Helen Mirren: ‘I was always too lazy to color my hair. I just couldn’t be bothered’

Dame Helen Mirren poses at HONORARY GOLDEN BEAR Photocall during the 70th Berlin International Film Festival ( Berlinale ) on Thursday 27 February 2020

Helen Mirren is one of the faces of L’Oreal, which I love. L’Oreal gave Helen and Viola Davis similar contracts, to represent the over-50 ladies and their skincare and beauty needs and wants. Personally, I’m much more likely to use a product which Helen Mirren endorses rather than Kaia Gerber. To promote her L’Oreal contract, Helen chatted with Allure about her beauty secrets, her favorite products (they’re all L’Oreal) and how she really can’t be bothered to dye her hair. Some highlights:

Her silver hair: She never uses heat on her hair — she only air-dries it, unless she’s being styled for an event. She never had to deal with a gnarly transition to silver hair — because she never colored it in the first place. “I was always too lazy to color my hair. I just couldn’t be bothered, honestly,” Mirren tells me. She pauses for a minute. Well, there was that one time she dyed it pink, but “in normal, everyday life, I don’t, and I never really have.”

She loves wigs & costumes: “I do love 18th-century wigs and costumes. It was very fashionable, and it’s come back in, to have gray or white hair like my hair is now.”

She “discovers” music on YouTube: “God bless YouTube. I discovered Billie Eilish a few years ago in that way. She is so cool, but there are many others. I love Rosalia. Love her.”

Her beauty staples: “This one [product] called L’Oréal Age Perfect Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Daily Moisturizer. If you don’t feel like wearing a lot of makeup, just put on a little bit of that, a mascara, and maybe some lip color,” she says. Mirren also uses the new Age Perfect Luminous Hydrating Lipstick (a traditional lipstick with a clear balm center that has a higher melting point than most lipsticks, so it won’t feather and bleed on more deeply lined lips), Radiant Serum Foundation, and Lash Magnifying Mascara (which was formulated to not weigh down or yank out thin, fine lashes).

[From Allure]

True story, I’ve seen Helen’s commercials for that Rosy Tone product and I kind of want to try it. The unknown is… does it work on brown ladies, or only white ladies? Does it give everyone a rosy tone? Does it turn everyone pink or just pink-ish? I kind of don’t want to spend the money to find out. Plus, I already have weirdly rosy cheeks. People keep asking me if I’m hot (I am not). As for what she says about her hair… I’m not there yet on the not-dyeing it. I still dye my hair and I don’t want to know (at this point) how grey I am. But like Helen, I only air-dry my hair. I feel like more people should try that, it’s a really easy haircare hack and less damaging.

Dame Helen Mirren recieves the  Honorary Golden Bear Award for the 70th Berlin International Film Festival ( Berlinale ) on Thursday 27 February 2020

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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36 Responses to “Helen Mirren: ‘I was always too lazy to color my hair. I just couldn’t be bothered’”

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  1. Natalee says:

    You really called air drying your hair a “haircare hack”????

    Sometimes I feel like I live on a different planet form some people.


    I would air dry my hair if I liked how it looked that way, but I just don’t— depending on the length. My hair is wavy and when it’s long it dries nicely. But when it’s short the waves look too small, and I kind of resemble a cocker spaniel, so it’s better to blow dry.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      That reminds me of my mother’s hair in the 80s – the Farrah Fawcett cut and waves. It became so stiff at one stage that a gust of wind lifted one side in a single piece like a spaniel’s ear. I never fail to remind her of that moment when she queries whether she should change her (very lovely and elegant) hairstyle…
      Seriously, though, you’re so lucky to have wavy hair: mine’s as straight as a bargepole and won’t hold a curl for more than half an hour!

  3. AKILAH says:

    She did used to dye her hair. There was a whole period in the 90s when she switched between ash brown and deepish auburn/mahogany hair.

    • Astrid says:

      I worked with an older woman who swears she’s not going gray and never colors her hair. I’m giving her a confused look and then she says, “well I put light streaks in it to even out the colors”. Yeah, OK…I don’t care if you’ve colored your hair or had work done on your face but don’t play coy with words.

    • Sankay says:

      I think she means in her personal life and not professional. She’s dyed it for roles.

      • Spicecake38 says:

        That’s what I think too.

      • Adrianna says:

        I’m with her. I would never put heat on my hair. My one regret is dying my hair for so long which may or may not have contributed to me getting cancer a few years ago. But anyway, I love the freedom not dying my hair has given me.

  4. TeamAwesome says:

    I’m becoming more and more aware of how grey I really am as I watch my roots come in. I have perpetually Rosy cheeks and always have. My mom used to say it was because she ate so many beets whilst pregnant. My cheeks always give away my mood, unfortunately.

  5. lemonylips says:

    I went blond for a year. Having slightly curly hair the bleach completely ruined it. I am now getting greys super fast and at this corona time. I was thinking, instead of coloring it, shaving it totally off and letting the grey’s grow. Help me, please. What do you think? Btw my hair did recover but it took 2 years for that to happen and is now at shoulder length.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      You do you -and sure a shaved head can be bad a$$ but what if you really regret it and all you can think about during quarantine is -shite! What did I do to my hair…
      I have had many crazy hair ideas lately,but I’m trying to not act too impulsively because I don’t know if and when I can get something fixed if I don’t like it.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      @Lemonylips I understand why you’d want to do it – a shaved head can look rocking – but it’s such a big decision… just imagine what you might feel if you hate the look: will it send you into a trembling, oh God what have I done, despair spiral? Will you be able to look at yourself in a mirror? Maybe you could spend lockdown doing some really deep, luxurious hair treatments, and then consult with your hairdresser once we’re on the other side of the pandemic?
      Best of luck, whatever you decide; let us know!

    • ooshpick says:

      I did that and it was totally fine. I looked good but not great and my hair grew quickly :)

    • megs283 says:

      Lemonylips, follow @grombre on instagram for some inspiration!

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I gave up coloring my hair years ago. Of course I miss my gorgeous thick long dark brown mane. But in my mid 40s, it became a chore because it was losing its thickness and texture so I simply quit messing with it. I firmly believed my gray would be absolute, but it was not. It’s very light variations of blonde peppered with subtle dark brown underneath in the back. Unexpected, but I’m cool with it lol. Looks like I’ve colored my hair with about ten different shades lol.

  7. Swack says:

    If I had that beautiful color naturally I wouldn’t dye mine either. As it is I have a salt and pepper hair and the pepper side of it is a really ugly brown!

    • lucy2 says:

      Right? She’s very lucky, her natural hair is a lovely color.

    • Diana says:

      I don’t think it is entirely natural, though. I have a feeling that she or her hairdresser at least tone her hair, if not lighten it a little to make it a glowy, uniform silver.

  8. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    I’d love to give up dying my hair, but it’s brown/black and when the white comes in around my hairline I look like a badger. And the white is more noticeable as I have very dark eyes and lashes, and freckled olive skin. Helen looks fantastic, though: so graceful and dignified

    • Jaded says:

      I grew mine out by having very fine ash blonde streaks put in that mimicked my Bride of Frankenstein streaks. The transition was pretty seamless and I never looked like a badger.

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @Jaded I’ve been going grey since I was nineteen so the dye bottle has never been far from my hand: the worst of it comes in around my temples, curves around my widow’s peak, and then straight down my parting. Definitely badgerish!! …I don’t think I could have blonde streaks put in, with the amount I dye my hair: it’d probably break off or fall out, alas…

  9. Justme says:

    I think that I am about to let my gray (or more like white!) grow in. I had been coloring it with highlights which have given it a blondish hue, but is is getting to be an enormous hassle and who I am fooling anyway- persistent Zoom sessions over the past month have proved to me that hair or not, I look my age! I’ve let it grow in about two inches now – luckily the blonde highlights have made it a little less obvious than it would be if I colored it brown. Oh and I’ve air dried it for over 25 years – it is easy and with a bit of Argan oil, the frizz disappears!

