Not Going Grey Gracefully Part 2


not going grey

Today I spent the day atthe hairdressers, moving my now warm orange/brown/blonde hair to a cooler ash/pearl blonde (See Not Going Grey Gracefully Part 1 if you missed the first part of my hair colour change journey).

not going grey gracefully 2

Firstly my hair was stripped of the remaining colour and we managed to remove more of the brown that was still at the ends of my hair.  Then I had a bleach bath which removed as much as possible of the orange before we chose two shades of blonde to dye my hair.  You will notice in the pics below that with the orange hair, you see my hair before my face.  With the ash blonde you see my eyes and face first (which is the ideal result!)

EYes not hair


We selected a 7.1 (Medium Ash Blonde) and then Karleigh my hairdresser at Anthony Nitson Hair mixed an 8 1/2 Pearl Blonde for the highlights.    We did this mix so that I will hopefully get 8 weeks before I have to redye when my roots come through (rather than the 2 weekly dye job I was having to do when I was a brunette). The minute that my new colour was exposed, I noticed that you see my face first again, rather than the hair (which is ideal, unlike in the pic above with the orange hair, you see hair before face) and the apprentice who was drying my hair said that my skin colour had completely changed from looking washed out and pale with the warm hair colour, to looking much more olive and healthy with my new blonde!

Now I will discover if blondes really do have more fun!

Read part 3 of my journey from deep brunette to cool blonde and how it has also changed my wardrobe choices.

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  • You look great! Do you still have that moment of surprise when you walk past a mirror? I always have that when I change my hair dramatically. 😉

    Does the new hair colour affect your clothing choices? Your color looks much softer now and I wonder whether that puts you into a different color season?

    • Julia – yes I’ve changed colour groups – gone lighter – but still the same intensity. My clothes now all look too dark! I get surprised every time I see it – though I”m sure in 3 weeks I’ll be used to it.

  • This really looks fantastic Imogen, yes you do notice your eyes first! My mother was this colour quite naturally with pale blue eyes and as she aged the grey hardly showed. I have a Finnish inlaw as well who has this combo and the same is happening with her (both much older than you!) so know it will work long term.It will be so much easier to maintain and looks brilliant too!

  • That is amazing, Imogen! Whilst I think it makes you look younger, and I agree, you DO notice your eyes first, I think it will be a while to become used to it! What do your children think, and, do you need to change much in the colours of your wardrobe? I could hardly wait to see the transformation! I have found it extremely interesting and it is brave of you to show us the procedures! I can see why you would change, does this mean you will now have some more lovely photos taken for your header? Does this mean that you have changed from a winter to a summer? Will you share how your colours have changed with I’d (if they have, of course) ? sorry to ask so many questions , but, it is so interesting!

    • MaryAnn – my kids aren’t in love with it yet, but I think it’s because they’re not used to it. I will have to have more photos taken (unless I can photoshop my new head onto the old body!

      I’ve changed from a dark group to a light one – brighter than a traditional summer though – basically a light version of my winter colours – summer is traditionally more muted, and I draped myself today and the softer colours just wash me out. I’m sure to be doing more posts!

  • I love it too! It’s striking how much better the ash blonde is than the orange! A great illustration of how important the colour of your hair is! Since your colouring is more low-contrast now, I’m wondering if you’re going ti make other changes too, with regard to make-up, clothes etc?

    • Yes, changes are coming with contrast and colours – my wardrobe currently looks all too dark! The patterns I have are too high contrast! It’s a learning experience for me!

  • Looks fantastic Imogen! I only wish my hairdressers here were able to understand the “ash” part when I ask them about foils! They only seem to hear “brass”. I was expecting you to be much blonder than this, but I really love this combination of colours on you!!

    • Anna – I’d be looking for another hairdresser -one who listens to you! So many think they have to warm everyone up, but as you can see on me, Ash looks so much better than brassy – maybe print out the pics here and take them in and show them!

      • Looks amazing, Imogen!! I’ve given up on colour for now. I don’t need it to cover grey, so sticking with my natural colour for now, which works, in all it’s coolness!

  • Your hair looks fantastic I love it ,your eyes really do shine out now,lovely.I am glad you’re gone for ash shades I think they match grey roots better i know my hairdresser uses 3 colours on my roots.Imogen you must be so pleased with the transformation .

    • Lisa – yes I’m really happy with the result, and it will only get better as the old hair is cut off! Karleigh did a fabulous job with the colour so that it looks natural.

  • Wow! You look spectacular, absolutely gorgeous! Your eyes and smile are more vivid than ever, if that’s even possible. I imagine it will take some time to mentally adjust from being a raven brunette to a fair blonde, and I hope you have fun with trying on this new expression of you.

  • You look so fantastic Imogen! I’d never have dreamed you could go from dark brunette to this ash blonde and still look so great. My haircut is much like in your before photo, just longer now. However, it is fine and thin so getting longer is looking bad. I don’t like bangs on myself because my forehead is oily and I wear glasses. So my question for you is this: with your new cut I see that you have bangs but off to the side completely, do they stay out/off of your face? And what is the texture/thickness of your hair? I’m really trying to find a new do for myself and I would love to copy yours! Simply beautiful!

