Photo by Blake Willis- Staff Photographer
By Rachel Roberson – [email protected] – Staff Writer | March 25, 2015 |
Atypical hair colors are popping up on campus and in Asheville. People who dye their hair consider this a form of expression. However, they don’t always encounter people who approve of their decision.
“The first time I dyed my hair a non-natural color was my senior year in high school, and my mom didn’t let me do my whole head at first,” said Paige Barlow, a sophomore from Monroe, North Carolina.
“The first color that I ever dyed my hair was teal, which is the official color for sexual assault awareness, and I dyed it that color because I was going through some personal things,” Barlow said. She explained she just wanted to represent that particular phase of her life, and when that phase was over, she bleached it and put in red dye. Barlow now sports hair dyed in a gradient from blonde roots to red tips.
Taylor Dorn, friend and fellow sophomore dyes her hair as well, sometimes with Barlow’s help.
“In high school, my mom wouldn’t let me dye my hair, so I always had in the fake clip-ins, like extensions, that I could buy from Hot Topic,” said Dorn, a psychology student from Westminster, Maryland. “Then I dyed my hair for the first time my freshman year. It was one of those red box dyes for natural hair.”
A few months later, Dorn began bleaching her hair so she could add purple. Dorn said she changed hair color fairly frequently after that, describing different combinations of purples, reds and blues.
“My hair did so many crazy things over the summer,” Dorn said. Today, Dorn describes her hair as “teal-green.”
Autumn Skerlec, a senior from Cape Coral, Florida, began dyeing her hair
teal in March of 2013.
“It was a Thursday,” Skerlec said fondly. “I originally started with just a small stripe of color, just for fun. I tried a couple of different colors, and when I got to teal, I realized I just liked it so much.”
All three students agree that while some people may scowl or disapprove of dyed hair, there are those who are supportive of people who dye their hair non-natural shades. Children are especially enthusiastic.
“For the most part, a lot of people really like it,” Dorn said. “Everyone’s like, ‘I really like your hair! That’s really cool!’”
Dorn said when she’s in places like Target, children look at her hair in wonder, and even most adults compliment her hair.
“It’s my parents and my family that have the harder time,” Dorn said.
Barlow said she recalled a young girl at an aquarium wanting a hug from her because the child thought she was a mermaid.
“It’s always that much more satisfying when you get a compliment from a little kid because they’re so genuine,” Barlow said.
Skerlec said people often ask her what color it is, but some people give it creative titles such as peacock or dragon scale, adding that she’s received almost entirely positive responses to her hair, with the exception of a few older people.
Barlow said though Asheville is more open to dyed hair, traveling to more conservative places is very different.
“If you ever go in for an interview, people look at you weird. People stop and look at you on the street,” Barlow said.
Barlow, Dorn and Skerlec all gave the same advice to people who have thought about dyeing their hair.
“I get ‘I would do that if I could pull it off,’ which is really disappointing because I feel that if you want to dye your hair, you should do it,” Barlow said “You shouldn’t do it because somebody will think that it’s pretty.”
Barlow explained that a person should dye his or her hair because they think that particular color is rad.
Dorn is critical of people who seem judgmental and rude to others who have dyed their hair non-natural colors.
“It’s your hair, and you can do whatever you want with it,” Dorn said. “Have fun because it’s only going to be so long until you have to start having brown hair or blonde hair again.”