Big white hair

The debate among my friends i
s: to cover or not?

I asked a hairdressser how I would look like if I let whatever's under my red show up. "Practical", he said.

But look at these white and grey-haired beauties: 1. Carmen del'Orifice, model; 2. Cindy Joseph, model; 3. Emmylou Harris, singer/songwriter

And here's that famous Dove ad. Of course these women have beautiful bone structure, enviable styling and flattering photography. The debate continues. 95% of my women friends colour their hair. The simple reason: they don't want to look older, and grey, they think, also drains them.

Here's Time Magazine's altered photo of Condoleeza Rice with her presen
t hair colour and as a grey-haired woman.
They grey isn't very flattering,and looks fake. (I wonder what Condi thought.)

The problem is getting to that Carmen meringue-white; no dye can do it.

Below is a photo I grabbed from flickr, of a woman whose tag is Philosopher Queen; she posted this to show her mom her gray hair. I'd like to meet her, there's such life and intelligence in her face.

Wonder if she's kept her gray.

Rona Maynard, a local magazine editor and writer, described her journey from medium-brown to her natural mixed-brown-with-gray, possibly the drabbest colour you can have. Some months later she reverted.

I figure I'd have to shave my head and sign on for an Amazon raft trip for two months.

How in the world do you make the transition?
Not that I'm quite ready.


WendyB said…
I think it's a rare and lucky woman who makes white hair look sexy.
Anjela said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anjela said…
My sister has white hair and it looks amazing on her- she was a natural blond and so her skin tones look great with it.

I had three brothers, two are naturally grey and it looks so good on them. One has dyed his hair and it looks very strange against his skin coloring.

I am between minds in letting mine be white but as it comes through, the white is a different white to that of my siblings- mine looks aged and worrisome.
The only reason I want to stop this is because I have tied myself to going to New York to have it done and have to have help to get me there and help while I am there and help getting home. And then I am so fatigued for another day. But if I stop it I will frighten small children away and scare myself:) lol
Deja Pseu said…
Mine is that cardboard-brown-mixed-with-grey melange, so I won't be giving up the dye anytime soon. I had one acquaintance who went grey in her 30's...that lovely white/silver grey. She kept it and looked fabulous, but I don't think many of us are so blessed.
Duchesse said…
Pseu and Anjela: I once admired a gorgeously white-haired woman at my hairdresser's. Asked him "What would I look like if I let my natural colour grow out?" He replied, "Practical."
I have all white hair under my lions mane of red. ( I turned grey in high school). So, this is a subject I think a lot about. I so hope that one day when I let go of the red and let the white out that I will look like Carmen or Cindy. I fear I will just look old and "practical."

Oh, and I do have have that kind of white Carmen has. My hair is whiter than my 80-something mother's. It is not fair!!!
Anonymous said…
I'm not sure how 'natural' any of that white is, it's probably as much up-keep as any other colour. Why don't you leave one dignified grey streak at the front and use the usual artifice for the rest? (Best of both worlds)
Duchesse said…
Cybill: That colour can't be achieved even by a pro. The closest they can do is palest blonde. I saw a "gray" colour job in Paris but it was like metallic paint, a punk colour. Nature alone gives that pearlescent white.

Belette: Wow, lucky you, when the time comes, to know you can have it.
materfamilias said…
I'm just so glad that I have a hairdresser I trust completely who's 15 years younger than me (so will be working for years more) -- she's promised to let me know once I'm at the stage when I need to re-think the colouring. Not that I'd give it up, just that I'd change regimes. Apparently, once you hit a certain percentage of greyness, the semi-permanent & highlights that I have now isn't as appropriate. She says that we'd go to a grey-with-help and, as Cybill suggests, it would be achieved with as much maintenance as I've got going now. I don't mind, because besides the colour, having my hair coloured improves the texture and shine. It's probably my biggest beauty indulgence -- in terms of both time and money -- and if I had to choose between it and dental care, I'd have a tough time! (kidding, sort of . . .)
when i was a kid, my mom and my aunts used to have "dying" parties where they helped each other colour their hair. i couldn't abide the smell, the fuss and the mess. i always swore i would never dye my hair. of course, i thought as a young girl that by sheer force of will, my hair would never go grey (and i wouldn't get lines on my face, or get fat, etc.)

