Dying my hair: Appearances and Identity

Pardon the boring title. I wish I could be like Marina Lewycka but nope. I barely remembered to post let alone have the energy to think of an inventive, impressive title.

So yes! I dyed my hair. I have to say I am strange candidate for dying one’s hair to a striking green. I did not want to dye my hair brown while my schoolmates were testing the establishment’s limits by dying theirs brown. I always thought Snow White had the best hair colour by the way. If I am Asian, I want the darkest hair possible, and the darkest pupil colour possible to boot. So I skipped over the brown, and went straight to green (brown is boring anyways). Of course, I am not that attention seeking, so I opted for dip dying my hair green. The other consideration of course is that my hair is not in the best of conditions so I wouldn’t want to kill my scalp in the pursuit of hair resembling a disco or grass or both.

IMG_2599There it is

Why dying my hair nabs a post here – it is kind of gap year thing. It is something you cannot do in school, something you cannot really do when you are old (you technically can but you get what I mean…societal norms) and something that changes your appearance and thus part of your outward identity. I actually held it off for quite some time. Spending money on making my hair green seemed a little frivolous considering I am saving up for my braces/invsalign. I may have even worse hair conditions. My hair may fall off. In the end, I decided on DIY + Dip Dye. I got Sparks Hair Bleach + Dye and after an agonising, scary day, I got my green hair. Now it feels so duh. But I do remember how scary it was that very day. Would I become even uglier? What colour will it look like?

I didn’t think that hair dying would be a point of reflection for me. But it is, quite surprisingly. One of my fears of dying my hair is how my outward appearance would change me or how people perceive me. After I dyed my hair, I was just alone at home. It looked good to me, not perfect (I missed a few strands so it’s yellow HAH). I snap chatted my hairs who all said it looked great. My parents was more than accepting (my mum wished she had the chance to dye it for me.)

But when I had to go out and meet other people, it got a little less comfortable. The next day, I had to go for a volunteering session. As students we always had to volunteer, and I think there’s a certain expectations of your appearance. When I met the lady in charge of the programme, she was not fazed at all. I had a tuition assignment the next day. Again, I would think parents would want their children’s tutor to be proper. They were not fazed either. I realised that it was never going to be about the hair. You carry yourself the same way you did the previous day. People judge you on more than a single factor. It gave me a kind of perspective. That the world is a lot freer in terms of its rules and expectations than in schools. And then, I have also gotten some attention on the streets, with salespeople literally yelling out across the street “Nice Hair”. They presumably have their agenda, but I’d like to think, “Yea, Nice hair for me too.”

I remember reading about how there are ‘symbols’ in the world, how they don’t necessarily mean anything but act as signals for people too quick to judge. I think I am learning how to be less judgemental by appreciating other aspects of people. This is not a preach to say “Appearances do not matter”. It is more of distinguishing between appearance and character. I think that one’s appearance will tell one’s story. I think that one’s appearance will help one face the world more confidently. But in one-to-one contact I think I should be careful to not let appearances prevent me from being open to what this world has to offer. My green hair tells my story too. That teeny weeny rebellious streak in me. My undying love for green. It is a conversation starter, not one that closes contact.

I would just like to say that it is more difficult psychologically than it is physically to dye your own hair. And my hair did not melt off or anything. It was not traumatic to my hair at all. I heard that salon bleach may be even more damaging, but I have never tried it before. Vanessa did her hair (dip dye purple) at a salon in Sichuan and her hair did become worse, but I have to state that her hair is of top notch quality initially. So don’t be afraid to do it. In fact, it is so easy I think I am half addicted. When the green fades I think I am going for blue/purple. When I get a proper internship I’ll dye it brown just for the fun of it.




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