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Just Dye It: What I Learned from Having Colorful Hair

Around my junior year of high school, I decided I wanted to dye my hair a fun color. I thought about it a lot, saved tons of pictures to a “Colorful Hair That I Want” folder on my phone and eventually determined that pink was the way to go. Then came the hard part: convincing my mom. She wasn’t too thrilled about the prospect of seeing me walk around all pink-haired and crazy-looking, so it took some persuasion (AKA, begging for hours on end until she got annoyed and gave in). Eventually, though, she came to realize that it wasn’t as big a deal as she originally thought. If I didn’t care what other people thought about my hair, why should she?

While my pink hair was short lived — it only lasted for the summer, because the next school year rolled around and I had to look “normal” again for my senior portraits — those few months gave me a newfound confidence and happiness. If I could walk around looking pretty out of place but still feeling totally normal, then surely I could speak up and be more outgoing. It was the perfect boost I needed before starting my senior year, in which I ended up making new friends and growing closer to people I only knew in passing before. Surprisingly, having bubblegum pink hair made me feel way more self-assured and content with myself, even when I went brunette again.

Despite that, I was itching for another change. Something else I realized around that time is that I tend to get bored easily. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or restless, I want to make a change with my hair, whether it’s with the color or the style. In the spring of senior year, I went through the process again — I dyed my hair a silvery-blue color. For the next two years, up through my sophomore year of college, I continued changing my hair to different shades of blue. From bright blue to midnight blue, and even throwing in some purple once, I went through pretty much every shade there is. When I got tired of one, I just went on to the next. It was refreshing to make a change any time I needed to. I could let go and start fresh, and all I needed was a couple tubes of dye.

Starting college with bright blue hair was interesting in retrospect. None of these people had known me before, so I was automatically the blue-haired girl. It was my defining feature, which I liked at the time. Did it cause some people to form judgments of me before they knew me? Maybe. But I was also more easily remembered, and my friends could always find me in crowded places. Plus, it was fun getting compliments from strangers. People would come up to me gushing about how much they loved my hair — and it felt good! Sure, it didn’t mean much in the long-run, but it was a nice little boost, especially on bad days. I liked standing out.

My blue hair was so much fun, but I eventually decided to go blonde after sophomore year ended. It’s been about eight months, and I’ve been enjoying my blonde hair ever since … although I do still get bored on occasion, and even ended up putting some temporary pink dye in my hair last week. I’ll probably have colorful hair again in the future, and I do miss it sometimes, but for now blonde feels good.

If I can leave you with one piece of advice, it’s this: if you’re thinking about dyeing your hair a crazy color, but aren’t totally sure, just do it! When my hair was blue, so many girls came up to me saying how they wished they had the guts to dye their hair a bold color, or how they wouldn’t be able to pull it off, or that they really wanted to but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I always encouraged them to go for it. To me, college is the perfect time! I’m not saying you can’t dye your hair fun colors when you’re older (you totally can!), but you might as well take advantage of your youth and lack of responsibilities. Life is too short to not have the hair you want! 

Images courtesy of the author.

Maria Arvanitis

U Mass Amherst '19

Maria is a senior studying psychology and English at UMass Amherst. She has a passion for traveling, animals, and 80s movies, and her hair color is always changing. Find her on Instagram: @m.ria
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