Sunday 3 May 2020

From Grey to Orange


I have been growing my hair, not to have long hair but to try to grow out the home hair dye and see what colour hair I really had.

When I was younger my hair was dark brown, then at twenty-one I spotted my first grey hairs. I hated not being a teenager anyway, this just proved I was getting old (oh the tribulations of youth!).

In my thirties I had acquired a grey streak in my hair, I tried to love it and go grey gracefully. Then at a Christmas party a colleague took lots of photos, there I was with my grey streak and looking so old. I did what anyone in that situation would do, I dyed it.

Thirty plus years later I am still dyeing my hair. I've gone from boring brown to gorgeous brunette, from ash brown (yuck) to medium caramel brown (still yuck) to glorious mahogany with red overtones, then as always, once I find a colour I love - the brand changes it


So I'm going to go grey.

Before I fully commit I want to know exactly how much grey I have. I am growing my hair without dyeing the roots and planned to surprise my hairdresser with "cut my gorgeous, natural, silver grey hair however you want"   

My school friend posted a photo of herself with grey hair on Facebook - she looks gorgeous and sophisticated. I look in the mirror, mmm. My roots are now four or five inches long, my hair is below my shoulders and it looks a mess. My roots are patchy. I have a grey bit, a brown bit and all the shades in between. Not in a nice way, just a mess of streaks and colours. And now, because of the virus, my hairdresser is closed.

I tie my hair back, no improvement. I buy a clip to make a messy bun, big failure. Now I look like an old woman with no money to do my hair and a messy bun!

Light bulb moment! I have an amazing, original idea. I will dye my hair with a semi permanent dye, one that will wash out in twenty odd washes. I can retain my glorious locks and go grey gracefully.

We are now deep in lockdown, I haven't left the house for a month, not because of my hair I may add but because of this coronavirus, I can't browse the shops for dye so I browse online.

Supermarkets out of stock, Boots, Superdrug, Amazon out of stock! What is going on? This isn't an essential like toilet rolls - why has it all gone? Could my amazing, original idea actually be what every greying person in the UK has already thought?

They've bought it all up, there's plenty of permanent dyes, but I need one that will wash out. I haven't looked like a hag for weeks just to ruin it all and dye it again now.

I bet bathrooms are overflowing with semi-permanent hair dye. People who have never dyed their hair at home before are staining towels, sinks and grout. Giant multi packs of toilet rolls are being shoved in sheds, under stairs and behind sofas to make way for the hair dye.

What about me? Surely I should get some sort of priority pass? I've been doing this for over thirty years, I need it!

I wanted medium brown, I thought that would look more natural and mix better with the brown patches than other colours, but beggars can't be choosers so I buy the only colour left; mahogany. I do not question why it is the only colour left.

Covers grey, it says. Easy to apply, it says. Only takes fifteen minutes, it says. Promises me the world. I buy some curling tongs. My hair is now well past shoulder length and some loose curls in my glossy brown hair will make me look like a goddess.

An hour later, bathroom splattered with dye, towels ruined. I come down stairs and remove the towel wrapped around my head, "TA DA!" I say full of hope and wonderment.


No "you look like a goddess" from my husband. Nothing.

I look in the mirror. I now have orange and grey roots and streaks of brown. This stuff hasn't worked, no point in opening my curling tongs then.

I spend the next couple of weeks searching online for brown hair dye. No luck, I think I saw some on eBay, costing ££££££££, it must have been wrapped in gold and studded with diamonds for that price.

I think maybe I'll dye my roots blue, or purple but must admit I haven't seen anyone with coloured roots. Dark roots with coloured ends yes. I wonder what dyed roots would look like so I watch hair dying on YouTube, I haven't laughed so much for ages.

I go from video to video. No-one has dyed their roots blue with brown ends, many have bleached their hair and dyed it all blue.

I come across a woman attempting to remove hair dye using a recipe she's seen on the net. She can't remember most of it, only that she needs Vitamin C tablets, Head and Shoulders shampoo and it has to be left on for five hours, or something like that.

She could only find effervescent vit C tablets, and can't remember how much to use so she crushes the whole lot and mixes it with some of the shampoo. Tears run down my face as I watch her trying to apply this to her head. The foam has a mind of it's own, it falls in blobs from her hair and continues to foam in the mixing bowl. I decide against removing the dye or doing my roots blue.

This morning I thought I'd re-do my roots, with the same mahogany colour. In for a penny, in for a pound.

I now have lovely shiny orange and brown hair. From grey to orange. I quite like it.



The colour grey is an emotionless, moody colour that is typically associated with meanings of dull, dirty, and dingy, as well as formal, conservative, and sophisticated. The colour grey is a timeless and practical colour that is often associated with loss or depression


Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. ... In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance



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