Making It Up As I Go Along

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

I know we’re all trying to cope as best we can during this unreal time that we’re living through. Trying to survive this weird, sometimes unfathomable, totally unprecedented, frequently devastating period of history. Big changes are happening. And frankly, as far as coping goes, I think we’re all making it up as we go along. At least I am.

Now, in case you’re thinking that I’m going to address, in this post, the important social, cultural, or economic changes that are occurring or likely to occur… I’m not.

I want to talk about more personal changes. One might even say shallow, superficial, not really worth worrying about changes. Not really worth worrying about, except that I do. Worry, I mean. I’m talking about changes brought on by aging, and by going four months without professional attention to my hair. When I normally go five weeks, six at the most.

Oh, I know you know about, and are maybe sick of hearing about, my changing hair. Some of you have encouraged me to let it go grey, or white as the case may be. Others have said nothing, which is maybe just them being kind. A few have said I should colour it again. And as I’ve said before, I’m torn, and struggling to make up my mind before my hair appointment on July 3.

And you know what I’ve realized? It’s not just about the hair anymore. There appears to be way more going on here than simply my widening swath of white roots.

First off there’s the fact that without hair colour, I suddenly had no colour at all. I go without makeup most days, unless I’m going somewhere. But with greying, or whitening hair, and a style that was disappearing, I suddenly felt old. And looked much older than I had before. On days when I “did” my hair and put on make-up, I still felt good. But otherwise it was depressing to catch sight of myself in the mirror. Depressing and sometimes surprising. Who the heck was that person? I started to wear tinted moisturiser and a bit of blush around the house. And as my hair continued to grow whiter and whiter, my make-up began to seem wrong.

On Sunday when my sister and I were enjoying a physically distanced take-out lunch in her back-yard, and yakking about clothes and hair, as we are wont to do, she mentioned the lack of colour in my face, even though I was wearing make-up. “I know,” I wailed. I don’t hate my hair, not totally, and I’m even considering not going back to full colour when I see Carmen. But my face. I really, really need some colour.” So we talked for a bit about blush, and lipstick, and stronger eye make-up, and other possible remedies.

Which brings me to today. And the following videos. As I filmed these I wondered if I were actually in my right mind. Ha. But I’ll let me speak for me. Okay?

Watching those is a humbling experience for me, I must say. A bit embarrassing. Videos always show more than still photos. More chins, more wonky expressions, more whatever. It was interesting for me to see lighter eye make-up alongside darker, more dramatic eye make-up. I don’t entirely like either of them. But I’m not finished experimenting yet.

I’ve decided next to try the darker shadow in the crease with pinker shadow on the lid. The past few times I’ve taken photos for the blog I’ve worn a brighter lipstick, which I abandoned today. I don’t like dark eye shadow with a strongly coloured lipstick. I think either eyes or lips should be emphasized, not both. That would be entirely too made-up looking for me. So if I stick with the dark eye shadow, I’ll stick with the soft pink lipstick. And while I have tons of eye shadow palettes and colours of lipsticks to play with, I have only a couple of blush colours. I’d like to try a soft pink on the apples of my cheeks. But that will have to wait until I visit a cosmetic counter. Until then I’ll mess around with what I have.

I am, after all, making it up as I go along.

Tea on my deck. Gap tee shirt.
Tea on the deck after I “evened up” my eyes.

But to get back to what I said earlier. That this whole growing out my roots thing has become about more than just hair. Seeing myself with white hair has somehow subtly changed my view of myself over the last few weeks. At first I balked. I hated the lack of colour. Despaired at the “old” face looking back at me from the mirror each morning. Then I started experimenting with different styles. And suddenly one morning I kind of liked the white. “So this is me,” I thought, “If I decide to go back to colour, this is what I can expect whenever I decide to stop.”

And I think that talking about it, sometimes incessantly. Ha. Writing about it publicly on the blog. And not hiding… has been good for me. My hair journey became a journey of self-acceptance for me. I’m sixty-four. And whether I have white hair or not white hair, and more colour in my face or not, I’ll still be sixty-four. And I’m good with that.

So, you see this post is not really about whether or not I’m going to colour my hair again, or leave it white. You can weigh in on the issue, if you want, but it probably won’t make any difference. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’m the one who has to live with my face in the mirror every morning. And it’s not about what I should do with my make-up. I’ll figure that out too. No, it’s more about my being able to be okay with myself. With posting that first video… in public. Ten years ago, or five, or even last year, I’d never have done that. I mean, I know I said that watching those videos is a bit embarrassing. And it is. But that doesn’t mean I hate how I look. That’s me. The bare-faced truth, so to speak.

So, yeah, it seems that so far 2020 has been all about change. Change which was forced upon us by the pandemic. Last year who could have imagined those empty streets in Rome or New York or Paris? Change within ourselves, possibly. Since we were not going anywhere, we had more time for self-reflection. Or some of us did if we weren’t working in front line jobs or juggling family life and working from home. Changes for the better which we hope can be brought about in our respective societies. And changes that will eventually make society more kind and more equitable. We hope.

And in the face of all this a little fear of aging, and the changes wrought by aging, seem trivial. And I guess they are. But I’ve found the pandemic and the recent social upheaval have made me very reflective. About society, of course, and about myself too. And a little self-growth is never a bad thing. Even if it was precipitated by my hair.

So now it’s your turn, my lovely friends. We’re all making it up as we go along in so many ways. Has this year precipitated change for you? Inside or out? Serious change? Or more shallow change like mine?

