Fashion Magazine

Why I Decided to Embrace My Grey Hair and Become a Silver Foxette

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

If you read Inside Out Style on a regular basis you may have noticed that I'm embracing my silver foxette. Back in 2014 I transitioned from brunette to blonde as I wasn't ready in my 40s to go grey. My kids also weren't ready. They would say to me when my light black roots started showing through "Dye your hair Mum, grey's for grannies". So I decided to go blonde (which I talked about the process in these posts) rather than embrace my grey as I was sick of having to dye my hair every 10 days as I was about 80% grey at the front of my head.

7 years later and I'm having another radical change ...

Will Going Grey Age Me?

So why the change? Have I actually become mentally ready to sport a hair colour that is associated with people much older than me? Like most people (well all those I've asked) I don't feel my age, I am still a much younger person inside. And so looking in the mirror I don't want to see a person who is much older than that inner me. I'm serious, I mean, most days I look at my kids who are 19 and 16 and think "Who do you belong to as I'm not old enough to have kids. Who put me in charge? I've got no idea what I'm doing".

Am I really ready to be a grey-haired crone (since I'm so not ready to be a granny yet!). I'm not sure just how much going grey will age me (that's really for others to decide).

To be honest, I'm not yet sure if I'm mentally ready to embrace my grey fully! But I figure that if I decide after I've given myself some time to adjust and I don't like it, I can always dye it again (it took me a year to get used to being blonde after having had black or dark-brown hair the rest of my life), it's going to take me some time to adjust to being grey (or light black as my son called it when he was a little boy who didn't know the word for grey).

I've always looked younger than my years (thanks to sunscreen and some good genetics) and so I like that people normally think I'm 10 or more years younger than I am. Going grey may change that. Nobody will ever think I'm under 50 (or 40) again as grey hair is a sign of wisdom (hahahaha).

Why is Everyone Going Grey?

Why now? Well, let's just say two words ... Covid Lockdown.

Here in Melbourne we went into lockdown in March 2020, came out for a brief few weeks in June 2020 when I had my roots dyed back to blonde the first few days of getting out of that lockdown and then went back into a very strict lockdown that lasted 4 months, and because of the general rush back to the hairdresser, I couldn't get into mine for another month, meaning I had 5 months of regrowth.

It was during that last month waiting for my hair appointment that I started thinking "what if I did embrace my grey?" I'd already done a whole lot of the hard yards as far as growing out the blonde. So when I went for my appointment I told them I wanted to dye my hair grey to match my roots instead of the usual root touch up.

My husband is totally on board with the process and has no issues with me going grey. That he met me as a brunette and then married a blonde, he's good with the changes.

How to Go Grey - the Process

From there we tried a few different things.

First, they dyed ashy grey over my blonde to match my roots, which looked great to start with by my hair didn't want to keep that colour and so it washed out within about 3 weeks. We also chopped off a few inches and I went to a much shorter bob hairstyle.

Then we tried bleaching out some of the blonde so it wasn't so yellow, then dying over the bleached with grey again. Which was better, but my hair was already a bit fried from being blonde already so it started breaking.

Finally, I decided to do a major cut to remove most of the blonde and leave only a bit of the old dyed hair and then we just put a toner over the small amount of blonde that is left and within about 3 cuts I will have no more of the old blonde left in my hair (like in one more haircut, my hair will be all my natural colour). Anthony (of Anthony Nitson Hair) was keen to give me my cut and to do something completely new. I took in a few ideas photos and he jumped straight on board with some additional ideas for a new style.

In this video I talk about my grey hair transition. Watch it now.

What colour will I end up with? I'm not yet 100% sure as the toner is darker than some of my hair so until we stop toning it to blend out any blonde that's left I won't know.

Have My Colours Changed and Do I Need Different Makeup Colours When Going Grey?

One question I've been asked a few times since the change is has my colour palette changed?

The answer is, until it's all my own hair colour I'm not going to worry about it. I will still be cool, and light (though you may notice that my hair has more depth at the back than the front, which is common as you tend to go grey from the front to the back.

I've already been moving from my Refined palette (cool, light and clear) to my Sublime palette (Cool, light and softer) and given that I have shiny skin that tends to reflect lots of light and gives me the illusion of some brightness, I'm thinking that I won't yet be moving to Serene (cool, light and smoky).

Will I need to change my makeup colours too because of my new grey hair? Again, this relates to my colour palette and if I need to soften my colours down at all I tend to wear softer makeup colours anyway rather than really bright colours most of the time, so I can't see that changing particularly!

Though the one thing I have changed colour with in my makeup routine, is my eyebrow pencil colour. I now use a smoky grey rather than a taupe/blonde eyebrow pencil as it tones so much better with my new hair colour.

I will keep you informed when I do reassess my colours.

It's Changing My Value, Value Contrast and Colour Contrast

Because my hair now has more depth to it, it's making my value a little darker again (more medium-light instead of light-light of my platinum blonde). Because the front is still very light (it's now about 90% grey) I still need light colours overall. I just can wear more medium colours more easily and because my hair is now multi-tonal rather than being one-dimensional in colour, patterns are something I'm enjoying bringing more of into my outfits.

One thing I've noticed is that when hair is very neutral (in the way that grey is very neutral), skin tends to become a coloured element, rather than a more neutral one, so this gives me more colour contrast with my pinkish skin and blue eyes, allowing for more colour contrast (particularly if I've also added lipstick in a pink or red).

Thinking About Embracing Your Grey Hair?

These days there are heaps of inspirational photos and stories of women embracing grey hair. In fact, grey is a bit of a trend colour at the moment (long may it last). One of my favourite hairdresser Instagrammers who does heaps of grey hair transitions is Jack Martin.

Be warned that there may be a longish time period of growing out. Even with new dyes, if your hair is like mine and just doesn't want to hold onto the grey dye, you might need to go for the radical chop or just accept there will be a demarcation between your old dye colour and the new grey growing in.

Get more ideas and inspiration for your own hair - whether or not you want to go grey or just decide on the best colour and cut for you with my Hair and Makeup Masterclass which is packed full of inspiration and information.

Why I Decided to Embrace My Grey Hair and Become a Silver Foxette

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