Purple daze 7

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My statement about hair colour once was: “I won’t go grey until Joan Collins does” and as far as I know she is still black-haired.

I have let myself down a little. My hair was black thick and curly, and then got thinner and paler by the time I reached 65. I went blonde. Life intervenes, circumstances change, and the dwindling bank balance rules too. I was needing the roots done every three or four weeks, so I had to bite the bullet and let the march of grey show more. On a pension just could not afford that outlay.

A friend told me about some rinses, which were plant based and fun, so I tried one pale lilac shade, and liked the result, but again it fades within a week and washes out. Since that first attempt have had some wild experiments… My silver locks have been every shade from lavender to violent violet.

I seem to cause some slight stares, but don’t much care. I am an age when after a long life I have earned the right to be what I want and look as I want. I will be 78 in 2017.

I have had a shorter hair style, so it’s easier to manage. Costs are now down to a trim every eight weeks and the tube of colour I buy. All less than $10 and I can make each tube last for three or four applications. Against the cost of nearly $100 each time before it is a saving.

We adapt and cope with life in our own way, don’t we? Some have to stretch the pension even further than I do, so you prioritise. You buy the things that make life worthwhile. Some might be buying cigarettes, or go to the cinema, but our little luxury is a very modest outlay for a meal with friends on Friday night.

I buy most of my clothes in good charity shops, and have an eagle eye for a bargain.

I almost went back to blonde and still have that as a ‘do it yourself’ option, but will see what summer does to my purple locks, for the moment I like the fact that I am not just pale and grey. The lack of colour can be draining especially after such a horrible winter here in Victoria.

Left to the natural colour I feel less than attractive. Yet Helen Mirren and Judy Dench look fabulous. I am aware of course that they have the benefit of make-up artistry and hairdressers’ dancing attendance. I have to cope with cut price bargains at the chemists, which is not quite as glamorous.

What I wear with the colour also matters, the burnt orange jacket and other shades don’t go well. Luckily I love pale lilacs, bright cerise and soft grey.

I may even try another shade in the range, there is a turquoise… and that would go with all my white and turquoise summer things. Watch this space! Have not quite had the courage to try that yet.

If you decide to try this, do what I did first use a pale shade and just colour the front or a fringe at first. Leave it the shortest time; say five minutes then wash out. I have gradually built up to doing streaks and more of the front in the bolder purple, but recently I got a bit ambitious. I used the darkest purple and left it on for 20 minutes.

I was standing in sunshine in the kitchen, and my husband said, “Crikey your hair is florescent” So I may have to back off a little.

Jacqui stands out with her new hair colour. Photo courtesy Jacqui Lee.
Jacqui stands out with her new hair colour. Photo courtesy Jacqui Lee.

A way of toning it a little is to apply with conditioner mixed in with the colour.

For now I just have to wait for the ‘dayglow’ effect to fade.

Time races as you get older, so in the time I have left I live the days rather recklessly, my advice is live large, grab some colour, and make the most of the days you have.

What advice do you live by? Have you ever coloured or cut your hair in a bold fashion?

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Jacqui Lee

Jacqui Lee is 75 and now retired but the last ten years or so have been some of her busiest. She worked at a hospital, where she took several Certificated courses, she cleaned a school, helped to run two conventions, wrote short stories, started painting, and in fact is never bored even now, "I honestly feel we are lucky to still be upright and breathing, and my motto is, Remember yesterday, dream of tomorrow, but live today. I love fun, clothes, food and friends."

  1. Why is it that women think there’s something wrong with naturally greying hair? Sorry Jacqui, you put yourself out there by writing the article – you look like someone with grey hair who is covering up the fact. Just let it be – we ALL know your hair gets grey as you age, so what! I’ve earned every one of my greys, why should I cover them up?

    3 REPLY
    • Well Elaine each to their own. I have a couple of friends who have gone grey and look fabulous but it doesnt suit everyone and maybe Jacqui just wants to be different.
      Good on ya Jacqui….do what makes you feel good! I have just turned 65 and not going grey yet but it is probably going to happen one day. Not sure what I will do but it will be what makes me happy not anybody else. Have a good day ladies.

    • Some people are just a bit more funky and love the fun of doing just what you like without caring about the judgement of others. I love Jacqui’s guts to do that.

    • Elaine, as you said, ‘nothing wrong with being grey’ and I have friends who embrace it and look fabulous and so do the actresses I mentioned. But I too have earned the right to live how I feel, —married for 57 years and with the usual share of problems, career changes and moves, (3 countries) I am an individual, and not a person who just goes along and tries to sink into the background. Probably at 80 which is too darned soon for me I may become less wild. But can’t bank on it. I love my full life, I paint, I write, I am busy with U3A, and although not rich my life is a rich pattern. I love modern music as well as the classics, I can be bopping round the kitchen to a rock band then crying at ballet music another day, Life is a wonderful mix, just do what makes you happy. I am sure you look great with your grey, and as long as we are both happy and don’t hurt anyone ..life is good!

  2. Jacqui you look absolutely wonderful… my Mum was the same and only succumbed to grey hair in her final year at 89 as she simply just wanted to have hair cut and looking smart. I am much like Mum and will be the same…. I love hair colour… so… Keep doing what your doing… live each day full of lovelyness, stay well and stay happy… hug

    1 REPLY
    • Thank you for the kind words, and I hope to be like your Mum!!

  3. Hi Jacquie, you look fantastic, congratulations. I am considering to stop being a 69 years old dark red brunette. Would appreciate your method, how you let the gray or silver grow out from dark colouring. I have thin hair, and lost some of it. So I need to colour the skin , where my hair is parted. I use a hair powder. But it is time to stop dark colours. White or blond looks washed out with my pale skin. Did you ask your hairdresser to bleach your hair first, before your silver grown out? Or just lived with the skunk look for awhile?

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