Blue Hair

You don't see it as much today as you did when I was young, but occasionally you'll encounter a woman of a certain age with white hair tinged blue or purple. What were they thinking? Jill Harness has the lowdown on why some elderly women have blue hair and why the phenomenon is "dyeing" out. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user Roland Tanglao)

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Years ago, there was a lady in the church I attended when I was a kid whose dyed dark brown hair appeared a lovely shade of evergreen under the fluorescent church lights. It looked regular dark brown in daylight, but under those lights, it was a dark pine green.
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While living in Japan 2 years ago, I would see old laied (and gents) with purple and blue hair all the time. I learned later that this is part of the process to dye their hair black again. Black doesn't stick well to thick white hair so they do it in steps. First it turns an purple or blue color and then they dye again to get the black.
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The linked site is blocked in my office, but I'd always understood that the blue tinting, much like the bluish tinting in some laundry detergents, is intended to combine with yellow discoloration to reflect white light, thus making it appear brighter. And I'd assumed the practice is dying out because people don't smoke so much anymore, so women's hair just doesn't get so discolored. Is that approximately what it says?
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@Batty face: Having dyed my hair just about every color I have to say that blue is one of the easier ones to have permanently. The trick is to use the same blue the old ladies use! Bleach your hair out and use a straight up one-to-one combination of Clairol's Blue Mix Tone and their Premium Cream developer (get these at a beauty supply store like Sally's) let that sit on your hair for half an hour. I do HIGHLY recommend you use a petroleum jelly on your hairline and ears to avoid staining. You hair will be BLUE and permanently. I had to dye mine black to cover it up.

@Miss C: My local store still carries bluing and I use it on things that are not safe to be bleached. Works wonders.
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Ha! When I said "dyeing out", I didn't think about the meaning of the color washing out sooner. I meant you don't see blue-haired elderly women as much as you did 40 years ago. I don't think many do it that way these days. I know I don't!
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