Hairdressers re-opening has been a huge relief to most of us. How many Zooms and Facebook posts did you see where women apologised for their “lockdown hair”? For many of us, how good (or otherwise) we feel about our hair has a real impact on how we feel about ourselves. So, whilst we may not have rushed back to bars, gyms and restaurants, few have resisted the siren call of the hairdresser. But have we gone back for our usual cut and colour or has lockdown prompted us to reassess our look?
A change of style?
During lockdown, not being able to have a trim (unless you were desperate enough to trust your dearly beloved with the scissors!) meant that we were wearing our hair longer than normal. Whilst some hated it and counted down the hours till they could get it cut, others found that a bit more length was actually rather flattering and decided to keep it a little longer.
Others, who had spent their lives blow-drying and straightening their locks into submission, revelled in the opportunity to let their hair basically do its own thing and, in some cases, found they quite liked the more natural look and have stuck with it.
To colour or not to colour?
It’s not just a good cut that so many of us hankered after. Some women were dismayed to see just how grey* their hair was without regular tints and getting it coloured again was an absolute priority and morale booster. Others, who had been toying with the idea of going grey though, decided to use lockdown as the perfect opportunity to suss out whether or not it would suit them.
Among the women I know, results have been varied; some felt that having grey hair aged them so that they just didn’t feel like themselves, whereas others rather liked it and loved not having to deal with their roots every few weeks.
I think that how readily you embrace grey hair largely depends on:
- How it makes you feel – Liberated? Authentic? Old?
- How it makes you look – Stylish? Confident? Washed out?
I can’t answer the first question for you, but I can give some guidance on the second. Basically, if you have naturally cool colouring, ie a pinkish skin tone and blue or grey eyes, going grey could really suit you. However, if you have warm colouring, grey hair can be a bit tougher to carry off as it can be quite draining on you.
How to go grey
You could, of course, go “cold turkey” and resign yourself to living with a badger stripe until all your roots
have fully grown out but I suspect most of us will be more comfortable employing some camouflage tactics in the meantime.
Sheila Barnett (tel: 07717 791961) has been my hairdresser for over twenty years, so I asked her for some tips on going grey gracefully.
She says that, whilst you could try using a spray colour on your roots, this will have to be re-applied after each wash and there is only a fairly limited range of colours available. Alternatively, she recommends using a semi-permanent hair colour to help blend the roots in but cautions that some products which are marketed as semi-permanent really aren’t. Apparently, a true semi-permanent comes in one bottle – if the process involves using two bottles, the results will be more permanent and therefore unsuitable.
In Sheila’s opinion, highlights/lowlights are the best way of blending in your roots and evening out patchy grey areas. Bolder highlights artfully applied right through the length of your hair have the added benefit of looking stylish and also adding some drama.
She also recommends having a shorter, more structured haircut (think Helen Mirren, Jamie Lee Curtis or Dame Judi Dench) so that you can grow out your roots quicker and cut off the coloured ends. Grey hair that is just left to grow out into no particular style can look rather unkempt, particularly as it has a wiry texture, so a good cut really pays dividends. To enhance your new ash tones, use a colour correcting shampoo especially formulated for white/grey hair as this will tone down any brassiness.
New hair colour, new colour palette?
If you do decide to go grey, to look your very best you’ll probably need to tweak your make-up and clothing colours. The extent to which you need to do this though will depend on the warmth of your skin tone and eye colour compared with your cooler hair tone. It’s all about finding the right balance, clarity and depth of colour.
Whether you’ve already embraced grey hair and want to discover your new “wow” colours for clothes and make-up, or you would like some advice as to whether going grey will suit you, consider having a colour analysis or review ; I think you’ll find it an exciting and uplifting experience.
* There are many terms to describe grey hair from “natural highlights”, to “sprinkles” and “silver” but I am using “grey” here as it’s the term most women use to describe their natural hair colour to me.