It’s two years now since I had my hair dyed. It was October 2016 when I last had my roots coloured, and I look at past photos (here’s one taken a few years ago) and I think, gosh, that was a bit yellow and artificial. Not that I thought that at the time. Indeed, I resisted what I saw as the ‘white hair police’; the ever-so-correct types that were promulgating going ‘au naturel’. I really thought my skin colour wouldn’t suit grey or white because skin loses pigment and you get paler and paler as you age and that certainly has happened to me. Also I felt very strongly that it was an individual thing to go grey, so don’t you tell me what to do. And I still feel that – you do what’s best for you and your face and don’t listen to me or what the fashion mags and young journalists say.
But I got a slight reaction to the dye on my eyebrows and thought I really ought to give the hair colouring a rest. And a few weeks passed, then a few months and the white growing through didn’t seem to be that obvious. Also, I seemed to luckily have a white streak at the front.
There were occasions when I could see my hair was a bit odd-looking and was really half and half.
But I didn’t cut it short – that short hair style is not for me at this stage in my life. If there’s one thing I want to avoid as I move further into my 70s is that short-haired bob with a fringe that so many have. I mean, again, please don’t listen to me but personally I don’t want that look.
I do know that I’m lucky because I have that red hair gene and consequently there’s still a lot of thick hair on my head. Those curls in the pic below aren’t natural, btw, that was a perm, but the colour? It changed with the weather and seasons. The pic must have been taken in the winter as it got blonder in the summer and the colour is a bit enhanced with a flash, I think. .
I bless my Scottish mother for the red hair, although as you know (I’ve written about this before and will again) there is a penalty for this in that I have hair everywhere else including my face. I mean if I leave the hair on my legs and don’t get a regular wax, I look as though I’m covered with fur, still, at over 70 (!) and I am not exaggerating.
Anyway, the dyed hair is now almost gone and the white hair look is nearly complete. Here are two selfies, which I don’t like taking all that much as they’re so revealing of your true looks! No filters here!
And a softer version
And a very soft focus pic below taken yesterday (in poor light) just before I went out to get the hair trimmed. I was wearing another Urban Outfitters item, a grey cotton trench (£24 on a sale rack) with my old charity shop scarf. Can’t wait for the colder weather so I can start wearing my hats!
And here’s what I’ve learnt about the growing-out process.
The growing-out process The most positive thing about growing out your hair is that you are going to save so much money. I spent a fortune on colouring my hair, so you might think, wow, Penny has so much more in her pocket – unfortunately I seem to be spending the saving on my teeth (which I may write about one day).
But note, the whole process has taken two years and there’s still a bit of the old dyed hair there. It will take 3 years in total, says my hairdresser. Logically, you could shorten this amount of time if you cut your hair quite short.
The challenges For those of you who are already blonde, going white or grey does not present a problem – there is little contrast between the white and the blonde. But there is a challenge for those of you who have darker hair. I’d say make friends with your hairdresser and talk about toning down the dark colour or getting streaks and highlights. Going a bit lighter, with or without highlights, will help you adjust to the greying of your hair. Then you can really tell if it suits your skin pigment, if it doesn’t then hey ho, carry on with the dye.
Condition is everything I asked my hairdresser what we have to do with our hair as we age, and his reply? Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Your hair becomes dryer as you age so use products that will help. Btw, I have stopped using hair spray and in the summer don’t even use a hair dryer, letting my hair dry in the air. Anything to preserve the hair shaft and not dry it out.
The hair products that will help This is a very individual thing and everyone will have their own favourite products that they have used for years. However, I’ve always used quite expensive products that can only be bought online or at certain hairdressers. I don’t stint on my hair. These products are by Paul Mitchell and I always notice a difference to the quality of my hair if I run out of the Paul Mitchell shampoo (I use Shampoo no 1) or conditioner (I use Detangler) or their sculpting mousse (I use Supersculpt)
The essential product Those are the 3 products I always use. And then there’s one more product I also put on my hair, which my hairdresser says is an essential – it is a serum. My hairdresser says it doesn’t matter if you spend 50p, £5, or £15, just use a serum. I buy L’Oreal Elive Extraordinary Oil (£6.66 at Superdrug) and it’s put on after your hair is washed and dried – and especially if you blow dry. Btw, one of the reasons I don’t use hair spray is that the Supersculpt mousse is sufficient.
Those white hair products Gosh there’s no shortage of products for white hair and no shortage of advice. But there are things you need to know. You need these products because white hair shows the dirt and picks up pollutants more than your original colour did, and can therefore go ‘brassy and dull. But a too strong white hair product will turn your hair purple but, hey, no worries, it washes out. Anyway, I use White Hot Hair products which have never turned me purple (!) and are bought online. I use Glorious Shampoo, which is gentle and can be used every day and the White Hot Hair conditioner Luminous Conditioner. But. Not together. I use Glorious Shampoo with my Paul Mitchell Detangler conditioner, and then 4-5 days later the Paul Mitchell Shampoo with Luminous Conditioner.
Now you could say what a faff. And, how expensive. But people, my hair is in excellent condition – it shines, it’s sleek, it has made the white/grey colour look lovely – so job done I think.
If possible…. And continuing the idea of maximising the condition of your hair, do you use a hair straightener or curler? At one point I tinkered with the idea of buying an electric curler but decided not – that really was too much faffing. But if you do use these, I wonder if you’d consider taking a break? White Hot Hair suggests there are alternative ways of blow drying that will straighten hair, and if you can avoid these, the hair on your head will be grateful.
My last point is that you might say, you’re lucky with that head of hair, what about the other thing that happens as you age – thinning hair. Well, that I can’t write about from experience but I want to direct you to a friend across the pond who blogs about her lack of hair – and her wigs. Honestly, Catherine of Atypical60 is such a hoot, but such a role model too, and her wigs are just amazing. Another person who has begun wearing a wig or two is Terri of MeadowTreeStyle. Her wig-wearing, one of which is totally stunning, is featured more on Instagram – do have a look at her.
Well, I’m sure there’s more that could be said on going white, and hair generally – see my last point – but remember, only you will know when the time is right to go white. But what do you think? I know that I often learn from you as the tip about alternating the white hair products with your ordinary products came from one of you, and for that many thanks as it worked for me 🙂
That’s all for now
Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper