4 Nostalgic And Possibly Misguided Ways To Color Your Hair This Summer

And they're all ridiculously cheap!
Publish date:
July 22, 2014
shoppables, Hair Color

Hair is up there to mess with, right? Not, like, noogies -- like random haircuts and deciding you want to look like a Die Antwoord nightmare creature and just general creativity.

I’ve been there. I’ve done much to ruin/destroy/have a lot of fun with my hair. Hairdos can end up mangled both unintentionally and intentionally.

Here’s some nostalgic ways to mess with your hair -- and ways to prevent and fix any mistakes that could occur along your creative path.


It's straight-up vibrant, teenage-feeling color, and the nice part is, you definitely know what you’re getting into. I don't think many people do this by accident.

The consensus on how to do it: make it without sugar, boil it, dip your hair in it for a while, depending on how deep you want the color to be. Basically like an Easter egg.

Be warned: Kool-Aid lasts a long time. Even after 12 weeks, hair retains much of its vivid color, although stylishly muted. If you’ve got a lifestyle that allows for bright hair colors, I say, why not. Even if your workplace or other constraints would prefer your hair to not be the color of Sharkleberry Fin, Kool-Aid dip-dying looks pretty rad.

Kool-Aid doesn’t seem to damage hair, and the worst thing waiting for you at the end if you hate it is a salon appointment. Plus, your mom probably forbade you from doing it as a teenager.


This old-school peroxide mixture favored by teens in the '90s is incredibly highly rated on its Amazon page. I can’t help but wonder why--it always seemed to make the hair of anyone I knew turn orange. Not that orange isn’t a great color, but it’s totally not the sun-kissed blonde you might be hoping for.

If you happen to want to play with this product, take eighth-grade Jess’s advice and actually follow the directions: try it on a little chunk of hair first. It takes a special kind of person to rock carrot highlights, and you should probably know if you’re it before committing.

Lemon Juice and Sunshine

Lemon juice and sunshine is like Sun-In’s hippie sister. It basically requires you to lube up your hair with... lemon juice… and go out and sit in the... sunshine. Conditioner helps get the lemon juice where it needs to be. Avoid getting it on your face and eyes. I assume that would hurt a whole lot.

My research tells me it seems to lighten both more slowly and more naturally than Sun-In, and might be a good choice for those who think they want highlights but aren’t sure they want to totally commit to a new look.

Swimming in a Pool

With washed out neons being in style, maybe you’d like to embrace the mossy color one gets when they’re a water rat.

While there seems to be a debate about whether it’s the copper in the water content or the chlorine, many light-haired folks have encountered pool-green before. It’s a light green-blue coloration that slowly accumulates over the course of a few days (or even a summer).

If you're not into it, there are many ways to return your hair to its former blonde glory. A mixture of strong liquid dish detergent and soap can work, but if you’re feeling like going more in the hair-care realm of things, using a daily clarifying shampoo like Suave's should help get the green out. Don’t want green hair to begin with? Wear a swim cap. Bonus points if it makes you look like a flapper.

Care about your hair and it will care for you. It will put money in your 401k and babysit your cat while you’re in Key West. Don’t care about it and it will turn into a mossy glen or burn your scalp all over, but then, maybe you’re into that. (Don’t be into that.)