Gracefully Going Grey

By Shari

Due to the popularity of Game of Thrones and the admiration of the Mother of dragons, Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the silver-haired beauty perhaps inspired the latest hair fashion amongst younger ladies to dye their hair grey. To me it looks a bit odd to see young girls with various shades of grey. (Or perhaps it’s Fifty Shades of Grey that has inspired this trend.) Why would you want to go grey so young?

I’ve noticed more and more famous actresses and singers who have gone grey. Helen Miran, Emmylou Harris, Diane Keaton and Jamie Curtis to name a few. Most males have wisely gone grey naturally like George Clooney and Richard Gere, still looking handsome and sexy. That is for men who have been lucky enough to keep their hair.

Probably not many people have celebrated their sixtieth birthday without having a single grey hair. For those of us who started going grey when we were much younger, by the time we hit sixty our hair is pretty much grey or white. There comes a time when we need to make a decision to stop colouring our hair and go “au natural” or continue colouring. Just think of how much money we can save during a year. Colouring your hair with a professional stylist can be expensive, and although less expensive, home bleaching and colouring treatments can cause damage to our hair.

Unfortunately my hair began going grey when I was twenty five, a trait that runs in my family. But luckily being blonde made it easier to hide the grey. A few years ago my best friend who has been bleaching her hair platinum and keeping it cut in a pixie cut told me that she was jealous of my natural silver hair, that she was paying a lot of money to get the same colour. She suggested that I stop colouring my hair a light golden blonde and keep it natural. However, I wasn’t ready to give up colouring my hair, thinking that it would make me look older. But a year ago while watching a TV program I loved one of the character’s platinum hair with a bright blue streak on the side. This inspired me to make the transition, which could be done in one step of lightening all my hair and letting it grow out naturally. My hair dresser also gave me a very good cut that is flattering in a controlled messy look. I do love the blue streaks which I think make me look funky and young looking. I often get compliments on my blue hair.

For advice on this tricky subject I went to Max at Spoiled Hairdressers, primarily because Max is one of the most distinguished and experienced ex-pat hair dressers on Bali, with 16 years’ experience tending to tropical hair of all styles, colours and conditions.

He explained that the transition from dark hair to grey is the most difficult, taking about six months, and you need to be committed to this decision. Using a combination of gradual highlights and low lights to blend in the hair, and slowly move lighter takes time. It’s vital to have a great cut with a shape and style and going shorter to make the change more natural and stay beautiful.

Some people are lucky and have a sexy looking silver streak in their hair, rather than the usual grey temples. But when your hair is 50% grey it’s time to consider going grey gracefully or continue colouring. Unfortunately with the hair growth in these areas, your hair will need to be retouched every three to four weeks to avoid having unflattering grey or white roots. This means colouring your hair approximately twelve to eighteen times during a year. This can cut into your pension drastically, especially here in the tropics where hair (and nails) grow faster than cold climates. Max mentioned to me that men look great going natural when the grey starts and are less in need of the colour appointments, but he does have a number of dapper male clients who come in and have subtle cover up with their regular cuts.

Spoiled Hairdressers in Umalas have a special package for ex-pats to help you with your grey growth maintenance if you choose to stay colouring your hair, offering a package for six sessions of roots colour, wash and blow dry for 2.4 million. This will save you a considerable amount of money and keep your hair looking great. He can also assist with long term planning for a grey transition that will take away the stress of managing it alone.

Because grey hair tends to thin out and become coarser as you age, it’s important to treat your hair with kindness and keep it moisturized. Using a good salon conditioner is a must, being careful to not apply too much and (very) gently combing the conditioner through the hair for an even distribution before thoroughly rinsing. Max suggests adding a little cider vinegar to some mineral or bottled water for a final rinse to remove the hard water scale from you hair, leaving it soft and shiny. Using a diluted purple shampoo is also important to keep your grey hair from going brassy. Spoiled offer three brands – Alfaparf Milano with Never Brass and Grey Pride. They also have the Schwarzkopf Silver shampoo. Don’t worry – you won’t look like your grandmother who had purple hair, but will have soft and manageable hair with a beautiful shine.

If you’re thinking of going grey gracefully then see Max for a consultation. He’s already helped many expats with the transition to age gracefully, and even enjoy it!


Spoiled Hairdressers. CNR Jl. Umalas Dua & Lestari, Umalas. FB Spoiledhairdressers Instagram. T:62-361-8475141 Open Tues to Sat.


The Boomer Corner is a column dedicated to people over 60 living in Bali. Its mandate is to cover topics, practicalities, activities, issues, concerns and events related to senior life in Bali. We welcome suggestions from readers.

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