To Dye or not to Dye….that is the question…

After 27 years of colouring and bleaching my hair I am so fed up of this endless cycle of fussing and preening and yes, with the expense of it all, that I am considering whether or not to just dare to bare my natural hair colour at long last.

Alas, my natural colour doesn’t make me look such a hottie…(LOL!)

I’ll be blunt, it’s grey. grey. grey. And i’ve not a fondness for ‘grey’ anything.

Here is a pic of the mixed dye colours and bleach I have done at the hairdressers when I can afford.

Unfortunately I can no longer colour my hair myself at home as home hair colourants trigger my asthma pretty severely and I get quite breathless trying to do the back of my hair, but the problem with relying on a hairdresser to do it is that I can go 6 months without a ‘hair do’ when money is tight… and then it just looks an absolute mess….like now!

Below is a picture of my natural hair colour beneath the top layer of the ‘bleach job’ I had done at the hairdressers prior to Christmas 2007. To my horror I will even dare you to click the image below to see the extent of the silver that has grown in since then…

Yup. I drew the short straw when it came to low metabolism, bad hair, teeth and nails..oh yeah, and varicose veins…and stretch marks….(thanks kids!).

It’s so not funny.

I am just a few days away from a really big birthday and I’m not in a position to go to the hairdressers, which makes me think that maybe it’s just time to knock the hair colouring and bleaching on the head if I can’t maintain my hair as I would like to.

What say you?

Do you colour or bleach your hair?

Have you made the decision to allow your natural hair colour to come through after years of dying and bleaching ?

Or perhaps you’ve never really been a fastidious hair colourer ?

I’d love to hear from you on this relatively superficial topic (I never promised deep though, did I?) as I’m unsure which way to go on this.

I’m tempted to grow out the bleach and just go completely natural. I have seen and indeed know a lot of extremely attractive women who no longer colour their hair and whom have healthy grey/silver hair. I actually think it can look stunnning with a good cut to show it at its best.

Oh the joys of hereditary premature grey hair…and lots and lots of stress.

Just as well I’m not trying to impress anyone (either here on the blog or in real life) or how could I expose myself like this eh?

I have zero pride, that’s how!

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30 Responses to To Dye or not to Dye….that is the question…

  1. Owen says:

    My Love has never died her hair. It’s got a lot of silver grey in it now, no browns at all. I love it. It’s who she is and she’s real. She also seldom wears makeup and what she does wear is limited.

  2. Cathy Keller says:

    Well, I look at it this way, you can take all I say with a grain of salt. I have no experience of dying. My family has for a long time asked that I would not dye my hair. I’m glad to say it didn’t seem to be an embarrassment to them. So I didn’t. Now I can say I am glad I didn’t for I wear it as a badge of honor. “I earned everyone of them,” I tell my children,” and I am proud of them.” I have never had to let my hair grow out, as friends of mine have, after dying. And in all honesty, I had auburn hair and was scared to death that if I did dye it, it would end up green or purple…(laughing???? I had a friend who that happened to.) So there you are…

  3. Sarah says:

    Let’s just say I’m in the same boat, dahling. I am due to get my drivers license renewed this Fall and I don’t want to lose that gorgeous picture of hair I paid “millions” for, but alas, the new picture will most definitely see me in my own locks, uncoloured and flat. I just can’t justify the amount of money these hairdressers want for something that definitely doesn’t last. I’ve been colouring my hair since high school. I started out using boxes and then after I had a kid, I went to the pros. Now I’m coming into 39 this year and I’ll likely have braces on my choppers until just after my 40th. I have plenty of gray that isn’t noticeable until I pull my hair back. Ugh! But, for me, I have to just realize I’m getting older. If it bothers me to where it makes me feel bad about myself too much, I’ll set aside the funds to fix it so I can feel good about myself. At some point, though, I reckon I shouldn’t fear getting older and what comes with it. I love my life and who I am (no, I don’t like the gray, I don’t like the bulges, I don’t like my veins . . . ), but those things are small things when I realize I have this day to love my kids, my husband, my friends.

  4. Carol says:

    I tried to talk my husband into using Grecian formula, as his hair turned white verrrrrry early. (No wisecracks, please!) However, we’re talking about someone who doesn’t use deodorant, cologne, shaving cream–so coloring his hair is one of the funnier things I’ve asked him, similar to suggesting he go get eyeglasses one of these centuries. As for me, I’ve been every color but the metallic ones we saw a few years ago. I’m a natural blonde, and now, I’m a natural silver (yours looks silvery, too, Deb, not what I’d call gray) more every day. I like it. And yet, every day I argue with myself: get it cut and colored (I do the coloring) so as to take 90 or so years off me, or just be me. At 40, I’d have dyed, but now? The argument goes on and on. Maybe I’ll leave instructions for the mortician one day.

    If I should happen to miss the day of your birth, a very happy year is wished to you.

  5. Rosemary says:

    I’ve never colored my hair. I’m just starting to get a few gray hairs. The only reason I never did was because I knew I would never keep it up. I barely remember to get it cut once or twice a year. I’m just not very attuned to these things.

