I've dabbled in demi-dyes and I've experimented with wigs, but in my 22 years of life, I have stayed far, far away from permanent hair dyes. In fear that they might cause irreversible damage, among other things, I've opted to never permanently dye my hair. I can appreciate a gorgeously-colored mane, of course, but when it comes to damage, upkeep, and confidence, I have personally decided to stick to my natural hair hue.
As someone who loves beauty, and endlessly admires chameleons like Kylie Jenner (she can change her hair color faster than I can say "anemone"), this may come as a surprise to some. I admit that I've always wondered what my thick, dark strands might look when red, or even blonde. But although I'm a total advocate for experimenting with beauty and trying new things, my lack of interest in permanently dyeing my mane has a lot to do with my sense of self-love and personal identity.
Opinions do change, of course, and I very well might dye my hair bright purple next year, if not next month. But as of now, I don't foresee myself wanting to permanently take the plunge. Ahead, you'll find every reason behind that statement.
1. The Damage Is Serious
Hair dye usually strips strands of their natural color. And that chemical mixture isn't very forgiving, unfortunately. According to Huffington Post, permanent hair dye usually involves ammonia, which lifts the hair cuticle and releases the hair's protection; sometimes, it even requires peroxide, which strips the same strands of their natural pigment to allow the dye to develop into the hair shaft. Once those two chemicals are used, the damage to your natural strands is done.
2. It Affects Your Natural Hair Color
One of the biggest consequences of that process? Your natural hair color can be compromised. In order for a new color to absorb into your locks, those aforementioned chemicals need to strip your hair of its natural color. Yes, that causes damage. But it also gets rids of your natural color completely. Unless you're very patient and can wait until your hair grows back entirely (the other alternative is dyeing your hair back to its natural color, of course, which is never likely to work perfectly), I would recommend considering how dye might affect your natural strands.
3. And Natural Hair Texture
Celebrity hair stylist Cynthia Alvarez told Cosmopolitan that "the bigger the difference in your natural hair color and your desired shade, the more likely it is that you'll experience a (temporary) loss of elasticity and loosened curl pattern." While I can admittedly get annoyed by my frizzy, curly hair (and make fun of it on Twitter), I wouldn't want to loose its personality and texture — even if it was just temporary. What would life be like without curly hair? I honestly don't want to know.
4. It Usually Requires A Lot Of Time
Just consider how much time a permanent hair dye requires. It's not just a one-and-done deal. In order to maintain it, a permanent dye can require multiple hair appointments, as well as special hair masks, customized leave-in conditioners, or materials for at-home touch-ups. Be prepared to set aside quite a bit of time if you permanently dye your hair.
5. And A Lot Of Money
Oh, and remember that all of that costs extra money. IMHO, ain't nobody got time (or dollars!) for that.
6. It Rarely Turns Out As Expected
The one and only time I got close to permanently dyeing my hair, I hopped upon the ombré bandwagon to see how blonde tips would blend into my dark hair. After a bad DIY experience and nearly suffocating from the fumes, I was not particularly pleased with the end results.
Granted, a professional and a salon may have made a difference. But I learned the important lesson that sometimes a hair dye (or a hair cut, or an eyebrow waxing, or any other type of beauty experiment) doesn't turn out as expected. Although there are steps you can take to ensure the best results, the dream you had isn't guaranteed to become your reality.
7. Tastes Change
I'll never permanently dye my hair for the same reason I'll never get a tattoo: I know my tastes will change. I'm confident in my choices now, sure: But permanent hair dye is similar to a tattoo in that the service is practically irreversible after everything is set and done. I'm just not very confident that if I dye my hair fire engine red, I'll still like it three weeks later.
8. It Might Affect My Self-Confidence
I know from a bad eyebrow waxing experience that a dramatic change in the way one looks can affect self-confidence. It's not shallow, and it's not anything to be ashamed of. Becoming accustomed to a new change can be hard work.
9. And Identity
My dark brown hair has a lot to do with how I identify myself. According to urban legend, blondes may have more fun, but my dark brown mane reflects my Middle Eastern heritage and my Georgian and Bulgarian ancestors, all the while amplifying the other dark features I inherited from my Turkish parents.
Dark brown hair may not be the hair hue of the moment. But it's my natural hair color. And when it comes to my self-identity, my natural brown strands allow me to embrace all of those things and show them off, no matter what beauty look or outfit I'm wearing.
10. There Are Other Alternatives
Demi-dyes, semi-dyes, hair chalks, color melting, wigs: The list goes on for options besides permanent hair dye that still allow for beauty experimentation. I love changing up my look with brightly-colored eyeshadow and fun lippies. And I admit I've thought about what it would be like to rock pastel pink locks. But rocking pastel pink locks for a day via a wig sounds a lot better than risking dissatisfaction because of a permanent dye.
11. Permanent Dye = Permanent Decision
I'm a big believer in loving and embracing what we were born with. To me, embracing my natural hair color and texture really helps me feel confident, keeps my mane chemical-free, and allows me to identify with my heritage and background.
Like I said, I can understand how dyeing hair can be fun, exciting, experimental, and even liberating for some. But for me, sticking to my (literal) roots is all those things and more.
A permanent hair dye is a permanent decision, and I can hardly decide what I should wear in the mornings. So for now, I'm going to play it safe and stick to what I was given: My dark brown locks.
Images: Melodi Erdogan