Going grey is a part of life, at least for the vast majority of us. But we fight it so hard, spending years meticulously covering our grey hairs like they’re a shameful admission that we’re getting older. But as lockdown life begins to end, many women are choosing to stay grey. And with the uprising of ‘Generation Z’ teaching us a thing or two about self-acceptance, perhaps it’s time we took another look at why we hide our silvery streaks. Be inspired by the ever widening circle of ‘silver sisters’, proud women going grey show-casing just how gorgeous grey hair can look, regardless of age. Debunk the myths of grey hair and silver strands and let’s embrace our glorious grey!
Why Does Hair Go Grey?
So why does hair turn grey? And what causes grey hair? Does hair turn grey or grow grey?
Why is MY hair going grey when friends the same age aren’t?
These are all good questions. The truth is hair doesn’t ‘turn grey’ – it just begins to grow grey at a certain point in your life. The reason hair begins to grow grey is all down to our hair follicles, where the hair originates from in our skin.
The pigment (or colour) cells gradually begin to die off, meaning the hair that grows from that follicle will seem more transparent. This translates visually as white, silver or grey strands of hair.
Typically people can expect to show a few grays from around the age of 35, which is when our cells stop regenerating at the same rate and hair regeneration cycle comes back without the pigment.
That said, many people report going grey in the 20s and some seem to never go completely grey however old they get. A lot of when people go grey is down to genetics.
Aside from ageing, there are some illnesses that can affect hair colour, such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis. A vitamin B deficiency can also lead to greyness too.
Myths About Grey Hair
Grey locks have a rough deal in society, with plenty of myths about grey hair that are simply unfair and untrue! Here are some of the most common myths about grey hair with the truth.
Grey Hair is More Coarse
In actual fact, grey hair can be extremely soft and healthy. Once you stop dyeing your hair, you may find its condition actually improves. As with most hair types, it depends on how thick your hair is, as well as how curly or wavy.
Learn how hair gets to be curly and the best way to handle your curls in this curly hair blog
Grey Hair Looks Dirty
This statement couldn’t be more wrong. Mary Ann Weeks Senior Colourist Page Cook says:
“It’s definitely not a case of grey grey and grey at all! Hair colours for grey hair range from bright whites and platinum through to silvers, ash and then into the deeper richer blues and charcoals”
So it’s definitely a case of 50 shades of grey grey hair and not just ‘dirty’ grey at all!
Stress Causes Grey Hair
Unless you deliberately colour your hair or expose it to lots of sunshine, the natural shade of your hair is the shade it stays.
According to a Harvard Study the only reason stress can affect hair colour is if a person suffers from a condition called telogen effluevium, essentially causing hair to fall out more frequently. When it grows back, hair misses the normal ‘regeneration’ process and simply grows back grey rather than its usual colour.
Grey Hair Makes You Look Old
Ah.. the big one. Young women are often told they can’t go grey because they’re ‘too young’. Mature women are told they’ll look even older than their age.
Have you ever thought that maybe there’s a reason they want to get rid of the ‘wise woman’?
The truth is, age isn’t defined by how you look. It’s not about gray hair. It’s how you behave, what you do, what you wear, who you are and how you choose to carry yourself.
The ageists who continue to press for women to only look young are continuing to perpetuate the idea that older females aren’t important. The fact is, if you’re a woman – of whatever age – you have a right to be valued and seen in any society.
Wearing grey hair with pride is a clear signal that you don’t conform to others ideals of what’s acceptable. Women can wear and be who they want, without apology. We can set that example to younger females and show them that growing older has its own virtues and benefits.
Going Grey Young
There are plenty of people turning grey younger. Going grey early on in your life can feel like you’re being robbed of your youth (if you let it), but it can also be an opportunity to really stand out from the crowd!
Going grey in 20s or going grey in 30s could means you get to rock an entirely unique look just for you instead of getting trapped in a 30 year cycle of dyeing your hair.
So if you’re panicking about how to stop going grey, maybe it’s time to think about how to go grey gracefully and with your head held high instead!
