What Not To Say To Someone With Brightly Colored Hair

"Can I touch it?"
Publish date:
December 15, 2014
hair dye, self esteem, pastel hair, colored hair, beauty changes, beauty etiquette

I didn't really prepare myself for the reactions I'd get from dyeing my hair pink. Sitting at the hairdresser on that fateful day, my friend turned to me and asked, “Are you ready for all the attention you’re going to get?” Uhhh, gosh, no, I thought. Dyeing my hair pink was something I was doing for myself. I'd wanted it for the longest time before I actually took the plunge.

And then everyone ruined it for me.

For some reason, people took my choice of hair color as an invitation for discourse on my psychological state, which was terrifying.

I hated the attention. People I didn’t even know would come up to me and comment and ask all sorts of questions. It sort of felt like they thought I should expect it, like, “You’ve dyed your hair this color, so you MUST want me to talk to you about it." I’m pretty polite and cheery, but having strangers comment on your appearance is really uncomfortable.

Here are some things that I was asked--things that you should never say to someone with unnaturally colored hair, especially if you don't know them!

Is that your natural hair color *chuckles*?

This was a firm favorite of elderfolk. I smiled along, but it was incredibly awkward. I understand pink hair isn't the norm, especially for the older generations, but it made me uncomfortable to have my appearance commented on by strangers.

Why is your hair pink?

Do I need a reason? No one asks this when you dye your hair blonde or red. And no one likes having to explain the way they look. If you have a theory about my mental state, or you’ve consulted your DSM-V and can diagnose the underlying issue, maybe keep it to yourself. Having brightly colored hair is not a cry for help--or attention.

Can I touch it?

No, it’s not OK to just touch my hair. It’s attached to me. Having hair that is different isn't an open invitation for people to feel it. No thanks.

But you dyed your hair pink--you should expect comments.

This was one of the worst comments that I’d get--especially when it came from people that I knew--and it was the underlying accusation on every other comment or question. The implication was that if I didn’t want to get unwanted attention, I shouldn’t have made my hair pink in the first place. Often accompanied by a shrug -\_(ツ)_/¯. It was also the response I'd get from people around me when I complained about some of the comments I was getting.


Bottom line: A person's appearance isn't up for discussion with strangers. It’s one thing to compliment an acquaintance on their choice of lipstick, but it's quite another to question the motives a perfect stranger had for dyeing their hair. When in doubt, err on the side of silence.

  • Have you ever had brightly colored hair? Did you get unwanted attention or comments?
  • Is there something else about you that strangers are always commenting on that drives you up a wall? I'm here for you if you want to vent in the comments.

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