Sunday, 12 August 2012

Black To Black - How Changing My Hair Colour Changed My Life


As a blonde I was a lazy dresser, I virtually lived in black knowing my bright hair was guaranteed to get me noticed but since going over to the dark side I rarely wear it. 



Being a dark-haired girl in a town as ethnically diverse as mine means bright colours are an essential if I feel the need to stand out from the crowd.


Never one to get set in my ways, this weekend I've been back to black, road testing some recent car boot finds.

River Island platforms, snaffled for an insane £1.50 yesterday morning

So why did I dye my naturally blonde locks black?

I've used some of the 1960s braid stash I bought on Thursday to make this headband.
After a hip replacement in 2006 the subsequently slow recovery process meant I was confined to the house for hours on end with only the mirror for company. My appearance had changed dramatically following the operation, the lines of pain etched on my face melted away, my eyes sparkled from the ability to sleep through the night for the first time in years, my spine straightened out and my legs were finally the same length, the orthopaedic shoe abandoned to the hospital waste bin. Even the eczema that had plagued me since childhood seemed to vanish overnight. I needed something dramatic to mark my rebirth. 

1960s St Michael lace slip (50p, car boot sale), leopard print head scarf (50p, Salvation Army), Fabulous choker (won as part of Amie's giveaway), 1960s pearl & gilt bracelet (gift from Louise)

I didn't want to chop off my hair and couldn't afford a sleeve tattoo but in a blinding flash of inspiration I realised that almost every woman I'd ever idolised was dark-haired so I sent Jon off for a couple of boxes of black hair dye instead and I've never looked back.

Clockwise from top left: Sharmila Tagore, Grace Slick (with Janis Joplin), Amy Winehouse,Bianca Jagger, Siouxie Sioux, Chrissie Hyde, Meg (&Jack) White, "H Bomb" Helen, Raquel Welch, Mama Cass, Amy, Barbara Streisand, Cher
As a blonde I could never put my finger on what I disliked about my appearance, I hated photographs of myself and simply couldn't relate to the reflection in the mirror, I knew I was a strong, intelligent and outgoing woman but the image reflected was always disappointingly wishy-washy and bland. The raven-haired woman who smolders back at me now exudes confidence, sass and pure rock and roll.



From the day I did it reactions were incredible. Men I'd known since childhood complimented me, my own father didn't recognise me, clothes I'd owned for years suddenly looked a million times better, when I went out with the girls I was hit on by cool guys young enough for me to have given birth to rather than the usual motley bunch of saddos. As a blonde in India I was used to be stared at, now I'm photographed, given gifts and asked what movies I've been in. Being a black headed bird rocks!

1960s Italian-made wool trouser suit (£1), Original perspex and gilt chain belt (50p, both car boot sales), Melissa sandals (£3.50, Scope)

Although I've lived as both a blonde and a brunette I'm not suggesting that us dark-tressed girls have more fun. Forget hair colour, it's having confidence in your appearance that makes for a happier life. If you're pleased with what you see in the mirror it's going to show and, as my Mum always told me, no-one ever loved anyone who didn't love themselves.


And with that I'm off for a slap-up Sunday dinner at Liz & Adrian's.
See you soon!

PS I dye my roots black every four weeks or so but only colour the entire length once a year, that's why it's lighter at the ends (and in decent condition).

81 comments:

  1. Amen and out! You look so beautiful - and natural with your dark locks, amor! I don't think I've ever seen you in so much black before... you look FABULARSEHOLE!!! LOVE that chunky square bangle and belt, love the sexy slip and love the fab belt and shoes! Love you more than BLACK! Sarah xxx

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  2. I'm also a blonde, but have been a "ginger" for years. We moved to Georgia in 1988 and I was really shocked at all the bad bleached blonde hair that was everywhere. I don't mean to sound all snarky, but there really is something beyond trashy about a middle aged woman with a hellish dye job. As I look like a walking corpse to one and only time I have black hair, red was the choice for me.

    PS: I was born with red hair and my Dad wanted to call me Penny. Mom freaked, because there isn't a saint Penny.

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  3. Dark hair does seem to suit you better! That hairstyle you wear there with the slip dress is simply fabulous on you.xx.

