Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

As someone who regularly dyes and cuts their hair, I totally understand the impulse. Boredom, misery, excitement, exposed roots… there are so many reasons to mess with it. I’ve had at least five different colours in the past year alone – and not including the various haircuts. (I shaved my head; lockdown got to me.) 

That being said, there are good times to change your hair, and then there are 2AM-in-the-bathroom-on-a-Tuesday-night-because-you-failed-a-test times. So, to help you make that decision and avoid post-haircut regret, here’s a list of things to think about before taking that step.

You’re not in the midst of a crisis.

If the answer is no, stop in your tracks. Impulsivity is a very real thing, but you don’t want to wake up to terrible bangs or a shoddily-done pixie cut. This isn’t to say that you can’t cut or dye your hair in response to a break-up or a bad grade, but at least wait until you’ve stopped crying and slept on it. If it still seems like a good idea the next day, you’re probably good to go.

You’ve given it thought before this moment.

While I’ve definitely been guilty of impulsively changing my hair, I usually pick colours or cuts that I’ve been thinking about for a while. For example, when I shaved my head, it was the decision of one morning, but I’d been debating it for over a year. If this is the first time you’ve thought about it, maybe put the decision on hold for at least a day or two.

You can do it alone OR you have someone who’s capable of doing a good job.

I often dye my own hair now, but when I first started I had my roommate (who was very capable) do it for me. She did a great job, and I avoided the awkward patchy first dye job. Similarly, when I shaved my head I had another roommate clean it up for me. If you don’t know how to do it and there’s no one around who has in the past, maybe reconsider and find someone who can do it properly.

You’re prepared to deal with the worst.

Coconut oil does wonders for fried hair, but that doesn’t make a bad hair look any easier. I have the option of shaving my head in my back pocket, and I’m prepared to do so. Are you prepared to have a few inches cut off,  or go around looking a little off if things go poorly? If not, maybe rethink.

You’re not expecting a very specific result.

Go in with low expectations, especially if you’re using box dye. It’s not going to look quite how you’re expecting, and that’s okay. I dye my hair pastel shades all the time, and it always takes a few weeks to get to the colour I actually want. If you don’t think you can handle any other shade than that specific blue, pause. All hair is different, and chances are it’ll look a little different once it’s on you.

You’re prepared to deal with the initial shock.

The first week of a new look is always rough. Your reflection doesn’t quite look right, and the things that used to look good on you may suit you less now. That’s a normal part of the process! I can’t recount all of the times that I’ve decided I hated a hair colour and then changed my mind after a week. Be mindful of that process, especially if you’re in a delicate headspace. 

If you go through with it (or already have) and then regret it, don’t worry! The great thing about hair is that it grows back, even if that process is slower than we’d like. I’ve had bad hair looks, but they’re survivable. You’ll get it back to a place you like. 

Otherwise, if you’re prepared to go through with it, I hope your hair adventures go well!

Eli Mushumanski is a queer Writing and English Honour undergrad in their fourth year at the University of Victoria. They specialize in fiction and poetry. Their work has been published by The Albatross, The Warren, and Flare: The Flagler Review, and they are a fiction editor at UVic's literary journal, This Side of West. When not caught up by schoolwork or reading, Eli plays Stardew Valley and chats with their mom on the phone.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️