Tag Archives: turning silver

Silver Gilt – Embracing Going Grey and Turning Silver

Three years ago I began the journey of both gracefully and disgracefully aging… making many changes in my life, and one of them was turning grey – adding silver gilt to my hair like fairy dust.

I loved the transformation, but starting the process, getting used to the idea of going grey, is psychologically the most difficult. It throws up emotions and fears of growing older, and makes you confront not only who you are in yourself, but how others see you too. There’s a lot of pressure on standards of beauty and the media’s view on aging can be intimidating. I talk about that and my own worries in my first post: Turning Silver and Going Grey – Embracing your Hair. I said I’d write another post once my process was complete, so here it is.

I loved being brunette, and when I realised I was turning white it was hard to accept the change, but I decided to embrace it and turn silver before I was fifty! I stopped dyeing and watched my grey come through like glittering silver gilt.

Two years later and it’s now 2021 and we’ve been locked in a pandemic for the past eighteen months, and I’ll be fifty in a few months. It’s been a tough time for most of us and Covid19 has collectively affected society profoundly. It seems almost flippant to talk about hair after what we’ve been through, but during lockdown hairdressers and barbers were closed, and hair care became a personal responsibility. Home dyeing was the only way for many to keep the grey at bay, and a fair amount of people decided to lose the obligation and accept the inevitable. Turning silver became much easier for many without access to professional hair care.

I had a head start, literally, and as we entered lockdown I was mostly silver already. If I’d been getting regular haircuts, I’d have kept my hair shorter and I would have been completely white much faster, but as most people did, I let my hair grow long. I kept my brown/bronze tips for much longer. It was a fascinating year as a lot of people let their hair grow or shaved it off! Suddenly news readers all had longer hair, and several celebrities were advertising dye products by showing their grey as they dyed their roots at home. I was happy to let my hair grow. By October, though, I was fed up as my hair gets heavier as it grows, and thin hair works better with a good cut. I didn’t get a good cut, but I did finally lop the last brown ends off with my own hairdressing scissors! It was the moment the last remnants of dye were cut from my hair and I became completely natural.

Now my hair is longer again, and wanting a cut, but I’m loving the colour. I’m told there’s still some brunette at the back, but I can’t see it and most of it has darkened to steel grey. The rest is a white halo about my face, sparkling silver in the sun.

So, after three years, my journey from brunette to silver has finished, and I’ve changed just as much as my hair if I’m honest. These last few years have been time for change, for authenticity, for counselling, developing the strength to be myself, and emerging as someone I truly love and embrace.

I finished my last turning silver post with this statement:
I’m ready to let my silver spirit soar with freedom and abandon.

And I have.

Turning Silver and Going Grey – Embracing your Hair…

Going grey, turning silver – whether you’re aging gracefully or disgracefully –
at some point your hair colour is going to change. How will you embrace it?

Turning Silver and Going Grey - Embracing your Hair - The Last Krystallos

I’m forty-seven, and eleven months into growing out my coloured hair and turning silver… and I thought I’d share my process with you.

July to July Going Silver 2018-19 - The Last Krystallos

July to July – Going silver © Lisa Shambrook

There’s a huge amount of pressure on women these days to always look good, and as I’ve got older the media’s view on aging can be intimidating.

The average woman will begin to notice grey hairs from the age of thirty-five and by fifty most women will have at least 50% grey coverage. Men grey a few years earlier than women, but it seems more acceptable in men, just look at George Clooney (58)! I realised that most women my age on screen don’t have any discernible silver in their locks. Many popular presenters, Davina McCall (51) and Holly Willoughby (38) for example, are actively advertising hair dye products. And, tell me, have you seen many female news readers sporting grey hair recently? Fiona Bruce (55) still has glorious dark hair. I don’t have a problem with this, I’m all for being whoever we want to be, but for women who are going grey or who choose to transition from colour to grey it can be difficult. In the end you have to do what fits you, and if you prefer to dye then all power to you, but if you want to switch having some role models can help.