  10. StrawberryBlonde says:

    I am 38 with strawberry blonde (more light Auburn now) hair. I don’t have any white or grey yet so have never coloured it. I am not sure if I will – will have to see how the white comes in. I do however always let my hair air dry and that’s just down to laziness, being inept with hair styling products, and not wanting to wake the toddler (or night shift husband). My hair is natural wavy/curly.

  11. Other Renee says:

    I’ll stop coloring my hair when they pry the dye from my cold dead hands. 🙄

  12. Xo says:

    I love Helen’s grey/white hair. I think it’s very elegant.

  13. fifee says:

    She has beautiful hair! If mine was like hers and I had that lovely skin I would maybe think about keeping it natural. At 49 I am mostly white haired now! I just dont have the right undertone to keep it white, it puts at least an extra 10 years on me. It gets dyed a light ash blonde so the roots dont look that bad when they come through. Maybe in 15 years (if im still alive!) I’ll let go of the dye.

    For the most part I air dry my hair but as I’ve gotten older my fine but frizzy hair has become even more fine & frizzy. So only time it gets a blow dry is when Im setting foot out the door which at the moment is once a week to get groceries.

  14. Jamie says:

    The rosy tone cream does not work on olive skinned folks. And maybe I’m overly sensitive, but the fragrance of it is so strong to me, I stopped using all of L’Oreal’s moisturizers.

    • Polly says:

      I agree with you about their moisturisers. They are way too heavily perfumed and that is not good for your skin. There’s no way that Helen Mirren or any of the other L’Oréal ambassadors use their skincare line (or box hair dyes lol). They’d be using high end stuff that actually works.

  15. Eleonor says:

    I am lazy: I don’t wear makup and I have never dyed my hair. Too much work for me.
    I go to the hair dresser to have my hair cut, and since I cut them short I go more often, and my hair dresser (?) agrees with me. Can’t wait to have my hair profesionally cut again.

  16. Gorgonia says:

    I had to start dying my hair when I was 27 and I did until three years ago (now I’m 53). I’m so happy to have stopped. My gray hair is a beautiful silver tone, I keep my money for more useful things and I don’t lose time anymore. My hair is thick and nice to the touch again. I wish I choice to stop dying before.

  17. Melissa says:

    I stopped dying last summer. My hairdresser and I had a plan to let the roots grow a couple of inches so we could see what was where, then we were going to take it platinum to ease the transition. I went from almost waist length to shoulder length in preparation (I would have lost it anyway in the platinum process). Turns out as the grays grew in, it looked really good and after a month there was no harsh color line. My stylist was sad that I chose not to pull the trigger on the platinum, but my hair has never been healthier.

    Side note on drying, I use a huge t shirt to wrap my hair after showering, it’s easier on the hair shaft so less frizz and removes twice as much water. Also less space in the washer and my hair will air dry in half the time now that I don’t dye it.

  18. Beth says:

    Started going gray in my early 20s (got those early gray genes from my dad, who was fully gray by the time he married my mom at 35). I stopped coloring my hair about 2 and a half years ago, after I got a nasty case of persistent dandruff from a bad reaction to a box dye. I ended up losing some hair around my part, too, which took forever to start growing back. I honestly don’t even notice how much of my dark brown hair is silver now until someone else points it out–like when my nieces ask me about my “pretty witch hairs” when they brush it! I’d love to just go full-out silver with some professional assistance, but I’m also too cheap/lazy/afraid of the potential damage to make the leap. I figure I’ll probably be basically completely gray by my mid-forties anyway (I’m 33 now). Until then, I’ll just lean into the pretty witch thing. :)