Here we have a good view of the gronde* situation. Or what could also be described as my best side. Approximately one year and three months into the grey hair transition, the overall effect is, er, patchy. But I like it. Uncovering my natural hair colour after being a bottle blonde for 37 years makes for quite an interesting experiment. There’s a fair amount of dark blonde-y, brown-y hair mixed in with the streaks of silver, but the more natural, Scandi vibe is infinitely preferable to dyed yellow hair. Having had a trim since this photo was taken, the very blonde ends have had the chop and so I’m wondering if the faux balayage effect needs a little titivation (?) When I spoke to the colour expert at Charles Worthington, she told me that often women reach a halfway point where they are quite happy with what’s going on and sometimes leave it at that. The remnants of the last set of blonde highlights are still visible anyway and so apart from the financial cost, what’s to lose?

*gronde = grey-blonde

Photo: Lucy Fitter

Bring on the purple shampoo and heat-protecting creme, fellow transitioner Anthea now has completely silver hair. And she looks much more fabulous in real life than in this crappy picture taken on my phone:


In case anyone is getting a bit concerned, I have changed out of the military onesie recently. It’s just that khaki and leopard print is  such a great trans-seasonal combination – one that works well with the gronde.

65 thoughts on “Grey hair transition – a quick update

  1. Gray hair does look good with leopard. Almost good enough for me to go wild and get a coat like that because you look so great – I’m already fully gray/brown/blonde whatever we call this;).

  2. Love your blog. I grew my grey out a few years back. A darling young woman in an upscale shop just yesterday, said that I was stunning.
    I laughed my head off!!! She said that she was looking forward to going grey.

  3. Your hair looks very good as it is. And I am tempted to follow your advice re olive/khaki which used to look terrible on me before I did the grey thing. You are right about the shock after years of dye – but the relief of not scuttling off to get the roots redone every 4 – 6 weeks is huge. (I am also about a 1.5 years in).

  4. I have hair envy Alyson, yours looks fabulous. I’m teetering on the edge of ditching the hair dye Alyson and more tempted now! I’m 60 with very short hair so the transition could be quite swift. It’s getting harder for the (blonde) hairdye to “catch” the grey so its all getting to be a bit of a flaff. I’m just worried I will have that salt and pepper look rather than a striking grey. Dilemma!

  5. I’m doing it. And it feels so cool and nonchalant. I see pictures of me with my dyed hair (dark brown), and it looks so harsh! I also see dying hair as part of the feminine tax’ now. The time and energy expended… although I get that it’s a vanity thing: I’m alabaster and was true dark brown, now the grey lights me up. I wonder do blondes, with warmer undertones find it harder? I find I look best in colours that complement the grey, so I would steer well clear of the golden tones in leopard. Anyone else?

    1. Hello ladies! I am so pale I could be mistaken for the walking dead. I will be 55 next month (nov 10) . My body started telling me to stop dying my hair after I repeatedly broke out in hives so bad I was put on heavy medication. It took me months to figure out it was the hair dye causing my eye lids to swell shut, eczema and swelling. FUN! Even the allergists did not put it together. I did! I was getting it colored my natural dark brown with a hint of red every THREE WEEKS! ugh. So, this past June I bit the bullet and decided I would stop cold turkey. Four months in my body is getting back to normal. My skin is not breaking out in boils and hives. My initial fear of looking like an old freak has subsided. It is wonderfully freeing to embrace not giving a rats ass, embrace authenticity and most of all embrace not being in a chair for 3 hours every 3 weeks. Also, saving both money and time is priceless!
      Because I am truly pale ghost white wiith dark hazel eyes I wondered what it would look like. The transition softens my look but surprisingly has made my dark eyes come out more. We ladies are unveiling amazing things in our transition both physically and spiritually in this letting go process.
      I’m so happy I found your blog! Yay for us all!
      Love, Jennifer Keen

    2. Yes, Sundae to staying clear of golden tones. I have curly, grey hair with the remnants of my very dark brown hair still creating an interesting more pepper than salt look. I wear a lot of black and white which looks fine.
      People do compliment me sometimes although family members ( sister in law ) tell me ” I should do something about my grey……”

      1. I get very strong responses to going grey too! Usually it’s from those who are very committed to dying themselves. My aunt told me I look like a witch. She’ll being dying her hair from the grave. And there are others with equally strong views. Ultimately vanity is subjective I suppose. My husband finds the confidence and to-hell-with-it very sexy and I feel as though I’ve quit the subterfuge.

