A few years ago I decided that when I turned 50 I’d stop dyeing my hair and let my natural hair colour come through.
Hair colour that had, for a long time, constantly threatened me with new bright sparkly silvers that pushed their way past my various shades of red every couple of weeks or so.
I had visions of long, flowing silver hair that I could swish around, looking like the literal Google result of “older women silver hair”. A veritable Maye Musk/Carmen Dell’Orefice hybrid.
That’s not going to happen anytime soon. My roots may be exceptionally grey, but they’re still very much salt ‘n pepper (with a bias on the latter): not the beautiful silver I’d envisioned for myself at the age of 50. I think the sparkly silvers coming through reached a peak about two years ago and haven’t really multiplied since then. They’re just sort of… the same.
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Oh and also in case you’re wondering, I’m not quite 50 yet. This post is all about trying out new hair colours VIRTUALLY in preparation for the big 5-0 in three months’ time (whoop!). And rather than leaving my hair to grow out to its natural state, I’m doing exactly the opposite and cramming in All. The. Hair. Colours. before I really do leave it to do its own thing once and for all.
First of all – here’s my usual hair colour:
This is how I’ve been dyeing it for over two years now, with Olia by Garnier in Rose Gold*. I’ve been colouring my hair at home regularly for three years now and although I ADORE this colour – I get so many compliments about it – it does fade to blonde quite quickly.
Full disclosure: I’ve worked with Garnier on and off over the last few years to promote their Olia range (here’s the current TV ad if you haven’t seen it) – they’ve been supplying me with some boxes of Rose Gold during that time, but I’ve also bought it myself quite regularly. I loved Olia so much (big plus: it doesn’t stink AT ALL, no ammonia smell like most permanent dyes) I had to tell my hairdresser that I only needed him to cut my hair until further notice. I can HIGHLY recommend this range, it is generally known as one of the best box dyes out there. Everyone I know who’s said they’ve tried it has said it’s really good.
Trying on hair colours virtually
Most beauty brands that make hair colourants have a virtual hair colour try-on app or function on their websites these days, so as I felt it was time for a change from Rose Gold (it might be the longest period I’ve EVER stuck to one hair colour), it made sense to get tinkering and have a play with the Olia Virtual Try On.
I tried on all the colours I’d actually consider changing my colour to – no blacks or dark browns, I already did that phase during my early 90s grunge student days (and I ain’t going back there ever again) – and screenshotted them to feature here. The quality, therefore, isn’t razor-sharp, but I think the technology has done a REALLY good job of showing me what I’d look like with these hair colours… shall we proceed?
9 virtual Olia by Garnier hair colour try-ons
1. Vivid Garnet Red
I do quite like this deep pinky-red colour, but I think it’s a bit Me, 10 years ago… it also reminds me of Cheryl Cole on The X Factor. I did have my hair very similar to this (see here), but I think it’s a “been there done that” kind of colour for me. Still lovely though.
2. Deep Rose
If this looks familiar, it’s because I DID dye my hair to this much more pink colour a couple of weeks ago (see below): I need two boxes of dye for my long hair, so as Garnier had sent me this colour in error a while back I thought I’d try it. I mixed one box of Deep Rose with one box of my usual Rose Gold (it’s okay to mix dyes as long as you stick to the same range) and ended up with a rather lovely pink-with-a-hint-of-copper colour. The initial result was a little too purpley-pink and on the cool side for my liking, but I had a haircut and my hairdresser toned it down for me when he washed it. But top marks for WOW factor.
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3. Golden Dark Blonde
Now for the more natural browns (I say natural as my original hair colour is a mid-to-dark brown with chestnut-ish tones), starting with a dark blonde. I’d call this bronde. It’s nice but far too cool for me. I prefer all the warm tones, both in my wardrobe and in my hair colour.
4. Golden Light Brown
Not much different to Golden Dark Blonde (above), though I prefer this. Slightly warmer and quite lovely, yes, but I actually think the tones are a bit too yellow for me.
5. Light Brown
THAT’S more like it… it’s the best light brown/bronde so far. Much warmer, not too dark. But is it too “safe” a colour for me? Weirdly, the colour on the box looked a lot cooler than it came out on my hair in the virtual try-on. I’m assuming the app takes your current tones into effect/consideration…?
6. Intense Copper
If this looks familiar to you, that means you’ve been following me for about three years or more: this was the first Olia colour I tried (see the first TV ad here and my hair in a blog post here). At the time my hair was in a bob with a fringe, so as my hair is now long and has a centre parting I’m thinking I’ll probably go back to this at some point soon. As my nieces said when I showed them these try-ons, “Now THAT’S you – bright red“. In fact I don’t even think the virtual try on really showed just how bright the Intense Copper really is: let’s just say intense is an understatement.
7. Metallic Silver
Yep, this was the one that fooled so many on – you guessed it – April Fool’s Day. I honestly had no idea it would catch nearly everyone out… I thought one or two might forget it was 1st April and that everyone would see right through it – but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I even added a ‘location’ at the top saying April Fool’s Day and wrote “can’t believe it’s April already” in the caption; I then felt really bad when I was receiving endless compliments about how lovely it looked. But it goes to show that when I DO actually decide to go for it, I think I may just get my hairdresser to make me go full-on silver (rather than growing out roots), as here. I need warmer tones so the image on the box shows quite a blueish-silver, and that’s not for me. But this actual colour would be lovely ♥.
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8. Light Chocolate Brown
Here’s the rub with this one… it’s discontinued. It WOULD have to be my favourite of all the browns I tried, wouldn’t it?! A gorgeous, not-too-dark brown, just the right amount of reddish warmth to it, and they stop making it. BALLS. I’d love to know what you think of this colour on me: do I stop being “me” if I no longer have red or pink hair? Is this just another safe, non-descript colour? In a way I feel a bit sad that I might never again have beautiful, warm brown hair. This is perfect though.
9. Rich Chocolate Brown
A deeper version of the Light Chocolate Brown, I think this colour is also stunning (though maybe a little too dark for me now?). I think if I’d never gone red 15 or so years ago I may have ended up with various warm browns, this being one of them. Though I did have a thought: I wonder if I could mix this with the Rose Gold to make a lighter, even warmer version of the Light version above…? I wonder if that’d work?
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Final thoughts on home box dyes
As mentioned at the beginning, I truly rate Olia as a home box dye. I love it so much I absolutely do NOT want to change to another brand, hence me featuring all the virtual try-on colours here (and WOW it’s so good to see what you’d look like with different colours – I’d never have considered any sort of brown if it weren’t for this clever technology).
In terms of what I try next, I’m thinking about going back to Rose Gold next, but as my hair is much more pink after doing a Rose Gold/Deep Rose mix last time I think it might make it a really rich pinky-peachy-gold. Or I might mix Rose Gold with Intense Copper again, or with one of the browns.
Now I’ve decided to put off the “going au naturel” till I’m at least 55, it’s opened up so many possibilities in terms of hair colour for me.
I ain’t done having fun yet; I’m just adding silver to the fun list.
Which look of mine is your favourite? Have you considered drastically changing your hair colour (either with dye or going au natural) lately? Sound off below…
Stay safe XOXO
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