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It Will Always Grow Back: A Reflection On My Hair Journey

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

It’s a tale as old as time. You have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to various hairstyles and colors. You’ve spent countless hours posing in front of the mirror, folding pieces of your hair to mock the look of bangs. Then one day, something finally drives you to grab the scissors that your mother would use to give you haircuts as a toddler and snip your own DIY set of bangs. 

I can’t exactly pinpoint what force pushed me to make the chop. I had just gotten home from the beach one afternoon this August and decided it was finally time to give myself bangs. I had been thinking about it for a while, so the decision was not entirely rooted in impulse. However, the action of cutting the bangs itself was quickly followed by a “why, why, why, did I do this” feeling deep down in my stomach. 

The bangs themselves were not what flooded me with an instant tsunami of anxiety and regret, but rather the length of them. I had pulled a chunk of my hair down to my eyebrows, snipped a straight line then let go, quickly realizing I had given myself possibly the babiest set of baby bangs I had ever seen. It was truly a middle school-level hair disaster — reminiscent of when my best friend shaved off her eyebrow in seventh grade — exactly a week before my junior year of college. 

The next hours were filled with panic-fueled FaceTime calls to my best friend, searching for celebrities who have rocked baby bangs (if Beyonce can do it, then so can I), and contemplating wearing a wig for the next month. I would need about a month for my bangs to return to a semi-normal length, which is what my best friends, sister, and mother all told me. That’s the thing about hair — it grows back

A little less than two years before, I had gone from undyed, dark brown hair to a full head of bleach-blonde locks. Like the bangs, I had been pondering making the leap for a significantly long time. I had rewatched one of my favorite movies, Aquamarine, the night before, and had been inspired by the blonde mermaid main character to become a blonde, myself. The next night my sister came over with a bottle of bleach and a box of cannolis, and we got to work. I learned that blondes do not in fact have more fun, and I had to maintain my hair with a religious routine of purple shampoo and deep conditioning. I now know what I look like as a blonde, and will no longer be haunted by the lingering, “what-if” curiosity. 

Something I have always envied about blondes is the ease with which they are able to attempt new hair colors. So I took advantage of the blank canvas my hair offered, and went pink. Then purple. I quickly realized as much as I loved having fun hair, I always was conscious of how it would pair with my outfit. The bright blue top I loved so much looked nice with my blonde or brown hair but felt a little too loud with a neon purple mane. I did love how brightly colored hair made me feel, though. I was able to instantly come off as cool and creative, even with a mundane outfit. Pink or purple hair served as a built-in accessory I could always count on to receive compliments for a couple of months of my life

But as much as I would miss little girls walking down the street calling me a mermaid, I knew it was time to literally and figuratively return to my roots. My purple hair had washed out to a greenish silver, a color that could really only be masked by a very deep brown. Much like my sister had dyed my hair blonde months before, we set up shop in my backyard at a picnic table with a box of brown dye from CVS. 

Since then, I have met so many people who have never known me as a blonde, or someone with pink or purple hair. I chopped off inches of my hair that were damaged from the bleach. I moved onto campus for the first time that fall and gave myself curtain bangs. I finished a year of school filled with so many ups and downs and returned back to my hometown for the summer.

Although my era of different colored hair has come to a close, it is still commemorated by dark roots and light ends that I have yet to fully grow out. My bangs have finally reached a normal length, and I now cannot imagine myself without them. With each trim I get, I become closer and closer to fully returning to my natural color. As I grow and go through life, my hair grows with me. I’m thankful for all we’ve been through together, and that my hair can be an outlet for my self-expression.

So for anyone who is debating a new haircut or color: do it. Your hair will grow back, you will survive a terrible haircut. Life is so short, and I am someone who wants to experience as much of it as possible, whether that be moving to a new place, or dying my hair a crazy color. I would much rather have silver-green hair and tiny bangs for a few weeks than always wonder “what if.” 

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Caroline Tiernan

U Mass Amherst '24

Caroline Tiernan is a writer and Editor-In-Chief for HerCampus at UMass Amherst, studying English and journalism. Caroline is originally from Newburyport, MA, and LOVES being near the beach. She enjoys baking with her roommates, all things Taylor Swift, and being a Sagittarius.