If you read Inside Out Style on a regular basis you may have noticed that I’m embracing my silver foxette. Back in 2014 I transitioned from brunette to blonde as I wasn’t ready in my 40s to go grey. My kids also weren’t ready. They would say to me when my light black roots started showing through “Dye your hair Mum, grey’s for grannies”. So I decided to go blonde (which I talked about the process in these posts) rather than embrace my grey as I was sick of having to dye my hair every 10 days as I was about 80% grey at the front of my head.
7 years later and I’m having another radical change …
Will Going Grey Age Me?
So why the change? Have I actually become mentally ready to sport a hair colour that is associated with people much older than me? Like most people (well all those I’ve asked) I don’t feel my age, I am still a much younger person inside. And so looking in the mirror I don’t want to see a person who is much older than that inner me. I’m serious, I mean, most days I look at my kids who are 19 and 16 and think “Who do you belong to as I’m not old enough to have kids. Who put me in charge? I’ve got no idea what I’m doing”.
Am I really ready to be a grey-haired crone (since I’m so not ready to be a granny yet!). I’m not sure just how much going grey will age me (that’s really for others to decide).
To be honest, I’m not yet sure if I’m mentally ready to embrace my grey fully! But I figure that if I decide after I’ve given myself some time to adjust and I don’t like it, I can always dye it again (it took me a year to get used to being blonde after having had black or dark-brown hair the rest of my life), it’s going to take me some time to adjust to being grey (or light black as my son called it when he was a little boy who didn’t know the word for grey).
I’ve always looked younger than my years (thanks to sunscreen and some good genetics) and so I like that people normally think I’m 10 or more years younger than I am. Going grey may change that. Nobody will ever think I’m under 50 (or 40) again as grey hair is a sign of wisdom (hahahaha).
Why is Everyone Going Grey?
Why now? Well, let’s just say two words … Covid Lockdown.
Here in Melbourne we went into lockdown in March 2020, came out for a brief few weeks in June 2020 when I had my roots dyed back to blonde the first few days of getting out of that lockdown and then went back into a very strict lockdown that lasted 4 months, and because of the general rush back to the hairdresser, I couldn’t get into mine for another month, meaning I had 5 months of regrowth.
It was during that last month waiting for my hair appointment that I started thinking “what if I did embrace my grey?” I’d already done a whole lot of the hard yards as far as growing out the blonde. So when I went for my appointment I told them I wanted to dye my hair grey to match my roots instead of the usual root touch up.
My husband is totally on board with the process and has no issues with me going grey. That he met me as a brunette and then married a blonde, he’s good with the changes.
How to Go Grey – the Process
From there we tried a few different things.
First, they dyed ashy grey over my blonde to match my roots, which looked great to start with by my hair didn’t want to keep that colour and so it washed out within about 3 weeks. We also chopped off a few inches and I went to a much shorter bob hairstyle.
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Then we tried bleaching out some of the blonde so it wasn’t so yellow, then dying over the bleached with grey again. Which was better, but my hair was already a bit fried from being blonde already so it started breaking.
Finally, I decided to do a major cut to remove most of the blonde and leave only a bit of the old dyed hair and then we just put a toner over the small amount of blonde that is left and within about 3 cuts I will have no more of the old blonde left in my hair (like in one more haircut, my hair will be all my natural colour). Anthony (of Anthony Nitson Hair) was keen to give me my cut and to do something completely new. I took in a few ideas photos and he jumped straight on board with some additional ideas for a new style.
In this video I talk about my grey hair transition. Watch it now.
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What colour will I end up with? I’m not yet 100% sure as the toner is darker than some of my hair so until we stop toning it to blend out any blonde that’s left I won’t know.
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Have My Colours Changed and Do I Need Different Makeup Colours When Going Grey?
One question I’ve been asked a few times since the change is has my colour palette changed?
The answer is, until it’s all my own hair colour I’m not going to worry about it. I will still be cool, and light (though you may notice that my hair has more depth at the back than the front, which is common as you tend to go grey from the front to the back.
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I’ve already been moving from my Refined palette (cool, light and clear) to my Sublime palette (Cool, light and softer) and given that I have shiny skin that tends to reflect lots of light and gives me the illusion of some brightness, I’m thinking that I won’t yet be moving to Serene (cool, light and smoky).
Will I need to change my makeup colours too because of my new grey hair? Again, this relates to my colour palette and if I need to soften my colours down at all I tend to wear softer makeup colours anyway rather than really bright colours most of the time, so I can’t see that changing particularly!
Though the one thing I have changed colour with in my makeup routine, is my eyebrow pencil colour. I now use a smoky grey rather than a taupe/blonde eyebrow pencil as it tones so much better with my new hair colour.
I will keep you informed when I do reassess my colours.
It’s Changing My Value, Value Contrast and Colour Contrast
Because my hair now has more depth to it, it’s making my value a little darker again (more medium-light instead of light-light of my platinum blonde). Because the front is still very light (it’s now about 90% grey) I still need light colours overall. I just can wear more medium colours more easily and because my hair is now multi-tonal rather than being one-dimensional in colour, patterns are something I’m enjoying bringing more of into my outfits.
