BEAUTY KNOWHOW: How to embrace your natural hair colour

Yes, I’m embracing my natural hair colour again – with a little help from the salon.

Until I made a recent return, it had been 16 months since I’d visited the hairdresser to get my colour done. It wasn’t that I’d joined the legions that embraced at-home hair dye during lockdowns. Rather I was one of those who welcomed the return to their natural hue and felt more nonchalant about what others thought of it. In truth, I rather liked going back to my real roots and letting them grow; it felt like a sort of time travel when I was once again sporting the same shade of hair I can see in photos of me in my teens and early 20s (albeit with a dash of grey at the temples).

natural hair colour
Jamie Nelson/Blaublut-Edition

But eventually, as life has returned to normal, the desire to blonde things up again – to add more life, more shine, a teeny bit more glamour – felt right.

Judging by figures from market research company Mintel, I’m part of a bigger movement beating at the hairdresser’s door. Home hair colour sales saw a nine per cent drop in 2021 after the boom driven by enforced salon closures. Certainly, world-renowned colourist Nicola Clarke (who has her own space in Central London in partnership with John Frieda salons) confirms that most of her customers are now back.

Many, she says, like me, have found that their natural colour actually isn’t so bad. They’ve also discovered that they didn’t have as much grey as they thought (it seems many of us have been preventatively colouring for years). Plus, says Nicola, ‘grey is not so much of a taboo and we are less judged on our grey hair’. She’s noticed more of her clients are ‘not having so much colour applied and instead embracing their natural shade or working some highlights in’. It’s certainly what I’ve opted for: just a little bit of lightening for the summer months but taking things slowly. After all, how often do we get to start again from scratch with our hair colour and see what direction we want to go in? It’s a real-time self-makeover. Keep in mind that once you’re colouring again it’s wise to take good care of your hair condition. I recommend the four products below…

acv hair rinse

DpHue ACV Hair Rinse A gentle apple cider vinegar-based alternative to shampoo. It left my hair feeling super-soft. £32, cultbeauty.co.uk

centred conditioner

Centred Daily Calma Conditioner This is an excellent hair caregiver that leaves locks shiny and well-nourished. £22, wearecentred.com

virtue shampoo

Virtue ColorKick De-Brassing Shampoo Recommended by Nicola Clark. Boosts colour and tone on all hair shades. £40, spacenk.com

elvive shampoo

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hydra Hyaluronic Acid Shampoo Offers great hydration and helps to make hair look fuller and more lustrous. £2.99, boots.com