  6. Your hair is looking great. It took me about 15 months to grow out my yellow blonde. Like you it had been coloured non-stop for 35+ years, so it was quite an adventure to find out what colour I really was. I’m over two years in now – my hair is in better condition and although it’s still fine, it’s thicker that is was when coloured. I certainly don’t regret it, and the bank balance is much healthier!

  7. My grey is slow to come out but I like it, just hope it does not get too mousy in the winter. Have not had any streaks for about 9 months
    And it looked ok during the summer. It was so nice to meet you at the Rococo and Jigsaw launch.

  8. I’ve been transitioning for a number of years. My hair is very short and needed colouring so often. Plus in my last blonde phase, I suffered from contact dermatitis from the coal tar ingredients in purple shampoos. Still got that . I love my hair now and so does my hairdresser! And finally getting the wardrobe that looks great

  9. So, I’ve never had any colour in my hair and have gone what my friends call ‘greice’ essentially sort of taupe coloured. Need to avoid the purple shampoo though because can look very Mrs Slocum in certain light which is not a good look!

  10. L’Oréal Professional Silver shampoo and a good conditioner makes for a fabulous silver grey – gets loads of compliments too

  11. I’m with you, Alison. Half way on my grond journey. My colorist says DON’T fall to temptation to put in highlights at this stage. Just go with it. Also, I was in Italy recently and so many gorgeous older super fashionable women are grey- it inspired me. Lets own it! ps Love your Insta accoint

  12. I’ve decided to ditch the dye too, think “gronde” is the perfect description! I did buckle earlier on in the year and has a very small front section done, but now 8 months in and am loving the ash blonde that is now getting more noticeable, it’s such a fashionable colour too at the moment, so good all round

  13. LOVE the transition look, it’s going to be fabulous when it grows in fully, Alyson!
    A little dab of purple shampoo mixed in with your usual product, about once a week, is an easy way to keep the brassiness at bay. I also use a dab of purple conditioner about once a week as well (on different day than the shampoo). My hair is mostly silvery gray, with a bit more white in front, and more pepper in the salt mix in back. I wear it very short and use fiber wax to give it a funky look.
    I find it a challenge sometimes to fight the “frump”.

  14. I stopped highlighting my hair about ten years ago when I hit sixty. I’ve never regretted it once. The grey looks very soft against my older face and is healthier too without all those chemicals.
    Another Sandra following the one above! I will try that L’Oréal shampoo she mentions!

  15. Looking good!! Three years of natural grey now, and I shudder now when I see pictures of myself with dyed hair – it looks so wrong. I am also wearing animal print this season. And red lips. And basically enjoying being me, now.

  16. You are very very brave. When I transitioned to grey, I looked about 20 years older, so back to blonde it was. Plus side is, I only have to do the roots every six months because of the white/grey/pepper’n’salt roots.

  17. I love your hair! Mine has been growing for a year and I’m not too happy with the half and half look. However, I’ve had three complements over the last week and two were from young women. Clairol purple shampoo is great.

  18. Your hair looks great and your article is very timely. I’m two hair appointments in to my transition but I’m doing it by having highlights put in that are my natural colour. So I have hair that is blonde, dark blonde and grey. I think it may take some time!

  19. Alyson, all of this looks fab on you. Love that coat with the olive. And no worries about the onesie’s constancy — I require a lot of cues to appreciate something as much as I should.

    Also, you are one funny dame. Love, love, love your spirit.

  20. Thank you for posting about your gronde transition. You look great, and your clothing choices are inspired. I feel more courageous about taking fashion risks when I see what you do.

    I’m making a gropper (gray-copper) transition after dyeing my hair non-stop since high school. I’m 51 now, and am only about two months into it. I hope to look as good as you one year and three months in.