P.S. These are some of the Laura Mercier products that I own and use, and which I really recommend. These links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

From the archives

fashion

Back to the Future, Outfit-wise

Some outfits are part of our style DNA. When we wear them it’s like back to the future, but with outfits.

fashion

A Seventies State of Mind

I’m in a very seventies state of mind these days, feeling nostalgic. Especially when I’m …

fashion

Winter Monochrome-ish

Winter is here. It’s been here for a few days, now. We had a minor …

Email delivery

Would you like to have new stories automatically delivered to your inbox? When a new story appears on the website, we’ll send the story right to your inbox. 

* indicates required

107 thoughts on “Making It Up As I Go Along”

  1. Thanks for this post, as I thought it was just me having these feelings! I just turned 70, and after years of coloring my hair, I haven’t had a colour or cut since February 1. I have a silver streak in the front, and a kind of dirty steel grey everywhere else. This competes with my mid-brown with golden blonde highlighted (coloured) ends. It is hideous. My only make-up for years has been mascara, blush, and lipstick, which normally I am quite happy with, as my eyeglasses are quite dramatic. I’ve been playing with smudged eyeliner and a brighter lipstick, but really I just hate my current hair. I hate looking in the mirror. I’m getting it cut on Saturday but must wait another month until I can get ti coloured, so I guess at least I’ll get rid of most of the coloured bits. Given everything else that is going on, I’ve felt rather guilty about caring about my hair. I love the fact that you’ve posted these videos. I’ve certainly been reflecting about myself, and my life, and I’ve decided that I am allowed to care about hating how I look. I think right now we need all the self-confidence we can get, and if dealing with hair we hate is important to us, it’s okay to deal with it.

  2. I am trying to decide too. I am 66 and lately have been wearing less make up. I am fair so I have the same concerns. I have deep set eyes and look better with eye makeup but in the last few years my eyes are extremely sensitive to eye makeup. So the decision seems to me made for me and I don’t like it. I am searching for “cleaner” eye makeup that I can wear comfortably. I too don’t want to spend a lot of time on this. Maybe you just need one or two more colors in the eye shadow sticks. I like the ease of those too. I also believe you should choose either lips or eyes to feature. Whatever you choose you are beautiful. I have a friend who is very white haired. She gets blond highlights and amazingly I often look at her and hardly notice that she isn’t a platinum blond.

  3. Hi – great post – and I love your confidence in doing the videos.I actually love the photo of you on the deck and think your hair looks great – but more important is how you feel. I have an ongoing “discussion” with a friend – dying hair is not a feminist issue (at least for me) – it’s a choice we all get to make. Having said that, this woman (Diana from silver.is.the.new.black) has an interesting way of growing out hair minus the skunk stripe that might help some readers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXCc8hDe8-M&t=10s

  4. The make-up conundrum rings a bell. I don’t wear much in the way of slap and never have but I find that it makes me look old and lined these days, especially any brighter colours. So I tend towards a pale pink and shimmery lipstick and a flick of eyeliner (which I’ve got better at applying) and I avoid mascara as it makes my eyes sore. What I have found is that getting older seems to drain colour from skin and hair and there is nothing to be done about that. So I make sure I always have painted toe-nails. Immensely pleasing – rose gold at present. A bit of a sun tan too. That’ll do. I’ll take any wins going.

  5. Christina M Dowler

    Four months of silver grey roots and I finally saw the hairdresser on Monday. Snap decision…let it go silver. My stylist blended the roots and remaining blonde with silver and I love it! I feel younger believe it or not and it gives a glow I didn’t have before! Also my 3 thirty something daughters and my husband also love the new look. They were concerned I might look old . I’m 68. Feeling sparkly!

  6. Now that I have had my hair styled, I feel much better about things in general. I may work on make up and grown up clothes today, although my plans for the day only include staying home and reading. I hope all your conundrums evaporate when you let your trusted stylist have a go at your mop.

  7. I started letting my hair go gray some years ago. I have found that I needed to change the color palette of my clothing. Colors that had suited me well suddenly began to wash me out. Now I find that I need to stick to soft mid-tones, at least on top. If you’re going to keep that lovely silver hair color, you might want to experiment with your clothing colors as well.

    1. I agree. Clothing colours make a difference. I have been experimenting with different tops. Found a few that look okay still, and several more that look dreadful. If I decide to stay silver/grey.white I will have to do a big cull.

    2. This is what I was going to suggest. I think part of the problem in the videos is that you were wearing a white T-shirt, which is not flattering. It might be a good investment to have your colors “done.” Your skin tone is the same as it always has been, but with the change in hair color you may find that you can’t get away with some colors that used to look okay on you.

  8. Sue, you are lovely and chic and although your new grey hair is quite beautiful, I think your energy and enthusiasm and vitality are best revealed with your usual blond hair color. You have many later years to enjoy foxy grey, but you are a young optimistic woman eager to face challenges and find adventure. Brighter makeup suits your personality.
    Enjoy your youthful look!!
    I loved your videos.

  9. Wendy in York

    Well I was hoping for step 4 – the Norma Desmond look 😁 but seriously , it was a very good demo on makeup for changing hair . I’m going through the same thing here & I’m just as uncertain about my eventual colour . Yours is a lovely all over white & very flattering but , as you say , it’s about how you feel . Perhaps we need time to get used to this new person in the mirror ? I’ve definitely lost my youthful rosy glow & blusher doesn’t seem to work too well for me . I’m opting for a lightly applied translucent cream bronzer all over my face these days . It looks dark in the tube but gives the effect that I’ve caught the sun a little ( I hope ) Having said that , it’s so long since I’ve worn makeup I’m going to have to start practicing again .

