Hair Color of the Character That Bit You

cynthia-toneyI’ve often wondered why women and girls color their hair. And why, increasingly, men and boys do too.

I’m not talking about covering gray with a color close to your natural one. I mean a drastic change, which I admit to making every couple of years now. It didn’t start until long after I graduated from college, because it simply looked like too much work, when I already had a perfectly serviceable color. (Why do girls as young as middle-school age start altering their hair color–and why do parents let them? That may be a topic for another day.)

Highlighting, frosting/tipping, stripes of another color, all-out bleaching, Vampira black, and that burgundy color that’s found nowhere naturally on a human head. I personally haven’t tried them all, but they are so common that most of us don’t take a second look any more.

I tend to change color when: something major in my life such as employment, where I live, or a relationship changes; I feel my true personality isn’t reflected by my hair color; or I simply want to do it for fun.

I’ve been Marilyn Monroe blonde–short too. Was told I looked like Madonna, which I didn’t care for. I’ve been a fiery redhead when I had anger and aggression issues (no offense intended toward redheads). And when I wanted to look exotic or ethnic like Sophia Loren or the Native American women I saw on a trip to Santa Fe, I chose a dark brown.

So maybe I like playing a character when life becomes a little too ordinary or other changes get me down, and I use hair color to do it. I may even change color to become one of my characters in a future novel. Other writers, when attending writing events, deck out in costumes depicting their chosen genre. Some of my wonderful fantasy-writing friends enjoy wearing elf ears.

And there’s nothing wrong with us. Really.

Do you use hair color, makeup, dress, or anything else to escape from the ordinary or play a character from a book?

13 thoughts on “Hair Color of the Character That Bit You

  1. My natural hair color is light brown, a little darker than the photo in my avatar. However, I’ve been highlighting my hair blond since I was in high school. I’ve only had my natural color, blond, and slightly darker to cover highlights when I decided to go back to my natural color. I love being blond, but when my hair is darker, my eyes look bluer.
    I have no problem with middle school girls (or boys) getting their hair colored a natural color. To me it’s no different than the perms I got at that age. I’m not a huge fan of permanent unnatural colors but I do like those fun colored clip in extensions. I’ve never done it by I might have to give it a try.


  2. I rarely did anything to my hair until a few years ago. It was always on the long side (I can get it around thigh length but sadly could not get it to knee-length). I never colored, high-lighted, etc. The most I did was every 5 years or so chop it to mid-back. Then I was offered a free makeover from a new salon looking for marketing opportunities and, after much waffling, took them up on it. They cut it nearly to my shoulders and gave me red & blonde highlights. I didn’t much care for the red and it was so short my husband was practically devastated. But I did enjoy the freedom of the shorter length over my shoulders and back. So now I keep it around shoulder-blade length. And I started highlights 2 years ago but I don’t care enough about it (and the expense!) to maintain properly – once a year is enough for me and I let it grow out over the winter. At my last appointment, she told me I had a few grays starting to creep in. I’m doing my best to ignore that until it’s more than a few….

    I mostly read to escape. Writing works, too. Or just imagining scenes, scenarios & other stories. Some make it into my writing, some get rehashed over and over. I’m too self-conscious to draw attention to myself in costume, makeup, etc.


  3. One of these days I’m going to dye my hair blue.


  4. I’m not very brave when it comes to hair color as evidenced by an incident in Walmart with my son about 15 years ago when he was 4. I didn’t really have enough gray to worry about but thought I’d like to go a bit darker just because. I had a friend who fiddled with her hair color a lot and she encouraged me to give it a try. So, we’re in the hair color aisle at Walmart, my son is in the cart while I’m perusing the color selections. After much deliberation–mostly because I’m not brave as noted above–I finally pick one very similar to my natural color. I toss it in the cart and my son exclaims, “Why did you pick one the same color as you already got?” He proceeded to grab a box depicting the brightest ORANGE i’d ever seen, dropped it in the cart and tried to convince me to buy that one. I retrieved the unwanted hair color from the cart and got out of there fast, with the “color I already got’.


  5. Elf ears! That’s me and Karen!!!

    I’ve dyed my hair red before. And now that my gray is starting to creep in, it looks like I might get a new hair color soon one way or another. 🙂


  6. I’m late to this party, but couldn’t resist. I had always hoped I would be like my grandmother and father and be pure white before forty (yes, I really did!). But I only ended up prematurely salt and pepper around 45. How dull. So I went blond to cover the gray better. If I had the guts, I’d go platinum just to see if I look like Glad in my Genesis submission – she’s based on that same grandma of mine.


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