In October 2020, I decided to embrace my inner silver foxette and stop dyeing my hair red. It was a big decision for me because my long red mane was my trademark and I had a whole wardrobe geared towards my Spicy colours. Well, it has now been fourteen months; I am fully silver and loving it!
Rather than damage my hair with bleach to dye out the red and blend it into silver, I chose to cut my long hair short and grow out the dye. It was a slow process but I live in Melbourne, so a lot of that growing out period was spent in lockdown. I looked like a feral cat for some of that time, but it wasn’t too traumatic. My hairdresser, John at Foxy Vixen, is a skilled cutter and, as you can see in the transition photos, he layered and blended my hair brilliantly. For me, the key to not looking old with grey hair is the cut—the style needs to have a bit of edge. Luckily that fits with my style recipe: elegant boho with a touch of theatrical drama. I intend to grow my hair into my former curly mane, except this time it will be a crown of silver.
As I mentioned, I started off as a Spicy gal—that means warm skin tones––with a high colour contrast and medium value contrast (all discovered in Imogen’s excellent 7 Steps to Style program). After a re-drape by Imogen, I am now in the Intriguing palette. The toastiness of Spicy is gone, replaced by softer, lighter and more greyed colours. Some of my clothes still work, but I have to admit I have used the shift as an excellent excuse to go shopping. A few good Intriguing basics are making the palette transition a lot easier.
My colour and value contrasts have changed too. I am now low value (neutral plus one) and medium colour. This is proving to be the hardest change as I was used to triadic combinations and very high colour contrast. I can see that some of my stronger colours and prints are no longer going to work at an optimal level for me. Looks like I will be selling some clothes in the near future!
With such a neutral hair colour, my approach to makeup has shifted a lot. I enjoy wearing makeup and now that my hair and skin colour are neutral, I find that it could be very easy for me to slip into a faded version of myself.
After much thought and research, I decided the key was to draw attention to my blue eyes—the most coloured part of my face–and to make sure they are framed as well as possible. So, I have just had my eyebrows microbladed (no, they don’t shave off your existing brows, they work with them, and yes, it is a tattoo but the pain level was minimal because the skin is numbed—more of a scrape and little sting than actual pain). I now have a beautifully and permanently groomed frame for my eyes—thank you Mien Brows. I also wear brown-toned cat-eye eyeliner—I use the easy and fabulous Quick Flick which stamps on the eye-flick at each corner–and mascara because I like a bit of theatrical drama. Lipstick is another way to bring in my one colour (neutral plus one), so I will be investing in a few new Intriguing lip colours too.
So, that is all the physical stuff. What about the emotional?
Choosing to go grey as a woman has become more and more acceptable in our ageist society, but it is still a big decision. I only had a few wobbles along the way, mainly in the feral cat stage. In the end, I have had a relatively smooth transition and I think that was because I was truly ready for the journey. I was tired of dyeing my hair so often and the drama of doing something a bit rebellious appealed to the adventurer in me. Admittedly, the grow-out was a bit tedious, but I think the different silvers and greys that have emerged suit me. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see an elegant renegade. I see a woman rocking her silver 50’s. And I see a very big smile.
Viva la silver foxette!
Read Part 1 of Alison’s Journey to Grey Hair Here