    1. Still avoiding the Norma Desmond look. As best I can. Ha. I would like to find a cream blush in a soft pink. But I have to be picky. Many cream blushes that you have to rub on with fingers don’t work for me. I rub them on, my face gets red because of my sensitive skin, I wait for it to abate, then have to rub on more… etc etc. Such a pain.

  10. For anyone considering keeping the natural color that months without salons has revealed, NOW would be the time to do it. The growing out process is distressing, but you’ve already made it through the worst of it! I think everyone needs to decide what kind of image they want. As for myself, I love my short grey hair and get a lot of compliments. And it’s EASY! I find that I wear less eye makeup than when I was younger. I think it looks like I’m trying to paint an old barn! SOME makeup is a must! (I’m 68.)

  11. I love your natural lighter hair and think your face looks great. Maybe think of your hair as platinum or champagne blonde and look into makeup that flatters those hair colors? I actually think your made up face looks a little jarring against your very fair hair and skin. I’d consider getting a professional makeup consultant to help you with colors. Just a light wash of fresh color on our cheeks – if it’s the right color – would be stunning, and show off your high cheekbones and gorgeous face.

    1. I’ve been looking on websites and YouTube for makeup for women with grey or white hair. But part of the problem is they often have sooo much make-up on in the photos. I’d never wear that much on a daily basis. The professional makeup is a great idea. My friend’s daughter does that for a living and when I’m able I may visit her store.

  12. I’ve been where you are now and I totally get it.
    I have worn make up since I was 15 and never looked back, I am 75 now and even when we lived on our farm and there was no one to see me except the kangaroos I wore make up. I still wear it and take great delight in applying it each day to see my face come alive, without it I frighten myself half to death as I pass the mirror. Your complexion definitely fades as you age but so does your hair, I transitioned gradually from ‘blonde’ to an icy silver when I discovered that I couldn’t see the dark roots anymore. I can’t tell you how much I love it I can wear silver jewellery now and pretty soft pastel colours AND vibrant corals and some reds. You might enjoy a UK website with lots of make up videos on a site called Look Fabulous Forever with Trisha Cudsen. She is presenting special videos during this lockdown period and they are very enjoyable. She started a company in her 60s to really cater for older women and even though I don’t buy her make up I have picked up some really great tips. I know this is long but I also wanted to let you know of some audio books by L J Ross, her DC Ryan series is terrific but do listen to them in chronological order as
    subsequent ones give away previous plots.
    You have put me onto some fabulous books in the past so I wanted to return the favour. I hope you enjoy them. Love your blog,
    Warm regards Carol

  13. Snap! I’m at exactly the same point. I’ve got the same (Irish) colouring as you and a lot of freckles; my hair has gone white round my face and temples which drains any colour from my skin tone. I’m going to be 70 this summer and I stopped colouring my hair when I had it cut short, which was about 8 years ago. I also love a white t-shirt and have never found replacement colours that I love as much. I never wear make up, the freckles combined with pale skin tone underneath mean I could never find the right colour foundation, plus I have dry, sensitive eyes and if I wear mascara it irritates them and then invariably runs down my face or gets rubbed off. My eyebrows are fair and hardly show. So I wear bright/er lipstick and hope for the best.

  14. Oh are we ALL going through this? My biggest moan is that I desperately need to have my hair cut. As yet hairdressers aren’t allowed to open here in the UK. I’d like Nikky to cut my hair in the garden, but I feel its a cheek to ask. So I just keep brushing it back, and no matter what makeup I try I just don’t look like me anymore.
    Re your hair, I did like a comment made about silver highlights. That sounds like a brilliant idea and would make it easier to bite the bullet of someday going completely au natural. Me, I decided a while back that I couldn’t be faffed with colouring anymore, but I am a good deal older than you.
    We all look forward to the new you!

  15. Thank you for your honesty in this post. The fact that it really isn’t about the colour of your hair or the intensity or lack of it in your makeup palette, but really about coming to terms with the aging process. The changes are manifested in our faces, our hair, our bodies and, depending on our state of mind at the time, they can be a bit unnerving–as if you aren’t quite sure who is staring back at you in the mirror. Not a bad thing during this period of social isolation to sit back and reflect on our image of ourselves…just want to make sure (as you do) that we don’t lessen our own value in the process (society does a ‘good’ enough job of that). No, we aren’t 30 or 40 or 50 anymore, but we have so much more to offer than good skin and a ravishing hair cut or color.
    As you say, it is up to you to decide on your cut, colour or makeup choices. Whatever you decide, I, for one, appreciate you taking us along for the journey.

  16. Have you tried warmer colors in both your makeup and your clothing? Your natural reddish hair makes me wonder if those colors would work better for your complexion and might look less harsh. Just a thought since you’re experimenting!

    I decided to keep my silvers since I was halfway to a full grow out anyway by the time I saw my hairdresser. And since we’re not venturing too far this summer, fewer people will see my mess! I did find, however, that my multiple colors bothered me less once I got a good haircut. I wear my hair short, so another haircut or two should get rid of my lovely brassy red ends, the remnants of the dark brown dye.

    1. I have tried warmer colours, but because my skin has cool undertones they don’t work on me. I also liked that few people were seeing my mop…. until I put those videos on the net. Ha.

  17. Well done, Sue! It takes a lot of courage to do what you did! But you know what? You look great any which way! So whatever you choose will be just the right thing for you. At the end of the day, it is about how you feel “with” and “within” your self. I look forward to seeing what you decide.

