Hairdressers reopen this week, but should you actually stay grey?

Nicola de Burlet
grey - © 2015 Trinette Reed Photography
grey - © 2015 Trinette Reed Photography

Over the last few weeks, social media has been peppered with talk of the horror of everyone’s natural hair colour coming through and how to cover up the dreaded greys, even though now we know that salons will be reopening this Saturday. But what if you just didn’t get your roots done? What if these were merely the silver shoots of a whole new you and not something to cover up, or be ashamed of?

If there is one thing I am grateful I didn’t have to worry about in lockdown, it’s grey roots. I decided to ditch the dye about four years ago and go fully grey: no more three-hour hair appointments meant a more low maintenance routine. I haven’t regretted it for a second and my hair has never looked better.

I’ll admit, the actual decision to go grey was tough and I stewed on it for months, would it age me beyond my years (44 at the time), what would my colleagues think? What would my husband think? My son? I was concerned that I would be judged, forgotten, labelled, fade away into the background, but in reality, the opposite happened and it became a defining moment for me.

People suddenly wanted to talk about my hair, which all my life had been unremarkable. Now, my hair had a personality of its own, it made me walk taller, encouraged me to wear colour, tempted me to wear red lipstick. It dragged me along with it, like a naughty sibling and I have to admit, it’s been fun discovering this new me.

x - Elena Listova @thestylephotographer
x - Elena Listova @thestylephotographer

Now could be the perfect time to go grey for those considering it. I wonder if this could be viewed as a “hair chrysalis” moment, sheltered from prying eyes, slowly evolving, ready to emerge - a brand new shiny silver version of the original?

Paul Percival, co-founder of Percy & Reed is going grey himself in lockdown and advises to let the grey take over. “You need to establish what state your current hair colour is in first. As long as the hair has great shine, my advice is to embrace it.

"With fair hair, it is easier to let the grey in. Darker hairs will go more of a pepper and salt initially, but stick with it – use a root concealer spray if you need something for the in-between stage, they are great because they aren’t permanent so will wash out but will cover the greys.”

You can’t rush a good grey, so be realistic with the in-between stages and reach for help if you need it. Josh Wood, expert colourist and founder of Josh Wood Colour has seen a huge upswing in sales of his Colour Blending Brushes in lockdown as his clients scramble to conceal their roots at home.

He is a huge fan of grey hair but warns, “going grey requires commitment, the first step in the process is to purposefully leave a little bit of grey around the hairline, so it starts to break up that harsh regrowth.” He recommends using a deep cleansing shampoo to help lighten up the intensity of your colour naturally as you let the grey in.

To get a result you are happy with, many hairdressers are offering video consultations, so seek advice from them and make a plan if you aren’t sure about the best way to go until you can put yourself in the capable hands of a colourist once more.

From my side, I can tell you that going grey is liberating, it’s honest, it’s open, it’s a statement that says “this is me” and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

5 ways to embrace grey

White Hot  Intense Lustre Mask, £14 

White Hot Intense Lustre Mask, £14
White Hot Intense Lustre Mask, £14

Great for hydrating grey hair and providing shine.

Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo, £14.40

Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo, £14.40
Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo, £14.40

A great at home toner if you want to take control yourself.

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm, £15.30

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm, £15.30
Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm, £15.30

For maintaining shine.

Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush £19

Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush £19
Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush £19

Manage root growth whilst you manage your new colour.

L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray, £8.99

L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray, £8.99
L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray, £8.99

A favourite of the stars, like Eva Longoria.

Follow Nicola on Instagram here

Have you gone grey during lockdown? Will you stay grey? Tell us in the comments section below.

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