  21. A resounding “Yes” to all previous posts. Decided to let the gray out several months ago and although there are days…But the time it used to take + the frequency (my hair grows quickly) +the cost makes the decision easier to stick with. My natural color was a medium brown and now it’s a silver/gray/brown-whatever shade that I call “Sheila”.
    (used the $ for a fabulous pair of black booties)

  22. Couldn’t believe my luck when so many women decided to go ‘natural’ just when I was forced to stop having my hair coloured for a while… I’m not deprived, I’m on trend! Mine is salt and pepper, and with a good cut draws a surprising number of compliments. I haven’t become any more ‘invisible’ either, which I’d been concerned about.

    My very dark brown hair turns a lovely bright grey, but where you are gronde am I grown or brey?

  23. I think your hair looks great! Ombré and stylish.
    I transitioned about 15 years ago when I realized the only part of my hair I really like we’re the bright silver roots. Navy was always my favorite color – it looks even sharper with silver-white hair. I gave up everything in camel – it looks dead on me.
    Best wishes to everyone escaping the bottle – the freedom is sweet!

  24. I think it LOOKS FABULOUS!
    THAT leopard coat over the JUMPSUIT IS A SMASH!
    I will FINISH THE NEW BOOK TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I will give a REVIEW!
    Pop over to my BLOG and see what I have been up TOO!I think YOU will APPROVE of who I met and where I went!

  25. Your hair is beautiful, I’m so envious of you fair-haired ladies, I think you go grey so much more painlessly than us brunettes. It is quite a difference from dark to light and of course people notice and comment more.
    I am completely grey now ,and of course often lament the loss of my chestnut locks. But looking at some photos of a few years ago when I was still dyeing my hair, there’s no going back to that ! It really did look awful.
    By the way, love your outfit !

  26. Completed this journey nearly eight years ago, so happy I did it! Some advise: going cold-turkey is the easiest as well as the hardest way to go. The highlights/lowlights thing just made me look dirty or nicotine-stained! No, no, no!
    It is a good time to take a hard look at your hairstyle. One that is more current or, classic and timeless, helps signal that this is an INTENTIONAL choice rather than just you being lazy about your hair coloring. Upkeep on the trims and your daily styling are essential! People will either cheer you on, or register what they are seeing as a process you are going through and let it be. And I would encourage you to cheer on any woman you see with the bravery to take on this challenge! She is bucking our culture that tells us we (well, women mainly) have to disguise our age. How exhausting! A round of applause would not be inappropriate, would it????
    One last piece of advise – don’t let your eyebrows disappear! They may be the one thing that needs to be dyed now. A softly enhanced and groomed brow brings attention to your most important, engaging asset – those beautiful eyes!

  27. I’m absolutely loving my grown in gray/white hair! I too have a balayage thing going and my hair is to the middle of my back. It’s so freeing and most of my friends say the white blends in to my natural color so much you can hardly tell it’s white!

  28. Waaay back in the day I was dark brown but the grey started to arrive in my teens. Over the years have been every colour imaginable….and some not. Settled finally on light blonde about 10 years ago, then 3 years ago thought what the hell. The grow out was easy…as my silver roots blended in…..if only I’d realised sooner! Now shining shoulder length silver hair in glorious condition. ….got there in the end!

  29. Third Sandra posting here today with Grey hair. You’re a Grand Grond. Couldn’t resist that. Stick with it you look great, yes the purple shampoo helps. But have the patience because as beautiful as you are now. You will be a stunner with grey hair. Love the leopard and khaki. And Anthes is a beauty. As you say it’s the photograph. She has the bones and the hair. Keep at it.

  30. Wonderful!
    I went through the process which was bit more extreme since my natural hair color WAS black. After developing contact dermatitis, I had to give up coloring my hair so went to platinum blond, to melting blond, and finally achieved where I am right now. Whole process took 3 long years! But it was worth going through the time. I am so much happier with silver/salt&pepper long hair now.
    In case you are interested what I was aiming during the time, you can check my Pinterest “Fashionably Going Gray; Platinum and shining” and hope it’ll help giving some idea what it’ll be like an woman you’ll become….

