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I’ve Been Dyeing My Hair Since I Was Nine

In third grade, I binge-watched the Harry Potter movies immediately after I had completed reading the series. Although a somewhat niche choice for a favorite character, I immediately gravitated to Ginny. With her fiery wit and matching red hair, I aspired to be more like her. 

Naturally, the first step of my plot was to convince my mom to let me dye my hair red. So, at the ripe age of nine, with a fairly blasé attitude, my mom agreed to take me to Sally’s Beauty Supply to purchase red hair dye to apply over my natural medium brown shade. As a somewhat shy and reserved kid, having fun, reddish hair that vaguely resembled the character I adored gave me a much-needed boost of confidence. 

Over the past ten years, the boost of confidence I experience from a fresh batch of dye on my head has never dissipated. 

woman with bangs smiling
Photo by Hannah Gullixson from Unsplash

I stuck with varying shades of natural-looking auburn until I was a senior in high school and wanted to switch things up a bit more, trying out different purples and pinks designed to layer on top of brown hair. In my hometown, I always felt like I was suppressing my personality due to not feeling like I fit in with anyone at school. Dying my hair allowed me a healthy outlet to express myself externally in a way I felt I could not accomplish otherwise.

Stuck at home in 2020, I grew increasingly bored with myself and wanted to change up my appearance in a slightly more permanent way. I’ve always resonated with Ladybird and have been told on numerous occasions I resemble Saoirse Ronan, so I took her hair in the film as inspiration. Recruiting my apprehensive best friend and mom, we set to bleach my hair and transform it into a pink balayage. 

Ever since starting college, I feel like I’ve come into my own more in terms of my personality and self-confidence. I feel more comfortable with myself and have a wonderful community of people in which I feel I can express my authentic self. Therefore, I now feel my vibrant hair reflects my bubbly personality, rather than simply being my only outlet for self-expression. 

love yourself written on a sidewalk
Photo by Michelle Bonkosky from Unsplash

I’m exceedingly grateful to have grown up in a household where hair was treated as hair, and nothing more. “Hair grows back” has always been my mom’s go-to statement, and I stand by her words. Try new things, be bold, and take risks. Who knows, you might just find the key to your self-confidence.

Aleshia Rose is a third-year UC Davis student pursuing a Communication major and minors in Psychology and Professional Writing. In her free time, she enjoys crafting niche Spotify playlists, roaming the aisles at Trader Joe's, demolishing her friends at word games, and tracking down all the stray cats in Davis.
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