A new study reveals that grey hair can make women feel less competent, but the Oscar-winning actress makes a powerful case for going grey
A recent study of 80 women, published by the Journal of Women and Aging, found that women who went grey to be more ‘authentic’ employed other beauty practices to avoid being stigmitised as ‘old’ and less competent by society.
Well, if anyone proves that going grey needn’t mean compromising on style, it’s Jodie Foster in The Mauritanian.
Suited up with a chic glossy bob that is cleverly accessorised with deep red lips and nails to match, Foster appears both elegant and powerful in her role as defence attorney Nancy Hollander.
Hair colourist Josh Wood says the pandemic has brought about a return to natural tones in hair colour — and grey, along with mousy brown, is no longer seen as a sign of letting oneself go, but a deliberate style move.
“Women are intentionally moving towards a more natural mood in hair and beauty,” he says. “There is this sense of pulling back from that perfectly made-up look of false eyelashes and bright blonde highlights.
“After being starved of it for so long, to return to a full-on made-up look feels a bit fake. There is this naturalisation taking place: we are toning things down and going back to who we are naturally.”
Going grey stylishly, like Foster, however, doesn’t mean doing nothing.
Doing grey well requires a skilled colourist to help you through the transition, who will add toners and glosses in salon to lift an ordinary grey hair colour into another orbit, as exemplified by other newly grey stars like Jane Fonda.
Consider skin tone
“Figuring out whether your skin has cool, neutral or warm undertones is the starting point to any colour, including grey,” says Wood.
“Some women have darker grey tones than others. You may need to add some grey highlights and exaggerate some lighter pieces around the hairline at the front of the face to lift your complexion, for example.”
Get to grips with glossing
Wood explains that those with the best grey hairstyles regularly apply conditioning masks to give hair added gloss, as grey hair is naturally more wiry in texture.
Plus, he advises doing a detox rinse every few weeks to remove pollution and build up, which will dull grey tones and knock down the shine.
Upgrade your shampoo
“Grey, like blonde, has a tendency to go yellowish over time, so you need to cleanse with a clarifying shampoo every now and then to remove residue from hard water and pollution particles,” says Wood.
An absorbic acid powder (a form of vitamin C) mixed with water can brighten hair, but there are shampoos specifically formulated to do this such as Redken’s Clean Maniac Micellar shampoo and conditioner.
Applying a violet conditioning gloss and everyday shampoo will keep the colour looking vibrant.
Adapt your makeup and haircut
Your makeup and haircut matter also. Take Foster’s character in The Mauritanian. With deep red nails and matching lipstick, she puts to bed the theory that grey can make you seem old and lacklustre.
On the contrary, her tailored suits and impeccable haircut give her a stylish edge that is arguably cooler and more youthful than if her hair was highlighted or coloured brown.
Hair stylist Luke Hersheson says: “The key to looking stylish is to have a great haircut that doesn’t need over-styling. If the shape of your cut suits your features and your lifestyle, and you keep the condition of your hair glossy and healthy, then you can’t go wrong.”
Grey, old? That’s simply old hat.
© Telegraph Media Group
Telegraph Media Group Limited