Meet the 53-year-old beauty editor who’s NOT going grey ( just yet )

— by Alyson Walsh

Sorry, not sorry, I’m just NOT dying to go grey quite yet! – says  beauty and lifestyle journalist and author Jo Glanville-Blackburn (Jo GB). At 53, you’d think that maybe, like so many of my friends and colleagues who have turned their back on colour and gone grey for ease, convenience, better value and, may I say, rather supreme style, I might think, ‘Oh Jo, it’s OK, don’t fight it, think about your future colour commit, already.’ But you see, I’m a natural redhead: a thick, long, tumbling pre-Raphaelite auburn mane that obediently does whatever I desire. My hair colour defines me and makes me recognisable across a crowded floor; it’s not going anywhere just yet!

Romantically, it was the moment on windy Lake Coniston, when I threw myself down on a grassy verge after an exhausting walk, that my husband declared his undying love. That was 30 years ago… and I’m still a natural redhead. Bar a single stint with henna powder in my parent’s house aged 17, I’ve never, ever dyed my hair. But my days are numbered…

Those first baby greys – whereby one minute you have a few, the  next, every fresh new hair around your hairline is an uncontrollable silvery white with a wild life of it’s own – are upon me. Suddenly everything about my face looks older: namely my skin and brows, not just my hair. It’s a defining moment. Do I try to cleverly colour match (that’s definitely a pro-job), go lighter around the face (that’s way more flattering to the skin as our skin tone naturally pales too, as we go grey), or simply commit to going grey?

As a beauty journalist, offers abound to ‘smudge my roots’ (as auburn is a tricky colour to match), have an ‘all-over veggie’ colour, or ‘hold off and keep using root touch-up powder’ (Colour Wow Root Cover Up in Red, £28.50, is after all a perfect match). But it was a chance visit to Hari’s new salon Herb House for Hair, that got me trying out their new bespoke botanical colour (£95-150); the hand-blended plants and herbs such as hibiscus and coffee with henna, ‘had me at hello’. Plus, I felt safe in the hands of Clare Drawbridge and her phenomenal 32 years experience. Bring on my first ever salon colour…

So forget any hippy henna stigma of the 1970s; rest assured botanical colour gives high shine, great condition, almost zero allergies and reduces damage to hair and scalp. As more and more of us have holistic concerns about how we live, what foods we eat, what ingredients we use on our body and how they’re sourced, right now it seems anything botanical is deemed good. Just do read the label.

An hour later, I meet up with my husband Jim, for dinner, who, as you’ve already learned always rather loved my hair, and was dubious about me colouring it. He peers closely, stands back and says, “Gosh, they’ve matched it well!”

Me? I love it. It think I look younger, and the shine makes it look in even better condition. And it’s not a solid block of colour, it twinkles in the light much like my true auburn colour that changes with my mood. Can I still call myself a natural redhead? Try and stop me.

Jo’s tips on where to buy natural hair colour:

e-salon is a rather clever online colour service and they do a fab veggie tint too.

Naturtint Permanent Hair Colour, £10.99 in 30 shades that’s free from ammonia and mineral oil. And Henne Colour, Henna Hair Colour, £7.49; both available from Holland & Barrett.

Naturigin Natural Hair Colour, £7.99 at Lloyds Pharmacy comes in 19 fab colours and contains the lowest PPD of any permanent colour apparently (but it’s still in there, so I’m a bit less keen on this one).


Read more Jo GB HERE.


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Sorry, not sorry, I’m just NOT dying to go grey quite yet! – says  beauty and lifestyle journalist and author Jo Glanville-Blackburn (Jo GB).