Going grey stage 3: Purple rinses


It”s been a journey I’m not going to lie, but several trips to Paks, the hairdressers and a few mini disasters and I think I may have almost cracked the “going grey” thing.

Rather that do it naturally I have gone down the route of many a young hipster girl and dyed my hair grey in an attempt to accelerate the process and allow my natural grey to grow out in a less obvious way.

I felt the streaked grey look just didn’t work for me as I like a definite “look” and while I think there are lots of people who look great with salt and pepper hair, it made me feel  old – nothing wrong with old of course, but there is good old and tired and drab old and I was feeling drab old!

My first attempt involved a trip to the uber fashionable Bleach hair salon in Dalston Bleach. Luckily I had a friend who already knew the people who own it, so despite the pair of us increasing the average age in the salon by several decades (we did wonder if they might show us down to the basement) the staff were incredibly nice and very very helpful. My gorgeous stylist Saphire (of course she was called Saphire) told me they get lots of older women asking for grey hair.

As I said before most hairdressers will tell you its not possible to dye your hair grey – but trust me it is, you just need to know how, or know someone who does. Bleach do and and it seems the secret is lots of actual bleach, followed by a soft colour toner to tint your hair a soft lilacy, blue or peach tone of grey.

It takes several bleaching sessions to strip your hair of all its natural colour and I have to admit I gave up going to the Bleach salon after a while and did it on the cheap, by getting my local hairdressers to bleach my hair and then experimenting with different tints from Paks until I found the one that I liked.

This look isn’t for everyone as it can be a shock at first. I went from auburn with blonde highlights with streaks of grey to blonde, to pale blue, pink and then pale lilac, until I eventually found a tint I like. The colour in the bottle often looks harsh and bright but washes out, changing each time – so is a work in progress.

I am quite brave with my hair and don’t really care if it goes a bit wrong, so am happy to experiment. I am also quite confident with colour. So if you have a sensible job where you can’t turn up with purple hair, or don’t feel able to ‘try this at home’ I suggest you go to a salon and ask them to give it a go. If they don’t believe its possible, show them the Bleach Tumblr, or this guide by Buzzfeed and tell them it is. Because it totally is.

I love my new colour and hopefully by the time I’m bored of trying out new colours every other week, my natural grey will have grown through and I won’t have to bother any more.

A word of warning however, perhaps don’t try this if you don’t have strong hair as its a harsh process. I have literally had every hair style ever, from punk and Bananarama back combed, hair sprayed ridiculousness to rockabilly quiffs and sever 80s buzz cuts, so my hair seems pretty resilient, but our hair can get thinner as we age, so it might be better to steer clear if you don’t feel your hair can take a lot of bleach.

Let us know how you get on……

Jane _The_Womens_Room_grey_hair

I haven’t perfected the selfie face – as you can see


  • sue evans says:

    After years of knowing you and your ever-changing hair ( the red rockabilly quiff is always my default image of you and I get a shock every time I see you with a new “do”) I am loving the new look ! I am still hankering after THE ultimate bright red so may not be trying this look for a while but I have to say I am tempted, thin ageing hair and all. I always remember Wendy Dagworthy growing her red hair out and having amazing colour blocked white / red hair until it completely grew out. I loved it.
    Congrats on gorgeous new look ……..

  • Sue says:

    God, Jane! You look fabulous! It sounds like it’s been a bit of a palaver, but the results are totally brilliant. I have been badgering my hair colourist to dye my hair grey for ages and ages now, and , as you predicted, she keeps saying no, for a million reasons… But, I am going to persevere. xsue

  • sarah says:

    You look fab! Very chic and sleek.
    I love this look on others but, I think it looks better on straight hair. There is a smart groomed look with colour that on me, looks too ‘wacky’.

  • Jan says:

    Well done,the colour looks good. Might I recommend a product that you might find useful? Like you, my hair has been through umpteen regenerations over the years, so much so that I wasn’t sure what its natural colour was. A few years back I went for an overall white blonde and was recommended to use a purple shampoo to avoid any yellow tinges. The one I found was PRO-VOKE A Touch of Silver http://touch-of-silver.co.uk/ . It’s inexpensive and very effective. After a few years as a white blonde I let it grow out (I have short hair so not as time consuming as your project) to discover that its natural colour now is silver grey. A tad ironic as I’d spent a small fortune over the years trying to get this colour! I still use A Touch of Silver on my now, silvery hair.

  • shin ae says:

    It is absolutely magnificent.

  • Ba says:

    Your hair looks beautiful Jane. Your first post inspired me to go in the same direction. My main problem was persuading my Cheshire stylist but she’s been brilliant and we’re getting there. I was at my most grey with a very slight purplish tinge recently for my granddaughter’s christening. I had lots of compliments and I am so happy to be leaving the blonde highlights behind. Two things I find essential – a blue/purple shampoo (I like Aveda Blue Malva or SP Silver Blond) and keep it out of the sun. Sadly I find a hat essential.
    Thank you for your inspiration – not just with this but with so many things you write about.

  • Jane says:

    thanks for the compliments everyone – does wonder for ones self esteem. Love Wendy Dagworthy’s Sue, and I think a post on the best on the best purple shampoos is next.

    J x

  • It looks wonderful. My transition to grey has been pretty smooth, but I am thinking a little lilac might be just the ticket.

  • Sarah says:

    I am so glad you managed to keep going, I am sure it’s been tough, but you are showing us all the way here by leading from the front – your hair looks fab.

  • Pam says:

    Wow! I’m in awe of your hair. Mine is naturally grey, unfortunately not white yet, and nothing I’ve tried seems to give it even a smidgen of the shine yours has (unbelievable after all that bleaching). Is there a particular product you’ve used? I’m going to be in London in a few weeks and would love to buy a gallon jug of it, whatever it is. You really look splendid.

  • Ellen says:

    You look gorgeous! I love it. Especially with the red lips!
    I let my hair go grey naturally several years ago and loved not having high maintenance of hair dye. Plus get lots of compliments on my grey hair – which is surprising. But I do miss the shine that grey hair doesn’t have. Plus it is so much more reactive to humidity. The grey trend is interesting and I toy with the idea of doing the process to give a tint to mine, but don’t like how it affects the texture when you bleach it.

  • Su P says:

    After decades of using harsh chemical dyes I didn’t want to bleach my hair and have found a wonderful colourist in Norwich who puts very fine darker streaks through my hair using natural dyes so that I now look as if I have very expensive silver highlights. I love the look, my hair is in the best condition it has been in for years and the transition to grey is progressing painlessly. Wish I’d done it years ago!

  • Judith - in Ontario says:

    My hair has been grey for some time. The lack of shine was frustrating until I found Argan Oil. A few drops is sufficient. I counteracted thinning with a daily dose of Silica.

  • Misty says:

    Well done Jane, you look fab… I am looking “something” for my hair too, but, I am not very brave! I like it!

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