This past summer, I dyed my hair pink on a whim. I did it in my bathroom at home, just me, an old T-shirt, and some gloves. Since starting college, I have enjoyed the freedom of living without my parents and getting to make all my own decisions. I got a piercing, and while I’m personally too nervous to get a tattoo, I accompanied many friends to get theirs.
As a teenager, I attended a private high school where I was required to wear a uniform, so I didn’t get to participate in some of the more quintessential rebellious activities that define many coming-of-age journeys. So I tried to pack as many of these rebellious acts as I could into my freshman year of college. (Was that a good idea? Ask me in 15 years.)
When I dyed my hair, I was looking to try something new. I always admired people who could go completely outside of their comfort zones and sport an electric hair color. I was also interested in having my hair be my most in-your-face fashion accessory. I had seen in magazines and on friends that a different hair color could instantly change someone’s look, and I was stoked to see how it would change mine.
I used L’Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent Dye in Pink ($10), and after hours of applying and waiting and rinsing and drying, I finally had hot-pink hair. And let me tell you, it was so. cool. The pink hue framed my face in a completely new way. I felt like an entirely new me. I looked in the mirror and saw a girl who didn’t care what everyone else thought about her and was confident. That girl was someone who was brave enough to stand out.
The pink hair experiment taught me a thing or two about myself and about the people around me. The first thing I noticed was that more people appreciated my new hair color than I expected. In elementary school, I put temporary blue highlights in my hair, and people didn’t seem to love that a child had funky hair—even my parents were criticized for allowing me to dye it. I was afraid my pink hair would cause the same negative response. But this time around, I got tons of compliments from my friends, my family, and so many strangers. People told me they loved it, they asked me what brand I used so they could try it too, and one friend even told me he thought the pink not only looked nice but suited my personality. Then when the hot pink started to fade to pastel, as semi-permanent dye will do, people asked me if I had gotten my hair done at an expensive salon. It felt great to have an outpour of love in response to something I was so nervous to do.
I found new self confidence from dyeing my hair pink. My hair has always been a favorite feature of mine, and knowing I could change it completely and still feel comfortable made me even more self-assured. Now I am excited to try out new colors in the future. I am currently platinum blonde, but I’m thinking about going navy blue or cherry red next. Dyeing my hair makes me feel fearless by putting my personality on display for everyone to see. Most importantly, I feel authentic. I don’t feel like I’m wearing a wig or pretending to be someone else. I feel like me.
How do you use beauty to express confidence? Tell us in the comments!
Featured photo by Stella Fanega.