The Benefits of Going Grey
It is considerably less hassle when choosing to go grey – particularly after the interim period and you’ve ‘let go’.
For a start you can finally put down that box dye or those endless visits to the colourist. It’s estimated that visiting a hairdresser for hair colour every 6-8 weeks for 20 years requires around 7-8 every year.
Considering a quality salon charges in the region of £50 per colour (excluding haircuts!), you’ve easily spent between £300-400 a year. That’s £7000 over 20 years to fight with nature!
Just imagine, instead of the many hours of your life spent in the salon chair, you could be spending in an Aveda luxury spa having massages instead!
Chemical consumption is something else to think about.
Many of us completely overlook all the small amounts of synthetics that are in our daily products. Just think of the shower gels, toothpastes, soaps, deodorants, perfumes, moisturisers, face masks, hair products, skin creams and make up we put on our skin. In small quantities these chemicals are harmless, but there are no studies about the impact of so many different products used together.
Hair colour is so often full of chemicals too and when added to the numerous other unnatural products we’re all using, we could be playing havoc with our health without realising.
More Environmentally Friendly
It’s better for the earth. Without colouring your hair, there’s no more washing endless chemicals down the drain into the water supply, no more contributing to pollution from manufacturing and no more unrecyclable packaging.
Aveda is very conscious of their environmental impact and are part of the Green Salon Collective. This means they have a bespoke recycling scheme that deals with single use gloves, foils and colour packets used in salons.
They also have an instore recycling scheme for customers, called Full Circle Take Back, where guests are incentivised to return packaging that isn’t widely recycled to store for repurposing or recycling.
Find out more about the Aveda Take Back Recycling scheme here
Grey Hair Can Look Better!
As you can see with the beautiful women we’ve found on Instagram, embracing grey can have stunning results.
Framing your face with grey, silver or white can make your eyes absolutely glow, whilst enlivening your skin. Rosy cheeks and lashes all stand out more, giving you a uniqueness that outshines any boring old brown!
To be authentically, unapologetically you is powerful! That’s not to say you have to let go of self-care, it’s to say you relinquish a sense of ‘duty’ to look how you think others should see you. And that’s inspiring!
How to Go Grey
There are three key ways to ‘go grey’ which we’ll discuss below. In any case, remember that a lot of how the process goes for you will depend on
- Your budget
- Your level of patience!
- How natural you want the process to be (i.e. you don’t want to continue treating your hair)
- If you’re prepared to go for a whole new look (i.e. a dramatic hair cut)
- How much maintenance you are prepared to put up with
Does My Natural Colour Affect the Way I’ll Go Grey?
In a word yes.
If you’ve blonde hair going grey then potentially you’re going to be in for an easier ride of it. Going from blonde to grey hair is considerably less ‘painful’ because the lightness in both your natural colour and the white of your upcoming colour, will both work quite well and won’t be especially noticeable. For those who are blonde going grey, the majority go a very light or white grey. In this instance, you will usually just require a few baby lights for going grey and looking great.
If you’re going from black to grey, or have brown hair going grey then your transition to grey hair will be more noticeable. You may need some help if you don’t want to look too extreme with the dark / light contrast on your journey to grey hair.
If you’re a redhead going grey, or for those with auburn hair going grey, it’s usual to be white shades rather than greyer. For you, naturally going grey should turn out to be a doable, but if you have red hair going grey, a chat with your local hairdressers won’t hurt.
Going Grey Naturally
Going grey naturally is possibly the easiest technique for working out how to go grey with grace. In fact, you can pretty much sum it up as the ‘do nothing’ method.
The only real problems with going cold turkey is the psychology of saying goodbye to hair dye and dealing with a bold demarcation line (where the coloured hair stops). You may need a little hair confidence coaching from your stylist and a few besties as you boldly go on your silver hair transition.
Other than going for trims and perhaps the odd hair treatment at your local salon, you need do nothing more than let it grow out.
Remember, a lot of how well you’re able to go grey gracefully in this way depends on the colour of your hair to start with. Consider the quantity and speed of growing grey hairs to get an idea of how it will look.
