50 Shades of Grey

Last night when padding into the bathroom to proceed with monthly hair-colouring ritual – armed with the survival kit comprising black towel, black flannel and dust sheet for the floor, I have previous – I realised that I have been colouring my hair for 35 years.


It started innocently at the age of 14 with a Clairol Glints – a little mahogany here, some chestnut there and before long I was hooked, moving on from semi-permanent colours until I reached the zenith – permanent hair colour, staining bathroom suites, cabinets and walls as I went.

On leaving school at 16 I bleached my shoulder length hair and dyed it bright pink, with a cyclamen Crazy Colour thereby rocking a head of candy floss coloured tresses.  My Father saw it, narrowly avoided swallowing his tongue and offered to pay for me to have it dyed back to its natural colour.  Like any insolent teenage I was astounded;  ‘why on earth would I want to do that when in my mind I looked like a funky mermaid’, unsurprisingly Pater didn’t agree and I’m not convinced he’s ever got over it.  It was a watershed moment, from thereon my hair colour changed as rapidly as the English weather, jet black with a fetching yellow and red undercut, orange, aubergine, platinum blonde you name it I’ve dyed it.  Top tip; blue looks terrible, avoid at all costs rather buy a wig from Claire’s.

Admittedly there have been a few mishaps along the way, going from blonde to black with a green based dye left me with a khaki coloured thatch, and platinum to red meant that the end result was hi-vis orange!  And let’s not forget the time I’d gone from blonde to black, (I’m starting to see a trend here), and my hair was a lilac purple mash-up.   Met a nice fella at a club and he offered to take my coat and wait for me in the foyer to give me a lift home.  Told him about the hair incident, low lighting hiding a multitude of sins and he assured me he didn’t care.  Until that was I walked into a fully lit foyer when he exclaimed ‘fuck me it’s purple’ threw my coat at me and ran out the door into the night and never  seen again.

I blame their descriptions, the beguiling names are too much for me to resist, this month I am Mystic Violet – as yet unable to see into the future or read auras but that may come soon.  For my entire adolescent and adult life I’ve been colouring my hair and now that large sections of it are going rapidly grey I’ve realised I have absolutely no idea what my natural colour was, and it’s a bit too late to find out.  What worries me more is that as I fall into my 50’s I will end up looking like Mrs Slocombe!




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