Tuesday, October 16, 2012

To dye or not to dye...

My Mother has been white haired for as long as I can remember.  She is a very sensible woman who used to give me advice about buying good shoes, always making sure you wear a well-fitted bra and moisturising your neck.  And then she talked about growing old gracefully, all of which I absorbed as a teenager.  It was only relatively recently that she said "I wish I'd dyed my hair years ago".  Well, I nearly fell off my chair and felt my whole world had been turned upside down!  Here was this woman that I had listened to (she might fall off her own chair at that revelation...!) suddenly wishing she'd done things differently.  I was all prepared to do the "growing old gracefully" thing when it happened but then I started to wonder if I would have regrets in years to come too? I've only started to get some greys in the last couple of years (I used to pluck them but I think the whole "pluck them and they come back with 10 of their mates" thing might have some truth to it, so I have given up!) and have begun to wonder if I should start down the road of dyeing my hair...

When we first came to Australia I found the magazine I'd spent years looking for.  Notebook was a mag for grown ups who like a bit of this and a bit of that, not too many glossy ads, lots of helpful hints and tips.  Sadly it is no longer published.  But in Feb 2010 there was a great article by Susan Johnson about grey hair and how it affects women.  The opening paragraph reads "When day begins to turn to night on our heads, our most common response is to run for cover.  Instinctively we recognise the first grey hairs indicate the light within us is slowly fading".  I'm not sure I feel that strongly but certainly I am learning to accept that I am no longer 18, or even in my twenties, or thirties for that matter!  I'm not sure it really bothers me all that much, in fact I think I might be more bothered about having to fit in regular appointments with a colourist and the amount of money it will cost.

A friend, and local 'journo', wrote this great article recently and I managed to find it today.  I have been very impressed with how she went from almost black to grey, and she looks fantastic.  I too have had conversations with the kids about whether or not I should dye my hair and I was very surprised by the responses.  It was a unanimous NO.  The main reason given being that if I did it would mean that I was too concerned about my appearance...  Hmmm.  I wasn't entirely sure how to take that one, I'm not a total scarecrow!  Apparently it was meant in a nice way and the kids like that (unlike Dad - heehee!) I'm not always preening and fussing in front of the mirror.  I asked if they thought it would make me look old, to which they replied "You are."  Nice.

I have enquired about doing something when I got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago (another emergency appointment after attempting to cut it myself again, I never learn), the lovely hairdresser had some helpful and reasonably priced suggestions, but I'm still not entirely sure I want to go down that route.

What do you do?  Any tips, sage advice, funny stories?


  1. I got my first grey hair at 18 years old although I don't have too many at 41 as luck would have it. The problem is that they are mostly in one clump at the back of my head and every time the wind ruffles my hair, you can see loads of thick wiry grey hairs wafting around. Not a good look so I get a semi permanent colour put in every 3-4 months although it gradually washes out after about 8 weeks so I'm back to square one again. If my grey hairs were more evenly spaced, I would be tempted to just not bother with the dye. I think you should just love them and leave them, so much easier and cheaper than regular trips to the salon. x

  2. I found my first grey hair at 15! By the time I was 30 it had gained a few friends - I then spent 10 years dyeing my hair on a regular basis - to start with just low/hi-lights and eventually a full head colour. Once I hit 40 I decided the battle was getting tougher - the re-growth quicker and the expense silly so I stopped colouring my hair. Over one winter I grew as much colour as possible out and once the weather warmed up had my hair cut into a short bob with only a bit of colour left on the ends.

    Now I think it looks better - less grey than I thought - a white streak at the front and actually very few grey hairs at the back!

    With hindsight - I'd never have bothered with colouring.

  3. I am a good deal older than you. I have grandchildren. I started going grey some years back but it was messy and unattractive, to say the least. I am not someone who pays a great deal of attention to how I look, make up goes on for very special occasions if I can be bothered. Neat and tidy. But my hair looked really terrible.

    Fortunately one of my daughters-in-law is a very good hairdresser. She does my hair regularly and I listen to her because that's her expertise. She suggested foils, a bit like your friend's article. My hair does look much better now. I regularly ask her if it's time to stop the subterfuge and go with whatever colour is now predominant. She still says no to that suggestion so I'll go with her knowledge. She also cuts my hair well. I do pay her, as much as she will accept, which is considerably less than a salon.

  4. Oh Sandra, this is the question on my lips right now too...and I'm only 34! Quite upset about the greys coming in I am. I think I take after my Dad as Mum didn't get greys until well into her fifties! Problem is, I have never dyed my hair, not once. So it's a big thing for me if I start. I'm also for the growing old gracefully adage...but in my mid thirties?? I'm not so sure. Just do whatever you feel the most comfortable with Sandra, it will good either way xo

  5. Sandra, my hair is very similar to yours, the brown bits and the not-so-brown bits around the temples. I'm not ready to concede defeat yet, and colour mine, not as often as I should, but still feel I'm making some effort to keep up appearances. It isn't hard to colour it yourself at home, as I often do in between hairdresser visits (thrice yearly if lucky). The decision though is entirely yours. I do love the advice offered by your kids.

  6. Thanks for all the advice! Still not sure, I kind of like the idea of some foils, but hate the idea of the upkeep. Will be sure to let you know if/when I do decide!

  7. For me personally, I will NEVER know how manys trays I have! I dye and I dye and dye! I am like my Dad - I have silver rather than dull grey so when one sneaks in it sparkles like tinsel on a christmas tree - i caught one sparkling through at a restaurant once and snuck of to the loo and used my mascara on it!

    You are a very pretty girl so it may work for you - I am a bit of made up tart so i wouldn't risk going grey! I think though girls with black hair always look interesting during the process, see how you feel further down the track, remember greys come in as wiry strands not soft silky strands like our natural colour. Could you cope with a head of half grey wiry locks?

  8. I dye mine and have done so for about 10 years (my mum and eldest brother are also prematurely grey). I'm now doing it every four weeks as my roots are very grey/white around my face. I dye it a lighter colour than it was when I was younger as apparently this looks more natural. I don't like having to do it but I dislike having grey hair even more. I always feel so much better once it's done. I just dye it myself, the kits these days are very good. Some of my friends recently were surprised when I "confessed" to dying my hair so it must look OK. I think the issue is that once you start it's difficult to stop, so wait till you're really not liking the grey before you do it. And remember, grey hair is better than nae hair!


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