Feeling Grey?

Author: Lisa Soeno

My sister-in-law Mia went down a storm when she wrote about her hometown of Leeds. Yes she is that funny in real life. More, in fact. And today she’s talking us through hair dilemmas and her tips for covering up those silver strands.

I know grey has been a homeware staple for a few years now and I am still feeling it there, however, I feel less excited when it comes to the grey in my prematurely salt and pepper hairline. It started when I was 25 (which I felt was unfairly young) and it always really stood out because of my colouring, very dark brown hair and very pale skin. (Irish ancestry, since you haven’t asked)

Now, when I look in the mirror, any daylight bounces wonderfully off all the silver that has colonised my temples. And by wonderfully, I mean, damn, it really catches the light. I do not mean it looks wonderful, sadly. Don’t mistake me, I love striking silver hair and I think grey hair can be so elegant but I’m not close enough to the tipping point (which I think to be about 60/40?) of grey hair to brown to transition into a full and eye-catching mane of grey. I look more like George Clooney’s masculine sister instead of what I would hope, i.e. one of the fabulous grey haired women you see on The Sartorialist blog. Although a lot of his subjects seem to be Fashion industry pros and would no doubt look amazing with a bag on their head.

I know that this is hardly earth shaking stuff and no doubt a little vain, but everyone is allowed a little vanity right? Please? For anybody who is just noticing their first silvery strands and, like me, doesn’t feel ready to embrace it quite yet, here are my cover-up tips. (Please remember I’m no beauty guru, just a woman clinging desperately to the idea of her dark-haired self).

Clairol Root Touch Ups are fabulous, you can even blend two tones together (say, dark and medium brown?) to get the shade for your roots. BUT. Do not use them back to back as an alternative to actually visiting the salon every few weeks or you will end up like me, growing out two years worth of over-dyed roots which resemble witchy black and brown stripes. I would also be tempted to go for the lighter of the shade matches. If it’s not right, it will be easier to go darker than lighter.
• Go to Jenny Lea Academy Salon, you can trust with colour services you like. I don’t know if this is backed up by science here but in my experience salon colours cover the grey for so much longer. Home dyes always seem to lose their grip on my greys after a fortnight. I’m currently working a Matrix colour, Mocha Gold in a 5 which is lighter than my natural brown but not so much that regrowth really stands out.
• Get to know which root concealers work for you, they extend your salon visit schedule and make me feel less self conscious when I’m going out somewhere fancier than work or the shops. I have obviously tried quite a few.
• The spray kinds I struggled with. The ones where you spray it on your roots like a little hair spray? When I tried it went all over my face and the bathroom. (There’s still some in the tile grout I never cleaned out properly).
John Frieda Root Blur powder compacts. Highly recommend these. Great for keeping in your bag and the very matte finish helps stop the light catching your grey roots which is crucial in my art of disguise.
• I’m so far impressed with the Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush stuff. I used the lighter brown which survived a whole day including a nap. Some of it still held the next morning which I sort of expected as it markets as being able to last for up to three washes (I have yet to test this properly). Easy to use but it’s a fluid so you need to factor in time for it to dry down completely.
• I found this product in Superdrug which has a great cool tone to the dark brown shade and the powder seemed to have a lot of grip when applied but the sponge applicator felt too imprecise for me. My problem areas are around my hair line, I would only really use this for parting maintenance – but for that it would be great.
• The crayon style root concealers, which I assumed would be rubbish and maybe even melt onto my face, I liked a lot. I haven’t tried the Josh Wood one yet but I will definitely get around to it. I did have a go of this budget version which did a decent job I thought, especially for the shorter baby hairs around my hair line.
• Finally, be judicious and build coverage a bit at a time. Nobody wants a Lego hairline.

If you have any recommendations please let me know! I have a while to go before I’m ready for the big colour switch. What’s your favourite root cover trick? Or do you prefer to go with the growth?

  • Nice N Easy Root Touch Up
  • John Frieda Root Blur
  • Josh Wood Blending Brush
  • Zero Grey Root Touch Up
  • Makeup Revolution Root Cover Up Stick

Header images from newaylook.com and greyfoxblog.com

Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno
This post may include affiliate links.
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14 thoughts on “Feeling Grey?