  18. I think you look gorgeous in the no makeup, white tee shirt video! Really stunning and actually younger, although that isn’t the point, is it? I grew my hair out to it’s more silvery color a few years ago. It took some getting used to – visually and emotionally. For me, finding a few role models that were grey was helpful. I love Linda V. Wright on IG who is grey and wears absolutely zero makeup, which gave me a lot of courage, and inspiration. I wear very little makeup as I think it’s actually aging on me now. (Not in photos, but IRL) I’ll be 68 in August (yikes) I’ve changed my clothing style more than anything else – pre pandemic.

    1. I agree about finding style icons. Pinterest is full of gorgeous women with various styles and shades of grey hair. I’ll have to look for Linda Wright.

    2. KSL, I too have been so inspired by Linda Wright! I am a year younger than Sue and stopped going to the hairdresser ten years ago although my wavy blonde hair is taking its sweet time to go fully grey. Linda’s confidence with not a scrap of makeup and her perennially chic but dressed-down style gave me confidence that the way I already preferred to dress and be was enough. So freeing to jettison makeup and to not worry that my cashmere jumpers, menswear shirts, jeans and flats were somehow not acceptable for any and every occasion. There’s still so much cultural pressure on women to be and look a certain way – and many women understandably internalize that by saying “ I do this for me” – but I think it’s actually to fit in to a socially proscribed view. Because most people want to fit in. I know this opinion will be met with resistance, even anger, by some so I’m already ducking. But I don’t mean it as a criticism but rather an invitation to examine what we willingly take on board. I think we can retrain our eyes to see the beauty of our natural state and just look at Linda Wright for proof! We are all good enough just the way we are – we don’t need to alter every inch of our bodies from our toe nails to our hair color/ texture to be considered valid and feel confident. Also, I just have to throw this out there: curious how many men are allocating precious time, money and emotional bandwidth to the same issues? I guarantee my husband has never spent one second of his “wild and precious life“ on his hair color! Back to Sue: your elegant silver hair and little-to-no makeup, to my eye, looks so fresh and complements your wardrobe aesthetic. But as another commenter said, perhaps a different clothing color palette would provide the color you feel you are missing? As I’ve gone grey, I’ve had to abandon my own lifelong preference for a palette of earthy neutrals (or as a friend called it, mud and baby poo 🤣) for mid-blues to emphasize my eyes. Look at it as an excuse to shop!

      1. I admire Linda’s style as well. Love her IG feed. I did a colour palette switch up a few weeks ago, and once my hair is a little more silver… any day now… I will be doing another cull of the tops in my wardrobe. Who knew I had so many things that looked good because of the colour of my hair. The problem is that I am not going to shop until I have decided for sure what I’m going to do. The suspense is killing me!

      2. You know, Linda sort of ignores what she thinks “flatters” her coloring and wears the colors she likes. I do the same. I’ve always worn neutrals and army green is a favorite. I didn’t feel the need to switch my colors up too much at all. At this age, I want to feel free, comfortable and happy with what I’m wearing. I love the color turmeric (deep yellow) and although it’s considered a tough color to wear, I love it and wear it.

  19. Thank you for your thoughtful post. It seems I do nothing but contemplate things these days, the virus, what’s going on in the world, am I doing enough, should I stay in or go out, when am I going to see my daughter (she lives 1500 miles away), why am I looking so darned old, among many other things.
    I seem to be having trouble accepting my older looking face. I will be 69 next month. I was the youngest in the family and for many years I looked quite a bit younger than my actual years. The tide has turned now and I need to accept. I look my age.
    I had a very beautiful Mom and she stayed looking young, until her mid eighties. I was never a beauty, but my thing was looking rather young. Well, now I need to accept the necessary losses of age and do it gracefully. These months of solitude should have helped me see what is important, but there has been anger and grief over the situation and the realization that I am getting old!
    I appreciate this space to be able to put into words how I am feeling. And, to know that I am not alone. Perhaps I need to work a little harder on my “Advanced Style” as Ari Seth Cohen helps us to embrace our style in older age. Just wish I had more “style”!

    1. I’m the youngest in the family too. And with my round face, I looked younger than my age for years and years. Then gravity took over. And reality hit. And the contemplation and reflection that has taken place in the past few months has not all been easy, I agree.

  20. Oh yes it is fun to mess around with. I really enjoyed your videos and the process you are going through. I totally agree that we need something on our faces to add a bit of colour. I am 64 as well, and since I went grey a few years ago, also noticed I needed to up the game, not as we were told to use less when older. Baloney! I have to put on my brows as soon as I am up, and some sort of eyeliner as well. I wear glasses and find that I need definition to make my eyes show up at all. ( nearsighted so eyes look so small) I too have very pigmented lips so not too dark of a lipstick, and have a stash of about 20 that I play with, and am narrowing that down to a few favorites now. Blush…..well, still working on that as I don’t like a lot for some reason. This is a fun post and really need to lift the spirits with a chatty type of “girlfriend” visit. I found with the grey hair that my pink scalp showing needed some help, so started using a white root powder and now it looks fuller and more even. All the things we do to stay normal and female. Love your style.
    P.S. Did Stu get eaten alive with all the bugs on his trip? They seem to be especially hungry this spring.

    1. Stu survived the bugs with ease, but came home to complain that the fish weren’t biting. Ha. I won’t be abandoning make-up entirely. I feel too good about myself when I’m wearing it. When it’s the right kind of make-up, that is.

