Friday, June 3, 2011

Vain AND Lazy - Going awry

Doesn't she look fine? See how she got there. Shereen.

At least 6 years ago at the tender age of 44 (seems so young now) I started to get this chunk of grey coming in at my hairline. The rest remained pretty much dark, and my colour is a really dark brown (not a hint of red, more on that later). I rather liked it and found a young, totally punk hair stylist who liked it too. She played it up by colouring everying (except the grey streak in front) a really solid dark brown. I loved it - in addition to drama, the thing that colour does so well for fine hair is to give it texture and weight. I loved the grey on brown. Then I moved to a new city.

Finding a stylist who accepts grey is not easy. It just goes against their grain as professionals, and as people who want to eat and possibly save for retirement. I understand that, yet thought, since I'm so comfortable with it, surely this lovely stylist (firmly in l'age) will come around. And so we began our relationship. She worked around the grey. Always asked if I still liked it. I did. And as time wore on inevitably more grey came through and I found myself having to engage in root touch-up activity in what had previously been securely brown territory.

I began by going back to my stylist for the touch-ups but that was a pain in the butt. Then I started with the stuff you use at home. But the grey was coming in fast and furious. So I concluded, enough is enough, time to let the grey come in full force. As a transition phase, I thought ... grey highlights (I had Shereen's look in mind - not that I'd seen Shereen yet). This poor stylist worked for 2.5 hours trying to get grey to take in my hair. Not easy on coloured dark hair. It was a nightmare. She finally got the right combo (can you imagine the chemicals that were poured on my head?) and after all that effort it lasted for about a week ... then turned light brown. And looked like crap.

I put up with it for a couple of months (remember, lazy), then finally had enough and went back to my stylist. She agreed on the overall effect (bad). And said, let's just return to the dark solid and lighten it up at the front. I thought, "What the heck? Let's do it."

So when the colouring was done and she removed the towel, I took one look at my hair in the mirror and gasped. I mean a full-on intake of horror. It was shocking. A rare moment when I was actually rendered speechless. After I calmed down, it occurred to me that now was my opportunity to go full-on high maintenance. If not in l'age, then when? That's it, new leaf. Possibly the real me was fully emerging.

The first person I ran into (at the grocery store) was completely appalled and had a hard time rummaging up any enthusiasm for the new look. Not a promising start.

Anyway, I tried to carry off my new look with aplomb. It was difficult. I grew to hate it. Hated it when the greyish roots started to grow in. Realized what a nightmare I had on my hands to both touch up the dark roots at the top, sides and back, while dealing with the blond at the front. I wouldn't be able to use the home root touch-up stuff at the front because the home-colourist cannot go from grey to blonde with success. And remember, I am both vain and lazy, so I looked awful and it was a lot of work.

Just to prove a point ....

And so my lazy fate was sealed. I would just harden my resolve ... and go grey.

Next up - Going Grey - the movement.


  1. Waiting with bated breath here for the rest of the story and -- please tell me it's so -- the happy ending. And I remind myself yet again how very, very lucky I am in my stylist -- and how vulnerable in my high-low maintenace hair (high in that I visit Ronae every 7 weeks for cut/colour, with highlights touched up every second visit; low in that my daily styling requires nothing more than wetting my hair, adding a small dollop of product, working that in and scrunching, then letting it air-dry). So much depends on that colour and cut being right.

    We've been watching for a certain percentage beyond which Ronae will guide me through to my grey. Meanwhile, over the past year and a half, we've gradually moved lighter and lighter so the contrast between grey roots and hair colour is much less noticeable (and the lighter colour seems to work better with my also-aging complexion)

  2. I used to have highlights to blend in the gray but my hair is naturally dark brown and it got a bit too brassy
    so I have gone back to the original colour by having a demi-permanent and I am much happier...when I have enough gray not just tinsel strands I will be embracing that shade.

    I look forward to your next installment...

  3. I'm looking forward to going sufficiently grey to grow it out - right now I'm that awkward salt and pepper stage which just looks sort of dirty and unkempt, so I colour, sometimes blonde, sometimes darker.

  4. I'm longing to hear how it turned out. I'm not quite ready to make the decisive move yet. I have a lot of grey at the front, and my back hair is now drab dark brown with grey creeping backwards, so I have warm brown highlights at the back and wide blonde stripes at the front - a sort of modified Daphne G ! I am feeling my way towards turning grey, but still saying 'not yet'. But I find myself staring enviously at women with gorgeous grey.In Stockholm last week I saw so many women in their 50s, 60s and older with beautiful grey or silver hair.
    These are my thoughts on it. I don't think it's always a low-maintenance option. Cut and condition are key. Frizzy greying unkempt hair IS ageing, and you risk the batty old bag-lady look.(There were some of those too). Silver and white hair need a toning rinse to stop yellowing. Sleek and very well-groomed is the look to go for.
    I noticed three styles which looked particularly good -
    1) A short, sharp cut, showing the nape of the neck, which is still very pretty in older women or
    2) A straight bob, chin length or just above the shoulder, with a fringe; all sleek and shiny. or
    3) Longer hair pinned up with combs or in a soft chignon with loose wisps. This looks particularly good with hair which is white or grey at the front and dark at the back.
    I'm going to aim for the second , which is the length and style it is now; to let more grey grow in, and to have the highlights a more ash-blonde and then, as it goes more grey, to grow it a little longer to give more of the options in 3).
    I think it's easier for natural blondes, as the transition isn't so noticeable, and many swedish women are lightly tanned, so grey/silver looks right, but I don't think all the women I admired were swedish or blonde. Just fabulous.

  5. After adding blond highlights to my rapidly turning mousey/dirty blond hair for more years than I care to remember about 5 or 6 years ago I realised that I was turning a very flattering silver grey at the front. This is now gathering momentum and as my blond highlights were beginning to look brassy I decided to go with it. After much trial and error I now get my colourist to leave the silver grey and blend it in with my still darkish hair at the back by adding some peroxide streaks. This seems to work well as I aspire to grow gracefully grey. I find it very soft and flattering to the skin.
    I agree a good modern cut is essential
    Good luck with yours.

  6. Mater: I like the long view on the greying. Good planning because, let's face it, it's inevitable. I envy your curly, low maintenance abundance. Mine's either dead flat (winter - no humidity) or fluffy and out of control (summer - humidity galore).

    Hostess: Brassy is the problem with dark hair. The blonds are so lucky here. Nothing worse than brassy hair - at least on me.

    Tiffany: I hear you. All grey is what you want. Anything below 70% just looks like a decision hasn't been made!

    Parthenope: Excellent point on the frizzy grey look. I'm constantly battling that and so far it's just at the front. I'm going to pay more attention to toning thanks to your comment. There is nothing more stunning than a woman in l'age with full-on grey hair.

    Chicatanyage: Nice solution and not dissimilar to mine. My grey has inched its way back and now I'm just telling it like it is. Or will, as the grey comes in.

  7. I'm with Parthenope. Your hair looks good but I think warm brown and blonde hightlights flatter the face xx