My journey from dyed to grey
Hi, I’m Helen. I grew the colour out of my hair a few years ago. I can’t say I enjoyed the process, but I absolutely love my hair now. The colour is beautiful and it’s in so much better condition:
I’m told I was born with black hair. Which promptly fell out. The hair that grew back was white blonde. It stayed that way until my teens, when it started to darken, ending up light brown.
First Grey Hair: I remember my Mum finding my first grey hair when I was 18. Bizarrely, she was quite gleeful about it. Being a teen, I had to remind her that she was my Mum, so how old must she be if I was going grey?
Not going to lie, I was pretty worried, since my paternal grandmother went grey in her early 20s. And I definitely wasn’t ready for that. Luckily, I didn’t follow suit.
Then a few more: By my early thirties, I was starting to get a small patch of white hairs at the front. To be honest, they didn’t bother me. But my then boyfriend’s mother was appalled, loudly wondering “How old is she?”, when we were introduced. That was enough for my boyfriend to offer to pay for me to have highlights, at Toni and Guy. And I was sufficiently worried by her comments to accept.
More and more colour: The highlights were the start of a slippery slope. First more highlights got added. Then a solid colour. And, finally, a paler blonde streak at the front. The dyeing lasted for a little over 20 years. By the end, I was getting it coloured every four weeks.
One of the women I worked with had beautiful, white hair, which made me start to question whether I should grow my colour out. I spent a couple of years thinking about it, with everyone from my hairdresser to my husband telling me not to.
Going Grey: Then, the pandemic happened. And no-one could go to the hairdressers. It was the push I needed to commit to ditching the dye. I had shoulder length hair, so it took just under two years for the colour to fully grow out. I didn’t love the stripy look, but liked the idea of cutting it short even less. And I was definitely not going back to the dye.
In the early days, I tied it up in a pony tail, when I was having a bad hair day. Then, when the roots were about 6 inches long, I had it cropped into a jaw length layer bob, to get rid of most of the remaining colour.
Shedding my corporate identity: My dyed blonde days coincided with a tough career in corporate marketing. It wasn’t until I left, that I realised that I’d spent 30 years in my stress reaction, where “intimidating” was the word most often used to describe me.
Stopping dyeing my hair was part of shedding my corporate identity, which had never felt like the real me.
I work for myself now, and the new people I meet usually describe me as kind or calm.
Beautiful Grey Hair: When the colour was completely grown out, I let my hair grow longer again. It’s longer now than it’s been since my twenties. I could never let the blonde grow this long, partly because of its poor condition, but mostly because the yellowness made me look very drained when there was too much of it.
I love my hair is now. There’s absolutely no chance of me colouring it again. It’s not quite as grey as the roots had led me to believe, with the front being much paler than the back. I get lots of compliments on the colour. And my husband and my hairdresser have come round to the idea too.
If you’re looking for inspiration on hairstyles, styling tips or midlife health, you’ll find lots of ideas by following Happier Grey on Pinterest. Where we’ve collated the best content we can find from around the World, alongside our own stories and advice. You can find us here pinterest.co.uk/HappierGrey/
If you’re thinking about going grey, are on the road or already have grey hair, why not join us on Facebook in the Happier Grey Community