June 15, 2016

It’s scary being a hair-dye virgin. When you’re not fighting off very real threats from your friends to have a DIY home-dye night, you’re keeping a wary eye on your local hairdresser – who’s got a dangerously eager glint in her eye. Growing up I never really considered switching it up, so the most adventurous my hair has been is a shoulder-length bob in Primary Three; still black, by the way. After 22 years of life in the same long black ‘do, I’ve realised something – hair-dye virgins are probably rarer unicorns than actual virgins. That, and that everyone around you will try their hardest to “deflower” you.

What’s the big deal, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now; it’s just hair. Indeed, but fear of the unknown is a treacherous thing; and if it took you 20 years to step onto a plane for the first time, you’d probably be experiencing a hell lot of inertia too. So between appreciating my jet-black hair and cowering in anxiety every time someone in the office receives an invitation for a media hair makeover, and yells, “Let’s send Amanda! Virgin hair!”, I decided to address my irrational fears, once and for all.


1. I’ll look terrible

Duh. Puberty may have come and gone, but the one constant in all this change is my straight black hair; and after a lifetime of feeling completely self-assured in my main mane, it’s only natural that I’m worried even the slightest change will throw everything off. So superficial, but so real.


2. It’ll be a waste of money

Kudos to girls who’ve mastered the art of the home dye kit, but $300 for a salon job I might end up hating? Tales of regret and sorrow have plagued my listening ears since post-secondary school days. Is this really the price we pay for beauty that, in this case, literally fades…?


3. Every colour but black will look wrong

If I had a dollar for every time someone said “Black hair suits you!”… I’d have enough to actually pay for a quality dye job. Assuming I wanted to. Also, observing friends go through poor dye jobs or colours that just didn’t flatter their skin tone has made me the wise old willow tree on the matter – sure they lived to tell the tale, but Facebook still has the pictures they wish had never happened.


4. It’ll damage my hair – for life!

Why fix what’s not broken (literally)? Especially since chemical hair dye will do the exact opposite for unspoiled virgin hair. I’ve got enough dry split ends as it is without having to worry about what bleaching will cause, thank you very much. And isn’t it widely known that there’s no real coming back from hair bleach?


5. I won’t be me anymore

You know how you associate certain people with certain hairstyles or colours? I’m no Anna Wintour, but having had the same ‘do all your life inadvertently cultivates a fear of losing a part of what’s essentially “you” – and that’s terrifying. This is also the part where I apologise for getting unnecessarily deep about hair.


6. I… kinda don’t want to lose my virgin hair status

Alright, the truth is out. The number one reason I’ve avoided playing with my hair colour all these years is sheer stubbornness about becoming one of the masses. Who knew that one day, in a sea of ashy blondes and chestnut browns, an au naturel head of black hair would be the “uncommon” one, standing out for the simple (ironic) reason that she never made the effort to stand out in the first place? In any case, that day is now, and though the humblebrag effort on my part may have been a little hard to stomach, there’s no denying that having dyed hair really isn’t a big deal anymore (at least not where I’m concerned). And there actually is a slight thrill in having people gawk at you in wonder, as you acknowledge and embrace that you are a rare breed on the verge of dy(e)ing out. Maybe one day, when I stumble upon a colour that really looks like it’ll suit me, I’ll give it a go; till then, I guess I’m more than comfortable remaining the 21st Century ebony unicorn that I am.



Illustration by Carina Foo.