This technique of going grey gradually will take patience and dedication, but the good news is you’ll have some wonderfully funky looks to celebrate along the way (and there’s always hats right?!)
Getting the Chop
Option two is to grow grey roots out to a couple of inches and then opt to get a dramatic cut. A pixie crop can take years off you any way, but it’s also a stylish way to take full control of your greying hair.
Within a few months, your whole head will be your new true natural shade and you can then choose to grow it longer again as grey, or keep your new youthful crop.
If you don’t feel quite ready for that level of intensity, but you still want to follow the ‘grow gray hair out gracefully’ path, then it might be time to consider a colouring process known as grey blending.
This is where you begin to merge your colored hair with your new natural roots, or even going blonde to hide grey better. Grey blending is more subtle, and helps you avoid the blatant tide mark / demarcation line of where grey hair starts and your coloured hair ends.
Depending on your start colour and end grey shades, it might be best to go for a dye strip technique of highlights and lowlights. This helps merge your existing hair with your coloured hair more seamlessly.
In terms of how to blend grey hair with dark brown hair or black hair going grey this is a more subtle solution and can work wonders.
If this sounds like the more appealing option, you’ll need a professional colourist who’ll know exactly the right course of action.
How to Go Grey from Coloured Hair
So we’ve established that going grey after dying hair is a process that requires much patience and expertise. But there is one final option.
You can literally dye your hair grey aiming to get as close to the colour that’s coming through as possible.
In the same way that transitioning to blonde hair, you can expect a few appointments in the salon chair before you get your desired result without destroying your hair.
Note; if you’re going much lighter, then you’ll need bleach and that can end up being very damaging to your hair.
It may be that you want to go grey but you don’t like your natural shade of grey. In this case, dyeing grey hair grey is another option.
For a more silver grey hair colour, you’ll still need to keep visiting your colourist which mean you’re still committed to those regular visits to keep on top of your hair colour.
Aveda Hair Colour
The good news is, that when working out how to go gray as quickly and as naturally as possible, Aveda offers some of the highest quality natural hair color for grey hair available.
In keeping with Aveda’s mission statement to care for nature and our earth, they believe in the power of plant based science. For that reason, Aveda hair colour is 94% naturally derived and rich in natural oils to keep hair nourished and healthy.
As much as we’re able to turn hair bright pink and purple, we’re also a dab hand at how to make hair silver grey too.
So if you’re wondering ‘how to dye my hair silver grey’ then tap up your nearest Aveda salon because they are guaranteed to have every shade of grey you could ever need.
So whether you’ve decided to choose the colour route to:
- Go grey naturally
- Go for grey blending
- Dye your hair grey
The first thing you’ll need to do is first to remove your existing hair colour.
Removing Color to Go Grey
Going grey from dyed hair will start by stripping out any of your old remaining hair colour.
If you’re a brunette going grey, going lighter to cover grey hair works really well as does going grey with highlights.
Removing hair colour is basically this is the same as having your hair coloured, except it’s taking the colour out rather than adding it in. If you’ve ever changed your hair shade fairly dramatically, you’ll likely have had this done already.
Like with any chemical treatment, there is a chance your hair could be weakened and damaged, so to mitigate this, it’s important to go to get professional grade colour removers at by a qualified colourist and not buy it yourself from a box.
That said, there are a couple of ways you could encourage the colour removal process along using natural ingredients at home:
- Crush a good quality vitamin c tablet into your usual conditioner and apply this as a treatment once a week. The vitamin c offer nutrients to the hair, whilst removing the foreign colour particles
- Another natural remedy for removing colour to go grey, is to mix a dandruff shampoo, like Aveda’s Scalp Benefits shampoo with equal measures of baking soda. The baking soda essentially gives an additional cleansing quality for the hair and removes the staining effect of old hair colour, whilst keeping hair safe
- Use a clarifying shampoo, like the gorgeous Aveda Brilliant shampoo will help to calmly strip hair colour away over time. This method is less harsh, but takes a little longer.
- Using white vinegar is another natural method for removing permanent dye from hair. Simply mix white vinegar to an equal measure of water and apply all over your hair. Place a shower cap and leave for 20 minutes. Wash out with a good quality Aveda shampoo.
