Joining the Grey Brigade

I found my first grey hair when I was thirteen, which I promptly tore off my scalp. I found more and more as I grew older until I could not ignore them.

I suppose that looking at my family I should have cottoned on the fact that I didn’t stand a chance of staying brunette. My Mother and two of my Grandfathers all had a head full of snowy white hair. My Father and two Grannies had steel grey locks. So there was no choice but to head for the bottle of hair dye when I only 24 years old!

Until you have tried dyeing it yourself you will not understand the constant dithering in the chemists wondering which colour to try this month. As far as I am concerned I found it a bit of hit and miss affair – some of the colours look nothing like those on the package. Then you have to carefully mix two bottles together, and spend an hour with your head wrapped up in cling film and an old towel. The overpowering smell of ammonia spread throughout the house.

Of course you could just head to the nearest hairdresser, but if you have to get your roots touched up every six weeks it can be very expensive, especially if you are trying to juggle your bills. I read in a newspaper that hair colouring can cause cancer so I decided that I would give in and embrace my natural colour.

I headed to the nearest hairdresser and asked them to strip all the colour out. This took three attempts – the first time I went blonde, the second semi-blond and the third turned me into Marilyn Monroe. Totally platinum hair, but not nearly as beautiful. The Marilyn look shocked everyone, including the dog!

Unfortunately all the chemicals that were applied had the most awful effect. My hair started falling out in handfuls so I rushed back to the hairdresser who told me that the best thing was to cut off my shoulder length style and have a crop. So I bit the bullet and watched my hair fall to the salon floor.

The grey, shorn style had three results – one of hilarity, the other shock and the few who thought it looked great. It certainly made me know who my friends are, and there is a cousin who I shall not speak to again! My new look revealed that I have three shades of grey. Snow white on top, steely in the middle and silver grey underneath, I wish nature would make its mind!

So on to styling for we greys. I recently moved to a small village that boasts a Post Office, supermarket, fishmonger and no less than three hairdressers! Two of them are aimed at the young, with photographs of gorgeous girls in the window sporting the latest haircuts usually only seen in magazines. And a tiny one, that specialises in we women over 50!

I tried one of the fashionable salons and came out with a hairstyle that might have looked good on a twenty something but not on me. The girl gave me a geometrical cut despite me pointing out that I would prefer a rather more conservative style. I came out looking like mutton dressed as lamb.

I resorted to the one that caters for older women. Once I had got past the overwhelming smell of hairspray I saw that the salon was full all the time up – always a good sign. Most of their clients had opted for a perm and a nonsense style so presumably a quick comb takes about 5 minutes to get ready to go out.

Personally I have not yet had a perm but I can feel one coming on. After all the time it takes me to blow dry my hair could be used doing something really useful! But despite the all the OAPs in there I came out with a superb cut that really suited me.

It made me laugh to see the furore over the latest Marks and Spencer advertisements which did not feature one grey haired woman. What about Judi Dench- a stunning woman and a great actress who is proud of her silver hair? I think she should have been included along with many other famous grey haired women.

I recently found a range of products specially aimed at all we members of the Grey Brigade. It is called White Hot and I am now a complete fan and wouldn’t use any other shampoo, conditioner, a fabulous Lifestyle oil and others in their range. I am so much happier with my hair now that I wish that I had the courage to cast away the hair dye years ago.

But I wonder why when a man goes grey he is considered an attractive Silver Fox like George Clooney? You always see him in the Press out with a younger woman whose hair is blonde or brunette or any other colour they choose. I guess that this has always applied as women with grey hair are mostly considered over the hill unless they are famous!

I am grey and proud to embrace what nature has given me. I will never reach for the bottle again. If chaps don’t like it that is just too bad.

But at the end of the day it is your hair, and the colour is your choice!




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Jane Buckle

My Grandfather was called Bertie Buckle. He was a journalist in Fleet Street then went to live in India and founded the Bombay Gazette. I am not certain this was true but that was what my father told me! I always wanted to be a journalist but ended up doing Public Relations and Advertising, both of which meant that I was writing Press Releases, brochures and articles about clients. I formed my own little business specialising in P.R and Advertising. Unfortunately my clients drifted away one by one. They thought young and enthusiastic girls were preferable to an old lady of 55! I then moved to France where I lived for six blissful years. I renovated and sold houses and finally I realised my dream and wrote for three magazines there. I even had my own column in one of them. On my return to England I pitched for freelance work with all sorts of magazines and papers. I did write some pieces but I was over the moon when Silversurfers accepted an article. I like to think Bertie would be proud of his granddaughter.

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