    • NEver wear the fringe on my face. I’ve only really got it as we were cutting out as much of the dark hair as possible. They are only slight so stay off pretty easily (and I have 2 cowlicks to help that happen). My hair is fine, but I have quite a lot of it. It’s slightly kinky, not super straight nor curly.

  • What a difference. I have to say that I really didn’t like the warm tones on you and thought you would need to go back to the dark brown hair color to look great but this blonde tone looks well on you.
    The cut shows off all the tone variations beautifully. How has your makeup and clothing colors changed?

    • Rebecca – yes the warm tones were terrible so I’m really glad that it’s turned out this well. I’m now experimenting with makeup and clothes to see what is working with the new me!

  • Imogen you look fantastic! (I felt the darker color was a tad harsh for you.) This softer color is very becoming and indeed does draw attention first to your lovely eyes. I agree that you do look younger.
    Thank you for showing us your journey. You pave the way for others who need a dose of courage.

  • NOOOOOO!!!!! You look so beautiful that now I’m doubting my own decision of three years ago to embrace the gray and quit fussing with color. I like both the ease and look of my “silver highlights in medium ash brown,” and it took 15 months to grow out the color originally; but I am worrying that my choice isn’t as flattering as investing in good color might be. You’ve given me much to consider! Please keep us updated on the pros and cons of upkeep as you learn more from this new look.

    • Sara – I’m just not ready to go grey yet! It’s an interesting experience. At the moment I”m experimenting with my clothes and makeup as changing my hair is changing what suits me.

  • Wow Imogen, you look fantastic, I think you look younger now, not that i thought you looked old in the before shots. I too will be interested in how this new colouring will change your dress colours and makeup, if it does at. Thank you for sharing this process of your colour change with us.

  • You look amazing. The new color frames your face so well. I just talked one of my friends into doing the same thing, she had been dying her hair according to her,”her real color” which was too harsh and too dark.

    I have a style question for you. I have been taking medication that has turned me into an apple shape. My waist was 29 inches and now is 34! Anyway, I decided that I need a new look, so I have been checking out Lagenlook (yeah, I am totally behind fashionwise) but I know that there is a fine line between looking artsy and elegant and being mistaken for an eccentric bag lady.Also I am 59 years old, so I am shying away from the Magnolia Pearl type look of Lagenlook.

    I was a large busted A shape before, I am petite and short waisted, with the exception of my tummy not particularly heavy. I am thinking mostly tunics and leggings. The other thing I like are waterfall vests and since I live in a hot and humid climate I seldom wear jackets or sweaters (winter is pretty much over for the year). What do you suggest as a foundation wardrobe to pull this look off?


  • Looks really good and much better than the Helen Mirren colours. (She is, after all, a little older than you.)
    The grey regrowth will show a bit but not nearly as much as before with your darker colour. I have the same colours and as previously mentioned I get by easily with a Roux touch-up stick in between hair appointments. (The touch-up sticks can be hard to fine but Priceline stock them sometimes in some colours, Price Attack often stock a much better range of colours and Amazon sell them online, together with another touch-up product I’ve just started using called “cover gray”.)
    Your hairdresser is fantastic and the best thing is that your hair looks as if it is in very good condition.

    • Michaela – we discovered that I have dark patches in my roots – some is very white, other bits are still dark, so had to also go a slightly darker blonde than we originally thought so that when my roots come through they won’t be as obvious. I had used dark brown touch up sticks in the past! In about 10 years I expect to be as blonde as Helen Mirren when my hair is compeletly white!

  • You always look great, but I love this color and cut on you! Really softening feel to the look and you look sportier, I think. What fun!

  • Hi Imogen

    Your hair looks beautiful and it certainly does bring more focus to your face. I think its wonderful that you have opted for change and are sharing your journey with us. I’ll enjoy reading about your clothing/styling changes in the future. Sorta like starting all over again!

  • I couldn’t picture you as a blond and thought your dark hair suited you well. But now – what a gorgeous look! Your blue eyes really stand out – and I think the shorter length does something good as well. Enjoy your lovely new look!

  • This is really impressive, congratulations Imogen! I am also a dark brunette with white patches on the increase. In a few years, I’ll probably have to take the same “jump”. What concerns me is that as a warm-toned gal I think I’ll look hideous in any kind of blonde or grey hair colour 🙁

  • Hi I have been a fan of your website for a few years. I never was a fan of the black on you (sorry). Your new colour looks sooo much better and really suits you. xx

  • My hair is as dark as yours was and I have been having the same issues with roots. You looked beautiful before, but I think you look even younger now. Your an inspiration! Thanks for sharing. I think I’ll do something very similar.

  • I am taking inspiration from your lovely blonde hair. I am also a darkest brunette and having to dye every 2 weeks. I have tried going grey for 2 months ( over an inch of white/grey) but it is not for me…feeling so old! Have booked a hair appointment on friday to move towards blonde.

  • I have my hair turn oriel.The result was your orange 🙁
    Your used 7.1 and 81/2 mixture of recovering from orange to my hair? Which brand of mixture sheet paints? (Every brand is different in the paint)

    • I went to a hairdresser and had them choose the hair dye to ensure that I am not orange – I would suggest that you go to a good hairdresser and ask them for help.

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