Should you go silver?

If the series of lockdowns has allowed us one thing, albeit something quite minor in the grand scheme of things, is to ponder whether to allow our chemical colour to grow out and allow our greyness, or “natural highlights”, as I once heard a hairdresser call my grey roots, to show. Indefinitely. In other words, “Go Grey”. 

This can strike fear into the heart of many a middle-aged woman who spends an absolute fortune on hiding her grey roots (under non-COVID conditions, of course). I’ve never counted up how much I spend at the hairdressers just on colour treatments alone. It would send me on a complete meltdown knowing that I could spend that money on something else that would totally enhance my wellbeing. Enough for a yoga retreat in Greece or a series of expensive beauty treatments at a very nice salon? Probably. But I’m not yet at the stage where I can abandon my sessions with a very nice colourist at the hairdressers and a slathering of peroxide. I wish I was. 

So why do we feel the need to cover up evidence of our ageing and panic when it is shown in broad daylight? 

Well, according to the behavioural psychologist Professor Carolyn Mair, is that “we live in a youth-obsessed society where the norm is to eliminate any sign of ageing”. So, she explains, “not taking advantage of the many opportunities to maintain a youthful appearance is considered to mean not taking care of ourselves”.  

But, if your inner critic is screaming loudly that you need to cover the ever-growing evidence of your age, you have fashion on your side. You can’t walk around any city street without seeing some millennial woman (or younger) with hair dyed to resemble grey hair. Technically, it’s called “Platinum”, and if you’ve seen any young girl with hair this colour, you can see how stunning it looks. 

But you know what, we have an advantage over the Millenials and Gen Z’s. As we grow older and our hair starts to become more and more grey our skin tone changes too. And, would you believe, that skin tone change blends with your changing hair colour and creates a beautiful contrast. Often the skin changes to reflect bluey tones and it’s this change of pallette that matches so well with the colder tones of grey hair. And to that a kick-ass red lipstick (if that’s your thing) and the look is stunning. No hair dye could ever replicate that colour match. 

However, it takes time and guts to grow out your chemical colour and, dependent on the colour of your hair dye, it can look dreadful. Firstly a very thin strip of grey contrasting with your dye colour can be covered up by root sprays such as Clairol Root Touch-Up. These work by spraying a light dye matched to your chemical colour, successfully covering the roots until you wash them out. But as your hair grows, these sprays don’t quite cut it and it begins to look very false. 

So you are faced with massive roots at the scalp with lengths of chemically coloured hair. What’s the solution to covering this? 

I’m afraid a trip to the colourist at the salon might be in order but they can work wonders whilst you grow out your colour and it needn’t be as painful. 

As celebrity colourist, Adam Reed explains ” “Colour is so incredible now that it needn’t take weeks or months of growing out your hair, dyed or otherwise,” he says. “Colourists can enhance your natural shade, and just warm up the grey and blend them in so you don’t see any roots or regrowth.”

So that’s a solution or two to help whilst you’re growing your colour out, but what do you do once it’s grown out totally and you join the ranks of those stunning silver foxes. Isn’t grey hair hard to look after and shouldn’t you keep it short? 

Another celebrity colourist, Josh Wood, explains “There’s no rule to say you can’t have mid-length or long grey hair but most people cut grey hair short, because it goes really frizzy and wiry, so it’s easier to manage. With modern-day hair masks and conditioners, you can still wear it mid-length or long, and most grey hair looks better groomed. If you’ve had a damn good blow-dry, grey hair will have that swing and movement. It’s about maintaining and managing the texture.” 

So, with two fairly major factors affecting your choices – being bang on trend with a head full of silver tresses and having a few weeks of lockdown left to grow out your dye – is it the right time for you to take a deep breath and cancel any colouring appointments you may have very successfully acquired? Go you – you’re a better woman than me 🙂 

Ultimately, the decision rest with you and whether you have the guts to live through the times when, admit it, your hair won’t look its best and you may be tempted to get your colourist on speed dial and plead for an appointment now. Or tomorrow. 

I would imagine this decision takes a lot of soul-searching and thinking about. But whilst you do, can I take to you back to Professor Carolyn Mair and some wise words of hers:

“Not being young doesn’t mean we’re not youthful.”

Wise words, indeed. If you do decide to take the plunge, I stand on the sidelines and salute you. Once you’re there who knows what might happen. New you, new opportunities? A growing sense of power? Being bolder than you’ve ever been?  

Hope so. I wish you well 🙂