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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  • Once I worked as a volunteer at a festival in a 150-200 person group, and there was one girl who had blue hair. Everybody was mistaking us for each other, because I had green hair at that time. We don’t look the same at all, even our hair were different shades, and still they couldn’t look past the first surprise of colourful hair… Oh and another time, an old man in the street yelled at me “CANARY HEAD!” even though I still had green hair 😀 but having fantasy hair is fun, no matter the rude people.

  • I would say just in general to do research before you try and do it yourself, that boxed candy colors NEVER work and will damage your hair very badly, and be careful with home use of professional/harsh chemicals if you’ve never done it before. Join a Rainbow Color Group on FB or something for help. And upkeep is totally doable! Don’t get discouraged if your color fades after one wash and use products that care for your hair and your new color.

  • I’d add the cost/time of maintaining your hair. I stopped dying my hair a few years ago, mostly because of the cost (about a good 50-80$ a month at home / 200$ if you go to the hair salon) and having to take a day (or two) each month to do it.

    Bleach… just bleach… 🙄

    Keeping your hair medium length because 1- less products, less expensive and less damaged ends. 2- easier to have an even color.

    Am i right? 😉

    • Yep! When I dyed my hair all over a “normal” ish colour it’s like £5-10 for a box at home. It was £30 when I had normal highlights and £45 when I had bright pink. As the girlies in the salon said, depending on how the bleach/lighter takes affects your overall colour. Because my hair is naturally a dark brown, there was no guarantee it would go light enough for the pink in the first place. One of my friends has naturally black hair and was told by the salon she went to that they wouldn’t be able to do her hair because of how the lighter/bleach could wreck her hair before they even got it light enough to take the colour dye.

  • I currently have bright red ribbon highlights in my light brown hair, and I LOVE IT. This is the second time I’ve done it, and my hair holds red colour like a two year old holds a lollipop: FOREVER. It’s amazing, and I love having a little pop of colour while skirting the stigma some folks have about people with dyed hair (“Their hair is bright red so clearly they are just a sassy attention-seeker who doesn’t know what they’re talking about” Nah dude, hair dye is not an indicator of intelligence level. I’m still just as smart, and even sassier, than I was a week ago with brown hair. I’m a library professional, and this unfounded stigma could potentially damage my reputation, unfortunately, so for now I’ll stick to ribbon highlights).

    And if I may: you are SO ADORABLE in the photo with blue hair and the mustard dress. I always think you’re fun and cute and smart and hilarious, but I squeed a bit when I saw that photo!

  • the first time i dyed my hair blue, i was a teen working at CVS. a child saw me and said, “BLUE hair?!?!” in this way like her entire perception of what is possible in the world had changed. her mom immediately dragged her away before i could say anything, but it’s still my favorite reaction 🙂

  • I have been bleaching my black hair and dying it pastel colors too. Unfortunately for me, my scalp is sensitive so when I redo my roots I try not to get too close the scalp. And I usually have to pick a day where I am free so I can relax after my husband help me bleach it because I get giant headaches from it.

    I would like know what your experience is in bleaching your roots. Do you find it as frustrating as I do? Do you some time want to give up? I always find that half way through bleaching I ask why I put myself through this pain, but then I tell myself just to be patient and get through it.

    For two years I have kept up with my roots, but I have not bleached it for a few months now and am going purple ombré, letting my black roots show, because I have gotten tired of bleaching my roots and dealing with the pain. I’m considering redoing my roots again.

    I would love to know your thoughts on doing touch up on your roots.

  • It’s awkward when you’re using a dating site as it makes you easily recognizable at the grocery store when you cross the guy who you never replied to. Oops.

    Also, some people are scared of you or ask annoying questions such as: does it glow in the dark? 🤦🏻‍♀️

  • I went for very bright pink hair this time last year but got like the bottom 1/3 done so it had missed the annoying roots stage. It lasted about two weeks and was nearly already gone. It went a lovely pale candy floss pink instead once it had washed out so that was great. My foster son helped me home dye it a second time that time it was a purple colour. Now I’ve had a trim so it’s only about the bottom inch or so that is still different colours to my natural hair. Would I do it again? Maybe. Did I like the attention it brought me? Not always. One little girl at church asked me why I had dyed it pink lol.

  • Girl, you have been my inspiration! I had been dreaming of dying my hair something different than everyone else I saw since I was a kid and found out what hair dye was. Finding your blog and hair care posts finally pushed me over the edge and I’ve never looked back! I mostly stick with purple because it’s my favorite. Along with your mention that everyone has a comment, it seems like 90% who say something also ask how to keep the color vibrant. They tried it and it didn’t work for them. Sometimes I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to chat, and sometimes I’m having a rough day and don’t feel like talking. I try to be polite but it’s sometimes hard when someone expects you to have a full conversation about your hair care routine lol. I love your blog and following you on other social media platforms. Thanks for being amazing and sharing your life with us!

  • Great Tips 😀
    I have been dying my hair for as long as I can remember love the fun colors they can make you very creative the questions are so true though I have been asked about my red color all the time, for the most part, I have received compliments. I remember when I moved into my cookie cutter neighborhood years ago I was the only one who had colored hair & tattoos, the looks I would get now its the norm here in Irvine Ca hahaha
    Love Your Posts Doll