From red to blue, blonde to black, even streaks of green — my hair has been all over the color wheel for the past 15 years of my life. In fact, the one shade it's been least of all is brown, that is, until recently, when a Tinder experiment inspired me to return to my natural hair color. Although I can't give that experiment full credit (I had been considering the change for some time), the discovery that people seemed to gravitate toward me in my natural brunette state was certainly an enlightening and helpful nudge. However, if you're like me, and a fan of variety when it comes to the color of your mane, you might be wondering just how the experience of returning to your shade or origin might feel.
Obviously, I can't speak for everyone with dyed or lightened hair, but despite some initial trepedation, in my case, the decision to go natural again was the easy part. As most of us know, the dye bottle will always be there, or we can return to our trusty colorist when that color lust eventually sets in again. But waiting too long to enjoy a period of natural hair color might end in disappointment. Being only 30, I'm (hopefully) a fair way off from the eventuality of going grey, but with that potential looming in the distant future, I decided it was time to let my locks do what they would naturally for a while.
As most color enthusiasts will attest, the difficult part of any hair color change is the transition. Whether you're a novice, or seasoned DIY dye master, making the leap from one end of the spectrum to the other, or even from one value to another, can be tricky. For me, having already transitioned from a sandy brunette to red, to blonde, to blue, and back to blonde again this year, it was clear I needed to exercise caution during this next phase.
Seeing as the process of going blonde had already stripped the majority of the pigment from my hair (but not to the point of damage yet), I knew I had to seek a professional in order to get back to brown. According to editorial hair stylist Edward Lampley, the best way to avoid any strange green or orange pigmentation when going from blonde to brunette is for a stylist to mix a custom color for you based off of your current level of pigment. So, that is precisely what I did.
And, initially I was quite pleased. My stylist does a lovely job in terms of color matching, and styling, and all and all, I'm quite sure she did a far better job with this transition than I could have managed on my own. However (and here's the twist, if you didn't see it coming), in the first few days after my dye job, the lovely chocolate brown covering the darker portions of my hair turned to a slightly sickly looking green.
Luckily, with a few more washes, the green faded, and I was left with something nearly at the level of my natural brunette. My hair is mostly healthy these days, and since I'm growing out a pixie cut, it won't be too terribly long before I can have the dyed portion cut completely out, leaving me with a length of my natural hair.
All in all, the experience of going back to a natural shade has been a pleasant one. For many of us, our natural hair color matches beautifully with the undertones in our skin, and in my case, it's pretty spot on with my eyes, which I suppose is an interesting look. Does that mean I don't yearn for purple hair and matching purple eyes? Not exactly.
I suppose I'll probably always long for what I don't have in terms of hair color. It is, after all, human nature to yearn a bit for new experiences. And, for the record, having blonde hair, for me, equates to a much more easily managed balance between oily and dry locks. But, going back to my natural color is like returning home after a prolonged vacation. You go, you enjoy yourself, you see new sights and gather up some new experiences. But after a while, you long for the comfort of your own bed, and the convenience of your own kitchen. Thus, here I am, relishing the comfort of the familiar, content to call myself a brunette once again.
If you're considering a similar switch, by all means, make the leap. The reward is often worth the effort. Just make sure to seek the help of your trusted stylist (even if you do tend to be the DIY type), so you have healthy, natural hued hair left to enjoy.
Images: Jen Schildgen