Going grey: to colour or not to colour - that is the question

Between the ages of 16 and 21, my hair was rarely its natural colour - I loved haircolours of Yore.(Read about adventures with Body Shop henna, and Clairol Glints) – every few months, there I'd be in the bathroom wearing a manky old t-shirt with stained shoulders, coating my very thick hair in some foul-smelling goop in an attempt to change it from plain brown to slightly darker or slightly chestnut brown. But by the time I finished college, I'd become quite fond of that natural, very ordinary dark brown. And besides, my hair was still so thick  - even with the advances of hair thinning techniques in the late '90s - that it simply took too long to colour it all properly.

So for over a decade I left my hair to its own devices, colour-wise. But a few years ago, something changed. The odd silvery strand in my hair stopped being a strange novelty. Suddenly, there were quite a lot of them. And they were visible. When I went to get my hair cut (Zara at Queen on Aungier Street, strongly recommended), she would lift up my hair and I would notice that an alarming amount of the lower layers were showing scary amounts of silver.I thought of dying it, of course, but a part of me wanted to put off the dye for as long as possible. I knew once I started, it would be very hard to go back. And I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my natural hair colour forever. Not just yet.

But after a while, it wasn't just the lower layers. The grey hairs were appearing on the top of my head, in horrid wirey silver strands. And I hated it. I am, or at least I always had been, a firm advocate of aging gracefully and accepting that you just can't look the same way you looked at 20 when you're 40. But that was all much easier until my hair started going grey. I've always looked young for my age, and when it comes to my face I still kind of do. But my hair...well, my hair was starting to look middle aged. And, to my shame, I really didn't like it. At last, my hatred of the grey was stronger than my fear of forgetting my natural hair colour or getting a terrible dye job that would accidentally turn my hair aubergine.


So what to do next? I thought of dying it myself, of course. But the thing is, as I said, my hair is ludicrously thick, and there's a lot of it, and dying it would be a hideous and probably streaky job. So eventually I bit the bullet and got an appointment with the colourist at my regular salon. She knew that I didn't want anything hugely high maintenance, anything that would demand constant touching up and very visible roots. So she gave me a really good posh vegetable dye that covered the grey and gradually faded over the next few weeks. And I loved it - I instantly felt better about my hair. Those silvery strands no longer annoyed me in the mirror every morning.

Of course, because I was lazy, and also because getting your hair dyed professionally isn't cheap, that was several months ago, so I'm well overdue another treatment. But I know every time I get it dyed, the grey will have crept in even further by the time the dye fades away. (Read six great tips for keeping home hair colour vibrant) I wonder when, if ever, I'll have the courage to let it all grow out. I'd like to think when I'm older I'll have the courage of my convictions and rock my naturally silver locks. But not just yet.

So what about you? If you have any grey locks, did you accept them gracefully (read this for more on going grey "gracefully" ) or, if you decided to cover up, did you get someone else to do it or go the DIY route? And if you went for the latter, what products would you recommend?

Related Articles

More from Beauty