I really, really hate making my mother cry.
But when the chance to dye my hair pink presented itself, I took it -- even though the first time I colored my hair back in college, the streaky blonde highlights literally brought tears to my mom's eyes.
The idea to go pink had been brewing in my mind for some time, growing stronger with each Instagram pic Lauren Conrad published. Conrad, an MTV reality star turned beauty blogger, is a colored hair wiz: the bubbly blonde manages to experiment with wild-child hair while maintaining a fresh-faced, unthreatening look. If Lauren, the quintessential L.A. girly girl, could pull off pink ombre without looking like she just walked off the set of an Avril Lavigne music video... well, couldn't I?
Photo by Raydene Salinas
So on a rainy Monday morning, I nervously stepped into the Serge Normant at John Frieda salon in New York, plopped down in front of celebrity colorist Aura Friedman (she'd done color for Nicky Minaj and Lady Gaga) and surrendered my plain brown mane to the gooey pink dye.
After over four hours washing, drying, wrapping, heating and literally painting my hair, I emerged with the perfect pink ombre.
Photo by Raydene Salinas
I couldn't stop grinning as I walked out of the salon -- Aura nailed the color, giving me the exact look I had requested. But I was curious and a bit anxious to see people's reactions. Of course, I live in New York City, so strangers on the street and subway didn't raise an eyebrow.
But when I showed off my new 'do to my co-workers and friends, it elicited two distinct responses -- unsurprisingly, men and women have slightly different thoughts on girls with pink hair.
A sampling of male responses:
"It looks like you've dipped your hair in a candy coating."
"It looks like a Fruit Roll-Up."
"Did you fall into nuclear waste? Is your hair now Spiderman?"
And the female responses? They all went something like this:
"OMG I love it! You know, I've kinda been wanting to try it... do you think I should?"
Pink hair, for guys, is a bemusing curiosity. But for women, it represents risk, a walk on the wild side. When women ask me about my hair, I see a gleam in their eye, the wheels in their minds turning. Could they, too, take the colored hair plunge? Let loose and unleash that carefree girl inside? Change their appearance drastically just for the hell of it? Not care if people stare or judge?
Well, ladies, you can. It's just hair, so why not? I promise your mother will forgive you.