  31. Thanks Alyson for tips on this important issue. I’m mid sixties with a birthday in a few days and not very grey but trying to grow out dye and not cave in. I did shorten the cut this summer and had a trim recently. The shape has to look deliberate if the colour more messy.
    I’m a great fan of olive garments which I wear a lot as a new neutral base. Will follow your lead mixing it up with leopard. Have a silk leopard shirt very similar to one pictured here to wear from my wardrobe. Looks good with red accessories too.

  32. Forgot to mention the purple shampoo which hairdresser told me to use. Finally bought some. Used one application followed by regular shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair. Nice texture but only plan to use from time to time until hair more grey.

  33. Love your hair and, as always, covet your outfit. I really like your style. I’m 54 and still coloring my hair what was my natural color, red. I’m loving this move towards grey in others but I’m a little worried about going through a yellow stage if I stop. Like Lucille Ball and Julianne Moore, many of us are strongly identified with being redheads. Thanks for the inspiration Alyson and thanks to Elizabeth for the word ‘gropper’!

  34. I am 73. I started to go grey in my early forties; I took the risk and trusted that I would have silver hair like my Dad’s (and not salt & pepper like my mother’s). My hair is now bright white (in the hair salon people ask my hairdresser what colour she used!) and is, I have to say, one of my best features. Re purple shampoo, my suggestion is – don’t use it straight, mix a little in with your regular shampoo to avoid the purple-haired look.
    Love your blog and love your look!

  35. Love the grey. Mine is now silver/white and I love it. What I love most of all is not colouring it. Every time I think: “Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to have a colour!” my scalp shrieks silently to let me know to leave well enough alone. All those chemicals can’t be good. I love the coat you’re wearing in today’s pix. What brand is that? The print is great. While it’s more dazzling than most animals prints, it’s also more subtle in its colouration. I love animal print and khaki too. A great classic, go-anywhere combination.

  36. Hi. As a dark brunette the salt// pepper look is dominant in my hair type. (Straight/ thin)… I’ve tried the plunge to only resort back to a lighter color with highlights. I think that super dark hair needs to at least be lightened as we age or fall victim to the shadows. Maybe when it turns white. Now that’s a great look !

  37. My recommendation on the greying eyebrows is not to dye them. I’ve tried the thick dark browed look which is so popular. I don’t wax them but do minimal tweezing. Follow with a brow pencil. I use a Clinique double ended one in a Light Brown. Even better I discovered is using the root touch up product Colour Wow on my brows using the thin wedge end of the brush, very natural looking and temporary. Colour probably Light Brown. Finish by brushing brows up.

  38. I’ve been colouring/bleaching my hair for pretty much most of my adult life. I have curly hair and have always kept it short. Because short curly hair can always look a little ‘grannyish’ (thinking of my own dear Nana) I always wear an edgy style, and at times have relied heavily on the ghds!! Anyway, the actual bleaching of my hair was becoming more and more uncomfortable and as I had actually started to tone the bleach to look grey I decided to grow out the bleach and go for it. I didn’t realise quite how grey I was (I am only 59 after all!!!) but have to say, now that the bleached hair is completely grown out I totally love it. The texture of my hair is so much better, not at all coarse and in general looks much healthier. I get complimented frequently on both the colour (what shade of grey is that??) and style and as I no longer have to suffer the ‘bee sting’ of the bleach anymore I’m more than happy. Grey is definitely the new black……or blond……..or whatever colour you once were!

  39. Your “gronde” is looking grand. Ooops, did anyone else say that? It’s kind of like a very expensively done “ombré.” Just got your book, halfway through. 🙂

  40. This could be the most popular topic EVER!! Hang in there–worth it in the end. Your hair will be healthier and thicker–get tons of compliments on my hair–has it’s own natural highlights in shades of gray.

  41. Interesting – I’m now full white/grey and can no longer do leopard due to the clash with my hair but now have to do snow leopard instead.

