Thin grey line

A few weeks ago one of the ‘most read’ articles on the Guardian website was from a woman asking if she should dye her grey hair. The answer was it’s “given” read; expected and accepted. But once you start you are trapped on the hamster wheel of hair care.

Due to the austerity measures imposed by my employment status, I have gone from being a woman who, approximately, every 5 weeks lounged in a salon while amenable young people brought hot drinks and furnished me with a selection of glossy magazines. It was relaxing hair care, all I had to do was turn up and part with cash. I had a good colourist to keep the grey at bay and the perfect hairdresser, not only able to cut my hair well but also had a dislike of small talk. Nothing is more tedious than a hairdresser in a bored tone asking “are you going on holiday?”. We both know whatever the answer he/she doesn’t care.

My hair grows quickly, I am a woman who seems to be permanently need to ‘do’ her roots, roots which are increasingly populated by a thin line of grey. I am not prepared to accept grey. Since the introduction of stricter home budgeting home colour is my new ‘friend’, gone is the couple of hours of peace at the hairdressers, replaced with the indignity of plastic gloves, an old towel and a stop watch at home. Prior to redecoration my bathroom was testament to the poor home dye skills of an earlier lodger. Therefore, I stand rigid in the bathroom for fear of dripping dye down the walls. The bedroom floor has auburn stains from a weak moment when I naively ventured from the frozen posture of the bathroom to get something. Never again.

before. (possibly perceivable only to my own self obsession) grey lurks.


I have experimented with various auburns, got bored and decided on a change. In my experience most women when having a life ‘dip’ decide on a change of hair, either colour or style. There is something very rejuvenating about changing your hair. After comparing several boxes of hair dye for nearly 45 minutes in Boots I selected a radical new alternative: morello cherry red.

I expected my friends to gasp at the startling colour change. Instead, just one remarked “is your hair a bit more red?”

After. Youthful vibrant colour.

However, I have learnt; that washing-up liquid or vinegar removes dye stains from the face and Vosene strips failed colour experiments. (Thanks to Jules and Elsie).

I have also found a new satisfaction in ‘trimming my own fringe’ but that’s a whole other post.

46 Comments

  1. Kate Sutton (@IAmWitWitWoo)

    Have to say, I couldn’t see the grey in the before pic. But it looks well lush in the after pic – a fab colour. You can officially now join mine and Elsie’s ginger girl gang. You’re welcome.

  2. Midlife Singlemum

    It looks great in the after. I also use stuff from the chemist or supermarket to colour my own hair. Here’s a tip – get a slightly different colour each time and you end up with a more natural blend of shades rather than a block of colour that screams, “out of a bottle!”

  3. Maria

    Looks vibrantly beautiful- but I thought you had really dark hair? Do yu have to bleach it first? I hope that I can change to a cool fruity colour when I go grey. DIY Fringe cutting is where it’s at.

    1. helloitsgemma

      I don’t have to bleach it first – I think if you want to go really lighter thats a process of the hairdressers. I think the red colour has built over a few sessions of dying it. Fringe cutting rules!

  4. e1aine

    Love the new colour (but couldn’t see any grey in the before picture.) Really nice.

  5. waterbirthplease

    I’ve only started dying my hair recently. Being a red – head, it’s really hard to imagine being any other colour, so I only ever go as close to my natural as possible to cover the greys (well – whites in my case.) Having found a hairdresser that can do this – I’m too chicken to do a home colour! Yours looks lovely though – you can never have too many re-heads x

  6. bavariansojourn

    This post both made me laugh and struck a chord. 😀 Love the new colour too! 🙂

  7. Blue Sky

    I love the new colour, and please if you have any tips for getting hair dye out of carpets please share? (i have an experimenting teenager in the house!)

  8. Molly

    In a moment of madness I took a pair of nail scissors to my own fringe last week. Never again. My mum embraced the grey hair at an early age. She started going grey at 14, so she had to give in eventually. She jokes that the moment she gave in was when I was born. In later years, she was known as “Quick Silver” at school as she was always the first teacher to break up a fight or catch skiving kids, and her hair was beautifully silver.

