My first adventure with hair dye happened as a sophomore in high school – despite having been told that it’d “mute my natural highlights”, a friend and I bought two bottles and snuck upstairs to my bathroom, giggling about how “dangerous” we were for buying dye that lasted 24 washes that was pretty much identical to the hair color we were already sporting. My parents couldn’t tell – nor could any of my classmates the day after, until I pulled my hair up and showed them the one partially discolored section by my neck – but the feeling of change (as minor as it was) felt really good. After that, the sky was the limit. I learned how to do it correctly from my sister (I thought we read the directions, but aforementioned friend and I were both positive that you were supposed to water down the dye. Not true!) and thought of all the colors I could experiment with.
Here’s the thing: I’m getting married at the end of September, and have been “off the bottle” for a solid 7 or 8 months – long enough so that my natural color of mid-brown that’s faded easily by the sun actually took over a majority of my scalp, and the past dye (dark brown – a strong go-to) faded enough to seem agreeable. While making a promise to my Dad that I’d stay natural for the big day, I’ve been aching to get something done professionally. I’m not necessarily unhappy with the hair I was born with, but after a solid decade of experimentation – well, I’m a bit restless. It’s nice, but I feel like it could be more. I’m guessing that watching a marathon of Bridezillas recently didn’t help – now I feel like anything I’m partially worried about should be a big, bold issue.
I like to think that we all have a “hair idol” – the person who has the cut, color, or hair texture that makes you rush to the salon. Admittedly, I did ask for “The Rachel” back in high school, failing to realize that styling it yourself was a pain in the butt. My bathroom looked like a crime scene after I dabbled with red, immediately after seeing Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2.
Our girl Zooey helped me realize how much a darker shade can really make your blue eyes look stunning. Gwen Stefani’s No Doubt days made me crave going pink in middle school, despite never having the courage (or the permission). And, I admit – after realizing I had naturally curly hair in high school, and not just “bad, dented hair after it rained,” I became a little bit obsessed with my hair in general – from straighteners, to products, to color. To this day, I still pause over those fake elastic ponytails they sell in the hair section of CVS, thinking “maybe this will actually work tonight, and nobody will question it.” Typically on days when I’m going out with friends, my room reeks of burned hair and time loss. While I’d never say that my hair identifies me, it’s kind of a hobby that I think helps represent me.
While I am a huge advocate in feeling like you should be happy with what you’re born with, I feel like with things easily changeable – and reversible – I’m game. For example, there’s a picture or two floating around where I’m rocking an orange look (which I said was intentional, but trust me – it wasn’t) and I know for a fact they were from my freshman year of college. Despite that mistake lasting for just a few days, it represented a notch in my personal timeline. Similar to a “Break Up Haircut“, changing up your hair is symbolic that you’re in a different place – it can be extremely therapeutic, and give you a boost of confidence. It can also be a big disaster – but again, it’ll never be permanent.
As I’m on the fence about my wedding color, I’d love some advice from you – should I stick with what my DNA gave me, or should I represent the love of a minor upgrade or change? Do you express change in a way outside of your follicles? Who are your hair idols, and have you had any misadventures with hair dye? (Come on, you can admit it here. We’ve all made mistakes.)
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