Should You Dye Your Hair?


Samantha Phan

Ah, the age-old question. As someone who has recently dyed her hair, changing it from black to blonde to pink in the past six months, I would say that dyeing your hair is a great way to keep  things fun and interesting. But it definitely is not for everyone. Below, I outlined the usual thought process I go through every time I dye my hair. Hopefully it helps you decide what you want to do, and whether you decide to stay natural or change it up, I am sure you will make the right decision.

So, first things first. Why are you dyeing your hair? Maybe you think you’ll look good in another color. Maybe you want to switch things up. Or, maybe you feel some sort of ongoing inner turmoil that can only be fixed with a drastic change in appearance. For the first two, I would say go ahead! Now or never! But for those of you who may relate more to the third option (which, to be honest, is probably most of you), you can change your hair but you cannot change your problems. I will not tell you no, but I think you will find that a different color is just that: a color. It is not a solution. 

If you’ve decided to not dye your hair, stop here. Come back another time. 

Next, choose a color. There are a lot of questions that people say you should ask yourself before you commit to a color. What looks good with your skin tone? Your eyes? Your wardrobe? What hair color is in right now; what color is out? Do you want to stand out? Or are you more of a blend-in type? While all of these questions are valid, there are really only two questions you need to know the answer to: what color do you want, and what color will your hair allow?

What I mean for the first question is that it should not matter what matches, what other people are wearing, or what is cool. You should choose whatever color you want. Regardless of whether that’s a muted brown or a bright green, as long as you want it, you should dye it. The only other constraint is what color is actually possible. If you have black hair, a bright green might be a difficult transition. But, if you can figure out how to do it, I say go for it. 

Another great thing to know is how long you want the color to last. Maybe you only want a temporary dye that lasts a few weeks. Or, perhaps you are hoping it’ll last forever. Really think about it and, remember, you can dye the hair again once it fades, but if you make it permanent, it may be hard to go back. 

Now you have to choose a salon or a DIY tactic. A salon would probably be more reliable; there’s less of a chance of you frying your hair off or it coming out green when you wanted purple. But you should also be prepared for a hefty price. Hair coloring, at the cheapest, is going to be at least one hundred dollars. You will probably pay more if you need your hair bleached so, for all my fellow dark haired friends out there, good luck. This is one of the rare cases where blondes do actually have more fun. 

Tip: If you go to the salon, try to get a consultation and a price estimate before you schedule the actual color appointment. 

Do not get me wrong, dyeing your hair yourself will be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean that it is better. You have to do research about what hair dyes will work best for your hair, and whether you need bleach, developer, or toner. You also have to understand color theory and what combinations will give you the results you want. Without these, your dye job may not end up the way you wanted it to, and if it goes really badly, you might end up taking a trip to the salon anyways. 

So, you should be all set. You have your color, your method, and your wits about you. You know why you are dyeing your hair and are prepared for the outcome, no matter what it is. And remember, dyeing and changing your hair color is a lot of fun and a great way to express yourself, but, at the end of the day, it’s just hair.

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash by Luis Quintero