This week a record number of people asked me for advice about dyeing their hair. I was at a conference about start-up technology yesterday, and a complete stranger-man asked me if he should try a lighter color. A few hours later, I was eating a sandwich at a bus stop and a homeless man asked me where he could get purple hair dye. But the question I get the most is, “Should I dye my hair?”
My initial answer is, as always, FOLLOW YOUR HEART. If your heart is difficult to understand because of its thick, Russian accent, here is a simple quiz to help you with your dye-r situation:
1. Have you recently gone through or found out about a change in your life?
a. Yes, a minor one, like sunburn or a parking ticket.
b. Yes, a major one, like moving or a break up.
c. No, nothing ever changes in my life.
2. How much money do you have in your bank account?
a. Enough to pay for exactly one box of Herbal Essence at CVS.
b. Enough to pay for a box at CVS plus enough to go to the nearest salon to fix the horrible mess I’ve made.
c. Enough to go to the fanciest salon in all the land.
3. Do you know the risks of lightening your own hair? Could you live with yourself if your hair turned this color? (Because if you use the wrong bleach, there is a 77% chance that your hair will turn this color.)
a. Whatever! I don’t care, I will WORK. IT.
b. I could handle that color for a few days before running to a stylist who has passed classes on how to use bleach.
c. I would sooner shave my head.
4. And how do you feel about roots? Your natural color is going to return to seek revenge eventually. Exhibit A:
a. Roots go with everything. I will wear them proudly, like a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker.
b. I know it’s inevitable that my hair will keep coming out of my head, so I’ll just deal with it when the time comes.
c. Oh hell no.
5. What color were you thinking of going for?
a. Whatever color comes out.
b. Something on the natural side: brown, red, or blonde.
c. My exact hair color, only shinier.
Okay — sorry — now you have to do Math.
a = 3
b = 2
c = 1
If you scored 0-4: You should probably stay away from hair dye. In fact, stay away from all hair products. Except for brushes. Brush you hair, brush your teeth. Retake this quiz in a year or so to see if you’re ready to slather your head in chemicals.
If you scored 5 and up: My answer is YES! Go for it! Dyeing your hair doesn’t mean that you have to radically change the color! You can enhance the color that you have now. In fact, most boxed dye recommends that you should try to stay within two shades of your natural hairsicles. Just the experience of dyeing your hair can be all kinds of rejuvenating. And if you have been toying with the idea of trying something more drastic, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Photos courtesy of Flickr: header: socolorful, 3. blinkyblink, 4. tamaravella