As some of you may or may not know, I recently dyed my hair (AKA the amazing, gorgeous, babely Tanya Ramirez dyed my hair) neon green. Like bright, fluorescent, lime, gummy bear green.
In the last few years my hair has been a bunch of different colors –everything from natural shades to wild and crazy hues. And every single time I change the color, the way the world interacts with me (and I interact with it) changes too. It's been a really fascinating, accidental experiment - one that at times has been fun, nerve wracking, difficult, and ridiculous.
I’ve been blonde most of my life, but ever since I moved to LA I’ve played with a bunch of different colors. Fuchsia, dark turquoise, purple, a cloudy gray blue, bright teal, baby pink, and more. But there was one color I swore I’d never do…green. I rarely wear the color green, and it’s certainly not one of my favorite shades. I loveeee green foods (avocado, lima beans, Brussels sprouts) but I couldn't imagine having that color on my head. Plus I worried it wouldn’t be complimentary with my skin, my makeup routine (which, let’s be honest, isn’t very extensive haha), or my overall look. But then I saw a couple of girls seriously rocking the neon green hair, and for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about it. So when I asked Tanya about it, she was all for it. I went into the salon and came out with hair that stops traffic and glows in the dark (literally).
I walked out into the world that afternoon feeling like a gorgeous, weird, alien space babe. Tanya had styled my tresses into an adorable little bob, and I headed home feeling confident.
But the next day that confidence began to fade (unlike my hair which I swear just keeps getting brighter).
I woke up, showered, and styled my fluorescent hair. It didn’t look quite as cute as when Tanya had worked her magic, but it still looked pretty damn sassy and cool. Feeling good about my new do, I went out into the world to run some errands.
And oh my goodness was I in for a shock. People STARED. Like straight up stared at me wide-eyed and open-mouthed. People pointed. People whispered.
Each time I’ve changed my hair color people react differently. People loved pink hair – I got friendly comments constantly from guys and girls. Women we’re obsessed with the purple hair and would stop me on the street to chat about it. Guys liked the blue hair, and I had more requests for a date than ever before. And my go-to bleached blonde look always elicits a positive response.
But green was not like that. No one smiled and told me how cute I looked. Strangers at the coffee shop didn't comment sweetly on my fun new look. People weren’t saying anything. They were just looking looking looking with expressions that I couldn’t read.
And because I’m a sensitive, self-conscious person I immediately assumed people hated it. That day, when a few people did say something, it wasn't the response I wanted. One stranger told me it was the color of The Grinch; another informed me that it wasn’t Saint Patrick’s Day. I thought I might cry. So I kept my head down and tried not to make eye contact with anybody the rest of the afternoon. When I got home I curled up on the couch and wondered why in the hell I’d thought dying my hair this color was ever a good idea.
I asked my fiancé moodily, “What if people really think I look like the Grinch or the Hulk or an oompa loompah or something? Everything gross is green!” I obsessed over every villain/monster with green hair for the rest of the night.
The next day I went to lunch with my bestie Aurora and confided in her my extreme discomfort with my candy colored hair. She of course loved the color, and insisted that I just needed to get use to it. I admitted that, if I saw this hair on any other girl, I’d think it was amazing. Why was I having such a hard time accepting it on myself?
That evening I sat and stared at myself in the mirror (I’m a Leo so sometimes I just like to do this). I asked myself (I also talk to myself…a lot), “Why are you freaking out about this? Why is this making you so uncomfortable?”
I knew the answer. I’d known it all along. I was unnerved by the idea that people might think I looked gross, or undesirable, or ugly. Green is not typically associated with female beauty or sexiness, and I’d spent much of my life trying to be the epitome of standard sexiness.
But that’s not the woman I wanted to be – I didn’t want to be a stereotype. I’d spent the last two years in LA learning to love myself and trying to spread a message of positivity and self-love to other women. My green hair was beautiful – it was my perception of beauty that was ugly. It was then that I grabbed my camera, set up my tripod, and took a selfie. I posted the image with the caption, “Fuck your beauty standards. I don’t want to be pretty, I want to be otherworldly.” And I vowed to feel differently about my hair and about myself.
From that moment on I’ve tried whole-heartedly to embrace the neon green. And you know what? I absolutely, 100%, LOVE it now. I walk into a room and people stare blatantly and I just smile. I keep my head held high and don’t automatically assume others are passing negative judgment. And it’s funny – ever since I stopped obsessing over it; I’ve gotten so many compliments on my hair and on my look. Which just proves that it’s not so much the hair but my attitude that breeds beauty and confidence. How freakin’ cool is that??
Unfortunately I’ll have to change my hair soon. I have a couple of shoots coming up and I guess the neon is just a bit too much (read: AWESOME). I’m bummed. I’m really going to miss the way green hair has made me feel and the way it challenges people’s perceptions of beauty (including my own). But I’m so incredibly thankful that I took this risk, because it’s taught me a pretty powerful lesson. I’m not immune to insecurity, but I’m very capable of overcoming it. I’m beautiful with any hair color, because my soul and spirit and confidence are the truest form of beauty.
And you can guarantee that I’ll go back to green sometime soon <3
And a huuuuuge thank you to the always amazing Tanya Ramirez (Instagram) who is an incredible friend and total hair goddess. She's always willing to help me take risks, and intuitively seems to know just what I need (in regards to hair but also to life). She's my birthday twinsie and I'm so grateful to have her in my grrrl gang. You should definitely get in touch with her <3