Confused about Aveda Shampoo? Learn which one is the best for your hair type in this handy shampoo guide
We also really recommend a trip to your local salon for a special hair treatment. This is where concentrated deep conditioners are applied to the hair, massaged in to the scalp and hair and sometimes gently warmed to penetrate the hair shaft and follicle.
The Aveda Botanical Repair treatment is NEW and excellent for strengthening damaged hair and returning it to its former glory.
Known for its bond-building capabilities, winner of the Elle Beauty Awards 2021, botanical repair, rebuilds and protects hair like no other formula before it. And all with the power of plants!
Right now, you can get a FREE botanical repair treatment at Mary Ann Weeks Aveda Guildford or Walton salons with the following services
- Haircut and blowdry
- Colour & Tints
Going Grey Looking Great
The art of going grey is ultimately to have confidence with your decision.
Silver hair fashion is actually a real joy to discover because you’ll discover a whole new element to dressing. What you wear should be an expression of you and definitely not ‘dressing old’ because you’ve completed your gray hair journey.
Another best ways to get gray hair confidence is to make sure you have an awesome haircut. This will go a long way towards making the going grey transition look great.
‘Going Grey’ Hairstyles
If you’ve opted for going grey gracefully and naturally, then wearing your hair up to disguise the ‘tide line’ can work beautifully.
Wearing your hair down as you transition will be a great conversation starter! It also creates a striking and unique look. Remember, lots of people have multiple shades of colour from the bottom of their hair to the roots, so why can’t you?
As aforementioned, you can always opt to go short for a stunning fresh look in your cut as well as your colour. This can be a real benchmark statement! There are several women rocking this look on social media, so check out a few of the silver sisters facebook group and youtube channel as well as browing Instagram hashtags like silver revolution, silver sisters and grey hair don’t care. You’ll soon be inspired by the many hair transition stories out there.
Hairstyles for Grey Hair
If your hair is already grey, then you’ll know that good hair styles for grey hair are exactly the same as with any other colour!
You’re not limited to any particular style, and you certainly don’t have to have a ‘granny bun’ just because you’ve gone gray!
We recommend considering your face shape and think about whether you need to add height to lengthen out a round face, or layers around your face to soften a square jaw.
Learn more about what haircuts go with what face shapes
Long Grey Hair
Long grey hair doesn’t have to look ‘witchy’. In fact, long silver hair can be radiant, lifting your entire face and skin tone and bringing out the brightness in your eye colour.
For some women, they find their hair becomes thinner as they get older, in which case our Aveda stylists recommend adding layers for depth and volume.
Hair styles for long grey hair can be youthful shaggy waves, slick high ponys or loose hippy plaits which showcase the depth and myriad of grey shades in your hair.
Beautiful long gray hair is just like any other long hair. Gray hair care consists of a good quality brush and using excellent high grade, non-toxic hair products that will prevent breakage and split ends.
Makeup with Grey Hair
Whenever you dramatically change your hair colour, you’ll notice that your clothes and makeup might not compliment you in the same way as before.
With grey hair, it’s always best to start neutral and go from there. Often, makeup shades work best when matched with the warmth or coolness of your grey tones.
For whiter hair, you can get away with bold lip shades and eyeliners as much as with softer rose pink blushes and pouts. With warmer greys, you may find that blues and greys compliment you well. Keep presenting yourself as you always did – after all, going grey does NOT mean giving up on looking fabulous!
Read our blog about matching lip shade to your hair and skin tone using Aveda’s clever colour chart.
Aveda Products for Grey Hair
Using a good quality hair toner for grey hair will give it more vibrancy and keep the ‘yellow’ out of it
So whether you’ve got gray gray hair or grey white salt and pepper or platinum white, you can be sure that with some attention it will be stylish grey hair whatever the length.
We’ve included our 4 best Aveda product recommendations for grey hair, which will work for specific hair types and the shade of grey you have.
Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo & Conditioner
Blue Malva can be used as a silver grey hair toner, which is perfect for taking out any brassiness and bringing out the whiteness of the hair which helps to brighten your whole look.