  21. Thank you for sharing Sue. My paternal grandmother was white in her 30’s and I go gray and just do not like it. My mom will be 80 in 3 weeks and has brown hair so feel if I go gray, she’ll look younger! I just did a root touch up last night and love it today. Yes, I agree with Judy, that now is the time to go white as the toughest stretch is over. I also agree with the washing out. When I see women in their 40’s and 50’s go gray it just ages them and I think makeup and wardrobe need to change to brighten up the look. My friend turned 60 and decided to go gray and her husband still colors his hair brown and when she was at the doctor’s office with her dad she got mistaken for his wife! She said that hurt. Overall I think she is liking her short gray locks. I have an appointment for the 15th of July and now have jury duty starting the 13th! I think considering the times I should be excused for my appointment! I am going to stay in the, color my hair brown/blonde, for a long time. I am turning 51 this summer and know it would impact my self esteem to go gray. I started graying at 26 so inherited that paternal gene. I do love makeup and how it changes our looks and have way too much. I am with you on the blush too. I go light as feel clownish otherwise. I love reading the comments and oh, loved the tea thoughts. I like to drink a blend from an Irish friend, so good. Have a great day!

    1. Also on non look related issues, my counseling business went quiet the first 2 months of the pandemic and now only meeting virtually and decided to not renew my lease on my office. Lots of unknowns and does cause anxiety as how to move forward from here. Telehealth has been going really well and hoping to continue with that venue as this is not going away anytime soon. It is kind of exciting to embrace new ways of doing business.

    2. I think a hair appointment should be a reasonable excuse for getting out of jury duty. 🙂 I would NOT have been ready to go grey or white at 51, either! That was a blow I was not ready to face at that age.
      P.S. Good for you to be able to face challenges with creativity. Change can be exciting.

  22. The struggle is real! 🙂 I’m in your age bracket Sue, and when I was 50 I decided to let my hair go gray. Both of my parents had beautiful silver hair so I understood my genetic destiny! My decision, (genetics and color resistant greys notwithstanding), also reflected a deeper desire to project my comfort with aging. The process of becoming comfortable with my grays was profoundly transformative in that I had to come to grips with what was literally beneath the surface. My husband was in full support by the way, and refers to me as his “Silver Fox”. I’ve also been surprised through the years at the compliments I regularly get from men and women, when I’m out and about. Many of my women colleagues have commented on my “courage” to go grey and have stated that they “wish” they could do the same. And when they finally do take the plunge they acknowledge my influence in their decision.
    There is, however, certain realities that I needed to confront. Like you, I am fair and my face seemed to recede. Warm colors make me look ill. Jewel tones around my face (I am scarf obsessed) made the difference. But I also learned that in an effort to bring color to my face, I needed to resist too bright blush or the seventies blue eye shadow. It is trial and error.
    I have learned that there are some people who see grey hair and look past me – which at first made me feel invisible. Some well intentioned persons seem to want to call me “dear” – which raises my hackles every time. There ARE times when I’ve looked in the mirror and wondered what in the world possessed me to go gray. I was used to hearing, “you can’t be 50 – you look thirty”. But now at nearly 64, a grandmother of two, still working, still vibrant, I look in the mirror and see a woman of substance who IS nearly 64. I am more confident and secure, in no small part through wrestling the many dimensions of going grey. I have never regretted my decision.
    And yes, I always, even when I’m staying home (like now), wear at least a tinted moisturizer, some bronze/blush, and eye shadow, eyebrow tint, liner and mascara. For me, if my eyes (usually with muted colors) are defined by a slightly darker crease and lighter lid) and black mascara, I feel attractive and that I look like “me”. As of this writing, make-up optional, is not an option. 🙂
    Let your feelings be your guide!
    PS – Your posts are something I eagerly await each week.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Lorelie. It’s so good to hear in the comments the hair tales of so many other women. It is a journey, and some people don’t get why it’s such a difficult decision. Sometimes I think I make way too much out of it. But… that’s what I do. Ha.

  23. I totally understand your feelings. Last year I decided to let my hair color grow out and assess what I had. I figured I had nothing to lose. The first few months I thought it was awful. Then as time went on it was not looking so bad.

    Finally, about a month ago, it was complete; and I am amazed by how much I like it. Have had many compliments and wish I had done it years ago. I’m thinking yours looks pretty nice on you. Why not continue a while longer and see what you end up with. There are many beautiful women on YouTube, etc, who have gone natural and made it rock.

    1. I have been looking for examples of women on Pinterest and YouTube who have cut and colour combinations that might look good on me. And I’ve found a few. That helps.

  24. Jo in Chicago

    As I wrote before, I think your bright white hair is lovely, and you should be proud of it and your age. Think of all the better things you could spend the saved money on if you do not have your hair colored again. I understand the “I’m a ghost” feeling. I also have Irish coloring, but of the very dark hair/very pale skin variety, so I truly suddenly looked like a ghost when I stopped coloring my hair. I found three things that helped provide contrast and brighten my face: always wearing lipstick, darkening my graying brows, and buying a pair of pink-framed glasses. I’m sure you will also find just what works for you.

