We recently bumped into the lovely Jo, who completed her transition to grey late last year. She told us her story which involves hats, a new partner and not-so-supportive colleagues.
However, what was really interesting to us was the fact that Jo had consulted with lots of female hairdressers about transitioning to grey, all of whom had advised her to go blonde rather than grey, and it was a male hairdresser who eventually gave her the confidence to take the plunge. We are sure there are plenty of female hairdressers out there supporting their clients through the transition, but it did make us wonder if, because men are more confident per se about becoming silver foxes, male hairdressers can be more supportive about women embracing their grey.
Read Jo’s story here - and if you had a supportive hairdresser for your change to grey, please tell us all about them.
A natural brunette, I’d been going grey since my early twenties, but it was in 2006 (when I was 39) that the grey started to come through thick and fast. My then hairdresser advised me to go blonder to help blend the grey, but as a keen gardener, I found it difficult to manage due to all of the hours spent out in the garden - within a couple of weeks my hair would look ‘brassy’ and over time the bleach ruined the condition. It felt like cotton wool.
But at that time I didn’t feel ready to embrace grey, associating it purely with age - I would think: ‘I’m not even 50 yet’. However, as time went on, I came round to the idea of grey locks. I was, in part, inspired by my mother who had gone grey and received loads of compliments. Knowing that we are like peas in a pod, I supposed that if it worked for mum it could work for me too. Before taking the plunge, I asked various different hairdressers for advice. All female, each of these hairdressers told me to stick with the blonde. Whilst they would suggest different tones of blonde, none were pro-grey.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2015 when I eventually ended up at a hairdresser with male stylists. Although I originally asked for a female stylist, due to the times of appointments available, I ended up with one of the men, and he immediately advised me to embrace my grey; he was so positive about it that it gave me the confidence to give it a go.
During the transition, I went ‘cold turkey’, something which I managed by wearing a hat a lot of the time. It worked for me - I suit a hat and in the winter I work as a florist (which can be very cold) and so a hat was a necessity, not just a fashion statement. I describe my hair as ‘bed-head hair’, so I used this to my advantage by curling and pinning it. I found that by mussing it up, I could hide the ‘stripe’ that was appearing.
Despite finding these ways to manage my journey to grey, I have to confess that the whole process made me feel a bit drab. I remember constantly asking my hairdresser, Andrew, “When will it be OK?” In total, transitioning took almost two years, so I was fully grey just before I hit 50. As a 50th treat to myself I added a pink tone to my new grey hair, which I love for a bit of difference, but won’t keep forever.
Divorced four years ago, I have met a new partner since embracing my grey and he loves it. I’ve found that most people do, although I have one outspoken colleague who keeps asking me when I’m going to dye it blonde again!
Since turning grey, I’ve found myself changing up my clothing and makeup to better complement my hair. Now I opt for more grey eyeliner, fewer black clothes and more sparkle!
Hats off to Jo for sharing her transition story - we’d love to hear yours too. Feel free to post your experience here, or send your story to [email protected].