I went grey at 34 – and you?

la culture week @ siren studiosThat’s me last week, considering the posts of yesterday it’s pretty evident my hairstyle is deeply influenced by my natal decade… Although, I’ve never gotten the eyeliner thing down. Mr. L and I have discussed going short and silver (children avert your eyes) and the very notion has been dubbed an… nope, I can’t bring myself to type that… okay, the meaning of what he said was that it would be an impediment to connubial bliss… So, there you have it. Long hair in art (think this portrait)

NPG 5175; Queen Elizabeth I by Unknown artist

gets across the very important idea of vigor and fertility and dynastic promise. Well, Queen Elizabeth’s reign was long and vigorous, although the Tudor dynasty stopped there. We’re talking symbolism and what it represents, and now for a fast forward to life in Hollywood. Two of my closest friends are costume designers, one of the them compares living in LA to a “fishbowl” existence, and the other has cautionary tales about “girlfriend” hair and the importance thereof. But, for those of us marching toward menopause, while we love our husbands dearly — are secretly (or in my case not so secretly) yearning for a “do” something like this:


Don’t even get me started on roots. Ladies, who among us wouldn’t prefer wash n’ wear hair?

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  1. March 15, 2013

    I am still in the process of going grey and I am working on bald as a coot by seventy.As for eyeliner I never wear it except for a slightly New Romantic{remember them} moment during which I allowed some art student girls to make me up.It was not a success I looked like a track driver in drag.These days I leave that sort of thing to my yougest daughter who does a minor version of Goth.

    • March 15, 2013

      Oh, I remember… Culture Club and when Vivienne Westwood went from punk to pirate, and now for a completely odd association, if Johnny Depp can’t pull off eyeliner – I don’t think any man can. Enjoy the grey and the nobility of a bald pate when it comes πŸ˜‰

      • March 16, 2013

        Ah yes I think I should have written truck driver there and not track driver.I had been up about 24hrs at that point so will imagine that is good enough an excuse.

      • March 16, 2013

        No worries, I know what you meant — an Englishman awake in Wales for 24 hours? It’s a wonder you could type at all, I would have been propped in a corner demanding coffee.

      • March 16, 2013

        I had worked through a few sports drinks and can best be described a propped in front of my computer trying to find at least two brain cells that could work in harmony.
        I once did five months of horrible hospital nights and at the end of which I am quite convinced that my IQ dropped by about eighty five points.

      • March 16, 2013

        Sleep deprivation – oh yes. It’s common on film sets too, without the far reaching ramifications, however, of bobbles in hospital.
        Glad your brain cells are back in harmony πŸ˜‰

  2. March 15, 2013

    “Mr. L and I have discussed going short and silver…”

    I’m sure it’ll look great, those of you with hair, I mean. I don’t have any, but what I do have left is decided more salt than pepper. If you ever meet my son, you’ll see the hair I once had. No one mentioned it got ‘transferred’ when the first child arrived ;-).

    • March 15, 2013

      That, is brilliance – and so true! Further, I’ve observed that the kids – while they have full, wonderful, heads of hair — also shed like puppies! She says eyeing the Swiffer….

  3. George Kaplan
    March 15, 2013

    I’m sure that was a fascinating discussion πŸ˜‰ Hm. You were lucky to be born in that decade if it blessed you with a such a lustrous hairstyle. Ooh, Helen Mirren I was going to mention her. Oh, boy! You look great as you are but you’d look very fine with that do, too. Roots, schmoots. Ladies are lovely however… (don’t reach for the sick bucket)
    Oh, what is the notion dubbed? (winks)
    I’m over 34 but I have a couple of grey chest hairs but tho’ I believe I may have sighted a few on the bonce I may be wrong… Time will tell, it always does.

    • March 15, 2013

      I love that I directed this post to the ladies… and all the most delightful gentlemen have weighed in. Isn’t that fascinating, well, I think it is. Maybe if I loosen up I will actually tell you what the notion was dubbed, but for now you get the gist. I haven’t heard the word “bonce” in a million years. A kiss on the top of it, V

  4. March 15, 2013

    I will be 4o this year (gulp!) and have no greys yet. Fingers crossed this trend continues. However, if I looked like Helen Mirren I probably wouldn’t mind.