This high quality product will gently cleanse your hair whilst enhancing your light colour.
As with all the Aveda products, Blue Malva smells divine, with a blend of essential oils. It contains sustainably sourced Blue Malva and bluet flower, which is known to intensify colour naturally.
Check out this you tube review on Blue Malva for grey hair that’s transitioning from coloured hair
By buying a larger bottle, you save 25% and plastic waste!
Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother
This is for the days where you just want your hair to behave and be effortlessly smooth. Made with…smooth infusion prep smoother is applied to clean damp hair for a beautifully smooth surface on hair.
Made from a 92% plant derived blend of organic aloe, maize and guar bean, this prep smoother defends against frizz, damage and humidity for up to 12 hours.
Nutriplenish Multi Use Hair Oil
We recommend Nutriplenish hair oil for grey hair because it’s packed with superfood goodness and works really well to hydrate dry hair. Keep your hair moisturised and hydrated so it’s less prone to breakage and looks and feels healthier. You can use this 100% naturally derived formula in 5 ways.
- Pre-shampoo – Simply apply evenly through your hair prior to getting into the shower and washing your hair
- Leave-in treatment – Use as a deep conditioning treatment on towel dried hair, style as normal
- Post styling shine – Apply a small amount from root to tip after styling and tame flyaway ends
- Overnight deep treatment – apply to dry hair from root to tip and shampoo out the next morning
- Hydrating scalp massage – Enjoy an aroma of cocoa extract, certified organic ginger oil, cardamom oil and other pure flower and plant essences
Cherry Almond Leave in Conditioner
Firm Aveda favourite and comeback kid Cherry Almond is one of the most gorgeous smelling Aveda products, with juicy floral combination of Tonka bean, certified organic orange, ylang ylang and other pure flower and plant essences.
Perfect hair care silver hair will love because it just leaves hair so ridiculously soft. This is a real bonus for grey hair that’s changed texture slightly.
The cherry almond leave in conditioner turns up the volume on conditioning with 12 instant benefits including:
- Feels weightless
- Prevents breakage
- Tames flyaways
- Protects from heat
- Adds shine
- Infuses with aroma
- Reduces static
- Boosts body
- Leave hair silky soft
Eyebrows Going Grey
So does ‘I want to go grey gracefully’ include the eyebrows too? Obviously the ultimate answer is to do as you please!
Our beauty therapists recommend tinting eyebrows that have lightened so much that they’re no longer framing your eyes.
“Eyebrows can really make or break the definition of a face, so they’re an important part of making your eyes really stand out” says head therapist Veronika at our Guildford spa. “Eyebrow tints are so easy to do and take just 5 minutes to do but the effects last for weeks”
If the idea of tinting your eyebrows isn’t for you, but you’d still like your eyebrows to have definition, why not try Avedas brow pencils?
If you’re in having your hair appointment with us, ask for a finishing touch where you’ll be shown lip shades to suit and have your eyebrows combed and pencilled to suit your new look!
Going Grey Conclusion
We really hope this blog has shown you how to go gray gracefully. Hair going grey doesn’t have to be a thunder cloud in your life. In fact, the going grey transition can be liberating, exciting and transformative!
If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that we can all cope pretty well without the exhaustive list of how to manage our appearance. The truth is, if we can live our lives with less chemical intervention, more ease and confidence on our natural appearance and a sense of gratitude for living long enough to see our first greys, then we’re already winning.
So if you think you’re ready to say ‘I love my gray hair!’ and are thinking about going gray gracefully, or want to embrace grey hair you’ve already got, we are ready and on hand to help you on your journey!
Equally, if you’re not quite ready for this chapter and want to stop hair going grey there’s a solution for that too. Aveda hair colour is both gentle and long-lasting and the abundance of oils leaves hair soft and beautiful, whatever colour you choose.
Why not book your next appointment at Mary Ann Weeks Hairdressers in Guildford or Walton and talk through your thoughts.
If you’ve gone grey already or have a hair transition story, we’d love to hear from you! Perhaps your silver hair inspiration will free another woman from years of dyeing her hair!