my mom's family were women who were mostly redheads (real red - carroty kind) and her mother, who was the only one of 4 sisters with chestnut red. the true redheads faded to pink; my grandmother turned a beautiful shade of silver in her late 20s/30s. my mom got her father's hair - very dark, wiry and thick. her sister got the chestnut red. result: mom's hair went gray late, here and there, mixes of brown and gray and dark and light. so she dyed it. continuously. my aunt with the chestnut hair went pewter, then silver, then brushed aluminium, then white.

guess what i got? chestnut red hair. at 31 my hair started to go grey. 2 years later, it was completely grey -- pewter coloured. a decade later, it was silver. i'm now up to brushed aluminium and fully anticipate snow-ice white in another decade. i don't do anything to it. no dyes, not treatments... i use a shampoo for silver hair once a week. otherwise i leave it alone. it's thick and shoulder length -- about the colour of emmy lou harris's. i found that by always being grey, a lot of people find it impossible to guess my age -- i've looked pretty much the same for the past 15 years or so. i've often asked my haircutters if i should dye it and there is always a resounding "NO!"
Duchesse said…
bonnie-ann: Graying early is a gift: you get more years of the pretty gray shades and achieve Ultimate White. It isn't such an abrupt shift, either.

materfamilias: When Rona Maynard tried it (and documented her journey) she had her mid-brown hair "pearled"- high and lowlighted so the grwoing-in gray would not be such a stark contrast. But she capitulated back to colour, a mutual friend told me she felt drab.
MarilynB said…
Three years ago I decided to go natural and quit trying to keep up with coloring my hair to eliminate the skunk stripe. My natural color looks much better with my skin tone and I have no regrets. Besides I can always go back to coloring, but really don't see that happening. It's so much easier this way and my hair is so much heathier. I have no regrets.
greying pixie said…
Well I have to say that I'm finding my transition to grey quite fascinating. I've never in my life dyed my hair, not even a 6 wash rinse, so it's quite exciting to see myself with different hair for the first time in my life. It's also interesting to see how it is affecting my dressing habits, etc. I'm wearing more eye make-up and brighter colours near my face, especially red and distinctive jewellery.

My hairdresser says there is a brightening rinse that keeps grey hair whiter, that only needs to be done every three months - so it lasts twice as long as the retouching roots business.

In answer to your question, duchesse, I would say the way to make the transition is to relax and enjoy it.
gp said…
P.S. I think it's also important to think about cut and style if deciding to revert to or discover your grey self. A style that worked in a dyed colour may not work in grey. I find myself going shorter and shorter these days because it just seems to go well with my face and neck. I would definitely say it's the cut that helps me feel young, not the colour (or lack of it!).
Anonymous said…
For years I used L'Oreal Champagne Blonde. Then, two and a half years ago in June, to be precise(!) I noticed I had no roots growing in. My natural color had become Champagne Blonde. Or Sands of the Beach Blonde, as I like to call it. I have never colored again, and do not regret it.
Anonymous said…
Duchesse, I am very gray, but I must cover the regrowth with a medum ash blonde shade. When I see that regrowth coming in, I feel awful. It's ashen, it takes away my hairline completely when I wear it back, and it's NOT cute.
Duchesse said…
GP, anonymous: I have intense auburn hair so if I grow it out, have a dramatic growth demarcation. Does not appeal- nor does dying it blonde so the grey growing in is less obvious. Think I'll have to shave my head and take an Amazon river trek for 4 months, then reappear.
Anonymous said…
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