Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Going Grey painfully slowly

Honestly, who would have thought it would be this painful?

I started in May 2011, or should I say, I stopped colouring way back then.  All the colour will be hacked off at the next cutting  in two months' time (counting the days) and then I can begin the final climb to all one length, full-on grey.

In the end, it's rather like ab work, there's no getting around it, it's just plain unpleasant.  Of course, just to complicate matters (as many things seem to be in l'age) the underlying grey is slightly unruly at the best of times, add to that a load of dried out colour and you've got yourself one nasty ball of frizz.  My hair has resisted Moroccan Oil, serums, sulphate-free conditioning - you name it.   With this short and rather excessively layered bob (a necessary compromise to eliminate as much colour as possible) I can already see the difference in general manageability (if that's a word, which it is not) - it responds to said conditioner and with an added dab of serum it looks rather like this even on humid days.  Sometimes it even looks more bob-like.  (These photos were taken after sleeping on it. I remain both vain and lazy.)

So what have I learned and how can I advise my sisters in l'age?  Frankly, grow it to your shoulders (all one length) and wear it in a tidy french twist or bun.  Only way to deal with the frizz.  I think that was my original plan, but I had so many nasty layers to boot that getting it long enough for a pulled back solution was for a woman far more patient than me.

What am I happiest about?  No more grey roots every blinkin two weeks.  Just drove me mad.  I couldn't keep up and I don't miss it.  And I am quite happy with the silver in my hair - recognizing it doesn't make everyone feel quite so pleased with themselves - I just like it for whatever weird reason.  I suppose this is the way real blondes feel when their hair lightens in the summer sun - natural highlights.  For me it took an investment of years to achieve the same bliss. 

I have also found a hairstylist (fully half my age) who has fond memories of her grandmother's grey tresses (yes, grandmother) and so she seems like a good bet not to push the bottle.

Young women love my grey.  Before you actually experience 'the signs of ageing' I suspect they can imagine themselves as embracing it when the time comes.  Not so easily done in practice, as we well know.  There are other aspects of l'age that I struggle with far more than grey hair.  The general connection of skin to flesh is providing a bit of a challenge for me.  But more on that another time.

For now, that's your grey update.  We'll drink champagne when the end finally arrives. 


  1. Think about all these women who wear grey hair with style (Christine Lagarde is one of them). This is a very tempting solution... I think you look just wonderful. Enjoy your champagne. Cheers!
    Anne T.

  2. Don't know if it is just the photos but your hair does not look very grey to me.

  3. I think your hair looks fantastic. I wish mine was a steely shade of grey all over and I could go natural, but I have whispy white bits and some not so natural blonde streaks.

  4. Congratulations ! You've done it. I started to let my grey in, but my hair was dirty white at the front and a dull dark brown further back. Also strong, thick and frizzy. I couldn't face the mad bag lady look, so have gone back to colouring - probably for the next ten years at this rate. I live in Italy, and although many women here colour their hair, every day I see chic silver- or grey-haired women, and think 'That's what I want ". Your hair looks good, and very glossy.

  5. Anne: So true and I love Christine Lagarde. I wish my hair was a little more decisively grey like hers.

    Chic: To put it in context,my hair was very dark - about as close to black as dark brown can be. These photos don't show the grey very well - I suspect they impression from a distance is now that my hair is medium brown.

    TNMA:Thanks so much. I do think blondes have it lucky because grey and blonde are not far apart as grey and dark brown.

    Parthenope: I hear you on the mad bag lady look. It is hard to avoid at a certain point and until the most recent cut I had many very bad hair days. So Italians even do grey chicly. A great inspiration.

  6. Congratulations!

    I stopped colouring my hair because, when I really thought about it, I realized that I had better things to do than worry about and touch up my roots! (And really, if a woman isn't going to stay on top of her roots, what's the point in her dying her hair?!) I have better things on which to spend the money and time as well. :)

    What I hear from my stylist now is how wonderful it is for her to work with healthy (i.e. unprocessed) hair. I love having grey hair.

  7. What an inspiration. It may be taking a very long time but it's definitely time to clink together a couple of glasses of champagne and raise a toast to graceful grey.

  8. Rosalind: I am so happy I bit the bullet and where is that champagne anyway?

    Jilly: I'm not planning on colouring it. Funnily enough, I was on the subway with a woman the other day and she thought I had had it highlighted to look this way! I was stunned. It could be interesting at some point to do some low lights ... that said, the thought of having to go back to colouring really puts me off. I think I'm done with all that.