The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Dare to Dye?

Amanda+He+%2F+The+Bucknellian
Amanda He / The Bucknellian

I’ve always had long, natural black hair, occasionally cutting it short but always letting it grow back out. My hair routines were pretty standard until the summer of 2023, which turned out to be one of the most emotionally grueling summers of my life. So, like any rational 19-year-old, I decided to dye my hair cherry red! It was such a liberating experience. Suddenly I felt like I could say and do anything without a second thought or filter. The confidence boost and sense of self-expression were undeniable. I had never quite understood the allure of hair dye until then, but, once I took the plunge, it felt incredibly freeing. I later opted for burgundy, which eventually faded into a dark, reddish-brown hue. While it’s not as vibrant as it once was, I still proudly wear this pop of color in my hair.

Hair dye has undergone quite a transformation in terms of perception over the years. During the pandemic, TikTok flooded with discussions about “blue hair girls,” often portraying them as overly dramatic. People also tend to have strong opinions about other unconventional hair colors like purple, green and red. There’s this tendency to associate certain colors and styles with subcultures like Emo, which seems a bit absurd to me. Personally, when I see someone with bold hair, I don’t automatically assume they’re going through a major life crisis. I might just assume that someone with green hair stole Christmas. Just kidding … Or am I?

That said, wouldn’t it be cool if more people embraced colored hair on campus? I’m not talking about wild neon hues to be honest, but rather subtle shades such as strawberry blonde or darker shades of red, blue or purple. Within the sea of blonde, brown and black here and there, imagine strolling across the quad and seeing more people with navy blue or burgundy hair. It could add such an interesting dimension to the campus culture.

Spencer Howell ’24 rightly points out that “More people in the world need to dye their hair! Especially in the bleaker months when it’s cold and gray, a greater array of colors in life would boost all of our serotonin levels (or at least release some temporary dopamine which is not a bad thing at all). For me, dying my hair has boosted my confidence to levels I never thought possible. I feel more like myself than I ever have in being able to change such a large part of myself to whatever color I decide I’m feeling in the moment I decide I need a change”. 

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Personally, I think of dyeing my hair as a temporary phase, something to do during college before reverting back to my natural black. While I still love the red hair vibe, deep down, I know my true identity lies in my natural hue. But that’s precisely why I encourage others to experiment with hair dye while they’re in college. Now is the time to explore, with so much less pressure and more room for self-discovery.

One concern I had was coordinating clothes with hair color. But honestly, it’s not something I dwell on anymore. In fact, it’s so fun to match a bright hair color with an outfit. Can you imagine the possibilities?

Hair damage is a valid concern, but professional dyeing isn’t as pricey as you might think. Plus, there are natural alternatives like Henna that offer semi-permanent or permanent color without the bleach. 

Overall, hair dye is a beautiful form of expression. I urge anyone considering it to give it a try and embrace their truth. Imagine the vibrant array of hair colors that could grace our campus if more people dared to actually experiment. I would suggest just go for it,—while also doing your research and finding what suits you best of course. After all, life’s too short for boring hair!

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