nine truths about having dyed hair

I’ve written more than a handful of posts about dyeing your hair. My guide on maintaining dyed hair remains number one in my popular posts even years after first hitting publish. Hair dye is kinda my thing (…or at least one of my things.) I’ve had the idea for this post for a while now, even had multiple drafts of it going. I can’t imagine myself without fun colored hair but it definitely has some annoying quirks. Here’s a list of things I’ve learned along the way, and things you might want to consider before making the leap…

Nine truths about having dyed hair…

Everyone has an opinion. Is it always a good one? NOPE. The first thing that comes to mind upon typing this is “you were prettier with ~insert color here~ hair.” Of course, unwanted opinions aren’t something exclusive to dyed hair but I genuienly think some folks are clueless how much those comments hurt.

It never lasts that long. There are lots of things you can do to help your color last longer (I wrote a post about it here) but the fact of the matter is those amazing dye jobs you see on instagram don’t last. Hair dye fades with every single wash. Dyeing your hair is more like a journey than a destination. The color will always be changing. You have to learn to just roll with it, and embrace the fade.

It might not turn out as planned. You can swoon over pretty hair photos on pinterest forever but there’s a good chance that even with the same dye that person used your hair won’t turn out the same color. There are so many variables that effect the color your hair will turn out.

You’re probably going to hear dumb jokes. “Lemme guess, you’re Irish!” Someone at the grocery store the other morning even said “Are you SURE it’s not for St. Patrick’s Day?” Orange hair is automatically for Halloween, and for some reason when I had blue hair I was asked multiple times if it was for New Years Day.

You WILL get stared at.  Point blank. Don’t think you’ll be blending into the crowd anytime soon! You’ll probably even get shouted at too. Can’t count how many times someone has screeched at the top of their lungs how much they liked my hair. Sounds nice… until everyone and their momma is staring at you.

You look like everyone else. Well, not really but with your pink hair as an identifier to strangers, you definitely look like that other person with pink hair. I can’t even tell you how many times I got strangers claiming I looked like Katy Perry when I had blue hair… except I literally look nothing like Katy Perry.

Me or Katy Perry? The world may never know.

 ▴ You’re going to stain things. Your pillow case, towels, probably the collar of your white shirt and definitely your finger nails. That’s just life. It washes out, most of the time. Some brands are worse than others but even the best dye will still inevitably get on things other than your hair.

It’s a conversation starter. People will want to tell you about that time they tried to dye their hair pink but it “didn’t work” or their cousin with purple hair. They’ll want to know who did your hair, and maybe if you’ll do theirs too. Also, I’ve been asked multiple times, each time by a dirty old man, “does the carpet match the drapes?” Ick!

“Semi-permanent” doesn’t mean it washes out. Dyed hair is a commitment. Your hair will never be the same again. I’m not saying that to scare you. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. But just know that without the help of professional your hair isn’t going to be brown or blond after a few washes. Sometimes it’s really just smarter to buy a wig or colored extensions.

Fellow candy colored hair people, anything else you’d add to this list?

If you’re looking for some tips on bleaching and dyeing, check out my hair master post

Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio.

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  • Well my hair isn’t candy-colored, but it is very obviously not a natural hue(s) so I hope it’s still okay for me to weigh in. The stares and comments truths ring so, so true for me!! Usually the comments are very nice, but my favorite is when I see little kids staring at me–they’re clearly wondering how my hair does that, LOL.

    I’ve been having my hair dyed with Level 3 permanent color since I was 15 (my mother had a pretty relaxed approach to hair…) and for me, Truth #1 is “It’s not a hairdo, it’s a lifestyle.” It really changes everything from what colors I wear to how I care for my bathroom linens and fixtures to avoid ruining stuff! My runner-up truth has to be “Thou Shalt Not Wash It Every Day,” because that’s cruel and unusual punishment for vibrantly-colored hair. 😉

    Your hair is fabulous, and you pull off every candylicious color here beautifully. Keep on rockin’ it!

    • “It’s not a hairdo, it’s a lifestyle.” SO SO SO TRUE. It sounds so dumb and pretentious but at the same time it’s honestly true.

  • People will remember who you are. You’re the purple (or insert other color here!) haired person so they remember you even though you have no idea what their name is or why you know them!

  • Most amazing comment I’ve gotten was from some women I really admire professionally. They are at the pinnacle of their careers and commented that I was sending a fantastic signal to women and others in the company I work for to be themselves. By noting my influence, they made me notice that I’d “arrived” a bit more than I’d realized in my own career and really made it feel special not only as a way to let my freak flag fly but in also letting others know its valuable to be themselves!

