Girl Gone Grey

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This girl has gone grey, folks. Okay… I’m not exactly a girl… and my hair is white, not grey… but you get the point. And you are probably saying, “Finally, finally she made up her mind and we don’t have to listen to her waffling on anymore.”

My new hair now that I've gone grey.
Going, going, gone… grey.

I had my hair appointment a few days ago, the day after we came home from our camping trip. That shot above is me in the car outside Carmen’s house just after my appointment. I snapped the shot below the next morning, just before Hubby and I headed out to shop for a new clothes dryer.

My new hair now that I've gone grey.
Day two of my new hair.

Camping was definitely an adventure in hair calisthenics. Oh my, curly hair bumps all over the place! But I am one very, very happy camper now. You can listen to me tell you all that in the video below.

I’ve been keeping a Pinterest board on what to do with my white hair. You can check that out here. These are some of the first photos I pinned. Gillian Anderson on the right and Emma Thompson on the left inspired me to push my hair back off my face and let the white show, even though the ends were still blonde and brown. They inspired me to not hide my roots, but to showcase them. That was confidence boosting, I must say.

The shot of the grey-haired woman in the middle is one I kept in my mind throughout the whole growing out process. Totally grey haired, totally beautiful. And dressed in an outfit that is chic, and edgy, and youthful without looking like mutton dressed as lamb. I aspire to that vibe.

So, yeah… I am totally happy with my decision to let nature take its course. Carmen is going to add some lowlights, in a week or so. Now that we know what it looks like after the curls and bumps and most of the old colour has been cut off. And she’s ordering me some special shampoo, and some styling product that will work better for the new texture of my hair. I won’t be entirely au naturel. But I never expected to just let my hair totally do as it pleases. I’m too much of a control freak for that.

Since this process began I’ve been casting about for a make-up routine that works with my new lighter hair. I tried a couple of looks in this post. In the past couple of weeks I’ve adjusted things again. And I’m very happy with the changes.

I’ve added a cool pink shadow on my lids, instead of the warm beige cream shadow, and I’m using a black liner when I tight-line my upper lid instead of the navy I’d been using. Also I’ve started to employ an old bronzer from Bobbi Brown that I’ve had for years, and not used. It gives me more colour and makes my face look healthier. I still need a soft pink blush, I think. I love the soft look that I’ve seen on so many women with white hair. Skin that looks great, rosy blush on the apples of the cheeks, soft lipstick, and a focus on the eyes and brows.

I’ve been watching a ton of make-up videos on YouTube. And I’ve found that I like Hannah Martin’s channel the best. She uses Bobbi Brown products a lot, a brand with which I am very familiar. From having my make-up done over the years at Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom, I know that both Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier focus on the skin first. Then on make-up that makes us look like us, but better. Hannah is lovely and chatty without being too preachy or pedantic. She talks her way through her own make-up looks, and occasionally applies make-up to others. Like the video that Sandra Sallin recommended where Hannah applies make-up to her mother-in-law, who is about my age. You can watch that here. I know that Hannah is way younger than me, but I’m quite comfortable trying a few of her techniques and leaving others that don’t suit me.

This video, below, inspired me to dig out my foundation application brush to apply my tinted moisturiser. I don’t wear foundation anymore. And to start using my Bobbi Brown bronzer again.

Obviously my new look is a work in progress. I do love an ongoing project. Soon I’ll venture back to Nordstrom to consult with Katia on the Laura Mercier line about a new pink blush. I’m much more comfortable being in stores now that we have a mandatory mask order in the Ottawa area. I’ve been lying low because so many people here were not wearing masks. I’m still hoping Hubby and I can go to New Brunswick before the summer is over, and I didn’t want to risk messing that up if we get to go. At the moment the border to the maritime provinces is closed to Quebec and Ontario residents. Can’t blame them; we have had a much worse Covid outbreak than they did. Our fingers are crossed that we will be able to visit with my mum before too long.

I may have to wear a name tag so she can recognize me. Ha. Just kidding. She saw the half finished look on a blog post a couple of weeks ago. I’d told her to check out this post. But to brace herself because I looked so different. Mum is nothing if not brutally honest when it comes to commenting on her girls’ hair. So when she called me the next day, it was my turn to brace myself. “Susie,” she gushed, “you look just like Barbara Stanwick!” Ha. I guess she likes it.