    • March 15, 2013

      You are so very fortunate and some you fair haired gals never go grey – you just transition into a gorgeous silver white.

      • March 16, 2013

        Oh, come on now! You know that I am not really a blonde. I am actually a coppery-haired lass in temporary disguise.

      • March 16, 2013

        Seriously? Well, it looks great!

      • March 16, 2013

        Haha, I thought you knew! I have a great stylist/colourist. Plus, it helps that this is the shade I had as a kid- before my hair decided to turn red when I was 7 1/2.

      • March 16, 2013

        This is my favorite story about ladies my age, sitting down to dinner with a bunch of infinitely tinted friends all talking about how their “natural” color was brunette, to which I said, “I don’t know about you gals, but my natural hair color now is white!”
        Cheers, you darling nearly 40 year old πŸ˜‰

  5. March 15, 2013

    Vickie, Rex tremendae majestatis, I cannot envision you as anything less than regal. Your hair colour has never featured in any of my musings of you but I believe the greatest impediment to beauty is a lack of confidence. Therefore if it pleases you to dye your hair, if it affords you with a greater confidence, carry on doing so. Funnily enough, when I saw your photograph the thing that struck me was not the colour of your hair but how inordinately luscious it is. Like something out of a Botticelli. If dying your hair no longer pleases you, however, desist. You can always give it a go and see how you feel. The dye can wait my darling, and remember that your beauty shines in your aspect and your eyes, as sayeth Byron.

    A xoxo

    • March 15, 2013

      I have a suspicion, based on the mop atop my head, that I was probably one of those infants covered with a nice downy pelt (they fall off almost instantly, but…) that my mother never had the heart to tell me about. Thank you, darling – I will hold my head high (no matter the color) thinking of your sage advice.
      Much, much, love,

  6. March 15, 2013

    Dear V
    Please do keep the mane – for what is a lioness without it?
    But grey is good – a grey mane – the Susan Sontag of Sunset Strip?
    Be weary of Dame Helen – her latest ‘do’ in not doing it for this dandy.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • March 15, 2013

      Sometimes it feels like mane – especially in the heat of summer! Then, I twist it up all on top and suddenly I look like a Smurf. I will send you photographic evidence πŸ˜‰

  7. March 15, 2013

    Wonderful, Vickie! I think all of us would love to age as gracefully as Helen Mirren. I don’t even consider what she’s doing “aging.” There was an article in a magazine recently (my memory is going – I can’t remember which magazine it was in…?) Maybe Town and Country? It was something about the revenge of the “Handsome Woman.” It was brilliant. All those girls in High school and College that didn’t quite make the cut when it came to the feminine girly look, have now come into their own. While the rest of us are sagging, wrinkling and graying they seem to be aging as wonderfully as our male counterparts. Why is it that men get better looking as they age while women go drastically down hill? It’s so unfair. Anyway, I think Helen Mirren might qualify as a Handsome Woman – only because I don’t know what else to attribute her enviable good looks to.
    I have no doubt that you would rock the silvery grey hair look. I think it’s uber chic. Do it, Vickie!
    Did I read over the off color comment and not notice? Ahem… or did you chicken out?
    Either way, I love what you write.

    • March 15, 2013

      I chickened out! I kept thinking how decorous you are even in the midst of major upheaval (and nothing as silly as hair color)… Consider yourself my North Star in navigating the ways of WordPress. When I get done here I’m heading over for a visit to http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com/ for some daily wisdom.

  8. George Kaplan
    March 15, 2013

    Yes, Vickie, it is tres fascinating, but you bring out the best in everyone! Oh I get the gist… I am naughty, aren’t I? you’ve no need to “loosen up” you’re perfect as is πŸ˜‰ I’ll see if I can dig up any other fine words.
    A kiss returned -twice, R

  9. March 15, 2013

    I have always envied women whose hair silvers prematurely because it seems to add a certain dynamo allure, and it is never a wishy washy grey, but a lovely healthy silver sheen!
    One thing that living in NYC has taught me is that what you do with your hair is no-one else’s damned business! I see so many older women with long silvering hair and I wouldn’t want to mess with one of them. Having said that, I accept and perfectly understand your conundrum (in the same boat . . .) but don’t you think that short hair can look just as aging on some women?
    Lipstick, eyebrows and fragrance, whatever the hair!

