The latest trend, dyeing hair shades fit for a Crayola box, has students turning heads all over campus. In a world where fads change from minute to minute and Pins spread like wildfire, small changes that make a big impact on personal style get popular very fast. Though in the past, rainbow-bright hair was reserved for rebellious teens, it is becoming more and more fashion-forward.
When tweets and Instagram shots keep us updated on what everyone else is wearing every second, trends spread quickly, and it gets difficult to stand out in a media-saturated crowd. That’s why beauty movements like colorful hair dye and embellished nails become favored for self-expression: they’re easy to do, they’re inexpensive, and they’re just plain fun.
Celebrities are on the bandwagon, too. Katy Perry’s bright wigs, coordinated to match her every outfit, have become her style signature. “Rihanna Red” has become a common salon request, and Nicki Minaj changes her hair as often as her voice. January Jones, Lauren Conrad, Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood and Rachel McAdams have all been seen sporting colorful streaks. Like all other celebrity movements, this beauty change has trickled down to the less rich and famous.
This look is endlessly customizable, too. There are many types of colors that create cool hair looks. Girly pastels in pink and purple are subtle and ethereal. Acid greens and electric blues will get you noticed, as will neon pinks and purples. True yellow and red are interesting twists on natural blonde and ginger hair.
Of course, the choice of color is one way to express your personality, but there are other ways of showing your spunk with colorful dye. For instance, the amount of hair you dye completely changes your look. If you’re feeling conservative or are dye-shy, try just a small streak of one color or a few streaks in a place where you can cover it up, like the back underside of your hair, so that it just peeks out. Dip-dying the ends — so that it literally looks like you dipped your hair in dye — is another great way to try color because if you don’t like it, you can just cut the ends off.
If you’re looking for more impact, you can try turning your dye job into an ombre look by dyeing the bottom half of your hair so that it blends into your natural color. This technique gives you two trends in one, and it looks funky in updos and braided hairstyles. If you have blonde hair you can get a temporary color glaze of your favorite hue, which tints the hair a delicate shade. Rose gold is a popular choice for this technique.
Dyeing your entire head is an adventurous way to jump headfirst into the trend. Just be aware of the consequences of dyeing an entire head of hair — you’ll be stuck with it for a while unless you dye it again, which greatly weakens hair.
After choosing your style and color, the next step in this trend is to decide whether to go to a salon or do it yourself. If you’ve dyed your hair before, even if you used a natural color, you may be fine doing it on your own. Just be sure to read all the instructions. Also, remember that if you have darker hair, you will need to use bleach to strip off the color in order to get your new hue to stick. Bleaching weakens hair, so be sure to strip it as little as is necessary. Splat Hair Color products are a great, vibrant DIY dye that can be found at your local drugstore.
Visiting a salon is a surefire way to make sure you get what you want. Make sure to research before you make an appointment; you don’t want to choose a stuffy, old-school salon where the most dramatic coloring they offer is blonde to brunette. They may not be knowledgeable about funky dyes, and it could lead to an ugly and expensive new ’ do.
When making your appointment, ask the receptionist to schedule you with the stylist most experienced in bright-color dyes, and ask ahead of time if they have the color you want. They may have to order it ahead of time or mix colors to get what you want. More complicated dye jobs, like colored ombre, can get a little pricey. Salon Blush & Spa in Fishtown and Talking Headz in University City both do great funky dye jobs.
If you’re still not sure whether to take the plunge with bright dye, many salons and accessory stores like Claire’s sell clip-in colored extensions. They’re a great way to test out your color before committing or to try the trend in a very temporary way. No matter how you do it, rainbow hair dye is a fun and easy way to change up your look for fall.