  • Trust me, it is even creepier when an old lady with orange hair like mine at the time asked “does the carpet match the drapes?”, started giggling and telling me about her current situation “down under”. Happened to me twice, and was actually considered a factor in my decision to dye my hair bright orange again.

  • My favorite is when (small) kids whisper-yell “Mommy, that girl has PINK HAIR!” And then the poor parent gets all embarrassed, but I don’t mind. I mean, its true, after all! It’s ok, parent, don’t be embarrassed, they just told the truth, and I probably made their day!
    I *used* to get a lot of anger-glaring and catty whispers from seniors, especially women. But that all stopped a few years ago, and now the trend is that they’re the most complimentary, and sometimes want to talk about if they could pull it off.
    I could not agree more with your point about dyeing being a journey, not a destination! It’s just a fact. A fact I actually take advantage of, adding adding a dab of conditioner to my demi dyes to make them even *less* permanent, bc I like to change color so often! I’m rather known for it, actually. Whenever I meet new people, they spend the first couple months going “your hair is a different shade, isn’t it?” every time they see me, until they realize it’s probably gonna be, at least a little bit, literally every time we meet!

  • It has helped me more than once get food! Food to car drop offs, meeting friends at restaurants, making sure you get your Starbucks order. It’s the key descriptive tool that everyone uses. Whoopiee. Even if i was wearing a flourescent yellow dress with lobsters on it, it’s THE HAIR. There should be a crazy hair discrimination forum. Like it’s not natural so everyone can get in on making you feel uncomfortable. And the “St Patrick’s day is over!” comments are super duper 😑👎

    • When people mention St. Patrick’s Day they always think they’re sooooooo funny too. Yep, you’re DEFINITELY the first person to ever say that to me.

  • Apparently my hair is going to fall out because I dye it…
    And dying your hair when when you’re 30 ? Not done.
    Also every other month I’m a fan of a different soccer club.
    And the one I hear the most: You must be a big manga fan. While I’m absolutely not.
    But once a little girl came up to me and told me she thought my hair was very pretty and I smiled for the rest of the week 😊.

    • Love when people who don’t know anything about hair say “Your hair is gonna fall out!” like a threat. Um, no, that’s not how that works. Thanks though!

      Comments from kids make it all worth it! 🙂

      • The very last one I heard was: You’re going to turn prematurely gray.

        Oh, no… I guess I’ll have to dye my hair then…

        But in general I feel like people, whether you have dyed hair or not, think they have the right to tell you how to wear your hair. “You’d look so much better with curls, short hair, long hair, blonde hair, browner hair…” Gee, thanks a lot…

  • I love all your amazing hair colors! I am always adding different strange colors to my hair and after I while I got really bored of the same old questions by the same people like “Hey, did you really put purple in your hair???” Or “Did your hair color change??? again??!!!” So now I usually respond with something ridiculous like “Nah, I got struck by lightning!” Or I just act shocked when they point it out, like I didn’t know it was there.

    • It’s weird how other people seem te be so excited when you change your hair color. Like: OMG your hair is pink ?! Yesterday it was orange !

      My go to answer, much like you, is sarcasm or ridiculousness: Oh darn, I was going for green !

  • I wonder how things are for Elycia as a mother? I’ve been wanting to dye my hair again (my current job doesn’t let me, or rather they would strongly prefer if I didn’t) and I even have the hair dye sitting upstairs, waiting patiently for me to get a new job XD But I have a kid so I wonder if it will curb the unsolicited shouting? I had bright orange hair once, but dyed it soon afterwards as waking early in the morning to go to class was horrible staring at bright and happy hair. I need black hair in the morning and orange once I woke up lol But then I pretty consistently dyed the bottom pink and the top brown. Easier to maintain.

  • Bright red longer hair= Ariel to every little girl EVER. Kids always have the best responses! Now my hair is soft pink and I get asked [almost always in a whisper] “…are you… are you a F A I R Y?” I like to play into those expectations. 🙂
    I’ve been dyeing my hair bright colors for 30 years. When I was younger and it wasn’t as accepted, I used to have bottles thrown at me on the street. Now, people in that same age group ooh and ahh over my hair and say things like “oh, I’d love to have the guts to do that!” I sometimes wonder if it’s the same type of people who threw things and yelled at me then, ha!
    I love that it has both simultaneously become more acceptable yet stayed a marker that helps one stand out a bit.

    • To Christiane: I can totally relate to the harassment over dyed hair! And now everyone’s had a change of mind. Another thing that’s really annoying is when hair stylists try to tell you how it’s done – when really, it’s like excuse me? Your salons have *barely* figured this stuff out!

      It’s a conversation starter, for sure!