    • March 15, 2013

      It’s the transition that’s going to be a trip – I’ve conceded on “no short hair” – but growing it out… That’s daunting as there’s no way to go grey chemically without thrashing your hair to the point of destruction.
      Maybe with the lipstick, eyebrows and fragrance he won’t notice my hard line two toned head!
      Do you know, knowing you’re in the same boat makes me feel so much better πŸ™‚
      My best to you and Mr. K,

      • Oh, one more thing. Me mum is going to grey and having a good stylist is key. It will make whatever transition
        You take easier. Your hair looks super thick too! Nice.

      • March 16, 2013

        I’ll tell you what I really love about going to the stylist – somebody shampooing my hair. It’s better than getting a massage! The dying process is something I should document for Halloween. Bits of foil radiating out from my head and a dark gloop over the roots. It really is frightening.

  10. March 15, 2013

    Do you mean totally grey at 34? I’m at about 50% grey at 34- and as of last year embracing the concept πŸ˜‰

    • March 15, 2013

      Pretty much, Doll! 34 was a full head of salt and pepper, and now, let me look at those roots of mine – pure silver with a hint of steel. I’m glad you’re embracing the concept as it suits you, you who will be 35 on March 23rd. I’m sending you an early birthday hug, V (I just remembered something, I had a girl friend who would come up behind me and yank single grey hairs from my head, for instance – while I was waiting in line at the grocery store… No wonder I started to dye my hair.)

      • My grandma went totally grey by 40. I have had stark white hair always popping up on my head win my 20’s. but the red has stayed dominate. I love the short styles like Mirren has. I think if you went for it you would love it. And if you love it everyone will.

      • March 16, 2013

        I had an uncle who went white at 18, but it might have been because he became a pilot in the army air corp in WWII while still a teenager… I am going to show your comment to the mister! xox, V

  11. March 16, 2013

    Well with me it is hair today gone tomorrow.

    • March 16, 2013

      You look so posh with that clipped cut of yours, I love it πŸ™‚

      • March 16, 2013

        Wait until you see it from the back…very Franciscan Monk thing going on. LOL

  12. March 16, 2013

    Your hair looks fabulous!

    I started finding grey hairs before I turned 30. I began pulling them out, but twice as many grew back. πŸ™ Ah well! One of these years I will stop colouring and go grey… The Helen Mirren photo is terrific inspiration.

    • March 16, 2013

      I can take no credit for that – I go to a stylist who tints and highlights and makes me feel like part of the family – and saves me from splattering dye all over the bathroom. Yes, I had to repaint at one point!

      Let’s all go grey together like Helen Mirren. I can’t wait to see her new film on HBO where she plays the attorney who defended Phil Spector…

  13. March 16, 2013

    Love this post, V! So much so you’ve inspired me to write a similar post on hair in general πŸ™‚ As for your gorgeous head of hair, I suspect it would look fabulous in whatever hue you choose!

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

    • March 16, 2013

      I can’t wait! Will you be doing the photography? Or, will it be memoir form with those wonderful pictures of your family…
      Hugs to you, beautiful!

      • March 16, 2013

        Heavy on memoir with some present day thrown in. Stay tuned πŸ™‚

  14. July 18, 2014

    Well, you have seen my wild, grey tresses. And the grey started early; maybe in my thirties. Your hairdresser will help you manage the transition with style. Whatever you do, you will continue to look gorgeous. πŸ™‚

    • July 18, 2014

      You are such an angel! I’m just happy to be relaxing a bit this summer and have the kid home from University πŸ™‚ .

      • July 18, 2014

        Yes! It must be lovely.

