I think auburn might be the hair color that makes me feel the most "me."
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I’ve become “that girl
who’s always changing her hair.”
I’ve had three different hair colors in the
past three months, the most recent being a stark black. One of the librarians
at work said to me today, “You look different every time I see you.”
Compliment? No? I’ll take it!
Anyway, I’m pretty cavalier about what I do to my hair. When
choosing a new shade to cover up the weird orangeness that was taking over my
hair, I decided to grab the cheapest box of “reflective blue-black” hair dye.
My boyfriend was all, “Umm… I don’t think that’s the best idea,”
and I was all “Shut up, you big wimp! It’s just hair!” Target brings out the
worst in me.
My boyfriend was sort of right (he usually is, sadly) because I
didn’t immediately love my choice. Luckily, I’ve had lots of experience with
hair regret, so I wrote a little guide on how to survive this dark time. I know
we’ve all been through it.
1. Don’t freak out.
So you changed your hair, either by bleaching it white-blonde (been there, done
or giving yourself bangs, or shaving it all off. And you hate it. Now what?
last thing you want to do is make things worse by overcorrecting. Take a deep
breath, back away from the mirror and the scissors/hair dye, go have a good cry
if you need to. Do that for the next day or two. If you can give yourself a
week before making any further drastic changes, that would be ideal.
I didn’t immediately love the black hair. In fact, I felt a
nasty plummeting feeling in the pit of my stomach for the first day or two
every time I looked in the mirror or took a selfie. And what is my life without
selfies? (People who follow me on Instagram can probably attest: not much.)
The Rugrats episode in which Chuckie
dyed his hair black and hated it kept replaying in my head.
But I gave it a week, forced myself to put on lipstick and take
selfies anyway, and now I’m actually really into this color. I just needed to
get used to such a drastic change.
I didn’t immediately love my blonde hair either, and now I
consider that to be one of the best risks I’ve ever taken with my hair. The
only change I ever made that I immediately loved was my pixie cut, and that’s
probably just because I was born to have short hair.
Few appearance changes will immediately feel just right, so
give yourself time to adjust before you dive into damage control. Unless you already
shaved your hair off, in which case I doubt there’s much else you could
2. Look to others with a
similar style for inspiration (and a much-needed ego boost).
The very first
thing I did after dying my hair black was go on Pinterest and look at other
women with black pixie cuts. This made me feel a lot better because it turned
out that I was in good company. Winona Ryder, Rihanna, Ginnifer Goodwin and
Morena Baccarin are all gorgeous women who kicked ass with super-short, super-dark hair.
It also gave me lots of inspiration on how to style it, which leads
me to my next step.
3. Try styling your new
‘do as many different ways as possible.
Unless you buzzed it all
off, you’ll have a few options to work with. Even inch-long pixie cuts can be
spiked up a bit or accessorized with headbands or clips or flowers.
Normally, I just wake up and go with whatever personality my
hair decides to be that day. I definitely got myself into a hair rut. The
silver lining of this new color is that it propelled me into trying a few
For New Year’s Eve, I managed to somehow get my hair into
an amazing shape that I can
only describe as “the camelback.” After loading up my hair with product,
brushing it back, and forcing it into position for hours with a tight headband,
my hair had not one but two sky-high bumps.
I felt like an extra on Mad Men. My sister wanted to know what I
was hiding under there.
I also tried a more severe, slicked-back hairstyle with a
center part. The shine and the center part made my hair feel less like a black
hole, which I appreciated.
The point is: you have an entirely new hairstyle. This is the
time to see what it can do, to test the limits and break through! OK, that
was a line from Frozen. Sorry, that’s
been happening a lot lately.
4. Similarly, test out a
bunch of different makeup looks to see what works best with your new style.
would never say that you can only wear this
color lipstick when your hair is this
color. I’ve basically carried on wearing every shade in the rainbow no matter
what my hair color was at the moment because I’m a lipstick junkie. Still, it’s
always a good idea to experiment.
I realized right away that black hair against
my pale winter skin does not lend itself well to minimal makeup. In the past
I’ve always felt better with a bright lip, but now I practically refuse to
leave the house with some color on my face. Luckily I think most shades look
great with black hair.
Clockwise in the above photo, I’m wearing Revlon Lip Butter in
Tutti Frutti, Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss in Adored, Maybelline Color
Sensational Vivids Lip Color in Brazen Berry, and Kate Moss for Rimmel in Kiss
The only lipsticks I might be retiring for a while are my super
dark purple shades… I feel like it’s a little too ‘90s teenage goth for me.
I’m also finding myself wearing tons more eyeliner now than I
used to. Part of that is because my sister got me Sephora’s limited-edition
eyeliner gift set for Christmas after I begged her to, and part of it is
because there’s nothing quite like black hair and black eyeliner.
So spend an
afternoon trying on all the makeup that you have and experiment a little--you
might be surprised at what works with your new hair!
5. Treat your hair with
some serious TLC and adjust your routine as needed.
Too much bleach and
hair dye will make even the thickest, coarsest hair start to suffer after a
while. Mine felt particularly damaged this time around, so I’ve been slathering
it in coconut oil, argan oil, and deep conditioners (not all at once). I
only wash my hair about twice a week, and rarely use heat on it, so that helps
to reduce damage as well.
I also had to reevaluate my shampoos and conditioners.
Previously I was using the John Frieda Go Blonder line; obviously that’s not
really gonna work for me anymore. This means I’m in the market for nice shampoo
6. Finally, if all else
fails, fake it till you make it.
So you gave yourself time to get used to
it. You tried wearing it in different styles and with different makeup
looks--maybe even with different kinds of outfits. And… you still hate it.
Sometimes hair changes are fixable. If that’s the case, know that there’s no
shame in admitting you made a mistake, and get thee to a professional. Even
pixie cuts can be dyed a different color or shaped a bit differently.
If it’s unfixable, however, usually the only thing that you can
do is wait. My senior year of high school I gave myself horribly unflattering
bangs. I’m not even going to post a picture, it was that bad. Unfortunately,
all I could do was smile and pretend I looked awesome until they thankfully
I learned a valuable lesson that year: I am not one of those people
who can just randomly decide to give themselves bangs in their bathroom one day
and come out looking awesome. Oh yeah--and confidence (real or faked) will you
help get you through it.
Now if this comment thread doesn’t immediately fill
up with pictures of everyone’s worst hair gaffes, then this website isn’t what
I thought it was. Don’t disappoint me, guys.