By Gus Richardson
A sea of black, brunette, blonde and other hair colors floods my vision. But, here and there, I see pitting of alternate hues, splashes of green, blue, and red hair… dyed. Humans have been dyeing their mops for centuries now, with evidence of hair coloring dating back to the Paleolithic era.
Today, it is a form of self-expression. Going from non-dyed hair to colored hair is a big choice – a big choice that I haven’t tried yet. Yes, I have metaphorical “virgin” hair. Still, the subject matter intrigued me to write and create a narrative guide with advice from chromatically locked teenagers in the valley. My first two sources were Candace Samora (purple) and Janeth Villa Hernandez (blue).
I learned a lot from my discussion with Candace and Janeth. Hair has a level of proteins and vitamins that contribute to hair porosity. Low amounts of protein in your hair means lower porosity. These girls had a fairly low porosity. So if you have fairly healthy hair, some of their suggestions may not be the best solution. A common theme here and the most notable piece of advice I’ve received is that you just have to feel it for yourself.
The girls suggested wearing a bonnet or using silk pillows to help keep hair healthy and, of course, mentioned it was a good idea to use a moisturizing shampoo.
My second source was Jax Carpenter (red) – a 17-year-old punk-rock, trans-masculine boy. He had a lot of good advice. He advised to be gentle with your hair. It’s part of your body and you don’t want to damage it. He stressed the importance of using low porosity hair dyes for low porosity hair, as these dyes are meant to reduce the risk of damage. Generally, semi-permanent hair dye has the least chance of damaging hair.
When trying to make choices about hair dye, it’s also important to keep possible allergies in mind. You don’t want to get hives from trying to dye your hair! Don’t worry though, the worst results of a hair dye accident are often blisters or hair loss (the latter likely from leaving the bleach on too long). However, bleach may be necessary for darker hair if you want a lighter color.
I asked Jax about his position on trade shows. To paraphrase, he said salons are expensive but a good choice if you want something more elaborate. He strongly endorsed the home setup and suggested doing it with friends – not only to help with recovery, but also to bond.
As for brands, Candace and Janeth suggested Strawberry Leopard as a great home dye that lasts a long time but is better for later in your dyeing endeavors. Jax made many suggestions. First of all, Manic Panic is vegan, vibrant, and good for all stages of your dye journey. Secondly, XMondo is a blend of hair care and color that will make hair vibrant and healthy and may even repair damaged hair. The company apparently also sells shampoos and conditioners that promote healthy hair. It is still a bit more expensive than other brands. He also suggested a brand called Nutrisse, which sells kits containing oils to repair damaged hair.
In conclusion, hair coloring is an interesting form of self-expression, but it can seem a bit scary. Not to mention, there’s a lot to keep in mind when exploring. Either way, I hope this additional information from our young local hair dye savants helps future dyers get started and make their own alternative hair dye discoveries.