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  4. Its so true about how the change in hair colour can change both how you appear on the outside but in addition what it does to your confidence. I would love to have seen you rocking a tattooed arm haha

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  5. I love this wonderful tale of how your new hair colour marked the beginning of the rest of your life:)). It must have been incredible to be finally pain-free and see yourself with a fresh pair of sparkly eyes. You look absolutely stunning as a raven-haired fox and I'm not surprised you're taken for a movie star in India!! Thank you for sharing your story - it's a winner, and now I need a lie down after seeing your chonis through your gorgeous slip - oh the shoooz!!! xxxxxx

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  6. It's a great story - and dark hair most defintely suits you! x

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  7. You know I love most of your posts but this one i think is one of my favourites. I think largely because it is really resonating with me at the moment.

    In fact to a point where i have been contemplating doing a post about it on my blog. But that might mean pictures of me on there and I have a way to go yet before I feel that confident.

    As a lifetime dark haired bird with blue eyes I have had some attention in my youth. Although not always welcome like the mad old bloke at a cash machine once starting raving about me having black and blue eyes so therefore I must me Irish. Not that I have a problem with that in fact I think there is some Irish traced back over years in my blood line but the fact he sort of chased me about a bit whilst ranting on about it! lol.

    I feel like I am emerging from a little bit of a bubble of the last ten years maybe longer if I think about it. I feel more me than I have for a longtime.

    So thanks for such an awesome post! And sorry for the long ramble!


    P x


    P.s. Love your outfits and to be honest I am definately a all in black girl. But I am changing my thoughts a little bit.

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  8. There's something about women and hair isn't there? I always feel better with long hair (dye doesn't really take to my hair unfortunately) cause I like the heaviness of it! Awesome shoes btw, what a bargain! :)

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  9. What a great story this is. I really can't imagine without your beautiful long dark hair. Fabulous!

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  10. The dark hair suits you very good ! Gorgeous woman !

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  11. Even though I have seen some of the blonde photo's of you on the blog, I still struggle to think of you as naturally blonde. I think dark hair is so very right for your features and complexion, I hope you stay a raven haired beauty it really suits you.
    V
    xxx

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  12. I always say that you are a woman who can carry off any colour but good grief you look fabulous in black! Black can be a bit harsh for many women but lady you have got it!

    I nearly dropped dead with girl lust when I saw Anjelica Huston as Morticia, I adored the character and how gorgeous she made it. You would be perfect for the role, you raven haired beauty!

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  13. I always thought your hair was more darkest brown than black but whatever the colour its lovely. I love being brunette in truth I would love to go darker and one day I will take the plunge.

    I love the outfit too and those wedges are just amazing.

    You are such an inspiration I wish I had half of your confidence.
    xx

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  14. love your wise words, sister, because it's the confidence and attitude what makes you a fabulous dark haired lady!
    sometimes we need a certain change in our aspect to emphasize a change in our life!
    And I'm Red Haired, it does't matter if it comes from a bottle, it's true!
    besos & fabulousness

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  15. I can really relate to this! My hair is naturally mousy brown, I am not a mousy brown personality ;o) I've been a red head for years now and I feel like a natural red head, I get compliments about my hair all the time, I'm sure that would never happen if it was mousy brown.

    You look fabulous xxx

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  16. I completely agree! You look fabulous with dark hair, I've got naturally light brown hair and have been all the colours under the sun but the redhead life is for me :)
    I can't believe those AMAZING shoes were only £1.50! You always inspire be to go to the local car booty :)
    Rachelle x
    http://inspiredbytheretired.blogspot.co.uk/

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  17. Lovely story Vix - elective hair colour can be such a personal journey. I have had mine every colour except for blonde, black, green or blue :)It has been the same shade of fuschsia now for over 10 years. I used to always dress in black but then I lost the sight in one eye for several months - luckily it came back but since then - a riot of colour and pattern clash - oh yes - pile it on.

    What baffles me is when people say "How brave" when we're talking about a six quid bottle of hair colour.

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  18. Oh yeah, sister! What a fab post....I can relate to all you say. I was a mousey brown kid, dyed my hair from the age of 13 and never looked back. I'm grey haired now and when I'm ready I'll grow into it and enjoy that too, but at the moment I'm loving my red!
    You do look gorgeous in black, mind, I think you would in anything.
    And my gran used to tell me exactly the same thing...hurrah for such brill role models.
    xxxxxxx

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  19. Thanks for sharing the tale of your transformation - I still can't imagine you as a natural blonde, as you will always be a raven-haired minx in my eyes!

