5 Lessons I Learned By Dying My Hair

{By Caitlin Muir}

The first time I dyed my hair, I was five years old. True story.

It was the early 90s and the spray in hair dye was all the rage. Halloween was coming and somehow, I had convinced my mom to dye my hair red.

I was going to be Pippi Longstocking.

Looking back, it takes a certain kind of mother to dye her daughter’s hair at such a young age. As a teenager, I didn’t think my mom was cool. But realizing that she dyed my hair red for Halloween…she was one of the coolest mom’s EVER.

After Halloween, the next step was a perm. Something, anything to make my baby-fine hair look less like spaghetti and more like hair. After that, it was highlights at 12. Full on dye jobs at 19 or 20. At 24, I did something unthinkable. I went from pale blonde to dark brown. I wanted a change. Something, anything. Just not blonde.

It was pretty drastic. I rocked my natural color (a dark blond with reddish tones…who knew?) for a year and then when I did hair modeling, I ended up a super blonde again. I currently have cinnamon colored hair. It’s marvelous.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from the dye bottle:

  1. Know Your Skin Tone – skin tone makes all the difference in the world. Up until last year, I thought I had cool tones and that I needed colors that were light with blue undertones. It turns out, I was wrong. Dark colors like auburn or deep brown (with red tones) makes my skin glow and my green eyes pop. If you are going to dye your hair, get to know your skin tones!
  2. Know Your Hair ­– did you know that your hair is a different color than it appears? The inside of each shaft of hair is a different color. Mine happens to be blond, which means my hair will always get lighter. Many women have orange shafts, which is why when they try to bleach their hair (and don’t leave the bleach in long enough!) their hair turns that brassy color that no one likes.  Knowing the science of your hair will help you figure out what color to dye your hair and how to do it.
  3. Know Your Dye – When you bleach your hair, you are stripping down to the shaft.  You aren’t adding color, just subtracting. Unless you have very light hair, you’ll have to bleach your hair at some point. Temporary color is adding color to the surface of the shaft. That’s why it’s temporary. It can’t stay. (But it is fun to experiment with!). Permanent hair color strips your hair of its color and then deposits color on the shaft. It’s a harsh chemical process, which is why you can permanently damage it. Figure out which one is best for you.
  4. There is such a thing as “too blonde.” My mother used to warn me of this. Being too blond is the line where people stop noticing you for who you are and just notice your hair.  You may turn heads but it isn’t always the attention that you want.  I also went too blonde for my skin tone. I had to wear more makeup to hide my natural redness. And I got all the wrong kind of attention.
  5. You are more than your hair color. For years, I was an iconic blond. I was afraid that once I changed my hair color, people would lose interest in me. That I wouldn’t stand out. You are more than your hair color. More than whatever side of the color spectrum you are rocking.  I’ve been a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. No matter what color my ponytail is, I’m still the same woman.

The Bible refers to a woman’s hair as “her glory.” It’s no secret that we take pride in how we look. But changing my hair color hasn’t changed my life, my marital status, or my personality.

It’s been a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, I’m still me. My identity is in Christ. And that’s kind of awesome.

Have you dyed your hair? What color?