  42. I use a Klorane shampoo for silver hair, I don´t know if it makes the grey better, but it smells fantastic! And thinking about the time and money I am saving makes me not regret my decision of going grey; Alison you look smashing.

  43. Alyson, what is the name of the “heat protecting crème” you mentioned above? The link just goes to a general beauty site and not a particular product. Thanks!!

  44. Your hair looks fabulous! Like another poster, I too have a severe allergy to a chemical in hair dye. I’m just not ready to take the leap to gray yet. I just wanted to share that there’s a new product on the market that’s not a hair dye/chemicals. It claims to turn your hair back to its natural color (Hairprint). I’m on the verge of giving it a try.

  45. Hi Alyson and congrats on taking on the journey to grey hair. The length of time it’s taken for you to get to where you are today is very similar to my situation – it’s a whole year since I coloured my hair. And just like you half my hair is white/grey and half still has the yellow tint to it. I have to say the hairdresser I had for years hated me going grey plus alongside this I am growing my hair (Daphne Selfe is my role model for hair). Not going to him again. But I’m going to love this new colour and the new me. You rock the leopard print btw. You’re also a great role model – thanks x

  46. I’m 11 months in. I can’t wait for it all to grow out, it’s taking ages but there’s no going back. I love what I see. Just hoping it will grow enough to disguised the dyed bits for my wedding in April next year

  47. At 62 years old my hair is now almost completely white, a process that started in my late 20s. I dabbled once with some henna (a very bad idea) but otherwise have left the colour completely natural. In my case my hair is quite thick and I’ve learnt that the important thing is to keep it very short and sharply cut. I have tried to grow it on occasion over the years but this always proves to be a bad idea. The more hair I have the older and more “mumsy” it makes me, a look that is definitely to be avoided! .
    Your hair already looks great and I’m certain you won’t regret your decision to grow it out.

  48. I have taken a less brave way – not knowing what my natural colour was (grey/yellowy grey/browny grey/white?) I decided to just let one thick streak go au naturel (either side of my parting). Done this for about 5 months now and have had so many compliments about it. Not quite brave enough to go the whole hog yet though.

  49. Thirteen years ago, while caring for my elderly mother, I noticed my hair quickly going gray and decided to help it along. I mixed purple shampoo with my favorite daily shampoo and use it every time I wash my hair. Watch how your hair picks up the color and adjust the time accordingly. Mine is how long it takes to cleanse my face in the shower. Simplicity! My hair is short and my cut is good, thank-you to my hairdresser; and gracious women often complement me. Black, red, grey, silver, and lavender look better on me than before. Side note: Adults and children are more open to me when I speak to them, an unexpected but enjoyable benefit.

  50. Your transition is looking great, Alyson! I’m in my seventies but haven’t gone grey yet, so I’ve had a few lighter streaks put in round my hairline, which is softening and flattering. Just come back from my hols – a river cruise down the Danube -and without exception, the classiest dames on board were the silver- haired, all looking fab with their bobs, crops or edgy cuts.

  51. Like your look, but don’t think that is brave. Don’t color my hair at all, going grey since my early fourties, not giving a damn, so what? Why do women still think that is brave, it is just natural.

  52. I’ve been naturally light silver for a few years now and get lots of compliments even from strangers and my husband loves it. I think if your hairstyle and clothing is on trend, natural color does the opposite of aging you but expresses confidence. I’d never go back to the dying, so much time and money saved and my hair is so much shinier and healthy now! The transition was hard, but well worth it.

  53. At the start of the process at the moment. I must admit I found the purpleness of the shampoo quite alarming initially but my hairdresser has been soothing my nerves.
    I do find not being brunette any more rather difficult to embrace but I’m sure things will improve as time moves on and my hair gradually changed to its up to date colour. I do find your articles on the ‘greying’ process reassuring Alyson.

  54. Great post, I’ve just discovered your blog and I’ve shared this one to my page. I’ve finally decided in my late 40’s to embrace the greys. Not keen on the false helmet-like dyed hair (I was a brunette). Also skin tone lightens as we get older and I don’t want to look like I’m wearing a wig.

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