouring me hair and see what my natural colour was?  It's done and it's pretty spectacular.

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Aside from my regrowth roots, I estimate that I haven't seen my natural hair colour since just after I had Alexander in 2000.  I cut it very short and then in a fit of sleeplessness and a "OMG I have two children" moment, I bleached it (which turned it pumpkin orange) and then tried to fix it (which thankfully, the sleep deprivation has wiped the results of that out of my memory) and I've been colouring it ever since.

When I made this decision (inspired by the fabulously awesome Julia Farwell-Clay) I went looking for photos of women in their 40s with grey hair.  There aren't many--though there are a million photos of Jamie Lee Curtis who looks amazing--so I thought I would take a picture after each hair cut so that those of you considering this could see how the grow-out goes.

Having pixie-short hair makes this an easier process.  I made the decision in October and I was 99% colour free by June, completely natural after my July 29th cut.  I get my hair cut every 5-6 weeks (which seems economical since I stopped paying for professional colour) so it's a fairly fast process.

October (just had a cut and colour for Rhinebeck):

Brandied orange

In mid-December my stylist suggested adding light blonde highlights just to the top to even things out and hide the obvious root line.  It looked great, but I probably could have skipped this step.  It was December and cold and I usually have my head covered.  I think I panicked a bit.

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January: sorry for the bad lighting. I really have just a bit of re-growth and I discover I'm not as grey on top as I am on the sides.

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March: mostly blonde on top.  Stylist kept the top longer to maximize my colour investment.

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April: sides and back are natural, still have blonde colour on top.  It did look a bit weird by this point, but the fabulous white streak I discovered in the front made up for it.

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I just happened to get the chance to have some professional head-shots done a few days later (and the photographer insisted on a knitting one!).  I'm still mostly blonde on top.  

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May: I started loving my hair at this point. It was a mix of grey and blonde and I started getting it cut shorter which I personally prefer.  I was feeling good about my decision to ditch the colour.

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June: I'm grey.  Both greyer than I thought and perhaps, not grey enough.  My natural colour is pure ash-blah.  I remember when my hair went from blonde to this non-colour and how washed out I used to look.  The silver gives it a pop and I like it, but it there are moments where I feel I look old or perhaps not so stylish (dowdy would the word fashionable people might use, but that's too-judgemental--greying men don't get told they look dowdy.)

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That white streak is amazing though.

July: My hair is natural and pretty fantastic.  I like it.  I really like colouring my hair for fun, but feel much better not HAVING to colour my hair to hide the grey or maintain a shade that isn't mine. Natural hair colour has far more depth and shade going on--I'm a hand-dyed yarn compared to a commercially-dyed one :)

I also like the quiet (or perhaps not so quiet) fuck you to gendered ideas about aging that comes with showing my grey.  I was referred to as "the silver haired woman" recently and after the hit of feeling old, I decided it was an okay description because there aren't many silver-haired 45 year old women around. 

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If I get bored, I can add some colour.  Something fun and completely unnatural.  I'm thinking electric blue.  

 

 

*I just have to say that those books and that movie have totally messed with my desire to use the term shades of grey to refer to my hair.  A quick google tells me that grey is the newest trend and all the cool kids are dyeing their hair.  WTF?

Comments

you look gorgeous, darlin'.

I think it looks fabulous!

Your hair and hair cut look fabulous! (My hair is aging naturally too and I also have a streak of whiter hair on one side of my forehead - I think it is cool)...just sayin' :)

You look gorgeous!! I, too, love the grey in my hair.....although by now, it should be platinum white, but what the hey ! Natural...it's beautiful. Yeah, and doesn't it figure......now that you decided this is the look for you, all the younger ones have latched on to the idea. Enjoy your new look; it's great !

I like it!
I'm about 10 years older than you and my strawberry blonde hair has just sort of faded over the years. I sometimes add a splash of pink -- I tried the blue and green but they didn't take well on my hair -- faded really fast and just looked silver, in fact!

Your natural hair looks fantastic!

Over the last few years my skin has become more sensitive to the enviroment and one of the side effects was that hair dye would make my scalp itch for a week. About a year ago I, too, decided to see what my natural color is. I had mid-tone brown hair with some grey. Now it is definitely streaked but the grey sometimes looks blondish. I'm happy with it and probably won't dye again.
Your hair looks great. I get tired of seeing the same blonde color everywhere

Your hair looks fabulous and you totally rocked the transition!! I'm most impressed. My hair is not yet greying (I'm 46, late greying is family trait on my mother's side), but this is exactly the way I want to do it when I do start!

I have a friend who is in the midst of the process now (age 43), except she has been dying her hair black in keeping with her Mexican heritage and colouring. I'm living vicariously through the transition process with her; it's fascinating!

Out of curiosity, have you found you've changed colours with makeup or colours you wear in clothing as a result of this hair colour?

I started going grey in my late 20's, amd stayed natural until my late 40's when I found myself in the job market. Grey doesn't work in that scenario. I retired mid 50's but kept up the colouring.

We spent the first winter retired travelling in Mexico. I dove into a swimming pool a light brown/dark blonde, and came out platinum blonde. Just a little chlorine in that pool! I used that as a message, and grew it out. I am fortunate that my hair grows very quickly, it is curly, and I keep it short, so it was a quick pretty painless process.

You look great - enjoy it, and the time you just gained by not spending a couple of hours every 6 weeks getting a colour. My only suggestion, is my hair does look better when I use a "blue" shampoo every couple of shampoos - keeps things silver, not gunmetal grey.

You may also find that your colour palette changes a bit. I can finally wear black (still not great, but better), Green looks better on me (still my least favourite colour), and yellow isn't as friendly as before. Who knew.

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