The Many Shades of Grey

Hello everyone,

This, for a long time, was something I didn’t like to talk about and often hid from the world. I have only recently, about 2 years decided to let my true colours show. I am one of many who has gone and will go premature grey.

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As I mentioned in Arctic Blonde I found my first grey hair when I was only 17 years old. This devastated me as if being a teenager didn’t come with enough changes and emotion. At this point I had asked my mother and others to help me understand why this could be happening. Keeping in mind I didn’t have a google app on my “mobile” to guide me like the teens do now. Most people I talked to about it denied that they saw any grey. In fact people deny they see grey in my hair to this day. I don’t know why maybe to make me feel better. One of the worst comments I would get is “you think that’s grey look at mine.” Yes I see your hair is grey that is why I am talking to you about grey hair I want support, care tips, I want it to be acknowledged. When people did acknowledge it some terrible comments I got and still sometimes hear are, “you must have had a stressful life.” This is what sparked my hair colour frenzy. I started colouring my hair on a regular basis, I mean every 3-4 months or so for about 11 years. Stylists and colourists were happy to see me and colour my hair on such a regular basis none of them really gave me any advice on how to take care of grey either. It’s hard to find a colouring technique that actually works to cover up the grey hairs they are just so troublesome to colour and are often the first strands to start fading. Two years ago I stepped into a salon and asked for my usual colour treatment. It was a lady I had never gone too before. I explained the grey hair issue and for the first time someone talked to me about grey hair! That day with her help I started referring to my hair as Arctic Blonde. We talked about wearing it naturally and how to transition. That was the last time I coloured my hair. It had to happen my hair was and still is pretty damaged due to the harsh chemicals in hair dyes.

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Recently I have been seeing more and more articles about grey hair and more women embracing their colours. I’m glad we are starting to talk about it so that maybe other young women and men who prematurely go grey may have the support and knowledge that I didn’t. I think the recent news spark has to do with the “Granny Look” trending. More and more we are seeing young men and women sporting the many shades of grey. Though grey hair is not just the hair colour changing, there is so much more going on than that.

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The hair begins to go grey when hair color-producing cells stop producing pigment. This means the hair is not actually just turning grey but this is how it grows. Greying may vary depending on ethnicity. Premature greying may be based down in our genes and race. “Those with a vitmain B deficiency or issues with thyroid or pituitary glands may experience premature grey and in these cases may be reversible”, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. Stress is not a factor in the premature greying, this is a myth we need to stamp out.

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The grey hair that grows out trends to be more coarse, thicker, dryer, and hard to manage. It is important not to pluck out grey hairs not because 100 will grow in it’s place but because it will grow back heavier and thicker and often stick straight up. It’s hard to tame and mold these short broken hairs it’s best to just let them be. I avoid heat styling my hair whenever possible to avoid more damage. It is important not just for grey hair but all hair not too pull the hair too tightly into your style, or style it when wet. This may cause the hair to break and is stressful on the hair and root. Instead style your hair when it is dry and tie it back loosely but secured, this will prevent breakage. The hair maybe also very dry, it’s best not to wash it too frequent as this could strip the natural oils in the hair causing it to dry out. I usually wash my hair every 3-4 days depending. Using a hair mask regularly will help condition, soften and moisturize the hair. You can use a coconut oil mask which works really well, I usually do this monthly sometimes bi monthly depending on the season and texture. Naturally grey or coloured grey can easily fade had cast a harsh yellow tone especially in the summer months when it is exposed to sunlight. Try to find a shampoo and conditioner or colour enhancing treatment with a blue base. I have found these products to work really well.

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 Touch of Silver Twice a Week Brightening Shampoo

I use this about once a month, twice a month in the summer time. It has “active violet pigment to eliminate brassy, yellow tones to natural or coloured blonde, grey or white hair”. It also says to avoid colour build up to use the Touch of Silver Maintenance Shampoo. Before you use this product you do have to do an allergy test first.

Touch of Silver Daily Maintenance Shampoo

This shampoo does give a very satisfying lather that I like and rinses out really clean. The package states it “contains sunflower seed extract and UV Absorber to help protect against sun damage and colour fade. An Optical Brightener intensifies the reflected light to deliver shine adding vibrancy and depth to natural, coloured platinum blonde, grey or white hair.” The product really does just that. I’m thoroughly impressed with it and I use this every other wash. I alternate with a coconut or moisturizing shampoo and conditioner along with these products as well.

Touch of Silver Daily Nourish Conditioner

This conditioner is so thick I have a little issue getting it to thoroughly cover my hair so I mostly concentrate on the roots with this which is where most of my grey hair is I’m still growing out previously coloured hair. “This creamy protective conditioner works to hydrate, enhance radiance and shine to natural, coloured platinum blonde, grey or white hair. Sunflower seed extract and UV absorber helps protect the structure of the hair and prevents colour fading. Whilst optical brightener optimizes reflected light to instantly boost shine.” There is actually a Touch of Silver Intensive Conditioner as well for hair that requires a deep conditioning. I haven’t tried it yet but I will probably grab it next time see how it does.

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These products have been a game changer for me. The grey hair now looks so much more natural, I know it is natural hair colour for me but it doesn’t look so harsh and noticeable anymore. The strands are really soft and do look much like a blonde highlight in my hair instead of a harsh pigment deficiency. The Arctic Blonde shade blends in much better with my natural dark brown hair. Before using these products, when light hit the grey hair they would be silvery, dull and harsh, now they are healthy, shiny, and beautiful.