The positive, though, is that firstly, grey hair has become a fashion statement, with many young women choosing to dye their hair silver or grey and looking amazing, and secondly, I have noticed a few more women in the media in their forties and fifties with highlights mixed into what could be their natural grey growth. I saw Joely Richardson (54) on television this week, with beautiful golden-blonde and white highlights.

This is my going grey story – part one (there’ll be a part two, probably in another year or so when I’m fully silver)

Ages 19, 29, 39, and 47 - The Last Krystallos

Ages 19, 29, 39, and 47 © Lisa Shambrook

When I was young, I never thought about getting old. I was one of those teens who looked young and benefitted from family genes, and though my hair was always thin, I loved its colour. Certainly, the thought of going grey had never crossed my mind until my late thirties. As we age our bodies produce less melanin, the colour pigment, so instead of coloured hair, our locks grow in grey or white. Genetics play a big part in when this happens. My mother had dark hair all her life, and only a few grey hairs well into her sixties, but my dad went grey much earlier – guess whose hair I have? My dad’s! I’ve also found that my silver hair is stronger, less greasy (I used to wash it every day, now I can go three days at least before it needs washing), and much thicker (a true blessing for a girl like me with limp and thin hair!).

lisa 45, going grey first white stripe... The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I often dyed my own dark brunette hair, and mahogany, plum, ruby, and copper were my go to colours, enhancing my natural red tones. Then, about eleven years ago, white roots began to show through, mainly at the front hairline, and my dye game stepped up. I moved to dark and warm browns and auburns, until I felt they were getting too dark for my skin. You’ll notice as you age that your skin tone changes too. A few years ago I decided to follow my natural lighter colour and moved to light brown and ash colours which worked with my skin and root growth much better. I dyed every eight weeks and felt I looked older whenever white roots showed.

An element of fear kept me holding onto brunette, but now, as I age, I want to be me – my authentic self. I got bored of dyeing and discovered Grombre an inspirational Instagram page which celebrates women turning silver, and I knew I wanted the freedom of embracing the evolving real me. It’s been a time of change, becoming peri-menopausal, my altering beliefs and ethics, and I wanted to be my natural self without apology!

age 45 - 47 from this to this - the process of going grey - The Last Krystallos

From brown to silver in a year © Lisa Shambrook

My local hair salon are award-winning colourist experts and when I asked how best to go grey, they advised ditching the colour, avoiding highlights (matching to grey growth can be very hit and miss), and just going for it. So I did. A few years ago I moved from long hair to a short bob and this definitely helped with the grey process. It seems my hair grows about 2cm a month, so this was my root growth progress and also what I asked my stylist to trim every two months. This meant my hair colour change was obvious and I love it! The bronze tips of my hair are now just fading colour from years and years of dye, and like autumn leaves they’ll soon be gone.

This doesn’t mean I’ll never colour again (as a dark-haired girl no colours but black, brown, and red ever took to my hair), and after my fading copper tips are gone I’m looking forward to playing with pink or purple or blue!

Going Grey 8 months bronze, copper, grey and white - The Last Krystallos

Ombre © Lisa Shambrook

The weirdest thing in this process for me is acknowledging that brunette is no longer my natural colour!

The shimmering shades of silver, white, and steel grey in my hair suit me and I’m fascinated by the process. I thought I’d go completely and suddenly white but the salt and pepper effect is lovely, steel grey at the back moving through shades of silver to white framing my face. My fear of looking old was quashed fast as I realised my ombre of silver and bronze didn’t negatively affect how I saw myself. I used to look in the mirror when my white roots shone through and believed I looked ten years older – but it’s a matter of attitude. I look the same but have a sparkle of silver gilt.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s all natural and like an emerging butterfly I’m ready to embrace my wings!

It’s been almost one year, and by this time next year I expect to be completely colour free.

I’m ready to let my silver spirit soar with freedom and abandon.

Are you thinking of transitioning from colour to grey, or have you gone grey naturally?
What were your ups and downs, and how do you love your new look?