Highlighting or not highlighting?

After a few months from my decision of ditching the dye, the grey roots where beginning to be too noticeable to be concealed further with the root touch up spray, so I decided to book a consultation appointment with a famous London colourist, and hear what my options were for the rest of my grey transition. When the day of my appointment came, I frankly had high expectations on the advice she was going to give me, and I was really excited to take control of the transition.

4 months grey transition

Well, the best advice I got from the colourist was to tone my hair to ease the demarcation line, and she explained how she would need to darken my precious new white hair, and add maybe just a couple of highlights, following the pattern of my grey streaks.

As soon as I heard “cover your grey”, I think my jaw dropped, I thought it was simply a very bad joke, and asked to have instead some more highlights and start from there. Apparently, this was not a viable option, and she insisted I needed to tone and doing things gradually… And that was the last she saw of me.

Now, I clearly understand the rationale behind that suggestion: reaching the result in the smoothest way possible, but that was not my priority. I wanted to see all my silver in its shiny beauty, and I was willing to put up with some tricky appearance provided I did not have to dye or tone my hair anymore.

Whilst going home I was so disappointed I could barely speak; I began to list the option I had left, remembered all the advice I had read about not having DIY highlights… Finally, II decided todo just that. I went out, bought the bleaching cream and went on creating a few highlights where I thought they would suit me.

8 months grey transition

I knew the problem with dark hair is that you might need more than 1 appointment to reach a platinum tone, so I left the bleach on for the maximum time… And the result was so strange, weird and precisely uneven (lighter at the roots where hair was not dyed, and increasingly darker towards the length) that it created an unexpected fading shade, with an improbable blended effect… And it worked, enough to blend a bit the grey hair crown, but without any risk of darkening those precious silver streaks, seeing the light for the first time!

10 months grey transition

Or maybe it worked only in my head, but that was enough for me to feel good about my hair and never feel unease showing the grey to the world. And that, I believe, makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

The waiting game

I started trying different purple shampoos, since they could help tone down slightly the brassiness of the fading brown. I have used the lot: only shampoo, shampoo and conditioner, purple masks, and purple leave-in conditioners and creams, I tried so many brands that I’m not sure I remember them all, and I found out that some products were really aggressive for my scalp, and some were completely useless, some were delicate but still effective, so I kept experimenting.

My grey transition was now a statement, and I showed it off proudly. The sense of self-discovery that comes with the wait for your grey to take over is the best part of the journey, and something that goes much farther than letting your natural hair grow, towards accepting yourself.

(Stay tuned to find out more about purple shampoos and the most natural and gentle grey hair products I’ve tested, I’m preparing a post about that too!)

In the first year, I learnt what where the hairstyles that would soften the impact of my transitioning hair, and that playing out with the grey is a never-ending source of satisfaction.

I had maybe a couple of hard days at the time, but even then, I only wished I was much more ahead in the journey. I have never really thought of going back to dying my hair again, on the contrary I actually had a nightmare in which I woke up with my hair all black, and I wanted to cry really badly.

After the highlights retouch

When I was 9 months into my grey transition, I decided to retouch the highlights, and on the way to my first ditch the dye anniversary, I realized it was the right moment to have a good and generous cut.


The easy part of the my grey transition


A generous haircut after 10 months grey transition

This choice has really changed the balance, and propelled me forward: I went for a short bob, and it was the best decision I could take. The turning point was cutting off the great part of the dyed hair, and made me feel I was practically done.

The hair, despite being surely short, was almost all grey, giving me motivation to wait for it to regrow, and as a plus it was spring time, so having shorter hair was sort of cool. From then on, it has been much easier and even more fun than before. I began to feel practically transitioned, I was just waiting for my greys to grow longer!!!

After 18 months since my last dye, I cut again my hair, and this time with a fringe that got rid of the old highlights: the change was impressive, I was definitely grey!

2 years of grey transition

Finally, after my second ditch the dye anniversary, my grey transition is almost over. I have been able to cut all the highlights too, so now the result I can see in the mirror is my very own/personal/exclusive shade of grey.

22 months grey transition

It is not at all what I was expecting, but I like it even more than I thought.  Furthermore, I love that all this is still a work in progress, as the color will change with the increasing amount of grey, and I’m looking forward to savor every single moment of this change. Exciting times ahead!

If I’ve learnt something with this amazing journey, the grey transition is not about getting what you expect, but about loving what you get, and more importantly is about loving and accepting yourself, before everything else.

If you are reading this because you are considering if going for the grey transition, I hope you feel inspired, and find the resolution to start the journey, and have fun finding your way to go through it!


Martangelo Grey Hair Journey

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