Making use of hair dye as a means of self expression

Hunter Tries

For the last four years, I’ve always gotten the same haircut: one inch off the length to cut split ends and shortening the bangs from the top of my ear to the bottom of my eyebrow.

One time I got layers put in, but only that was only once; trying to braid hair with layers is a disaster I don’t want to repeat. And there was no highlighting or dyeing for me.

I know it’s boring and predictable, but that’s how I like it. I know how to style my hair at this length: ponytails, messy buns, French braids — and, if I’m feeling fancy — a Dutch braid.

I like my hair’s natural color just the way it is.

So, it was a tremendous leap of faith to let my cousin dye a chunk of my hair purple, my favorite color.

I sat on a swivel stool in the garage of our rental house while my sister and her boyfriend played ping pong and my cousin carefully sectioned my hair, bleached and dyed it.

While it wasn’t exactly comfortable having to sit as stiff as a board during dinner so I didn’t smear wet dye all over the dining room chairs, and bending almost completely over so we could wash out the bleach and then the dye in the kitchen sink, it was exciting.

It was also excruciating to wait for over an hour to see the final product because we didn’t time it right and dinner was served while the purple was setting. But the wait was worth it.

I thought I would be more nervous during the whole process, but I wasn’t. I trusted my cousin and I knew that this was something I wanted.

It’s not a lot, just a small section at the nape of my neck. But it’s made a huge difference for me.

I like my hair — love it, actually; in the sunlight it looks like it has streaks of gold in it, it’s thick but soft, it has a mind of its own but I can still make it do what I want if I try hard enough. But with the purple, I feel more me.

I feel more like the strong, independent woman I strive to be with that bright streak of purple proclaiming my uniqueness.

Some people didn’t understand how that could be, or why I waited until I was 22 to have my teenage rebellion.

But for me, it’s not about rebellion. It’s about being true to myself.

Now my true self is bold and carefree enough to have purple streaking through my French braid.

For me, dyeing my hair is the same as wearing makeup. It’s not that I’m trying to hide or cover up my natural beauty — I like my natural hair and my face.

But I also really like purple and slathering as many sparkles as I possibly can on my face.

My natural beauty doesn’t go away, it just gets jazzed up with a bright purple streak and some poppin’ highlighter.

The color will fade in a couple of weeks. I might re-dye it, I might not. Maybe I will dye it a different color, or I might dye it back to my natural color.

But whatever I do, it will be a reflection of how I feel and who I am at the time, and that’s what’s important.