Kristen McMenamy in Chanel /pic: vogue.it

Firstly, I’d like to start off by saying this post was in no way inspired by the furore that is currently surrounding the casting of the 50 Shades of Grey film, nor was it inspired by the book – which I have not and probably never will read.  

Now, moving swiftly on. As someone who worships at the altar of bleach and is a devout bottle blonde, I think people should be encouraged to dye their hair whatever colour they so choose. On a side note, if you’re a fan of rainbow hues check out model Chloe Norgaard’s sunset-inspired ‘do.

But all the silver fox worship of late has got me thinking about why we have so few female grey hair heroes.

Why is it that we are obsessed with grey interiors, finding the perfect grey marl t-shirt and love a grey cashmere knit but so many of us shun those little slivers of silver that start to appear in our late 20s (or teens for some) when going grey can actually be such a chic, elegant – and dare we say liberating – statement.  

Now I’ll admit, I’m guilty of pulling out a few suspiciously shiny looking strands myself from time to time. But, what if you actually do want to embrace what nature intended and go for gorgeously glossy grey tresses instead of going down the cover-up route?  

We asked manager of Sugar Cubed and L’Oreal Colour ID Artist Mark Byrne to give us the low-down on going grey gracefully.

“Going grey is traditionally associated with getting older and the old-school ideal is to always cover up any greys with blonde highlights or a darker tint but there are so many ways you can enhance grey hair,” Mark explains.

His top tip for AW13? “A lot of younger clients have been requesting grey in the last couple of months and are going for a balayage effect where the ends are a charcoal grey and the roots are darker. It’s a bit experimental but it’s a great look coming into winter,” he says.

But be warned, going grey doesn’t mean you won’t have to condition and treat your hair. “Grey hair is like blonde hair in that it retains moisture and picks up dull tones so you do need to give it the same attention you would give highlighted hair. A silver shampoo really cleans it out and gives great shine and glossing treatments will help make the hair more silky and smooth.”

And for the very brave, Mark’s top tip is to go for the chop. “It can be hard to incorporate grey roots into darker longer lengths so if you’re really committed to going grey, cutting the hair short is the way to do it.”  Think Iris Afpel and you’ll be on the right track.

celebs and models with grey hair

Fade to grey: Karen Walker model; Camille Paglia; Isabel Marant; Carmen Dell’Orefice; Iris Apfel; Karen Walker model; Kristen McMenamy; Isabel Marant; Karen Walker model

Still not convinced? Just look at the doyenne of all things off-duty and undone Isabel Marant. Or Karen Walker’s latest ad campaign for her swoon-worthy sunglasses, styled by Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style fame and featuring not one, not two, but three silver haired stunners.

Ultimately, going grey is all about attitude. Are you brave enough?