  1. Argh, this is so timely for me. Just had a beautiful babe but post partum hair loss seems to have really highlighted (for me, my husband insists I’m exaggerating them!) the greys I’m accumulating.
    I’ve never died my hair and feel at a bit of a loss.
    My mum grew out all of her greys and totally rocks a silver pixie cut. But I’ve been shocked at quite how my self esteem has taken such a huge hit at noticing my aging tresses.
    Last night I plucked out a grey only to find I pulled out two long brown ones in the process!
    Perhaps something on growing old did(gracefully) would be handy here! X

    1. Charlie I also want to be someone who styles out their age with grace and verve but I think it’s built in me to fight and struggle against it 😂 still firmly in denial here! But I remind myself that it’s up to me and if it makes me feel better, no harm. Like you I’ve tried plucking them out but always took many of their darker friends too. If you’ve only got a few they are very likely only noticeable to you? I think contrivance feels right for me, just do what feels right for you x (apologies for my total reliance on cliché! 😬)

  2. My grey’s started as soon as I turned 21. I’m naturally auburn and was devastated when I realised my firey stands had been replaced by icy-silver ones. I didn’t want to go down the route of dying it, but discovered that Lush do blocks of henna in various shades and they’ve changed my life! Okay, they can be messy and it takes a few hours/overnight but I do the treatment every few months and the results are incredible. I usually go for the Maron, but recently started mixing a bit of Rouge into it, or adding some paprika to the mix to brighten it up. Cannot recommend them enough.

    1. Hi Kate, I totally feel your pain. My grandads on both sides were white haired at a young age so I think it was inescapable for me! I always had the impression that henna didn’t cover grey but I am definitely going to investigate this now!

      1. I love this tip too! Will have to give that a go. I use a spray, my sister recommended one from Home Bargains that’s cheap as chips but a great colour – although agree that sprays are a bit imprecise, I normally end up with a smattering of fake freckles too!

        I too wish I could bite the bullet, but am not ready to embrace it yet… my Dad went grey at 14 so I never really stood a chance!

        1. Rhian ‘never really stood a chance’ 😂 I am going to check out the home bargains one! I love to save some pennies!

    2. I also love Lush’s henna – its a non-metallic one so it’s fine if you feel like chemically dying over it a few weeks later and it’s so cheap!

  3. I use a root touch up spray (the Superdrug one – one of the only ones I’ve found that have a reddish brown shade and so much cheaper than other brands). To avoid spraying it all over my face (and to avoid colouring in my parting which looks really unnatural!) I spray it into an old lid and use a make up brush to paint it on to my grey roots. Super quick and extends my time between colouring by a few weeks each time!

    1. Rachel I actually love this. Fantastic tip! Definitely going to try this. I still have the one I trialled (the L’oreal one in the turquoise can?) maybe with your know how I can get it used!

  4. I too had the same colouring, but I started going grey at 12!!!! I religiously dyed my hair darkest brown, trying desperately to hold on to it. Until I developed an allergy two years ago and had to give the hair dye up. This also meant that I couldn’t even gradually give up the dye….cold turkey for me! I appreciate that this sounds utterly vain, but I probably avoided going out for a year! Until I had it all cut off into a pixie cut. And now…I LOVE it and get way more compliments than before. But in hindsight, I wish that I had been a braver person from the offset & never dyed it in the first place. The growing out was hideous & I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    1. Hi Krusha, I think it’s the in between stages that I’m dreading more than being grey? So I completely get that it would have been a less social time 😏 my friend did it and moaned that it took ages, however her hair looks fab grey and really works with her colouring. I think I will screw up my courage at some point and go for it. Until then… 🎨

  5. I love this tip too! Will have to give that a go. I use a spray, my sister recommended one from Home Bargains that’s cheap as chips but a great colour – although agree that sprays are a bit imprecise, I normally end up with a smattering of fake freckles too!

    I too wish I could bite the bullet, but am not ready to embrace it yet… my Dad went grey at 14 so I never really stood a chance!

  6. I started going grey at 17 and some (cough 20+) years later I decided to stop dying it. Like a lot of people I had fallen into the trap of cheap box dye and ended up much darker than suited me. I have never had so many compliments about my hair, about how I don’t look my age and my complexion looks better than it has in years because my hair and skin tone are so in harmony. I so make sure i have regular cuts and opt for edgier styles to avoid the frump factor but its the best thing I have ever done.

    1. Thanks Rachel this gives me hope! So right about home dyes, I think because we are so desperate for coverage we think darker is somehow more effective. I think it may well be the case for box dyes. Such a strong argument for finding a stylist you trust and who knows what you need. Also for just going with the grey!

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