    I know first hand the effect of changing your hair colour can have. I was always a mousy brown, and starting colouring my hair when I was in my 20's. First it was red, which I loved, but then it would fade so quickly. I was a platinum blonde for a couple of years with a hot pink stripe, which was cool but the blonde washed me out. I really like the purple and gold that I have now, and I admit that I feel more confident and sassy with it.

    Fab platforms darling, wish I could wear heels like that! You do rock the black - hell, you can wear anything and make it look like a million bucks.

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  20. I'm naturally dark haired but recently had blonde bits in. I liked it for about 2 weeks but now I feel like I have average hair. I was definitely happier darker.

    I was listening to Dead Ringer for Love today and was thinking how awesome Cher was prior to the mid 1980's. Glad you included her.

    Caroline
    xxx

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  21. I'm a natural brunette and wouldn't have it any other way. I have never wanted to be blonde and I think as a dark haired person it is just too much hard work trying to maintain blonde hair. I think the dark hair really suits you and was an excellent decision!

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  22. Sounds like your Mum was a very wise woman. And as a mostly black wearer I have to say, I would love to find a black trouser suit like that when I am out digging around.

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  23. Your mum seems like a very wise woman! Adore those River Island platforms - what a bargain!
    Sophie
    x

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  24. I love your hair with the leopard scarf, you look gorgeous! It's so strange to see you wearing black!

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  25. Dear God, hip replacement, short leg, years of pain.....no wonder you look incredible now. It must have been hellish.

    I've been toying with the idea of becoming a redhead for a good while now. Still not brave enough to take the plunge.

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  26. When I first saw you I thought you were a natural brunette and I was blown away by the contrast with your beautiful eyes, sometimes we look more natural when we get the idea of what we really are inside and we really love ourselves!
    That suit is great and the lace dress too!(And you look so good in them!) Great back to black inspirational post!
    I still haven't found my "real" hair color, I think I must work on it after reading your post!
    xxxxx

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  27. Great suit! You are making me miss my burgundy hair! You look stunning :)

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  28. Yep, it's all about the confidence!
    I think there is something about finding an outward look that chimes with the you inside which makes a powerful statement, whether that's a change of hair colour or style.
    I am just so happy that you are pain-free, and that your op freed you up to experiment with your hair, with such stunning results.
    You look incredible, of course, the trouser suit and belt are beautiful, and as for you rocking that lace slip, Amy style - wow, woman, I can hear you sizzling from here!
    Enjoy your Sunday dinner, cheers my dear! xxxxxxxxx

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  29. I love your hair dark Vix its so mysterious! I have naturally blonde hair which I have highlighted. Last year I went cheryl cole red but didn`t like it and went back to blonde. I think you know when your hair is the colour it should be as it alters your whole mood and way of dressing etc.
    I think you look fab in the black frock too!
    Dx

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  30. Hurrah!! I have to say that I am too a natural blonde and hated it. Tried red for a few years and, even though I loved the colour I looked like a teen.

    Rewind to two weeks ago and I went dark brunette. And since then I felt more confident, sexy even. Paired with my mila kunis lips and blue eyes I look amazing - a lot of people I know don't recognise me!!

    I love being a brunette, never going back to blonde again! ;-)
    xo

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  31. You wear colors better than just about anyone I've ever seen. I think it's your innate sense of style (and your hair color is of course part of that). It's just refreshing to see a pretty lady with long black hair that doesn't have a Morticia Addams complex. You do look good in black, but with all those colors you wear you are not a cliche!

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  32. I've always wondered why your dark hair looks so natural - and fabulous - now I know it's because you only dye the whole of it once a year. I'm naturally dark-haired and the ends of my hair are way lighter than the crown - though it's not seen any dye for years. Sadly, I have to admit I'm more 'pepper and salt' these days and probably should attack it with some dye pretty soon.

    You look great in black too, but with your amazing figure and your natural pazzazz you can carry off anything you choose to wear.

