Confessions of a Hair Dye Virgin: Here's Why I Never Did It

Kaitlyn McLintock

Urban Outfitters

It's rare to find a 20-something who has never experimented with their hair color. It's virtually unknown to find someone who's never dyed their hair and who works in the beauty industry. But up until a few months ago, that was me.

Growing up in a small town, I never gave myself permission to dye my hair. Everyone close to me would know it wasn't natural, so what was the point? And wasn't dyeing your hair just covering up your natural beauty? