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Why I Don't Dye My Hair (Anymore)

Photo by Tore F on Unsplash
Disclaimer: I'm not looking down at anyone who dyes their hair (to each their own!). This post is just about my personal journey to realizing what dyeing my hair really told me about myself and learning to accept me as a person. So if you dye your hair and don't really understand what I'm talking about, at least just amuse yourself with some of these awkward pictures of myself back in the day with some awful dye jobs! It's hilarious. trust me. Well, hilarious to you but mortifying to me. Enjoy! 

It has just crossed my mind that it's been about two whole years since I've last dyed my hair (the color, you may wonder? Mahogany red-brown. More red than brown and not the exact color I was going for, but oh well). I always thought I knew why I decided not to dye my hair again: to save money and because I'm lazy and find the upkeep annoying (obviously). But after some careful reflection, I think I may have discovered another reason why I've chosen not to dye my hair anymore.

That Weird Girl Life
This is me and what used to be my at home hair dyeing routine: old towel around my neck/shoulders, held closed with a clothes pin, and pure boredom and a slight high from waiting for the color to set.

But let's start at the beginning and take a trip down memory lane...

I became obsessed with dyeing my hair back when I was an emo teen (yes, I was an emo girl. My Myspace profile name for the longest time was Emo-lee. I thought that was so clever. *cringes*). And of course the color I wanted to dye my hair was BLACK. I've always had brown hair. Not dark brown, not light brown: just BROWN. I absolutely hated it and thought it was the most boring color in the world. I decided it made me look dull and faded and since I was so edgy and emo (My Chemical Romance and From First to Last were my go to all time favorite bands forever and ever, that'll never change- well, guess what. IT DID. Sorry, guys) I, of course, needed a hair color to match my dead, broken emo heart that only beats for music that has screaming in it (what were we thinking then??).

But before I wanted to make that big decision and dye my hair for the first time, I picked up some wash out purple hair dye just to try it out. I had my friend dye my hair for me and though you could barely see the purple in my hair (because my hair is brown and remember, this was temporary hair dye), I was hooked. This was the emo girl I was meant to be! Dyed hair, every t-shirt I wore had to be black, and my studded belt from Hot Topic must be worn with every outfit! (And I was determined to master heavy eyeliner despite the fact that I didn't wear makeup before this and having anything like a finger or a eyeliner pencil near my eye seriously grossed me out. And still does). It was destiny! And so my hair journey began!

That Weird Girl Life
Oh, young Emily. Just starting out on your emo journey. No makeup, From First to Last fan club shirt. purple bedroom walls AND comforter (sooo not emo!) and your newly dyed purple-ish hair that you can barely tell is dyed. You sweet, innocent fetus.

The next color I dyed my hair was black. For my birthday I was given a gift certificate for a haircut and color at a salon. And you bet I used that up ASAP! Sadly I don't have any pictures from that day, but you better believe that I had a full on photo-shoot afterwards and posted those pictures on Myspace! (Thank god I can't remember the e-mail I used for Myspace or my account number. Going back on to my old Myspace account would be a journey I would NOT want to take!)

That Weird Girl Life
Want to know how emo I was in this picture? I'm wearing a black and white striped shirt with black tanktop OVER it (???), with a long silver chain necklace (showing off my enlarged thyroid, I might add), a grey tote bag with black hearts on it. AND I'm at a tattoo convention with friends. So emo!! Also, kudos to that girl in back of me rocking that body confidence and studded belt!

From then on, my hair was black. And I either had my mom, sister, or a friend dye it for me because I could not be trusted with dyeing my own hair (read about that at the end of the post! There's photographic proof of why I'm not allowed to dye my own hair!).

Sadly, my emo phase came to an end and out went the black hair dye. For a short while, I decided red was my color. Bright red. As you can see, though I was no longer emo, I still preferred black and grey clothing. And dark, dark eyeliner and eye makeup. (Does it make me look dead inside and out? Then I guess I was making my face look like that!) But after that red hair faded (let's be honest. I literally wash my hair everyday so my hair color never lasts), my hair returned to its boring brown color. And there it stayed. For a time.

That Weird Girl Life
Confession: I still kind of low-key like this look. And yes, along with my dyed hair I also had a nose ring, which I no longer have. Also, my bedroom walls were no longer purple, but now a bright teal, which was from a Disney paint line called Ariel's Song. I may have fallen in love with the color just for the name alone.

That Weird Girl Life
Another confession: I may or may not have used this specific picture in online dating profiles back in the day. Don't judge! I got some dates. None worked out, of course, but still. Also, that eye shadow and eyeliner though. *shudders*

Then I was dating a guy and we broke up (story of my life). I was devastated but didn't want to admit it. So instead I decided I needed a change. How about a new hair color??? Yes! That'll show him I'm doing fine without him! How about a nice, natural red color? (You know, unlike the unnaturally colored one I had previously dyed my poor hair) And guess what: that guy I dated loved redheads! That'll show him what he's missing! (Yeah, great idea, Emily. If only I had a time machine to warn you...)

That Weird Girl Life
This is me a few years back with my more natural red hair, post breakup, with a wax Leo DiCaprio at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas. It barely looked like him, but I still needed a picture because that's the closest I'm ever getting to a good looking actor/Oscar winner. 

And then, I got back together with that same guy (oh, Emily. Foolish, foolish, Emily...). And later on in the relationship (with my hair in its natural brown state again), when I was starting to feel insecure in the relationship and was trying to figure out if being together was right or not, I decided to dye my hair. For me, I thought, not for him. It's not like he's said that he's into redheads (remember from above?) and I wanted to make him- I mean, myself happy (oops. See what I did there? But please note, despite the face that it didn't work out with this guy, he was actually a pretty good boyfriend and he didn't insist on me dyeing my hair. That was all me and my own insecurities. We just weren't right together. Just letting you know!). But did it? Not really.

That Weird Girl Life
At first I liked the color and cut that I got while in my previous relationship, but looking back at old pictures, it doesn't seem like me at all and I cringe looking back on it. So instead of showing you a picture of me with said color/cut, here's some of the fallen dyed hair sitting alone on the floor. Godspeed, hair. It took so long to grow you out and then I just had you cut off, like you meant nothing to me. I'm so sorry.

Why did I keep dyeing my hair? And what finally convinced me to stop and just accept my own naturally brown hair?

I came to realize that I saw dyeing my hair (or even getting a new haircut) was a way to symbolize a a big change in my life. That when something happened (sometimes good, usually bad), I either wanted to change myself to fit this idea I had of me (or someone else's idea of me), or I wanted to change myself to make a fresh start, or try out a new and improved me.

Basically, I wasn't happy with myself. My boring brown hair represented the real me, the someone I can't change but so desperately wanted to. I had to learn the hard way (as in, dyeing my hair so much that I'm sure once I stopped my hair was finally able to breathe and say "thank you for not torturing us anymore! We're freee!" And then about a dozen of my hairs fell out. I shed a LOT) that I needed to accept my own natural hair, meaning my own self, just the way I was. I was dyeing my hair and trying to change who I was, or convince myself that I was a newer, better version of myself. But you can't change your appearance and think that will solve all your problems. You have to do those things yourself, by working on you, from the inside, not the outside.

And when I had that epiphany, that's when I knew that I needed to learn to accept myself, and come to terms with being me. I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. What with all the new hair trends, like pastel, rainbow, unicorn, and mermaid hair, it's hard not to have hair envy. But I know I can't hide behind a new hair color or cut anymore. I need to be okay with me and who I am.

It's weird to think that a revelation about not dyeing my hair anymore would put me on a path to self-acceptance. But I'm so glad it did. And I'm actually starting to like my brown hair. It's not so plain, and it even has some red and gold highlights in the sun. And you know what? Brown suits me. It fits my skin tone, my eyes, and my personality. I'm 100% me and working on feeling fine about it!

Dyeing your hair can make you unique, but not dyeing it and just being yourself also makes you just as unique and special. Do whatever makes you feel good and makes you the best and truest you that you can be! Hair dye or no hair dye 💖

That Weird Girl Life
Me now, rocking my natural brown hair and looking just as awkward as per usual even while taking a selfie by myself. Some things never change.

Now, I wonder what I'll be saying once my hair starts turning grey...

Also, this is why you shouldn't dye your hair by yourself (at least if you're me. You'll miss your head (because you aren't wearing glasses) and the dye will hit the bathroom door, where it will stain after you try to wash it off but instead just stain it even further by trying to wipe it away. And yes, the door had to be repainted and I've never tried to dye my hair myself again! And yes, it sort of-kind of-definitely looks a murder scene, a la Dexter.

That Weird Girl Life
Do any of you dye your hair? What color is it currently dyed? Or are you au natural like me? What are your thoughts on dyeing vs. keeping your natural color? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Weird,
9 comments on "Why I Don't Dye My Hair (Anymore)"
  1. Great post! I have blond hair and I have never dyed it. I definetly want to, do you have any brands you would recommend?

    1. Thank you so much for reading!! :) Oooh, good for you! What color(s) are you thinking of? I always used the very cheap hair dye, like L'oreal Paris or whatever was on sale! I'm sure if you probably use something more expensive aka better quality it'll look way better than my hair ever did! ;) xo

  2. I *love* this post - it was really fun to read. I enjoyed seeing the progression of pictures and how you matured with time. Your current picture definitely looks the best!

    I have been artificially quite blonde for awhile now but recently moved to NYC. When I went for my first root touchup and saw the prices, I decided it was now time to go back to natural. So, I am now in the process of trying to return to natural by making my roots a bit darker each time. Buuut last time she made it a little copper colored so I'm not sure if that set me back...


    1. Omg, thank you so much!! That really means a lot to me that you liked my post! <3 I actually kind of loved writing this post. I didn't realize I had gone through such a (hair) transformation until I started writing it! And you're right, I think my current hair is best! Though I still get that itch every once in a while to dye my hair again. ;)

      Ooooh interesting! I'm sure the NYC prices are super expensive so I don't blame you for wanting to go back to your natural hair color! Once you get back to your natural color, you should do a before and after side by side of blonde vs. natural!

      Thank you again for reading and commenting!! xo

  3. What a great post! I used to dye my hair every color under the sun. I got tired of the upkeep and stopped. Then in my early to mid twenties I started getting premature grey hair! I started dying it again but really hated the upkeep it involved since my hair grows so fast. I stopped a little over a year ago and now I embrace my premature grey hair. I'm not starting to get a cool grey streak on my right side and it kinda looks like a highlight. 😉

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment!!! <3 Good for you for embracing your gray hair (aka your natural highlights ;) )!! I know several people who have premature gray hair and some dye it and some don't. And dyed gray hair is kind of in right now, so you didn't even have to pay to get a trendy new highlight! :D

  4. I love this post! It's funny, though I think you look great with that red hair look, you look a lot more at ease with your brown hair. Like you said, it suits you!

    I don't dye my hair too (high 5!). The difference is, I have A LOT OF GREY HAIR. It's like I highlighted my hair grey. I think I'll look less tired if I dyed my hair, but like you, I feel that dyeing my hair is a pain and I like saving money. Ultimately, what stopped me from dyeing my hair is hair loss and the environment. Hair dyes aren't good for our scalp or our water.

    I love your revelation. So often, our actions reflect our degree of self-acceptance. I'm glad you saw what you were doing early on! That's wisdom! :)

    1. Hi Julie! Thank you! I have to admit, I did like having red hair, haha. It gave me a reason to be a little wild and step out of my shell. But thank you for saying that! I think my brown hair suits me too. I used to think my hair color wasn't so special, but then I decided it was a nice mix from both sides of my families and so that makes it unique :)

      OH really?? I had no idea! You know, lots of people are dyeing their hair gray and spending a LOT of money to do so, so I think you're just naturally ahead of the trend! ;) I think it's awesome that you're embracing your grays, saving your hair health AND the environment. And again, you're staying ahead of the trend and saving money by having some natural gray.

      Thank you, Julie! I haven't had many moments of self-acceptance or -realization, but I'm glad I came to this one. <3

      Thank you again for reading my blog and commenting! It means so much to me!

  5. I really enjoyed this post - haven’t come across posts reflecting on the reasons for dying your hair and it’s great that you noticed it was a a way of trying to hide the true you and changed that. Thanks for sharing your journey 💞


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