    1. Thanks, Jo. I think one of my problems is that I judge my current self by how I look in the mirror in the morning and my former self by looking at pictures… in which I have a fresh haircut and am wearing make-up. And that’s not fair fight. 🙂

  25. Sue, please checkout Jack Martin Colorist on his website or IG. He specializes in taking women with 3 to 4 inches of grown out gray hair and color matching their existing color to their natural color(s). Since he works in Southern California, many of his clients have very long hair, so growing it out would be a real challenge. By the way, he also charges around $3,000 to do so.
    I personally, feel you look very like Helen Mirran with your natural white color; and anyone lucky enough to evoke Helen Mirran…… My mother went to her natural grey hair with a white streak in the front when she was in her 60’s and with red glasses and vibrant lipstick she looked stunning; so much more so than her brown/blond cover up.
    I do know the challenge of a change in our self image. For years people were surprised at my age, but now at 70, no one says that “OMG, that can’t be true” thing anymore and I MISS that. I look every minute of 70, but other than trying to stay vital and up to date, what can you do? It helps that I still work from time to time; it is important validation that I still need.

  26. Hi Sue, I like both make ups – did Stu notice?
    Thank you for mentioning the names of the ladies that you go to at Nordstroms – I remember a while ago you wrote about getting a make up lesson/suggestions there from one of the ladies and I would like to do that some day. If you do that again, would you mind blogging about it?
    Something that Liz said above really rang true for me – ‘the tide has turned’. I’ve noticed in the last year or so that my skin is looking much more wrinkly and blah (I’ll be 60 in August). I, too, used to look younger than my years, but that ship has obviously sailed. I don’t have so many issues with hair colour (I WISH I had lovely silver hair, it’s just grown-out highlights and dirty, dark blonde), but it’s the complexion that’s taken a beating.

  27. Well, you obviously have not watched my makeup videos on IGTV. Check them out. Then I think you just need deeper lipstick. You can wear the lighter makeup but just put on a deeper tone of the color you like. Also please check out Hannah Martin making up her mother-in- law on YouTube. More your colors and I think you’d both enjoy and be educated. Yes, when you go gray you do need to up your makeup game. But nothing that drastic. Vicki Archer, Cindy Hattersley and I did blog posts this past month about makeup with gray hair. You might enjoy that also. Or is this more information than you wanted? You look great!

    1. I have watched your videos. I mention you in my first video… that I was following your lead. You are the make-up queen of IG. 🙂 I will check out those other sites too. Thanks, Sandra.

      1. Ha! I guess I skipped to the end and did not see your mention. Thank you. Look you have a lot of style. I noticed that you don’t wear much lip color. My lips are very colored also but… I put all my makeup on and the last thing is the lips. You need a more intense lip. It doesn’t have to be bright but you need more definition. So do put on more of a lip. Also, you mention that you like brighter cheeks. Yes, they would look great on you. You have beautiful cheeks. So I’d simply add more intense lips and the same with cheeks. I look very much like you with out makeup. But you’re prettier and younger. It’s fun going on this journey with you.

  28. I think you look really lovely! We’re always more critical of ourselves than anyone else is. I’m very pale, I grew my hair out to it’s natural colour eight years ago and I’m very glad I did. Eight years ago it was still quite rare to see someone with gray/white hair and often women would come up to me and ask me how I did it, how long did it take etc as well as saying how much they liked it. It was a boost to my ego as at that time because I wondered if it made me look older. It actually suits my complexion better and I wear my hair anywhere from mid neck to just a bit longer, it’s fine textured which has it’s challenges. Having a very good cut is essential to making natural colour hair look good, as well as a little makeup. I also have pared it down a lot, always gel pencil liner (Bobbi Brown), Lancome original hypnose mascara, a peach Laura Mercier cream shadow and Bobbi Brown gel brow thingy for grey hair, very little blush or none at all and I’m a fan of bright lipstick. Often though I’ll wear a little colour not all the way in my crease but more at the corner moving towards the middle of my eye, then I’ll wear a lighter lipstick. It’s fun to play with all of it and I don’t take it too seriously. Sometimes I just wear a bright lipstick and sunglasses and I’m ok with that look too.
    You are at the most difficult stage, having gone through it, but your colour is really pretty! Before you have your stylist colour, I would recommend she cuts and styles it for you to see how it would look. You might be surprised when the old colour is cut out, it’s shaped well and has style that you love it! You do your makeup very well, both lighter and a little stronger, each could have it’s time depending on where and what you have planned. The lighter version is very nice and suitable anytime. It’s the times right now that have us questioning our appearance occasionally and the lack of a good cut! 🙂 Good luck and looking forward to seeing what you decide on.

    1. It is fun to play with all this. I had an appointment this morning (not for hair, more’s the pity) and tried the sort of burgundy LM cream shadow in my crease with a pinker shade on my lid that the beige I had been using and I really liked it. I still need some soft pink blush, I think.

  29. Oh my, I have been going on and on about my color . I have had white hair since 19. Dyed it until 30 then had a medical issue so let it go white. The comments I got over the years were very hurtful. From men and women. Finally 12 years ago , dyed it again. Now I am half white again but I sort of like it, as you say its me. Why is white or gray colored hair so horrible and red and brown not? Its maddening that if I chose to be all white then I look old even if I am running a marathon and don’t have any wrinkles . Oh well, good luck to you. Thank you for this post . 🌷

    1. Thanks, Jane.. and to you too. The whole process can be disheartening at times. I’m a lot older than you and was colouring my hair all through my forties and fifties. Now I’m kind of tired of worrying about white roots.

  30. I always enjoy your blog. You are intelligent, informative, honest and down to earth. I think your white hair is quite lovely. Whatever you decide, I will enjoy reading about it when you post.

  31. Another blog you would enjoy I think Susanaftersixty, I love her simplicity and style and her life story is very interesting you can go back to her old blog called
    Fiftynotfrumpy, really good to see how she has evolved and looks better than ever.
    I bet you absolutely love your hair when you don’t colour it anymore, just a water rinse or purple conditioner to keep it looking cool!!!’

