28 Shades of Grey


John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Colour

At about 18, I found my first grey hair. I was bottle blonde at the time, and mortified. Aren’t you supposed to start going grey in your 30’s when you were a parent? Well, I’m a parent and two years off 30, and the grey is well and truly here to stay. 

During the past two years, more and more grey hairs have infiltrated my scalp, and I can’t say I’m thrilled about this prospect. It’s no surprise that this colour has begun to take over – my Dad started greying in his late teens, and Mum stopped dying her hair in her late 40’s. She currently rocks the salt and pepper look, and like my Nana, they both look great. Unfortunately, unlike my husband, my grey hair doesn’t make me look distinguished. Just unkempt. 

The time at which you develop grey hair is thought to be hereditary, rather than as a result of your lifestyle. According to this article in the UK’s Daily Mail, the cells that produce the pigment of the hair are dead or dying, and as a result the strand of hair loses colour. Some believe that premature greying can be a result of stress, and while I think this may be true in some cases I can vouch for the fact that in our families our parents decided to share that delightful little gene! 

I have tried various methods to keep the grey at bay – plucking, all over colouring, highlighting and lowlighting. Lately I have been resorting to all over colour at home. I have been growing out a Rhianna-esque crop, and as a result my hair has required colouring around every four weeks. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t stretch to monthly hairdresser appointments, as much as I wish it did! 

So, if you’re like me and going grey before you feel ready, what options do you have?

At Home Colour – Colour Foam vs Traditional Dye

Colour foams (such as the one pictured above) have become available in the last couple of years, and are a welcome addition to the home colour market. They are easy to apply, and create a lot less mess. Some recipes have no or low amonia, which results in a much more pleasant smell. I found them easier to clean off my skin (which meant I didn’t end up with brown ears!). I have experimented with several brands, and I’m not sure if it was user error, but even leaving the colour on for a little longer than the recommended time did not cover my grey hair in a satisfactory manner.


Schwarzkopf Live Salon Mixing Colours

Prior to trying the colour foams, I coloured my hair with traditional dyes. I always found them to be very messy, and had a habit of staining my skin. Needing something stronger to cover the stubborn greys, I have recently returned to using a Schwarzkopf colour. The company have attempted to replicate the two toned colour that you can achieve at a salon. While this is a traditional dye and therefore trickier to apply, it does seem to boast better coverage. 

If you want to venture down the do it yourself path, have old towels handy, wear old clothes, and pop a bit of Vaseline on your skin if you’re afraid of staining. Clean up mess straight away – I find that warm water is more effective than cold. Baby wipes also work wonders on stains.

Professional Colour

At Christmas time, I treated myself to a colour at my hairdresser. She had been suggesting I experiment with highlights to blend the grey. She told me that I would then be able to colour my hair with a lighter shade at home in between professional treatments. This worked well, but had a few negative draw backs. My hair is natural a mid-brown colour, and isn’t so keen on going blonde, as much as I would love it to. It tends to go a little orange, which tints fix for a while. This time, my hair started falling out. A lot. It felt very coarse, and not as healthy as normal. Unfortunately, having your hair professional coloured is also expensive. While they do a wonderful job and as much as I love the result, I can’t afford to go with the frequency that is required. If I could I afford it, I wouldn’t colour my hair at home any more. 

If you are looking for a way to cover or blend grey hairs, definitely have a chat to a hair dresser and ask for some ideas. Mine is more than happy to give advice, and support what I can do at home in between appointments with her.

Do Nothing

This may not be an option for some people, but I think there will come a time when I have had enough of colouring my hair. When researching for this article, I came across the story of Sarah Harris, a writer for Vogue. She began to go grey (or silver, as she prefers to call it) at 16, and now at 31 has completely natural silver hair. And she looks pretty amazing! 


Sarah Harris

Sarah is very comfortable with her appearance, and likes making a statement with her hair. While I think Sarah looks absolutely fantastic, I don’t think I will be brave enough to experiment with my natural colour any time soon. 

After attempting to disguise my re-growth with numerous pony tails over the past week, I have made a date with my old friend Hazel Twist tomorrow…

Do you colour your hair? Do you have grey hair? At what age do you think you would stop colouring your hair, and return to your natural roots?



7 thoughts on “28 Shades of Grey

  1. I was using the JF colours and found them really good, easy to get a perfect all over colour. I’ve now gone with a longer lasting style (hopefully) with the belliage (or however you spell it) which is hopefully only going to require roots touch up.

    • They are really easy to use, Heather 🙂 I’ve thought about trying belage (I don’t know how to spell it either!) but I think my hair is too short at the moment. How have you found it so far?

  2. My best friend is letting the greys slowly take over – at the age of 34. I think it’s totally admirable.
    Of course in my case when I discovered those first little buggers I tore them from my scalp as fast as I could manage. Luckily the old saying of pluck one & six more come to it’s funeral hasn’t proved true just yet.

    • Thanks for visiting, TJ 🙂 Well done to your friend! I still pluck mine out in between colours sometimes, but the saying is now true for me. Hopefully they stay away a bit longer for you!

  3. Pingback: How to Disguise Grey Hair | Style Unearthed

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