Why Pink [Hair] Is The New Black

by Ko Im

Hair is just hair — until it isn't. It's the first thing people notice from afar. We cry over haircuts. We change our hairstyle, color and cut all the time. To put it simply, our locks are an extension of ourselves. Which brings me to my latest switch to the color pink. On the surface, it was a seemingly last-minute decision, although I know deep inside that I've wanted to try it all along. Yet when I swiveled around in my chair and looked in the mirror, I hated it. It was too bold. My mother and grandmother detested my ashy blonde hair so how could I tell them I was now donning bubble-gum pink? But I paid good money for the toner so I swallowed my shock and decided to try it out just for the weekend. And low and behold, people loved it! I loved it! My mom didn't make any negative comments via Instagram! And the shock value faded with the brightness of the glaze. Anything new takes some time to get used to, and deserves a trial period. So I'm glad I finally gave pink a fair chance. Perhaps you should, too.

My advice: Do it now or even later, but not never. While I totally agree with Bustle's own Katie Patton and her 5 Reasons to Go Blonde At Least Once, I beg to differ when she jokes, "Pink hair is so passe." Beauty trends, like fashion, are cyclical. I've been a defiant Asian blonde for almost a year now and while blondes have more fun, pinks have even more to talk about. Here are some other reasons to try it for yourself:

1. Color Is Cool

The color we see and wear affects how we feel. Pink is thought to have a calming effect and I think people have found it easier to approach me with my softer, youth-exuding exterior features. Pink is basically my inner child's favorite pick out of the crayon box, the "color of passion," as Aerosmith sings. Many things I own, from a yoga mat to a beanie, are fifty shades of pink. My non-expert theory is that we all have unfulfilled desires from our early years and sooner or later, we'll want or need to try and make our [beauty and fashion] dreams come true. And tada, I look the part of an in-your-face fairy. I feel like I'm really in the creative space — so much so that someone mistook me for a hairstylist and a makeup artist!

So I'm not up for conservative, corporate gigs. But so what? Now I can get cast as a Korean clubgoer in a film! The one thing I'm serious about right now is total individuality. With pink hair, you stand out from a crowd without saying a word. You get remembered by partygoers as "the fun girl with the pink hair!" Who knows if the fun makes me pink or the pink makes me fun. But appearance wise, people absolutely make snap judgments and the vibe I deliberately give off now is, "Hi, I'm like cotton candy — sweet, light and fluffy."

The shade is pretty flattering and also relatively easy to color coordinate. After all, pink is the primary color of red mixed with neutral white. You can toughen up your overall look with any leather or keep it super cartoony and frilly like a Japanese Lolita girl. Do I look silly? I don't care. I've been too serious my whole life and needed to lighten up and embrace another inner character for a while. Harajuku girls aren't just for Gwen Stefani and the overseas market; I'm in New York where you can dress however you want, hopefully without too much fetishization.



Ian Gavan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

IMHO, life is a series of experiments. I live with no regrets and realize I pinned this last year. My color change aligns with my travel and life philosophy: Stop talking about it and just take the leap of faith. The unconscious itch for me was too great to scratch. Just for the sake of making a self-statement, I wouldn't even mind maybe trying it out at an older age again as Helen Mirren so beautifully does! I take pride in serving as bold beauty inspiration and not conforming to cultural norms. To the strangers on the street who come up to me with compliments, adding, "I've always wanted to do it," I ask, what are you scared of? You can always dye it back.

Also, it's a great conversation starter. Admiration is always welcome.

3. Pink Is The New Blonde

The pink hues are trending again. I started noticing neon color tips on models in advertisements this winter. Bella Thorne just added soft pink highlights. Nicole Richie says her daughter loves the recent switch from midnight blue to bright pink (we also applaud her daring pixie cut). Rita Ora, who went pink in the fall, rocked the color specifically for this NYLON Magazine cover photo shoot for March. The hair was part of the beauty story. While Ora went back to blonde for an amazing red carpet look, it probably won't be the last time she becomes blush-worthy again. Katy Perry and Nikki Minaj are obvious but everyone from Sienna Miller to Rachel McAdams has sported it. Whether it's ombre or fuchsia, I'm waiting for Angelina Jolie or another brunette to surprise us.

4. Feminine Is Feminist

I've been in a loving mood as of late, which makes sense because pink is associated with romance. Going pink for a few weeks makes me feel more of my naturally girly nature. I also think of myself as more asexual at the same time, like an alien work of art. When I was blonde, I was worried in the back of my mind that people would approach me from behind and get disappointed that I wasn't a white chick. Guys still gave me more attention as the platinum bombshell type, but now I get more second looks from both women and men.

I've been told that women don't dress up for the opposite sex, but instead for other women. What about choosing to express yourself through your locks, any way you wish, pink or otherwise? As Julia Serano wrote: "We should instead learn to empower femininity itself."

Besides, pink stands as the color of breast cancer awareness and the strength of those who survive and thrive through any scares and treatments. Thinking pink is awesome.

5. Easter Is Coming

Trends are temporary but my hairstylist Randy at YGallery Salon explains, "Warmer weather brings lighter colors for spring/summer... pink is definitely here to stay especially the medium to softer shades. The bolder colors are still both punk and fashionable." For now, I feel more like rainbow sherbert (my favorite ice cream growing up) and the pink toner is fading a bit towards the rose gold trend (my current palette obsession). So while Valentine's Day may be over, pastels are abound. That being said, Randy tagged me on an Instagram pic the other day, speculating, "I think lavender's next..." Who knows, though? Maybe I'll get it out of my system and turn (gasp!) jet black? Stay tuned!

Images: Author; Getty