  9. Beadzoid (@Beadzoid)

    I love the colour – looks very nice! Brave woman trimming your own fringe though, I realised I should leave well alone in that department after a few disastrous attempts in my teens.

    Just about to colour my hair as it happens and also fancied a change (home dye – I too can no longer afford the salon at £80 a pop). Looks like you and I might have very similar hair colour soon enough! x

  10. Ali

    No can barely see the thin grey line!!! New colour looks fab, mmm morello cherry that sounds edible and we all know redhead’s have more fun!!! I am dreading the day I have to dye my hair to be honest as I am a complete dye virgin. Lucky so far so good just a few greys hairs but sure more are added daily :-/

    The fringe, now cutting hair scares me more, I am scarred from a terrible home attempt once and never never again!!! xxx

    1. helloitsgemma

      fringe tips: wet and a tiny bit at first until you get the hang of it.
      avoiding hair colour for as long as possible – is my other top tip X

  11. Claire@Mummy Plum

    Wow. I love the hair colour. I haven’t dyed mine now for about 9 months – I now look skunk like and my husband has made mention a few times recently that maybe I should book myself a trip to the hairdressers. I have long hair and lowlights takes about 4 hours. I find it intensely boring, I can’t relax and I always think of a million other things I would rather be doing. And even somewhere ‘reasonable’ is costly on the pocket. I desperately need to sort the grey out, but after reading this post…well..I might just go and get me some Morrello Cherry.

  12. tigermum

    I love the red. Red is such a stunning hair colour. Really striking and looks lovely.
    I’ve just started to go grey at my roots. Didn’t expect it so soon (is 32 young for grey?) but I think it’s hidden at the moment by the slight tinges of blonde in my hair. I just don’t want to start dying now and get caught in the upkeep. I think I’m a bit lazy with beauty upkeep. Maybe once people start calling me ‘Badger’ or ‘Salt n Pepper’, maybe then I’ll start dying it.

  13. Ally Bean

    You’re doing a great job at what seems to be a difficult task. I cannot imagine me having enough coordination to accomplish what you’re doing. I’d have hair dye everywhere in the house, let alone the bathroom.

    Also, I think what Midlife Singlemum said makes good sense.

  14. saveeverystep

    You are living my life. Gone is the extra £25 on the hairdresser bill for salon shampoo and conditioner! I loathe the ever-increasingly white, thin grey line, but loathe the plastic-gloved, how the hell do I stop it dripping down my back home tint even more!!!!

      1. BerriesBabiesBabble

        I’m quite pleased with my grey hair though. Don’t mind at all plus so wonderful when I don’t have to colour it anymore every 5 weeks. I miss my coloured red hair sometimes… yours look beautiful! x

  15. Penny Alexander (@Aresidence)

    Looks fabulous! It’s been on my mind lots too, I realised looking round the school playground last week that when the rest of the greys come through I have to choose whether to go grey, dye my hair brown/red on a very regular basis or go blonde and get away without badger stripes and with less frequent dying. This was a revelation to me, had never thought of blonde. I love red. I told you about my love of the mousse based ones, bathroom is much less Psycho like.

  16. farfromhomemama

    My hair started to go grey on the very day my son was born. Think it was an overload of hormones and chemicals. Yes, I shall forever remind him of this as he grows up. Love the new colour. A subtle but shiny difference.

  17. Notmyyearoff

    It looks really nice, very swishy worthy. I really need to take the plunge and start doing mine. Grey is appearing in my fringe. Not a good look!

  18. jfb57

    You are right about ‘once you start you are there forever’! I have always dyed my own & sometimes feel very pleased with my ‘highlights look!!

  19. michelletwinmum

    Loving the rich red colour! I have cut the twins fringes quite a bit, hope you have a steadier hand than me, they end up awful!

    Enjoy Cybher. Mich x

    1. helloitsgemma

      I bet the twins really appreciate that! I’ve developed a stead hand, but I can never get it straight on my son – maybe it’s doing other peoples?!!

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