    I think you should dye it if you like, and don’t if you want to save the money and go au naturelle. I don’t think the mixed colors in the pictures look bad at all. (Course, like I said, I’m clueless about these things. That’s why I figure I should leave well enough alone.)
    You’ll be beautiful either way.

  6. Alexa says:

    Aw heck. You know me. I’ve tried a lot of different templates hair colors. I’ve recently decided to go au naturale – and so far, I have about 1.5″ of my own dark brown mixed with some silver – I’m going to keep it short for awhile until this weird reddish/cinnamon color gets cut off (a result from coloring over the trial bleaching I did in November, which was fun while it lasted – but not “me”.)
    I am getting excited seeing how much more I have now – since even November when I had some, but not a whole lot.
    My eyebrows are turning white too!
    At 51 I’m noticing, as does my sister, that my lips are starting to pale on me, as well as my overall complexion and that’s why they say “go lighter” if you color – the contrast would look too fake, I guess.
    So – I’m going to go lighter as quickly as nature allows.

    I wouldn’t sweat it – I’d let it go. It’s pretty and it looks healthy from what I’m seeing.

    Liberation!

  7. Tom says:

    NOTHING wrong with grey! In my family, sooner all later all colors go the grey route.

    I’m thirty five, and I occasionally see a grey hair or two on my sideburns (which are not long) and goatee (which I keep neatly trimmed). What can I say? Nature loves neutrality and grey is very neutral:0)

  8. Maria says:

    You look beautiful just the way you are, do not change simply to ‘fit in’ if you feel comfortable with the way your hair is without dyeing it, then don’t!!

  9. Rita says:

    Thinking back to when I was small, the lady I always wanted to be when I grew up had beautiful long grey hair that was either in a braid round her head (Doris Lessing style) or in a bun at the nape of her neck.

    I too approach 40, but I would have been in the year below you at school! The grey hairs are arriving and I’m determined to keep my hair long and undyed, though I can’t do neat braids!

    My advice would be to keep it natural, it has to be quite liberating to be free from the advice and expense of the hair technicians. I’m more worried about what is happening on my top lip and my chin, I’ll have to start asking Tom for grooming tips!

  10. mum6kids says:

    It’s not grey Debbie, it’s silver-the colour of moonlight and with the sparkle of stars 🙂
    I’m going a bit salt’n’peppery too. I sometimes think I’ll get a box and hold my breath long enough to do something about it-but hey-I never get around to it.

    I’ve decided the fact that I am growing grey–I mean silver–hair is a sign of maturity and wisdom (cough, choke) and the kids had better see it that way too!
    God bless

  11. I had the experience of allowing a beautician to cover up the grey patches forming at the temples and after a while, my hair turned from a brown to an ugly orangey color! Chemical reaction with the water additives here.
    Never again! Barnum and Bailey is just not my calling.

  12. AutumnRose says:

    Ukok, I think your hair looks thick, shiny and in lovely condition! Let it grow out, and be beautifully silver 🙂

  13. Phil says:

    If think hair offend thee, shave it off!

    Actually, I think your hair looks lovely. Leave it be.

  14. Phil says:

    I meant, “If thine…” If think, indeed!

  15. Mimi says:

    While in High School, I did dye my hair, I’ve not done it for years. I like the bits of silver that are threading through it, and more and more being obvious. It is who I am and a blessing.

    Although, now and then, when I pull my hair up and see all those silver hairs, I get second thoughts 🙂

  16. I chose to stop colouring (Like you the dyes weren’t making me feel well -even when done at the hairdressers)

    it wasn’t easy to grow it out (I hated that stage – and did it over a summer) – since you seem to have got there already – then it wouldn’t be quite so awful for you

    I then went and had a good short hair cut and everyone said it cut years off of me (yeah even with the grey – ironic really)

    and then I set to and lost a few kilos too

    you dont have to look dowdy if you are grey – nor do you need a blue rinse

    my advice for what its worth – is try it – I think you’ll be suprised and the money you save you could buy a lovely new shirt or earrings or something 🙂

  17. I also want to say – what is wrong with getting older – we all do – we dont have to look wrinkly and dowdy but hey let’s not all try to pretend we’re in our twenties like the film stars do.

    yuck

  18. ukok says:

    What a wonderful array of responses you’ve all given….and I must say that it was very encouraging to see a few comments from my male blog buds too – being a single female and all that, it’s good to know that my having a full head of silver-grey hair wouldn’t necessarily make me entirely objectionable to the male sex!

    (Tom, you have a goatie!!!! how can you not post a pic….are you going to make me harangue you into it for the whole of 2008! Shall not! Shall not! Oh what the heck, come on, don’t be a kiljoy…we ALL want to see a pic of you now!)

    Ladies (and gents, of course) oh yes, your encouragement to dare to let the blonde grow out was just what i needed to read

    The grey/silver roots are about 3 or 4 inches long now, but they mingle with the blonde on a good day….so I’m thinking that if I get a good haircut i can just try to live with it for the year or so it will take to grow long enough for the bleach to disappear completely.