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  33. I love black hair. Yours looks so natural and I agree that it just seems more you. My hair has been all different colours over the years but it was black for a long time before I had it lightened and dyed red. I once had it bleached platinum blonde and absolutely loved that too. The upkeep was hardgoing and expensive so it didn't last long. I think we all need to start a fresh from time to time. I think you would suit any colour as long as it was extreme.

    As far as clothes are concerned, you really suit black but I understand why you avoid it. No one I know could carry a semi transparent lace babydoll off quite like you! xx

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  34. I have assisted black hair too....and I love it. Tinted with a hint of blue. As ever you look divine!

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  35. I saw so many clothes in Spain that made me think of you! x

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  36. You find the most amazing things at car boot sales! I think your black hair suits you best! You always look Fabulous! I am still undecided about my hair color. I do fancy the blonde on me. My natural hair color is a boring sandy blonde/light brown. I have been tempted to go back to my natural color because I am lazy lol.

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  37. I can't imagine with you with anything other than dark hair! I've always had dark hair, many of my friends went blonde but I love being dark! So impressed you do it all yourself - I'm off to the hairdressers tomorrow because I'm too scared to bleach my blonde stripe haha x

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  38. Wise words from your mum :) I know what you mean though since i've had my hair bleached white I'm a new woman! I can't imagine you as a blonde at all, you look so natural as a brunette! x

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  39. Look out Vix, your slip's showing!

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  40. I love your black hair!!! And that black dress is so so pretty!! :)xx

    My BLOG: Keep calm and carry on

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  41. Just back from festivalling. Living proof that grey haired girls can have fun too! x

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  42. Thank you for this post, I love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences - you've been through a lot and are a big inspiration to me, just wish I could channel some of your confidence! I think many people don't feel like their natural colour is really them - I'm naturally a very dark chestnut, but I've felt like a redhead for many years.

    Love you longtime x

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  43. I too was a miserable blonde (for about 3 years from 16-19). It didn't suit my freckled skin and the condition was awful - dry and dull. I dyed it red at 19, and have now been a redhead for 15 years! Ok, I know I have blonde and black stripes, but its mainly red, and I still love it! I would never go blonde again. Its looks amazing on some people though - just not for me! You rock being a raven Vix! :) x

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  44. You look gorgeous and you speak such wise words. We get one life and we have to be true to ourselves for maximum enjoyment! Rock on lovely lady. X

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  45. Thank Vix for sharing your story!!!
    You were a gorgeous blonde but
    your were born to be raven haired-your coloring and features all just seem more vibrant and sharp with the darker hair.
    since I started greying at 15 (EEEK) I've been every shade of blonde, brown and auburn there is. I am SERIOUSLY toying with a darker chestnut or auburn-my natural hair is a light reddish brown and I have redhead coloring. hey it's just dye!!
    Totally with you on the clothes thing--I used to adhere to the "slimming" dark solids for fat girls rules. The one day I realized that I didn't look any slimmer--I just looked big, black and BORING. Now it's color and patterns and my new style mantra--If you can't hide it-DECORATE IT!!

    BTW--you look fabulous in black also!! Those SHOES are drool-worthy!!

    xxxxhugsxxxx
    Tamera

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  46. Aw really enjoyed this history to the hair. And what can I say about long dark flowing locks - love 'em! PS - what are your views on hairdressers? I cut my own hair and fringe as am terrified!! xxx

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  47. What a fascinating post. You weave personal history into sociological fact and season it with entertaining stories. One of the best posts I've read in months.

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  48. Crieky,Sarah was right on in there at poll position!!!
    I adore black hair,and did mine black for about 10 years,but I feel better as a redhead! As you say,it's all about how you feel,what makes you feel better about yourself!You're hot blonde or black,to me,but I do think you suit black better!
    It IS unusual to see you in so much black! I hardly wear it nowadays,but do notice I gravitate to it a bit in Winter....
    Those platforms are AMAZING!!! Sexy AS!
    You frigging ROCK!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  49. what a great story. how we feel is so directly related to how we look. and you must feel good b/c you look fab.

    i love your list of inspiration photos. esp. jack and meg!

    he was fantastic this weekend too. i'm in a state of afterglow. xo

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  50. just discovered your blog.

    the black hair suits you, you remind me of Cher in the 70s.

