‘I don’t understand young women and the ’50 shades of grey’ trend’

Sep 27, 2018
Bringing new meaning to the term '50 shades of grey'. Source: Pexels

It happened twice in one day, I saw young people with grey dyed hair, and that set me thinking about this new trend. I don’t know if other women over 60 have noticed but, tinted grey hair is the new blonde.

The young women I noticed displaying this on-trend look were stunning. They had beautifully fashioned long locks, lightly twisted and curled down the sides of their faces and the back of their shoulders.  The look and colour impressive, grey and mauve pastel highlights, shimmering down their curls, and blending superbly into their natural colour.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that the hair industry has developed some enticing grey hair colours, what I don’t understand is why young people would want to dye their lovely locks grey. Don’t they realise, they are going to be stuck with grey hair for the latter part of their lives or that the colour grey is ageing, as it rarely highlights or lifts facial features. Why these beautiful young things choose to do this I don’t know, as there are so many more flattering hair colours and highlights to wear. 

The good part though, is these new shades of grey – I doubt there are 50 shades, but maybe Christian Grey could help choose the right one — is an advantage for us older women. We now have a better range of colour and options for toning-up or tinting our ‘salt and pepper’ tresses. The new shades are definitely more flattering with soft mauve highlights and pink tones that give shine and promise to dull grey locks.

I must confess, I still colour my hair. I have not succumbed, as many of my friends have, to showing my true hair colour. I know the reveal is not far off, as there are more than just a few greys in my hairline, in fact they are competing with some unplanned new growth, white hair wisps.

I desperately make my hair appointments around my colour re-growth, so my tell-tale ‘skunk strip’, does not obviously remind myself and others I am reluctantly ageing. Oh, the joy when I leave the salon looking younger than my grey hair tells!

Young people do not seem to have such a fixation with hair re-growth. In fact, they have made a fashion out of it, calling it a balayage or ombre colouring. A clever and attractive style that allows a colour progression from dark at the roots to lighter at the ends of the hair. It looks spectacular on long styles but not so good on short hair, and it sure beats the growing out of dark coloured hair roots.

My hairdresser tells me the grey hair trend is a passing faze and just like everything else, it will be ‘old hat’ or old ‘fashion’ soon and the younger ones, will be tinting their hair to meet the next rainbow trend.  She also said that the colours and tints used now, are fun and adventurous, and do not damage hair as much as old tinting products.

This led me to think how as teenagers, my sister and I used to home-colour our blonde hair to an almost, white shade of platinum. We purchased Decoré hair colour kits and took turns dabbing the blue cream colour, first onto our hair roots, then extending the remaining cream through the rest of our hair. We were lucky not to have patchy platinum blond hair, as the strong chemical within the dye (peroxide bleach) made our scalps red raw and sore.

Not put off with the trials of tinting our hair platinum blonde, we also experimented with the toner ‘magic silver white’. To give a platinum look to blonde hair, we diluted 15 drops into water then rinsed the colour through our hair. It worked well, except when we overdid the drops and ended up with purple hair. Lucky it was just a toner and could be shampooed out. I don’t recall having more fun being platinum blonde, but I did get some added male attention.

We thought we were quite clever when we advanced to highlighting our hair using ‘streak caps’. Oh, the pain we endured with those caps. To ensure the streaks were close enough to our scalps we had to tightly pull them onto dry hair, then use a crochet hook, to pull out thin tufts of dry hair through tiny holes ready for bleaching. The worst experience was after bleaching the tufts and having to remove the ‘streak cap’ from our heads. It was so painful. The overall finished look was quite effective and much better than tinting our whole head blonde.  

It appears ‘streak caps’ are now banned from hair salons, adeptly replaced by aluminium foil, and streaking has now become ‘foil’ highlights.  Much easier for the hairdresser and less painful for the client.

Do you dye your hair or are you embracing your grey? What hair trends do you remember from your youth?

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