Besides a few tweaks to my make-up and a few low-lights, all that remains now is for me to get used to me. As I said to Hubby the other day, I walk by a mirror and still expect to see my old hair. And instead I see… uh… old hair. Ha. But I sure felt fabulous the other day when Hubby and I went to buy a new dryer. We were all masked up, so I didn’t wear much blush, or any lipstick, and I still liked the look of myself in the mirror.

That felt wonderful, I must say.

You know, this whole thing started as a way to cope with Covid hair. Deciding that if I couldn’t do anything about it, I would try to make the best of my roots growing out, and my style devolving. I never intended to go grey, or white, permanently. It’s funny, but I guess going, going, gone grey worked out well in the end.

So what have you been up to my friends? Any big pandemic changes that you plan to make permanent?

P.S. Don’t forget to send me your photos and book recommendations for the big backyard book party on the weekend. Since we can’t gather in person, we’ll gather in our imaginations. This will be the fictional event of the season! If you’re shy about sending a photo of yourself, just email me the title of the book you’ll bring, and why it affected you so deeply.

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81 thoughts on “Girl Gone Grey”

  1. You look fabulous indeed! Give the all white hair a chance and decide after that. Emma Thompson looks fantastic with her hair
    I simply can’t decide about the book(s) – there are so many… I’m sure your party will be wonderful
    Dottoressa

  2. You’re so lucky to have that lovely color. I was intrigued to see how mine would go, but it’s a dark grey which I think will look very severe. You can have lots of fun with your hair!

  3. Welcome to the COVID going grey/white look!! I couldn’t ignore all the compliments on my grey look. The back is salt and pepper but the front is definitely going grey. So many people liked it and here I thought it would only be temporary. I too may experiment with low lights or toner. I have to wait until all the colour is gone. I’m liking the new look. Our friend Marina says it softens my facial features. Have fun at the book party!!

  4. I would LOVE to stop coloring my hair and have it be that chic Emma Thompson silver! But it would go from blonde to fieldmouse brown, and I can’t handle that. Sigh. You look MARVELOUS, and your new makeup is lovely too.

  5. Wow! I doubt you will be the only one. I have jury duty starting Monday and a hair appointment the 15th so I can not be on a jury. February 21 was my last salon cut and color. I have just cut bangs and touched up roots. Can’t wait to see it after next week and yes, a difference. We just celebrated my Mom’s 80th over the weekend and were outside a lot. Our city just enacted a mask wearing ordinance for 60 days. We feel better about going out with that in place starting tomorrow. Just was out watering and weeding and now need to shower. Minnesota is having a heat wave.

    1. We are having a heat wave too, Christa. It’s too humid even at 9 am to go for my walk. Also… masks have just been mandated in our region as well. Thank goodness.

  6. I think you look great going silver. I am doing the same and I had brown hair so there is more of a contrast. Makeup does have to change. My daughter told me to switch from brown eyeshadow to gray or plum, cooler colors. I am definitely using a light bronzer for color and a pinkish blush. I go back for another cut in August or September to cut off the rest of the brown. A great cut and style is key.

    1. I am wearing more cool colours as well. That was part of the problem with my lighter makeup that I thought was washing me out… warm colours when my hair was a cool colour.

  7. It looks wonderful. Very freeing. I was delighted to get mine cut yesterday and to see that the grey is coming along very nicely, thanks. So much hair hit the floor. Gone for a boyish crop and I think this is the best cut I have had, with a thick natural wave emerging which was certainly never there before. Like you, I wear it pushed back. One less thing to worry about in a world of increasing doubt.

  8. Yup…looks fabulous on you! No looking back now!
    Great “silver” role models. Mine were Emmy Lou Harris and Louise Pitre.
    Can’t wait to see what Carmen does with low lites.
    Hope you’re not melting as we are in Guelph!
    R

  9. Honestly, until I saw your before photo toward the bottom of your post, I couldn’t figure out what was different. I think a toner to make your blonde more ash, which may be the shampoo your stylist is getting for you, will be flattering. One thing I’ve been grateful for during the pandemic is that I’ve never colored my hair. I think natural for women our age will definitely be In. And Hannah Martin has taught me so much! Enjoy!