    Quick hair tip: It's good you don't run the permanent color thru your hair every touch up. If you want to keep the color fresher and not have black roots with brown ends but don't want to damage your hair, do what we do at the salon. after you get the permanent color on your roots, apply a black demi-permanent or semi-permanent on the rest of your hair. sleek shiny even color with no damage.

    But the faded ends look cool too, kinda like the whole "ombre" look.

    either way, you look fabulous.

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  51. Wow Vix what a fantastic story all about you~!!! I love your dark hair I went dark but then my hair was not happy and started breaking off and was falling out...I loved it black though. Since my hair does not handle dye it is all natural for me which is a kind of blah dark blonde but I have been experimenting with just a few highlights to brighten it a bit....you dark tresses are gorgeous love your rebirth story and of course I am not surprised you look wonderful in black as well. I really like those new shoes!! Love Heather

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  52. Dark looks fabulous on you Vix! x

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  53. Smouldering beauty in picture 3, and your platform shoes are to die for. I love how comfortable you are in your own skin and you inspire me!!

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  54. Hey Vix,

    You really suit dark hair, it's gorgeous!!

    I;m insanely jealous of those platforms you got from the car boot sale.

    Oh, and I love Winehouse too!

    Hope you had a great weekend.

    L x

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  55. Oh the blonde hair dye! I was naturally blonde as a child and when my hair became darker I began to dye it blonde. Its only looking back at the photos that I realised how damaged my hair was. My hair has been darker for a good few years now, that is until I went ginger a few years ago. I do forget at times that I'm not blonde and blame my dippy moments on my blonde hair!

    X x

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  56. I was brown and dyed my hair blond for 20 years and looking back it never suited me it always turned out orange for the last how many years of damage,I feel more suited to brown hair now ,sorry to hear about your hip replacement this must have been such a hard time :( you look amazing in black as well,love your shoes so jealous :)

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  57. I find it hard to think of you as a natural blonde. Black hair suits you so much. You look fabulous in black clothes too. I just read your hip replacement post. I can't believe what you went through. You're such an inspiration. It must've been such a relief to finally be without pain.

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  58. Ooh, I'm the opposite, Vix!

    Since going blonde my wardrobe has exploded with colour - I bought something pink, I never wear pink!

    You look great and definitely suit being raven coloured. x

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  59. Thanks for sharing this story Vix - I'm not naturally black haired either (although a surprisingly large number of people think I am) - I also feel there is something quite empowering about black hair.

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  60. Your hair looks really natural to you Vix, I would never have thought you were a natural blonde because your colouring works so well with your dark hair. Love seeing you in the black trouser suit, I'm lusting after it here, and love the shoes too. I'm so envious of women who can wear high heels because I'm lanky and feel self conscious in them. I have got a few pairs though and I'm trying to feel more confident about my height and just wear them anyway. My daughter always tells me to just shut up and get them on, she's good for me that way.
    My hair's naturally dark brown, which I was always happy with, but starting to get a fair bit of grey, so I'm just starting to experiment with dyeing it and I'm heading for red now. A lot of people are saying it really brightens me up and I wish I'd have tried it years ago now, because I do like it myself. xx

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  61. Black is so lovely on you, in clothes and hair colour. You seem to be able to wear anything and in any colour, you are one of those lucky people that way :)

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  62. I've never coloured my hair - the choice is very limited for me so I always wish I had the kind of face and complexion that allows me to even think of choosing a different hair colour!
    You look great and your hair is wonderful!

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  63. I love this post so so much, Vix; I know what you mean about the dark hair and I so want to do mine and keep mine dark again but I simply cannot deal with the maintenance as I found myself wanting to re-do it every 2 weeks as I am so fair and TBH my hair could not cope with the constant dyeing very well...love it on you though! x

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  64. I knew that trouser suit would look fab!

    Love this post, what an inspiring story, and I love the photos of those other great women too.

    I can vouch for the fact that your hair is in much more than 'decent' condition, it's healthy and glossy, and looks gorgeous with the hair feathers. You definitely rock!
    xxx

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  65. Even a subtle change of hair can have a real impression- my natural colour is brown with red streaks... my dyed colour is bright red. Always has been, it's just "me"! I once tried it blonde, I looked exactly like my (blonde) twin sister (duh, go figure!) which freaked me out as we're not dress-the-same twins, so I dyed it back pronto!