One thing I’ve noticed is that when hair is very neutral (in the way that grey is very neutral), skin tends to become a coloured element, rather than a more neutral one, so this gives me more colour contrast with my pinkish skin and blue eyes, allowing for more colour contrast (particularly if I’ve also added lipstick in a pink or red).
Thinking About Embracing Your Grey Hair?
These days there are heaps of inspirational photos and stories of women embracing grey hair. In fact, grey is a bit of a trend colour at the moment (long may it last). One of my favourite hairdresser Instagrammers who does heaps of grey hair transitions is Jack Martin.
Be warned that there may be a longish time period of growing out. Even with new dyes, if your hair is like mine and just doesn’t want to hold onto the grey dye, you might need to go for the radical chop or just accept there will be a demarcation between your old dye colour and the new grey growing in.
Get more ideas and inspiration for your own hair – whether or not you want to go grey or just decide on the best colour and cut for you with my Hair and Makeup Masterclass which is packed full of inspiration and information.
On the same journey – My hair was dark, then I dyed it dark from my 30’s, and in my 50’s went blonde for about 8 years and loved it. In Melbourne too I let it grow out during Covid and just had my last hair cut to clear out the rest of the blonde. It is galagye like, grayer at the front and top. I don’t think it makes me look older though people have been standing up for me on the tram! I am giving it another few months to see if I want to keep it.
You look so beautiful, Imogen!! Love, love, love your edgy style! My haircut appointment is today, last of the tint I hope, then on to new colors 👏🏻👏🏻 As always, you are my inspiration.
your faithful fan,
I’ve been considering the same, and this is very inspirational. Just gorgeous!
Just to say that your new look is fabulous!
I love the new style & colour. You look vibrant.
I don’t think grey alone ages us. People do a rough estimate based on clothing, body type & the way we move & the way we feel on the day.
Now fully transitioned to grey I’ve finally been able to confidently choose both clothing colours and makeup. Whilst there’s frustration waiting for the final look, it’s hands down worth it. All my historic poor colour choices were most definitely due to a false hair colour (nature really does know best). You look sensational!
Yes your natural hair colour will always suit you – you just have to love it too! Sadly too many people dye their hair to the wrong undertone colour which is really unflattering.
I think that you look fabulous in your new gray color! I think that the amount of contrast that it gives you is wonderful on you. I actually prefer it to both your original dark hair and you blond look. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your progress. Thanks for sharing.
I have been grey in the front since my late 20s due to a combination of genes and health, and I have up dyeing my hair shortly after I became pregnant with my second child at 21. Because I still have very young-looking face, I find I don’t get mistaken for being older, some people even assume that I dye my hair grey. I have found, in the decade that I have been grey, I have to adjust my wardrobe every few years as my hair became slowly more grey. I could wear black very easily in my early 30s, but I find that I prefer to wear dark grey or black + colour now as there is more grey up front.
I think your hair looks amazing, Imogen, and I don’t think you should go back. Aside from the time and money saved by not dyeing your hair, I think it is freeing to accept your natural hair and find clothing and make-up that works with it.
Oops, pregnant with my second child at 31. I must proofread these comments.
I like grey better than blonde and the cut is very flattering.
I turned 40 last year and noticed first grey hairs emerging… I’m fine with transitioning from Dramatic to Elegant palette. I love black and I anticipate giving up black would be painful.
It’s only painful if you aren’t noticing that the black has stopped being so flattering! Once you see that it becomes easier – the hard thing is that so many clothes only come in black – that annoys me -I wish more manufacturers made their clothes in a wider variety of neutrals!
Not being able to wear black is painful to me exactly because it wouldn’t be flattering any more. I love black and wear it often, it’s like knowing a dear friend leaving for good
Congratulations Imogen on embracing grey ! You look stunning . I always think if you couple grey hair with a good cut it can look super ( which yours does )
I am 60 ( and a Nanna)
I always thought I would “ go grey” when I was 60 but decided about 3 years ago to make the transition .
Like you, people think I am younger than my years . I have received compliments from others who say “ people pay to go grey and look like you!”
I get upset and defensive with the community attitude that grey makes you “ look “old”
What is wrong with “ old” ?
The community have such a negative perspective of old age .
We should all be thankful for getting to old age. Sadly, so many people don’t make it .
Imogen, you go girl! You are empowered .
Thankfully, I never had the issues of transition that people with really dark hair have. And yet it was hard to accept the grey coming in even though it has always been so blended. I quit covering it pretty early on because I didn’t want to be a slave to hair dyes. Best decision I ever made. Fortunately, it’s still a nice blend–the hairstylist called it “smoke” and said it’s too bad we have to get old to get it since it’s all the rage with young people now!!! 🙂 Who woulda thunk? Grey doesn’t have to mean you’re not “you” anymore. I still have long hair and carry on as I always have–nobody seems to mind.
