To Dye or Not to Dye…
ELLYN: DYE! My live-in boyfriend met me as a blonde and hasn’t seen anything else yet. He’s afraid. He’s begging me not to do what I’m about to do… which is go brunette. I told him it’s temporary, I’ll still be the same person, it will be okay. I’ve done it before. Plus it’s better than the pink highlights I had right before he met me.
I know when my hair starts turning gray, I’m going to need to dye it. Until then, I shouldn’t mess with my God-given blonde hair with natural highlights. “People pay good money for that,” hairdressers say.
Screw that. Only the good dye young.
I dyed my hair for the first time in middle school. It was “Spirit Day” so my artistic Mom said I could put green streaks in my hair…with food coloring. It would wash right out, no problem…it didn’t. So I didn’t dye again until senior prom, when I got super blonde highlights. Junior year in college I made the plunge and went almost black. Reviews were mixed, but I felt bolder, more mysterious, and people took me more seriously (for real).
Dyeing is pricey, so I only allow myself to do it twice a year, only when I really feel the need. All of a sudden, I feel that need. The only solution is chemical colors. By Friday, I’ll be brunette. I hope my boyfriend likes it. But if not, it’s only hair. I can always shave it off.
MIRIAM: DON’T DYE! To be fair, I dyed my hair for thirteen years. It started when I was twelve and I saved up all my babysitting money and paid a whopping eighty dollars to have the local hair salon put peroxide highlights in my otherwise deep dark brown hair. It didn’t make me look sexy. It made me look like a grandma. And the next day at school I had to fend off mean boy insults about my hair having turned gray overnight.
So once those grew out… I let it be. For a short while. But my parents were getting divorced and I was struggling to figure out what to do with the fact that my mom was an Orthodox Jew and I was supposed to be an Orthodox Jew only I wasn’t–and I was confused. And I needed an identity. Mainly I needed control.
Which is when I dyed my hair red. Which I kept doing in varying shades, from auburn to firetruck, all through high school and college. My best friend is a stunning blonde and it seemed silly to me to even consider being the boring brunette standing next to her at the bar. I was a redhead as far as I was concerned, and there was nothing my silly genes could do about it.
Then about two years ago I met the most wonderful guy in the world. And for the first time in my life, I started to have an intimate, challenging, and healthy relationship with someone. Just under two months in, I mentioned that I was going in for my biannual hair dyeing, and he said, glancing at my roots, “I like your natural color. It would go with your eyes.” I said: “OK, but no matter what you have to love it now.”
So just like that, I dyed my hair back. And I haven’t changed anything since.