    I do believe that I’ve somewhat bought into the mentalitity that in order to make the most of my assets, I have to conform to certain ‘expectations’…and if truth be told i thought that going natural would mean people saw me as dowdy, but I’m starting to think that it doesn’t have to be that way after all.

    So I think I’m going to try it…if I dislike it, if it makes me miserable i can always dye it again… but i think i will at least give it a go.

    I don’t want to strive to be like a woman half my age, I want to be content with who i am…i have a long way to go working on that (especially with my weight issues), but i can only tackle one thing at a time or I feel i will be entirely overwhelmed.

    It is good to read your thoughts on this, REALLY good!

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  19. Renee says:

    Chiming in here, I am getting lots of gray now at nearly 42, and strangely, I like it. I have the same hair color as you, and it really just looks like shimmery highlights. It matches my changing skin tone, and it is FREE. So, there is my experience. My mom is 67, and still dyes her hair, and it looks not so good. She is now stuck with a long grow out process she is not looking forward to, at all. I vowed not to get myself in the same situation. OR, get the kind that just fades away, and isn’t noticeable as it grows out.
    Your hair is lovely, though. Good luck!

  20. Suzanne says:

    I use this simple stuff that washes out after 20 washings or some such thing. The reason…I am only greying on the sides a little and underneath the bangs and a very tiny bit on the top and it is that sick looking grey that makes me look and feel TIRED. That is the only reason I do it. I am trying to get adjusted, but its not too expensive and I can do it here.

  21. ukok says:

    Suz, that’s a good idea actually about doing the 20 wash thing, because at least then the transition period as my bleach grows out, will be less severe and obvious.

    I might think about going that route and then when the bleach is gone and it’s all been grown out and cut out, I can just quit the 20 wash colouring too?

    🙂

  22. I have never dyed my hair. I am resolved to gray as gracefully as I can (I’m a klutz, so nothing is TOO graceful around here). I think your silver hair is beautiful, and I have known many women with absolutely gorgeous silver hair. I always hope mine will look that good.

  23. Owen says:

    Hey, don’t ask me how I found my way here (http://theagepage.typepad.com/the_age_page/) but it was there (http://theagepage.typepad.com/the_age_page/2008/05/wrinkles—the.html) that I found this quote and thought it’s a gem – like you: ” “‘Age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character’ – Clarence Day, Source: Seniors World Chronicle”

  24. Owen says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add that
    The Age Page is a Brit blog. “About older people and their place in British society.” Cheere-er-ere-e-o deary

  25. I bet your hair is pretty just as it is. You can add a rinse that is very very gentle – not a dye – that makes gray hair really pop. Getting the right “shade” that complements your skin is the trick.

    There are women who are stunning with their gray hair.

  26. Sarah says:

    Mwah, mwah! Kitchen Madonna!!

    BTW, I just wanted to add that NO ONE ever notices my silver – even when I violently yank my hair up and point it out saying, “you can’t see that?!?” It blends well enough. I just think everyone left such uplifting and complimentary comments – go natural and love the skin your in.

    And, I quadrillion the compliment to you: you’re beautiful just the way you are!!

  27. Elena says:

    Hi Deb,

    I share your birthday (yea!) and I have an even bigger one coming up next year!! All that said, I don’t dye. Never have. I decided I wanted my hair to look healthy and I just didn’t think processed hair ever looked “right.” SO I have lots of gray and a Morticia-like streak and it’s okay! Ithink a good hair cut is the key.

    Now I will say that if I ever had to look for a job outside of my work at home gig, I would dye it in a second, but I don’t, so I won’t!

    Happy BD!!

  28. Scotty says:

    Hi! – I’m one of Autumn Rose’s friends (just in case you wondered how I got here!) I am in exactly the same situation as you – in fact I think our hair colours are exactly the same and I have about 4 inches of natural gray before the colour kicks in. After many expensive years of tinting and hightlighting etc I have decided to go au natural. I don’t think I’d recommend the 20 wash stuff, cos it will build up on your hair after a few applications and you’ll just need to grow that out as well! I would recommend Aveda Blue Malva shampoo and conditioner – pretty pricey, but you don’t need to use it every wash. It keeps the white really glistening and shiny and helps fade out any yellow tinges.

    Also – you look like you have beautiful hair – thick and in lovely condition – go for it girl!

  29. ukok says:

    Scotty,

    I’ve seen your comments on AR’s blog before now so yes ideed I am very pleased that you have come to visit with me for a while and to share your thoughts.

    Ah….Aveda blue Malva…i remember my mum used to use that when she first went ‘au naturel’…maybe i can talk her into buying some and then I can give it a go myself before forking out the cash 😉

    Thanks so much for stopping by….any friend of AR’s is a friend of mine and it’s so encouraging that you to are gong through this hair thang to!

  30. ukok says:

    I have about 10 minutes of battery life left on my laptop (I’m typing this from my bed at 12:15am) and i wanted to respond further to comments…sigh….looks like I’ll have to get my butt back on here tomorrow!

    I am reading what you write, folks, and I am away so appreciative that you take the time to leave a comment!

    God Bless you!

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