Wow, I agree! You look absolutely beautiful and stunning, Imogen! I love the multi toned hair colour and edgy hair cut. I think this colour makes your skin colour glow and your eyes bluer! You really do look younger, not older!
Oh Wow! Imogen you look fabulous, as always. Grey looks beautiful on you and I am loving the new style, you look amazing.
You look great! The colour and style suits you.
I stopped dying hair some 18 months ago. But I’m not very grey, it’s more like highlights. I like, my hair looks much healthier now.
Imogen, you look absolutely radiant with your grey hair. You’ve always been beautiful, but honestly I think you look more vibrant and lovely now. Enjoy! PS – I’m in the same boat. I’m going grey too! 🥰
How are you finding it?
So far so good. It still needs to grow out some. But I think I’m going to be good with it.
Imogen you look fabulous with your new hair colour and edgy haircut. You are a style inspiration!
You look so vibrant!
My hair color is natural. Mostly white in the front. I’ve never had such compliments until I embraced the natural grey.
Imogen, I agree with lots of the other comments. I love your hair color and the new cut – edgy and sexy!
You look fabulous no matter what color your hair is. Love the new cut. I’m 71 and have only a few stray gray hairs, but if it all goes gray I’m ok with that. I cringe a bit when I see women trying to cling to what they once had. It’s seldom flattering, IMO.
Sorry, don’t want this to be contentious, but I have no intention of going grey, at least until my nineties! in my late sixties, I have gradually gone from very dark brown to somewhere between light and mid and less warm, more neutral toned. I do think grey looks better if you have cool toned skin and blue or grey eyes, like my husband and lots of women I know. I also think it looks better with straighter, sleeker, well cut hair. My eyes are warm green and eyebrows/lashes very black and copious (loads of tweezering/threading to control). My hair is also very thick and wavy/uncontrollable and becomes more coarse when grey comes through. My mother, by contrast was platinum blonde, straight haired very light blue eyes, so when she started to go grey, she didnt really look any different, still near white! My friend, also warm colouring went grey, but hated the dirty yellow shade and felt faded and over, so went back to colouring it. My cousin in her late seventies has done the same. I know this will make me seem vain and in denial about age, I am not, was not confident when younger, that grew with age and learning how to make the best of my limited looks, I have no wish to become unhappy again when I look in the mirror.
NOt contentious – my mother in her 80s said to me “well I’m never going grey” and that is her choice – you have to do what is right for you, and if grey hair makes you unhappy you don’t have to go natural! That’s what I love about hair – if I get sick of the grey I can dye it again. There is no right or wrong here!
Imogen, I think that the gray color of your hair is the most beautiful for you so far. I prefer your hair longer and think that if you let it grow and keep it gray it will be ideal.
Imogen you look amazing!! This style is so perfect on you, and to my eyes the gorgeous multi-tonal silver in this cut does not age you at all. I hope you love it and have lots of fun rocking the new hair as part of your overall look. There’s something about this length that makes the best of your beautiful smile too, plus you can really show off your earrings to effect!
You look absolutely gorgeous with your color change (brunette to silver). I am considering that change also and I just have to embrace it. I think your natural color very flattering and no need to look back.
You rock each of those hair color. I am still not ready having a 3 year old in tow so I usually get highlights so my white/grey hairs blend in.
I ditched the dye almost ten years ago (I’m 45 now) and I haven’t looked back once! I love all my silvery highlights and find it to be incredibly liberating. Although I’m not grey all over yet, I wouldn’t mind one bit if I woke up tomorrow morning with a head full of whites lol!
You look beautiful au natural!
Okay, so it was a little early several years ago to nag you about going grey. So, this post made me smile with glee to read your decision. Very lovely, indeed. It is the seeming contradiction of a young face with grey hair that can be arresting and downright beautiful.
Very flattering, Imogen. It will be fun to see if you make some distinct changes in color values in time.
Oh wow, Imogen, it was really fun to see all the different hair colors you have had over the years! The black is really striking on you! I like it a lot, but I am probably partial to black hair! On the flip side, where you are now with your foxy silver locks, it looks amazing! What a lovely shade of “light black” you have going on. I am definitely not ready to embrace my gray yet! But I do enjoy these posts very much. Thanks for sharing and linking up with me.
Thanks! THe dark was my original colour – never could imagine being light until my roots got so bad it was easier to go light than try and stay dark.
Congratulations on your wonderful cut and natural color! it is FANTASTIC on you! I always love it when women choose to rock their gray hair…it’s so beautiful on you!
I’ve always thought ladies with grey hair looked lovely, and you are proof positive! One of my grandmothers did dye her hair. . . and the shower curtain. . . and the towels. . . so I don’t think I’ll ever want to go that way. When ladies say, “If I didn’t dye my hair, I’d look like your mother!” I can’t help but think, “My mother is beautiful!” I’m exited to see how it will look as you grow it out! More power to you!