A Look Back: One Year With Pink Hair
From the days of Jem, I had longed to have bright pink hair. The desire didn’t go away as I got older and saw the likes of Gwen Stefani take the stage. Even when Lauren Conrad donned the look, I still yearned for a cotton candy color atop my own head. Yet for some reason, I never took the plunge – even while in college during a time when it would have been arguably easier to pull off the hue – and decided instead to maintain my plain Jane (usually from the box) color. As I got older, I paid a lot more for New York City highlights. I blamed the blandness on a sales job that put me in front of high-power strangers whose instant judgments were worth a lot of money. When my role at work changed in January of last year, I decided it was time to go pink or go home. In the year since making the change, I’ve learned that while blondes have more fun, pinks have all the fun. Here’s what else I learned:
- It pays to go to a professional – I’ve never been the type to shy away from heading to the professionals and I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for. However, I love a good deal and I’m lazy. So I’ve gone to friends of friends and have taken to touching up my color between appointments from the comfort of my own apartment. And what I can say is this: professional colorists and stylists go to school for a reason. My hairdresser is a goddess (shoot me an email if you want to make an appointment!) and she’s taken me from a mess of over-bleached tips to the perfect pink ombre. She lets me change it up, go brighter or deeper and isn’t like some other stylists I had over the years who just looked at me like I was crazy at the mere mention of taking dark brown hair bright pink. If you’re inclined to try a bold shade, let the professionals take their hands to your head first. Start with their trained touch and see if you can maintain it on your own – after they show you the ropes.
- People are friendly – I thought I’d get some weird looks or have clients who would insist I tie my hair back during meetings. But what I found instead was acceptance, curiosity, and the occasional moment of bewilderment. Two of my favorite pink-hair-inspired moments came from moms. The first: I was at the train station in Philadelphia waiting for my Amtrak. An older woman taps me on the shoulder and asks “do you do your hair yourself or do you have a stylist do it for you?”. I told her my technique and she told me about her daughter, a college student who wanted to dye her hair pink. She was afraid to screw up her locks and her mom was on the lookout to get some information for her. What a cool mom. The second: I was shopping with my mom and we struck up a conversation with a young mom and her adorable 4-year old daughter. The daughter dragged her mom to the store on a Sunday evening because she saw a pair of glitter shoes and needed to get them immediately (she was the coolest 4-year old I had ever met, clearly). As this young girl talked to my mom and me, the mother looked at me with my hot pink tips and looked back to my mom. She said, “I can’t wait until she gets older and I see how unique and creative she is, too.” A bold assumption perhaps, but I knew that little girl could turn her hair any color of the rainbow and her mom would love it.
- Guys dig the pink hair – Just kidding. But not. The first thing my now boyfriend said to me was about my hair. I’m in his phone to this day (almost a year later) as Mallorie Pink. Do all guys want a girl with outside the box hair color? Probably not. But that’s why all my old boyfriends sucked and this guy is a keeper. He’s as excited as my hue as I am and listens when I talk about how bright or dark I want to go next, or maybe a little blonde or a darker brown. The point is this: I finally took a leap and tried a look I’d been wanting to do for years. And just a few weeks later, I found a pretty great guy who supports me in every area of my life – including my hair color. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think its serendipitous nonetheless.
- One small change can impact a lot – It may be that I made a lot of critical hair decisions all at once (like committing to growing it out, and finally learning how to use a curling wand) but it seemed that everything started to fall into place with my head of hair about a year ago. I credit the pinkness, though I also finally stopped fighting to make it so straight all the time, stopped washing it (I’m down to once a week… grosssssss I know. Whatever), and have just embraced that a hot mess can be a look. Take that sleek and smooth ladies.
I’m toying around with lavendar locks next. Perhaps a mermaid-esque rainbow look at some point? We’ll see what happens…