    1. There is more colour left in places than I realized. I may push back my follow-up appointment for a few weeks so we can cut the rest of the blonde/brown off at the same time as we do the lowlights.

  10. Jenny Larking

    Yup. I did think, “At last she has made the right choice” although I wouldn’t have said this if you had decided to go back to the blonde, which was also a good look, but so high maintenance. I believe you should do whatever makes you happy – but – I LOVE the new you. So fresh and perky.

    1. Thanks, Jenny. I remember two years ago I wrote a post about going grey. I was looking to do something about my growing root problem. I even found a website that allowed me to upload my picture to see how I would look in grey hair. Then I chickened out at the last minute. But with this enforced grow-out time we’ve just had, I was given a chance to see what my hair would look like. I’m surprised that I like it.

  11. You look beautiful! Having made the change myself five years ago, I agree that it is very freeing. I still do highlights a few times a year to change some of the gray to white, which works better with my skin tone, but since it was just highlights the Covid grow-out was pretty painless. Congratulations on the new look. I am a little sorry, however, that you didn’t show us your camping hair pictures.

  12. Hi Sue – I love the blog post and your new hair! I think so many women are deciding to go back to their natural colour – whatever that is after years of dying, highlighting, etc. I am growing mine out, too – although for now, I am not going to cut it short. I like myself better with long hair, so I am just going to tough it out and see what it looks like and how I feel about it in a few more months (with regular cuts, conditioning etc) in between. For me, the choice to dye or not is such a personal choice – I think it’s a shame we get so much cultural pressure to colour our hair; at the same time, I completely understand and support women who choose to continue dyeing it. The point is – we get to choose. I will say that my hair is thicker, shinier and so much healthier since I ditched the dye in early March. And good on Carmen for supporting your choice and helping you achieve the look you want.

    1. Thanks, Kristi. My hair feels so silky without the colour. Someone made a comment a few posts ago that I should change stylists because Carmen would probably have trouble seeing me in a new way. But I have faith in her. She is as much of a “let’s try something new” junkie as me. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Wendy. It’s hard to decide. I went back and forth for weeks. But I realize now that much of my angst was caused by the fact that my cut was grown out and my hair looked so shaggy.

  13. And I love it. Like you, I have freckles and I don’t fall into standard grey/silver makeup suggestions of pinks and blue reds. I’m about 7 years ahead of you on the path and adjusting color as I go along. Peaches, rustic colors, brownish pinks/reds all look good with this silver/freckle combo. Congratulations on this covid transformation!

  14. Laurel A Hill

    Looks gorgeous! Love it. I so wish I had that color hair if I stopped coloring it. Alas, it is a mousey brown with random steel gray bits. Enjoy it!

  15. Looking fabulous! Love the pic in the striped top. May need to tweak colors of clothing tops too. Are you sure you need low lights?

  16. Oh yes, what a gorgeous colour and cut. My mother’s hair went white, not silver. I hope that is what mine will be like. Low lights with my white streak are what I’m having done, while trying not to look like a skunk :-)… Does your white hair have a different texture?
    Ali

  17. Love your new look! You look marvelous! Can’t wait to get my hair cut, but still many Covid cases here, so I am waiting. I cut my own hair, but want layers and I do not dare to do that. Looking forward to the book gathering. I was not happy with the picture I sent you, but….what the heck?! 😉

    1. I wasn’t nervous about Carmen because she has a home salon, with one customer at a time. But I might have been hesitant if I’d been going to a big salon.
      P.S. I’m not happy with about 90% pf my photos… you are not alone. 🙂 Thanks for participating, though.

  18. I stopped dyeing my hair about a year ago and my “silvers” are about down to my ears now. Which means I’m half and half (silver/golden brown). Its perhaps an unusual look but I’ve rather taken to it. It also helps that I broke my ankle and had surgery last fall and then the pandemic, so not many people have actually seen my hair. And now when I go out its with a mask and frequently with my brown half pulled up in a bun, so nobody actually knows who I am. My bangs, however, are driving me crazy!