  15. July 18, 2014

    I’ve done some extensive study on this subject (women, and grey hair)… mostly while watching people in airports back when I was a flight attendant. This is what I boiled it down to:

    1. Older women who dye their hair extreme colors (midnight black or flame-glo red) don’t look younger, they look older because the harsh color that looks rad on young girls just makes older women look like they’re trying to turn back the clock – in a bad way. Because older women sometimes have thinning hair, it also makes the scalp more visible. So, not a good choice.

    2. Older women who dye their hair in order to keep it the same shade they were when they were young look much better than those who go grey. This is generally speaking… if someone is stunning, like Helen Mirren or that Dove model who has grey hair, then they will be stunning even if shaved bald. I’m just talking about the general public, not goddesses who’ve won the genetic lottery.

    3. Women who seem to wear grey hair better than others are either “earth mothers” – long grey hair, worn in a plait down the back or pulled back in a low ponytail with a driftwood hair clasp, or extremely high-maintenance types with chic bilateral cuts or bobs. The average middle-aged woman looks better with her hair kept dyed her natural color (or one in the realm of nature, anyway.)

    4. There are a million kinds of “grey” (not just 50 shades, as *ahem* SOME people would have us believe)… silvery white, salt-and-pepper, grey streaks in dark hair, muddy yellowy grey (ugh), and the list goes on. I suspect that some of these women we see (hello Helen Mirren) with gorgeous elven-silver hair ALSO go to the salon and have their color fixed! Many ladies with totally grey hair have black roots, did you know that? So unless a woman is willing to just accept whatever kind of grey they happen to have, a beautiful grey might still involve some work.

    P.S. I’m 47, and I JUST figured out the eyeliner situation! The answer is: throw away the eyeliner. Buy a black or dark brown eye shadow, and one of those small makeup brushes ($2 at ULTA) that are fanned, thin, with the bristle ends cut in a clam shell shape. After you apply your mascara, take the thin brush and dab it lightly into the eye shadow, and apply it directly underneath your lower lashes, up against the bottom of the lashes and (if you like) just above your upper lashes. The thin brush can make a very distinct line, which is great – and then you sweep it back and forth, smudging it as much as you like…. voila – smoky eye! No harsh pencil line, no greasy transfer marks! During the day, as it wears, it just softens a bit, and if you’re going out at night you can refresh it by repeating the procedure. Don’t use it on the inner eyelid rim (that usually looks tacky anyway), and avoid going all the way to the inner corner of the eye, because the shadow tends to make “dots” in the tear ducts otherwise, and your tear ducts don’t like it much either.

    • July 18, 2014

      “In the realm of nature…” I love it! Will try the eye shadow route and report back. Thanks, Marcheline! Hey. Are you working on your book? xox, V

      • July 19, 2014

        Well, it’s written. I’m trying to figure out how to get started finding an agent or someone to look at it. I’ve looked into self publishing, but I just don’t have the money to lay out on it. Not quitting my day job just yet – 8-).

      • July 19, 2014

        I’m by no means an expert, but I might be able to answer a couple of your questions. Let dig out your email address and I’ll send you a note.

  16. July 20, 2014

    my silver white hair started appearing when I was 19! Kinda liked the idea, thought it would go like Rogue in the XMen but maturity and vanity took over quickly. Only in the last year have I decided not to color it anymore and see what happens πŸ™‚ it’s spread about double the area now as it was in my avi, and I embrace and enjoy it!

    July 20, 2014

    your mane sure looks amazingly lush, and I’m with the Dandy on keeping it. I have a friend who has a beautiful, bouncy grey mane, and it just has a wonderful style and a regal appearance, I must say. and no matter how much I might admire helen mirren, I have to say, her hair quality is… uhm totally different from yours. I can’t imagine this cut would suit your hair.
    however, as a wearer of particularly thick and dense hair myself, I hear you on summer heat. right now I am sporting a heavily “thinned out” haircut – otherwise shape and volume are completely lost – and loooooooving it.

    oh as usual I miss the point πŸ˜€ uhm, yeah, grey hair. I’m 37 and they haven’t yet showed up. but I have such lustrous hair (probably for leaving them alone) that people frown in disbelief when I say “I don’t do ANYthing to my hair”. I bet they think it’s colour and I just won’t admit. *sigh*

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