Dye, My Darling

This week, whilst reading about Courtney Love’s new fashion line, I discovered  rainbow-haired lady Chloe Norgaard. The Norwegian model has attracted attention for her crazy-coloured hair. Her hair looks incredibly good given the amount of bleach it must have seen and I love her grungey 90s style and smile. It’s not a look everyone could pull off, but she does it very well and it makes me feel rather envious.

At the age of 20 I decided I was bored of my hair, which I’d never really dyed, and decided I’d like to go blonde. I bought some bleach, hoping for a white-blonde Gwen Stefani-style look. Bleaching your own hair isn’t something I’d really recommend, especially if your hair is quite dark and you have little experience of hair-dressing. What I ended up with was a strange colour-gradient that ranged from white through canary-yellow to orange. The only person who thought it looked good was my colour-blind flatmate (and that wasn’t particularly comforting).

So it looked awful. As a bit of a rescue mission I bought a pack and red dye and coloured it over. My hair was the colour of pillarboxes and double-decker buses and I felt something like a superhero. It was fantastic.

It came with a lot of up-keep. I dyed my hands red. I dyed bits of my forehead red. My bathroom looked like a death-scene from an amateur slasher-flick. All my towels, pillowcases and shirt collars got a red tint to them. It faded almost immediately  and from using different dyes I ended up with a strange tequila-sunrise effect with orangey-red and pinky-red patches. I switched to an amazing Special Effects dye called ‘Infra-Red’ that claimed to give my hair a UV glow, and I re-did it about every 5 weeks. I couldn’t wear red. Or pink. Or green, or a lot of things, I was continually clashing.

But people loved my hair, they’d come up to me in the street and tell me. On one memorable occasion a little girl ask if I was the Little Mermaid. I was dating a goth and we did each other’s roots.

But it also came with it’s difficulties. My attempts to get a waitressing job seemed to always be mysteriously falling through. I once got turned down by an employer who confusingly added “I hope I’m not being racist” (?!). I went to Dubai and people stared at me like some kind of alien. A little old lady even tried to pull my hair, to see if it was real. My parents continually offered to pay for me to have my hair ‘corrected‘. The final straw came when I was coming towards the end of university and went to visit a psychiatric ward I was hoping to work on. One of the patients followed me around, trying to touch my hair. Though the staff didn’t seem to mind my choice of hair colour, I imagined this might be something that would come up more often. Plus my hair was pretty fried from all the bleaching.

So I bought a bottle of brown dye and the Infra-Red hair was no more. And now I have a ‘grown-up’ job where I’m not sure I could get away with it anymore. But I enjoy living vicariously through other people’s vibrant locks and technicolour tresses.

(All photos are Chloe by various photographers, found on tumblr)

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