  19. You look so fresh and actually younger with whitish hair. Love the pushed back look around your face. WOW!

    1. Thanks, Barbara, I chuckled at your comment because I remember that country singer Charlie Rich used to be known as the silver fox back in the day. Just looked him up on Google… his hair was very nice. 🙂

  20. I think you look much the same (not older at all) – just with the tweak of a new hair color. You look great! I really like it!

  21. I’ve never regretted letting my hair go natural. I think I started about four years ago. It looked like the dogs breakfast for quite a while but I love it now. I’m still trying to perfect my make up colours. I think your hair looks gorgeous !!

    1. Yep… I looked like a dog’s breakfast most days for a while too. One day when we were camping and my hair had flattened on the sides in the night and frothed up in curls on the top, Hubby said I looked like a volcano. Ha.

  22. Hi Sue
    Your hair looks fabulous! You are going
    to love the freedom of not having ‘color’! I let my hair go in my early sixties, being blonde I didn’t have the problem of roots etc but it was the best thing I’ve ever done for my hair . I’ve enjoyed your blog for a number of years, particularly your book suggestions, and family stories. Kind regards from another Sue in Tasmania, Australia

  23. You look amazing, that colour really suits you as it is white/blonde. My hair grew out grey streaks so I got it coloured again. IF it had been like yours I definitely would have let it be.

  24. New hair is amazing – And you look more “youthful” in the newer picture in your side-by-side comparison. Happy for you!

  25. Love it! Look forward to checking it out at your Book Club Tea on the weekend 😉 . . . If your experience is anything like mine, you will love not having to worry about roots . . . (I was seeing my stylist every 5-7 weeks the last few years before I stopped colouring 5 years ago — now I can go 3 months!)

  26. Hi Sue … to be honest I’m comfortably on the fence! I really like both looks. Pre and post Covid19 cut! I’m interested to see how your new style progresses as Carmen adds low lights and your cut is “tweaked” in the coming months. From all I’ve read over the years I’d definitely stick with Carmen! ( not that I expected you to change hairdressers!) Love your mums comment! 😂
    See you soon!
    Rosie xxx

    1. Thanks, Rosie. I really liked my old colour. But the root situation had been bugging me for a while. Especially at the sides where my hair was really short. I’d have to brush it carefully to make sure the white didn’t peek through after a couple of weeks.

  27. Hello, In the photos of what you expect to see and what you see. I notice not so much the hair as the color of your brighter lip , rosy cheeks and darker clothing in the photo on the right. I am going back to white hair and it does feel freeing. Think I will explore color more . Thanks for your posts.

  28. Your white hair looks very cool, it compliments your gentlewoman look beautifully…I’ll be interested to see if it influences your style in the future.

  29. I love your natural look. Like you I am blessed with a nice white color. One observation about lowlights- I tried this as well and liked them initially. However as they grew out they had a way of dulling my beautiful bright white. But trial and error will inform you. Meanwhile—-have fun!

  30. Looking good, Sue!!! You are so fortunate to have a stylist who is a cheerleader for your change and so engaged in helping you find the right style and products. I know that made all the difference in my journey to gray.

    For about 10 years I’d worn my gray hair short, spiky and funky and loved it, but with the COVID shutdown in CT and MA and having to let my hair grow, I decided to embrace a new style. We’re working toward the Emma Thompson style now……which is how I used to wear my hair when I was much, much younger. I think part of the change is a yearning to go back to my “old self” when I was fearless and thought the world had endless possibilities for me.
    I think that’s why the book Writers & Lovers, by Lily King has affected me so deeply. Reminds me of my early 20’s (I also worked in a restaurant in Harvard Square, but it was just a coffee-and-muffin place) and the mother-daughter relationship was beautifully wrought. As a daughter (still think of my Mom every day, though she’s been gone 11 years), a mother and grandmother, I often reflect on those connections. Plus, I thought it was very well written and funny in a my-kind-of-humor way.
    And now, I am looking forward to relaxing and watching some Hannah Martin videos to get new tips and ideas!

    1. Thanks, Adele. I returning to something closer to my old style as well, as far as being brushed off my face. I will add that book suggestion to the book list post later in the week. A summary of all the books recommended for the party. I love Lily King’s work

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