5 Things That I Learned After Dyeing my Hair Purple
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Health and Wellness

5 Things That I Learned After Dyeing my Hair Purple

5 Things That I Learned After Dyeing my Hair Purple

Ever since my young teens, I've tried to push the envelope on my appearance. I wore loud, outrageous colors and eye-catching patterns that forced people to give me a second glance. I have always loved the spotlight, and don't mind drawing attention to myself. So, over this last New Year's, I decided to take the plunge and dye my hair the violet I had always dreamed of. Altering my appearance in this daring, yet increasingly common, way has opened my eyes a lot to how people perceive those with "alternative" dress, and made me think a lot about how the way we look influences the way we are treated.

1. You get used to talking to strangers.

Everywhere I go now, people complement me on my hair and ask me questions about it. Of course these comments make me feel really good, and I always accept them. However, I've learned that perhaps this style isn't for those afraid of surprise interactions or the socially awkward. Even for an extrovert such as me, it can become mentally exhausting to constantly smile and thank people and tell them that no, it's not my natural color.

Please just let me buy my snacks in peace and stop asking me if I have to bleach it.

2. It does make professional situations more difficult.

Finding a job is hard enough by itself, and having something like dyed hair can complicate the process. I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to have whatever hair color I want, but many places still don't accept this increasingly common trend. People who pursue alternative fashions will find that many places, especially chain businesses and office jobs, refuse employees who wear unnatural hair, piercings, or tattoos. Even if a place does accept these modifications, often you have to go above and beyond in order to be seen on the same level as other applicants. Whether these respectability standards are fair is one question; but regardless of your opinion, it doesn't change that many employers consider dyed hair to be something that interferes with one's ability to perform their job.

Well you haven't graduated high school, but at least your hair is brown. You're hired!

Just be aware that if you dye your hair these unnatural colors, you've got to be prepared to limit your job pool, and to have to work harder in order to prove yourself.

3.People will use it to excuse harassment.

One unfortunate thing I've also noticed is a rise in the incidents of being harassed, especially by men. People seem to think that the hair is an invitation of some kind, whether to yell things at me, or to touch me.

Sometimes I don’t mind people touching me, when it’s good natured. Who doesn’t love the spontaneous bonding that forms between drunk girls in public restrooms? More than once I’ve had girls at parties or clubs freak out and pet my hair, telling me how wonderful it looks.

Unfortunately, not all strangers are so good natured. I once had an old man stalk me around a grocery store for almost an hour, asking me question about my hair trying to get information about where I went to school. Such experiences can be unsettling, and make you feel very unsafe.

I had another man at my work once run his hand over my forehead, feeling my bangs, and whispering “Purple hair…” I felt so slimy afterwards I almost didn’t want to take the generous tip he offered me after, complete with the creepy wink.

So if it makes it so much harder for me, you might wonder why I even bother in the first place. Well that’s because…

4.It's done wonders for my confidence.

Before I started dyeing my hair, I felt okay about my appearance, but I didn’t think I was anything special. Now that I’ve taken the plunge, I could run in a contest for “Biggest Ego” with Tony Stark and stand a decent chance of winning.

There’s something about completely controlling my appearance and people’s impression of me that is so appealing. I know for a fact that eyes are on me when I walk in a room, and rather than filling me with anxiety, it makes me feel good because I know exactly why. It’s allowed me to be much bolder with my style than in the past. Before I used to shy away from dark makeup in fear of looking unnatural, but now I’ll wear blood red lipstick and wing my eyeliner to my temple unapologetically. Not being afraid of looking unnatural has made me a lot more free in my style, and willing to experiment.

Oh, that's charming. You think any of this is for YOUR benefit.

There’s also the fact that nobody is exactly shocked when my natural roots start showing, which is a nice change.

5.You get used to not showering.

This might seem gross, but this makes sense. Unlike “normal” colors, the bright colors I use fade out after time. Each wash removes a little vibrancy, until I’m left with a dull, grey-ish version of my former glory. One way to improve this is to use color shampoo and to wash with cold water, but the best way is to simply cut way down on how often you wash your hair. I’ve learned to accept oils in my hair as natural part of life, and to try strategically style my hair to hide a few days’ worth of grime. Dry shampoo and I have developed a special relationship. I still shower when my body is gross, but it can feel weird to shower without washing your hair. Overall though, it’s been freeing for me to accept my natural body.

Pictured: Me in a few years, probably.

Overall, dyeing my hair has taught me a lot about how people are perceived based on their looks. Whether this is fair is one thing, but overall it’s been a valuable experience. I think that I’ll be proud to someday point at old pictures of myself and say “Yeah, that one’s me.” Or maybe they’ll already know, because granny will be rocking a pink mohawk!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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