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  66. Your mum was a wonderful lady and a great roll model by the sounds of it. You look gorgeous in black infact you look gorgeous in all the colours you wear and your beauty from within always shines on the outside no matter what colour you wear. dee xxx

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  67. Your mum was a wonderful lady and a great roll model by the sounds of it. You look gorgeous in black infact you look gorgeous in all the colours you wear and your beauty from within always shines on the outside no matter what colour you wear. dee xxx

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  68. I love this transformation into you Vix! I can relate to this totally! As a kid I hated being a carrot top was teased constantly and felt pretty ugly and then as I grew older I was suppose to suddenly be thankful for that same head of red. That is when I started dying my hair I was 23 and haven't looked back. Sometimes the red is back and others times in small dosages but you said it best it's all about being the person you truly fell your best being:)

    You are a true Goddess in your dark locks, I can't image you any other way.
    Tonsoflove~
    Krista

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  69. What a fascinating story. As someone who always thought being blonde was "it" (whatever it was supposed to be) it seem strange that someone who was blonde by birth would ever want to not be that way. Well, go figure! My hair colour is close to natural now, and I was going to go blonder (you know, in order to be more perfect) but looking a photos of myself on my blog, I don't actually mind the colour it is. At least it's not grey. Not that I mind grey hair. Wrinkles I could live without, but I actually rather like grey hair (because it's lighter!)

    Cheers,
    Rosemary foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

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  70. you are incredible. You're such a huge inspiration to me, and you always look movie star fabulous, whatever you wear. You're a fantastic role model for women-there should be more like you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  71. inspiring story :)

    becks
    http://fabulous-junk.blogspot.com

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  72. This is a grand story! I can't think of a better way to mark your rebirth after suffering and the color suits you perfectly. Your writing astounds me, as do the shoes!

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  73. Thank you for sharing the story of your rebirth and how you came to have a look that is more true to how you feel. Being a brunette, I'm of course biased towards dark hair :)
    When I was in my 20s I had a streak of grey hair at one temple. I liked it because it made me look older. Then I got older and dyed it to cover the grey. I had to touch up my roots every 10 days. My roots dictated by life, so I stopped dying my hair. Now it is 'salt and pepper.' I just think of grey as another color not one that means anything. Heck, my boyfriend is younger than me and is completely silver-haired!
    The black trouser suit fits you so well, but I do like you in color so much more.

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  74. Oh I just naturally thought you were dark haired. You are "Vintage vixen" which seems could only be a beautiful raven beauty. Not sure why????
    You do look fabulous in black but you just sing in colour!!!!!!
    When ever I read your great posts I find myself nodding at the screen and thinking there are many beautiful women in the world and then there are those who are Beauty it self.
    Thank you Vix.
    Love v

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  75. What a neat, inspiring story, Vix. It's easy to make the assumption that blond is the default aspiration for women in general, but c'est n'est pas vrai! (though when I wore a blond wig once, men were practically dumb with lust, admiration?). But then again, Veronica was always my idol as a kid, LOL. Here's to your lovely dark locks - they totally suit you and I can't even imagine you any other way!

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  76. Loved hearing about your hair color change! I am truly thinking of what I will do with (or will I do without) gray hair! My parents both had little gray and it came on later, but I do see a strand here or there when I inspect my hair closely! I do think we are very much tied up in hair color. You look great! I would never have imagined you blonde, and would not have been able to picture it without the old photo you shared earlier.

    xx
    Lynn

    PS -- love the lace slip and the heels!

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  77. How interesting is this post? I would have never guessed your natural colour is blonde as the dark hair suits you so well. It's funny how sometimes one needs a change to our exterior and image to bring out our true selves, to feel confident in one's skin.
    I can relate to your sudden need to change your hair colour after a life changing experience, as I find myself craving the same when something important happens. Sometimes it feels like a way of leaving the past behind, like the shedding of an old skin like snakes do!
    As always, great finds too!

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  78. Amorcito,
    I adorar your stories so much.
    you look a piece of ass hot in black lacey slip. your so inspiring and admirable. I cant picture in any other color. You are a true beauty.
    We need to transform ourselves in order to grow.
    besotes

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  79. I literally cannot imagine you with blonde hair! You suite dark hair so fabulously :)

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