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I almost hate calling it “Granny Look” mostly because well, grey hair does not mean old  and we need to know that. That’s why I think so many of us have a problem with going grey whether it is premature or a part of natural aging, we associate grey with old. I invite you to also call it Arctic Blonde. If you are planning on going Arctic Blonde naturally here are some tips to help you get through it.

  • Go for a pixie cut and embrace the grey hair immediately and dramatically from the roots out. If your like me and a pixie is a no go keep reading.
  • You can consult a hair colourist to help give a highlight throughout the hair to blend in the harsh root grow-out line.
  • Use a rinse in hair colouring treatment such as Fanci-full hair  until the silvery roots have grown out to a length you feel comfortable wearing.
  • If you must continue to colour your hair go a little bit lighter so the grey won’t stand out as much.

 

All pictures shown are of my own hair over the last two years. Hope this helps and if you have any ideas to add leave me a note in the comments, or please share your Arctic Blonde natural or coloured stories with me.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/beauty/hair-nails/abcs-premature-graying

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23 thoughts on “The Many Shades of Grey

    1. Oh I’m sorry to hear for your loss. That’s not easy. Wow I had never heard of that and didn’t find it in any research. Thanks for sharing that with me, maybe I just didn’t put in the right key words to find that result. Did your entire hair turn white overnight or only sections? Was it a gradual change? Did it continue to grow white after?

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      1. So did you get pigmentation back later? Just goes to show me that there is a lot of black and white in the grey area hah. The Vitamin B deficiency and stress makes a lot of sense to me. This was a great article to help me understand even more. Thanks for letting me know.

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      2. Perhaps your hair colour producing cells started to produce pigment (melanin) again. I used to see strands that were silver and brown when my hair first started changing, now they just grey Arctic blonde and I’m hardly brunette anymore..

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    1. Nice! Something about wearing your natural colours just makes you look better, often wearing a colour in your hair just won’t look as good even if your natural colour is Arctic Blonde

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  1. Thank YOU! I so appreciate your article, I do not have words!

    Due to health issues as a child I am extremely attached to and very touchy about criticism of my hair! However, I never thought of grey as a problem, which was lucky since the grey in my hair was noticeable by the time I was twenty-one and causing comment when I was twenty-five. One relative in particular has real problems with grey hair. Hers is devotedly coloured and I was harassed for years because of mine. I was lucky, maybe because I avoided any kind of chemical treatments my grey hair’s texture is not noticeably different from my other hair which has a couple of different textures. So styling was never an issue and left to myself I really wouldn’t have thought too much about it. I allowed myself to be persuaded a couple of years ago to colour it and I was miserable. It felt so wrong and like a complete betrayal of myself. I did it to get peace, because I didn’t want the criticism any more but after two colour sessions I had enough. I did find a shampoo that helps minimize the grey, not because I want to hide it but because it is too wearing emotionally to be constantly defending my appearance. Since grey shows even with the shampoo it is a sort of compromise. But I desperately, passionately wish for a change in society’s attitude! My relative’s will never change, to her grey hair is UGLY and that is all there is to say about it. But wider acceptance would make it much easier on those of us who either prefer it or really don’t care. Since I was fifteen the only thing about my hair that I truly care about is that it be strong and healthy. If you have lived without your hair your priorities can be altered. I want it cut attractively, and for personal preference like wearing it very long. And it is MY Hair, no one else gets to live with it day in and day out!

    And I can’t write dispassionately about it so before this turns into a rant let me again thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations on being able to accept yourself, and for realizing how important it is to treat your hair well.
    Sincerely,
    Linden Leaf

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    1. Oh I am so glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for sharing your story with me.
      Since I stopped colouring my hair it has already started showing signs of health again and I’m a little ashamed I mistreated it so badly. I get lots of people complimenting the grey hair. I feel like I talk about it all the time though and I am finding so many people are accepting of it. Even when I shrug and see really my Arctic blonde looks good? Breaking down the whole grey equals old stigma and accepting our natural colours. It’s a shame about your relative and it’s not right for someone to pressure you into something your not keen on. Try using a grey enhancing product like I mentioned it makes them really shine and look beautiful. I had a client ask me the other day if I highlighted my hair, since using those products I have been getting comments daily about how good it looks. I think getting the conversation started well help more individuals with the same issue feel better and more accepting as a whole in society. Thank you again for sharing your story with me as well!

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  2. My hair began turning grey when I was in my late twenties. I coloured it for a while but decided to go natural when I turned 40. I also cut it short and haven’t regretted either decision. Thank-you very much for visiting my blog and for the follow.

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    1. Good I’ve seen lots of short cuts of Arctic Blonde and I really think it can be flattering. For me I really love having the long hair even though I wear it up most of the time. Thanks for stopping by and checking me out too!

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  3. I’m fortunate to have very little grey and I’m 58. My grandmother had red hair also. It faded to a gross yellow colour so I suspect I may be dying my hair. Yours is silver so it’s very pretty. Embrace it!

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  4. As the lone guy I guess I will chime in. I typically 2-3xs a year will get grey on the sides but not from the root, so if short, it is dark. I also pick up light brown, red and blond since I was young. The only top grey I get are a few strands to the root and a haircut and a little color and I am good for a week, a second time and good 4-6 months, sometimes more.

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      1. I always picked up hi lites. The grey thing on the side I believe is genetic. Being I normally got a ton of sun training I would get the different colors. When younger I used to play with the color a lot.

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