  32. Susanafter60 is truly helpful, she shows you how her make-up routine has evolved. She also feels eyebrows are important as frames for the eyes but not overly dark brows. I have found brow color does make a difference in my overall appearance, but not overly dark brows. Also luminous concealer under my brows and the inner corners of my eyes as well as under my eyes (dark circles) really perks up my face. A little blush, mascara and lipstick or gloss and I am ready to walk out the door.

  33. My two cents – stick with the white hair, get a structured cut and try some fun new cosmetics. I started life as a dark brunette – colored my hair brown with blonde streaks in my 60s and went blonde in my 70s. I was eating in a mall food court when a group of five ladies, 60ish, sat near me with varying shades of dyed blonde hair and bright colored clothing. Another woman walked in with short, mannish gray and white hair, beautiful peachy/bronze makeup, a white shirt tucked into skinny gray jeans and gray Paul Green sandals. I’m sure she was 65 to 70, but she was spectacular and the other ladies looked so ordinary. In that instant I found a role model! I cut my hair drastically – weeded out my closet to black, white, grays and olives. I’m 76 now and have a mix of white, gray and charcoal hair, wear self-tanner all year and peachy/bronze makeup. My muse is Annika von Holdt on Instagram – although she’s a mere girl of 51. I love my gray hair much more than the blonde. Is it aging? I’m already old! I’m careful with my clothing choices – absolutely no floral prints, patterns, ornate jewelry, bright colors or anything too girlie. I always think your wardrobe is youthful – so keep your natural color with a fresh style and new makeup!

  34. Christine Moon

    I think all the massive changes – in me (I just turned 61) – and the society in which we live is disconcerting. Things we thought we could depend on (my jawline, my job) feel very much in flux. A dear friend is moving far away, another is emerging from quarantine after 3 months of illness – and much of it feels foreign. And I just don’t like it. Of course it’s frustrating. I’m finding though that even though the “box has been shaken” and every thing feels different, that the new normal has potential. My priorities are shifting, my waistline is MIA, I look older – lots of change to work though between my ears and it will be interesting!

    1. I don’t find the prospect of change scary. But than again, I’ve not been without income for weeks and weeks. Luckily here in Canada we have government funds that help people and businesses which have been affected by the closures. So when the tax man comes we’ll all be taking the hit, which is only fair, I think.

  35. I just have to say that I think you are beautiful with or without the makeup with or without the hair dye.

  36. Lovely post. It is not in the mirror that I notice the change but in photos. How does that happen? I realised about 6 months ago that I needed to change my makeup as the powdered, beautiful ones I was using were emphasising the “laughter lines” and let’s be truthful, wrinkles.
    The foundation I was using was just too much and after doing a lot of reading and looking on line I came across a product from the brand “Trinny London”. It is their BFF.
    It really was a game changer for me. So much so that I am adding to it gradually. Isn’t it funny that not only is there change outside us at the moment but, also change within. Life never stays still. Stay safe.

  37. One other note–with all the mask wearing (required where I live)–wearing lipstick is kind of futile–and it stains the inside of your mask. Resorted to buying colorless lip balm and only putting on a splash of lip gloss when I get in the car to head home. Sigh. So maybe would be a good idea to focus on the eye makeup. 🙂

  38. I was one of the readers in a previous post that encouraged you to keep your hair longer. I’d recommend you defer the haircut and let it grow a little longer. In the meantime look at cuts you do like and keep pictures and I’d also recommend that you find a different hairdresser – someone that only sees the ‘new’ Sue rather than the stylist who knows you far too well.

    Regarding your makeup – take a look at Judi Dench on the cover of UK Vogue – this month or last. Very fresh and pretty makeup and a colouring rather similar to yours. Enough definition around the eyes that they don’t recede. Whatever you do ensure you have eyebrows they are the “frame your face hangs on”, make sure you use a corrector and concealer under the eyes. Bobbi Brown is excellent for both but Trish McEvoy’s is even better and always use an eyeshadow base even if you aren’t wearing shadow (Urban Decay make a great one) It’s amazing what even-coloured lids can do to give a lift and foundation doesn’t cut it as there’s too much slip. Also, treat yourself and order the Trish McEvoy book “The Makeup of a Confident Woman” you won’t look back. It covers every age and from day to night – it is absolutely brilliant. Also, many will tell you to embrace mauve eyeshadows with white, grey or silver hair – be careful it can make you look far too tired and the eyes look as if they’re receding into sunken sockets (eyeshadow base will help). Someone upstream mentioned Tricia Cudsen – and I think she takes purple and blue shadows too far. Also tools, you want/need good brushes – Real Techniques are good quality and reasonably priced, Bobbi Brown’s brushes are great and so are Trish McEvoy’s. Her eyeliner brush is just the absolute best – also learn to tightline with a pencil – you’ll be amazed at how this simple trick will define your eyes. Watch Caroline Barnes Speed Beauty on YouTube and Instagram – wonderful makeup artist. Look for her film making up Nadine Baggott – her tip for ensuring that blusher/bronzer are brushed upwards is a game changer. Trish McEvoy on Instagram is great too.

    My friend went completely grey at 16 (hereditary) she looks fantastic. Tall, great bone structure and her biggest recommendation? Wear very little gold jewellery around the face and neck and embrace silver. It throws light up and on to the face.

    I’m a makeup junkie can you tell?!

