We don't all look and feel beautiful when we turn grey...
Some women embrace and enjoy the freedom of grey hair and enjoy the process...
Some women sail through the transition without even thinking about it...
Some are evangelical about going grey...
Some women find it traumatic...
Got the facts? Then you can look at the options below. There is no RIGHT WAY to manage your hair through color change - and don't let anyone tell you what to do. Just do what feels best for YOU!
Some of you have been kind enough to send photographs of your transition, how you've coped and how it's made you feel (see below). Like to send a photo and tell us about your journey, happy or not? Contact me...
For most of us going grey is inevitable...
Like it or not we all age and, for most of us, going grey is inevitable at some stage.
Hair changes color with the gradual reduction of melanin production; some hairs retain color while others turn white. The overall effect is what we call 'grey' and no two heads react in exactly the same way.
The age at which this happens is 'usually' influenced by your genetic makeup but, as we know, there can be medical or stress issues that dramatically bring forward the process of going grey.
How each of us deals with this change in appearance is a personal decision - whether you choose to embrace your new look or fight it.
Can I tell what color my hair will be?
I used to think that if you belonged to a certain Color Family then you would automatically turn a certain shade of grey or white. However, because each of us have natural colorings with so many variations, it stands to reason that there is no guarantee that your hair will do what is expected of it. But we can generalize.
Blondes have less color pigment in their hair initially and are more likely to develop a head of white hair while the darkest hair shades will develop into a deep and attractive shade of steel grey.
Warm coloring will usually retain a 'golden glow' for some time before it settles into a streaky grey, and lighter Cool coloring will usually turn a delightful shade of silver.
All of these changes are relevant to the skin tone although everyone's version of 'going grey' will vary.
Does going grey impact on your Color Family?
As hair loses pigment so too can skin tone, but it will not change your genetic makeup. In some cases skin will appear a little cooler and lighter in tone; your eyes may soften in later life but neither of these are a foregone conclusion. In either cases your genetic makeup does not change.
Take a look at Jamie Lee Curtis with her Cool coloring which is just as vital even though her hair has turned grey. She looks just as good in her COOL color palette.
And actress Denise Black with Warm coloring wears her colors just as well as ever. With a Warm undertone to your hair you will probably retain something of a golden look with a warmer grey.
There is no genetic change...
To confirm this fact I've consulted The Tech Museum of Innovation (Genetics) attached
to Stanford University and the answer I received reads:
"...the stem cells that turn into
the cells that make the pigments that give our hair its unique color
die off as we get older. Gray is the absence of the color".
I investigated further...
color comes from a protein called melanin. The cells in the hair
follicles that make melanin are called melanocytes. There are two kinds
of melanin. Eumelanin colors hair brown to black
and pheomelanin colors hair yellow-blond to red. The amounts of
eumelanin and pheomelanin produced by your melanocytes determine your
If you're a brunette, you have lots of eumelanin, a redhead, lots of
pheomelanin. And when your hair turns gray, you've stopped making
So although the eumelanin and the
pheomelanin may stop being produced at a different rate on different
people, there is essentially no genetic change. But...
there are a few things to consider...
Your original colors may feel over-powering and you
may need to adjust your makeup slightly.
You may look and feel more comfortable if you soften the colors you wear close to your face.
some cases grey or white hair will brighten your look and you might want to strengthen your makeup.
If you've never completely understood your color direction or have been wrongly determined at some point, then transitioning into grey hair may have highlighted a problem.
I certainly don't subscribe to an idea I've seen recently from America, that your Color
Palette is entirely dependent on hair color. That's absolute madness,
completely disregards eye color and skin tone and would mean that
everyone with grey hair should wear the same colors!
If you've been happy with your
colors up until now there is absolutely no reason to change unless you
want to. If you feel happier introducing new colors, softer or
brighter, go with what makes you feel good - exactly the same as
Jamie Lee Curtis (above left) with Cool coloring has transitioned into a deep steel grey and is as vivacious as ever.
Joely Richardson (second from right) has the same delightful coloring as did her mother Vanessa Redgrave. Even though her hair has turned to a soft white Vanessa still instinctively gravitates towards a warm orange to complement her warm coloring.
And if you've never had Color Analysis then this may be the time to ask for help and treat yourself.
At the first sign of grey...
At the first sign of grey it's easy to panic and reach for the hair colorant. If you can hold off until you've done a bit of thinking on the matter, you'll save yourself a lot of problems.
Some hairdressers may try to persuade you to color so talk and think it through carefully before agreeing - but a good hairdresser will help you through the various options.
Taking care of your hair now is the most vital factor. Retain the moisture with good products , use a quality brush so as not to stretch the hair and restrict the amount of heat you apply.
You need products that care...
A good haircut, extra care with grooming and makeup will help you to feel good about yourself.
Regular conditioning is now vital because greying hair becomes porous and much more coarse.
If you want color, go for a good cut and try a colored mousse (see right) or toner to tide you over the initial few weeks.
Semi permanent color can give a rich shiny color but will fade and wash out completely in 6 - 12 washes.
permanent hair colorant will last almost twice as long as
semi-permanent. It uses a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide
to open up the hair cuticle and inject more color. It will cover grey
initially but you will need to apply more and more often. Color will
fade between applications.
permanent hair colors contain ammonia which opens up the hair cuticle
to allow the color to penetrate. Permanent hair color means that regular
touch-ups are necessary both for regrowth and for any fading. As soon
as regrowth is visible there is a harsh line of color.
or lowlights could be added to blend in any silver or grey hairs and
visible root growth will be minimal. If hair is a blend of colors it
adds softness, fullness and movement.
hair color probably causes the most problems and causes you to 'lose
your way'. A silver shampoo or toner can be very useful in helping to
blend and tone down any brassiness.
Like to share your 'going grey' story?
All of these Real Women Going Grey are visitors to the website and have kindly shared stories of their transition into grey. Would you like to share your story with us too? It's so helpful to others...