What I Learned From Coloring My Own Hair

What I Learned From Coloring My Own Hair

Hair color is a wonderful form of self-expression that's helped me find out a lot about myself.

When I was in 6th grade a friend gave me a bottle of hair-dye at a sleepover. That simple exchange changed my life forever. I'll never forget that the color was called "Candy Apple Red." I excitedly brought the bottle home and immediately tried to apply it to my hair, without thinking of the consequences. I had no idea what I was doing, if my mom would be mad, or even if it would damage my hair. My mom was indeed mad at me for multiple reasons that day. The first reason was the fact I attempted to color my own hair; the second was the fact I did it behind her back. I was grounded for a few weeks, but nothing compared to the disappointment I felt from not succeeding in getting my hair the way I wanted it. I saw a bright red in the bottle and assumed I could just set it on my light brown hair for it to work its magic. It did little to my hair besides give it slight reddish hue. I could have achieved the same effect from putting Kool-aid in my hair! I decided that day I would do everything I could to learn how to color hair the right way.

I got my first actual salon hair color as an eighth-grade graduation present from my mom. It was an ashy blonde with brown and light pink underneath. I fell in love, but I wanted more. The bright pinks, the mermaid blues, the unicorn purple, highlights, low-lights, and all the ombres I could get my hands on. I quickly realized the price of going to a salon to get my hair done regularly. I was a freshman in high school at the time, so I couldn't afford it. This led me to do it all myself. I spent hours every day on Youtube and various internet forums discussing hair color. I had to know what worked best and how to use it all. By the end of my first summer experimenting with color and researching coloring methods, I pretty much considered myself an expert. I had found something I truly loved and had a knack for doing.

In time I had dyed my hair almost every color in the rainbow, continuously learning along the way. This taught me a lot about myself, as well as the trade. I began getting attention from people who would have never previously looked at me. These weren't all positive looks however. I've gotten disapproving glares with some very hurtful comments said behind them. I also had people come up to me and just start belting out questions left and right. It was purely out of curiosity, but its just not comfortable for anyone to be put on the spot like that, especially when you don't know the person. I've had some pretty uncomfortable questions asked too. Once when I had pink and blue hair I was walking to my bus after school let out. I felt a tap on my shoulder and spun around to find a girl about my age whom I'd never seen before. I smiled at her and said 'hi' figuring she would follow suit and inform me of why she stopped me. She just smiled for a second and stared at my hair. I was about to tell her I had to catch my bus when she finally said 'you're hair looks like cotton candy so I want to eat it, but I know it'll taste bad. That makes me sad.' She smiled once more and turned to walk off to what I presume was the way to her bus. I was stunned. It was such a random thing to be told.

The majority of the feedback I receive about my hair is positive though. I've lost track how many times people have stopped me just to tell me how cool my hair is; it still makes my day every time it happens. It is an overall wonderful experience I've had throughout my hair coloring journey. I've felt a passion for it for 8 years now, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I got my cosmetology license after high school. Now I get to pursue my love of hair-color for a living! Sometimes small things can create an impact that ripples into the whole rest of your life. Don't let the things you're passionate about sit on the back-burner of your life. You never know when your kooky hobby could turn into your life's work.

Cover Image Credit: XboxHut

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyphs means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

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10 Stages That Everyone Who Changes Their Hair Experiences

Maybe it's a big snip or a new color, no matter the difference, new hair comes with a new vibe.


Changing your hair can be a little like a roller coaster ride—there are lots of different feelings and ways it can go. We've all been through that one phase where your hair was so bad you just block out that part of your life. The biggest fear as a young adult is reliving the middle school hair situation in a time where you can't just laugh it off as an "I was a kid" moment. When you change up your hair drastically as an adult it can really end one of two ways: a new mature, more "wow" look, or a repeat of the sixth grade Dora triangle hair. Here's a series of thought one goes through when they decide to do the big chop.

1. "You got this! You need change."


We all know the feeling, when you have short hair you want to grow it out and when you have long you hair you have this dire urge to chop it all off.

2. "This will be fun."

dance hair

You know, sometimes you just need a change. Lots of people find that their hair can come to define them, so changing it up can be nerve-wracking or just an adventurous way to explore a new part of yourself. New hair comes with a new vibe, which may be just what we need in the new year.

3. "So far, so good..."

barber at work

So this is that moment when your sitting in the salon chair and they're making those first few snips. Your hair floats slowly to the ground and you feel content. All those dead ends leaving you and your life forever.

4. "Oh no, oh no, OH NO!"

the real way to cut hair

And this is the moment when it feels like the hair dresses cut too much. Your hair is now falling to the ground in much larger chunks. Why did you sign up for this again?

5. "What have I done?!"

hair cut sad

A big chop, a big chop?!?!? Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea? So what if it worked on your friends? You don't have their face shape or hair texture. This is all wrong!

6. "Someone fix this!"

own bangs

Maybe you just went to the wrong salon. Someone has to be able to fix this fiasco, right?

7. " Ahhhhh, I hate it!"

ohno hair

Worst case scenario, a wig will do? Or you could just flee the country.

8. "What will people think?"

bird hair

How are you ever going to show your face in public again? People know you for your [insert hair characteristic here] and now it's gone. "No one is going to like me now!"

9. "How does one even style this?"

doggo help

Well, its done now. It feels so much lighter. Now that it's shorter and your hair isn't being weighed down, it actually looks fuller. But how should you wear it now? It barely stays in your usual ponytail.

10. " Wait...I actually really like this."

good hair day

Wait, actually, you like the way you look. It's very low-maintenance too. This is going to be fun!

My experience with cutting my hair went down pretty much like this series of thoughts. I cut my hair from butt length to about shoulder length. To make matters worse, I did it myself. It was a very dramatic experience. There were some tears, some frustration, and a dad that had to come to the rescue, but now, about a month later, I have gotten nothing but compliments. I am super confident with short hair, and my shower time has been cut down drastically. What more could I want?

When I was freaking out about what people would think about my hair my best friend reminded me that, just like a piece of clothing or makeup, my hair is something that accentuates who I am.

When I felt dumb for writing a whole article about hair, I sat down and thought for a second about why it is such a big deal. Hair can hold a lot of meaning for people. It can have cultural and religious significance. It can be a way to outwardly describe how you feel on the inside. Hair is a big way to express yourself and your personality. There's a reason why a good hair day can change your mood.

This experience was my attempt at figuring out who I am without this huge part of my appearance. I got a lot of "Your long hair is who you are, Nandini" during my first semester in college. So this change was a drastic one. Personally, I feel like it was a way for me to portray myself in a new way, from an angle that maybe people haven't seen before: a more serious, more professional, no-nonsense kind of way. But the end result of this endeavor is an understanding that that side of me has always existed, no hairstyle is going to make it disappear. The difference exists in my confidence.

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