I know a lot of people have gone grey in the recent months and I too am embracing my own (trying it out for a test run to see how I like it) since we had been in lockdown with hairdressers closed for over 4 months and not being able to get in to see the hairdresser for another 3 weeks after that!
Ageing softens out colours – so rather than the bright colours of youth, we gently soften down as your hair, skin and eyes lose pigment. Both warm and cool people go grey but they tend to grey in slightly different ways. Here are a couple of videos that I made with Jill Chivers talking about how colour changes with age.
Finding Your New (or Older?) Best Neutrals
Now if you totally embrace the grey, you will most likely transition palettes. This can mean that your wardrobe of clothes are in colours are no longer as flattering. When I had brown hair, brown clothes that worked really well with my hair so those darker browns and black featured as neutrals in my wardrobe. I barely wear the deep, rich browns now because there’s no brown in my colouring anymore to create harmony. I’ve replaced these browns and blacks with white and light grey, but I got to keep a lot of my colours. adjust your wardrobe for your new grey hair
Start replacing items using your new best neutrals – these are the workhorses of most wardrobes! Make them great ones and they’ll carry you through. The neutrals you choose ideally want to work with the vast majority of the colours you wear. Aligning your choice of wardrobe neutral related to your hair colour or the highlights your hair contains is an excellent strategy as you are always wearing your hair.
How to Pick the Undertone of Grey
There are few ways of making grey. The easiest way is to combine black and white. You could also combine lots of colours til you get a grey or adding a tiny bit of colour to a grey, to take it away from being that cool grey made by black and white.
This muddled up mix of colours is the reason it can be so hard to mix shades of grey together, as depending on how it’s made, it may be a green-based, blue-based, violet-based or brown-based grey.
If you have been warm, you most likely will grey in a warm manner, and suit brown and green based shades of grey. A brownish grey is often described as taupe. But that said, some people as they age change from warm to cool colouring, particularly as they go grey, they lose those warm pigments in their skin and hair and swap to the cool side of the undertone continuum.
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If you are cool, you will grey in a cool manner to a silver colour. Silver, blue and violet based shades of greys are best for those who have a cool undertone. As grey is basically a cool colour, if you have a cool undertone, you can wear most shades of grey.
If you’ve had a personal colour analysis (such as the one you get in my 7 Steps to Style program) you’ll get a palette of great colours, inside this will be a range of great neutrals. The colour palettes are a great tool to help you when you go shopping to identify the shades of greys are you really looking. This ensures that the colours you incorporate into your wardrobe are actually going to be flattering and harmonious with you and your colouring.
My Journey from Blonde to Grey
So I’ve decided to embrace my grey – see if I like it (or not) given that I’ve grown out long grey roots in lockdown.
Here are my roots – after 5 months in lockdown – with no hairdressers open. Lots of nice grey roots.
I decided to check out my “grey percentages” with this great tool that’s in the hair colour chart I use in personal colour analysis with my clients.
You can see that I’m 90% grey at the front of my head and around 60-70% grey at the back.
I asked my hairdresser to just dye the ends to match my roots, rather than dye my roots away.
The hairdresser used a combination of Ash and Iridescent tints to add that cool smoky colour (in her language double 1 and double 2). The blue and the violet combat and neutralise the orange and yellow tones pigments in blonde hair.
And here is the result – It sill looks blonde as the yellow pigments that are underneath are still showing through so stop it from looking as grey as it will down the track.
I’m liking it now – and I figure that if I stop liking it, I can always dye it back to blonde.