    1. Wow… you are a make-up junkie. Thanks for the great suggestions. I’ve been using eye-brow products since my mid-forties when my brows seemed to begin to disappear. A bit darker, more defined, brow is a must, I agree. And under eye concealer. I used Bobbi Brown for years, the cream followed by the powder, but now much prefer Laura Mercier. Also the LM eye-lid primer to get the red out and provide a base before applying shadow. I use a combination of Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercies brushes that I’ve collected over the years. You’re right about the tight-lining. I wrote a post a couple of years ago about learning that. Great technique. I’m a bit of a make-up junkie as well. Which is why I’m having fun finding new looks. And finding fun make-up videos to watch on YouTube. I just found Hannah Martin the other day. She’s adorable, and way younger than me but has some great tips that I’d forgotten about. Oddly enough, watching YouTube videos is not just about the content for me. I find I have to be able to stand to listen to someone’s voice on YouTube. Some of the vloggers voices drive me nuts so I click away. I’m trying Hannah’s everyday, no-make-up make-up look today. My cleaning the house look. Ha.

  39. Obviously, you’ve touched a live nerve with your readers. I am exactly your age, shared your profession, and even have a sister who lives in Ottawa! I found myself in a bit of a funk two years past, with no easily identifiable reason. I spent a lot of time walking and thinking about what was bothering me. I realized the “outer” me no longer matched the “inner” me. My husband very much wanted me to continue coloring my hair as did my adult children. This, despite the fact my husband has been grey for 25 years. I realized that I wanted the inner and outer me to feel coordinated. I needed to face that although people often commented on how “young” I looked, I was no longer “young”. What dawned on me was that I no longer needed to trade in that currency. I felt strong and reasonably attractive, if no longer the kind of beauty that is celebrated in our culture. That felt OK with me. I told my husband that I no longer valued hearing “You are beautiful” as the highest compliment. I would much rather be valued for something I had worked hard to achieve. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me, but it felt like a revelation. I still care about how I present myself, don’t misunderstand. I just felt that what presented is the authentic me. White hair, well moisturized lines, carefully placed spare makeup and a small but carefully chosen wardrobe. I had the added bonus of having good timing, no pandemic meltdowns over hair color for me!! I think you have done us a service breaching this subject. It may seem superficial, but it reveals deeper themes .

    1. I love that line, “I no longer needed to trade in that currency.” I just feel that I’m ready for something different. And you are right; I think that there IS something going on beneath all the hair talk. Thanks for sharing your take Buffalo Gal.

  40. This post resonates with me too, as I am nearly 66. Last year I moved to part time work, as pre retirement. I have been working from home since March, but will go back into work in July. I live alone and during Covid19 have considered so much about my life – my future plans, potentially being house bound in my older age etc etc. Yesterday I got my hair cut and coloured again after 4 months. I deliberated letting it go, but as it grew out it was quite patchy. I think even white hair looks great on older women, but otherwise I don’t like the streaky look.
    On another “aging” topic – my eyebrows have nearly all disappeared now, and eyebrow pencil and lipstick is my daily must, with other make up added if I am going out. I would love any ideas on how to thicken eyebrows.

    1. I use the Laura Mercier brow definer gel for colour. And a Dior product which looks like mascara, but is used on the brows. It also has tiny fibres in it which thicken the brows and make them stay in place. I love it. Other brands have similar products too.

  41. I think you should have your white hair (that has grown out so nicely) cut into a style you love and wear that style until the NEXT hair appointment. THEN you will know if the white is something you can live with. I’m not so sure that you are as overwhelmed with the color as you are with having your old hairstyle grown out. I wear a short haircut and when it loses its shape, I am lost!! I think a short haircut with a lot of sass will make you feel a lot more excited with your new white hair color. Like someone else said, you’ve done the hard part already…it seems a shame to color it away. I think a great cut and a trip to a make up person (for advice about color changes you need with white hair) will be all it takes to making you feel like your spunky self again!!

    1. Funny you should say that, Nancy. Your advice is spot on. That’s what Carmen and I decided to do. She’s going to cut my hair on my next appointment and I’ll use the weeks following the cut to make up my mind about colour. 🙂

  42. I think you’ll know when you know….at least that’s how it was for me. I also think your own color (should you decide to keep it) will be stunning… judging from the previous blog with the new black top

  43. Well done with the videos, it takes a lot of courage to really look at ourselves ‘straight out of the shower’. I’ve always thought you look good, good clothes, hair and make-up. I’m 71 and some days I look so old, I can see my mother in the mirror. Last November I decided to stop dyeing my hair and embrace the grey, hoping for a ‘foxy’ look! I was excited about the ‘new me’. There is still a small amount of the dyed brown at the ends of my hair which looks unpleasant, and occasionally I have thought about dyeing it again, I won’t though, my hairdresser will be visiting on the 8th July and once those bits have been cut out it will look much better. I’m still using the same make-up which I think looks ok, but when I can I might go to the beauty counter for advice.

    1. I’m going for a cut in early July. Then I have a colour appointment two weeks later. So we’ll see how I feel about the new me once I have a decent cut. Kind of interested in how it will look.

  44. Hi Sue. Whoa, so many posts on hair and make up. A popular topic. I always think less is more. I love your “silver” hair. A good cut will be very flattering. And I’ve always liked the minimal makeup look. I don’t like looking through the made up face to see the real person. Less obvious the makeup, the better. Can’t wait to see the cut with the present hair colour. I think it will give you a very sophisticated look. Have fun and embrace it. Stu will love you either way. Just sayin…. And don’t be so hard on yourself. You always make me smile. Remember that hair stylists make their livelihood from cut and Colour. I vote for “au naturelle”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *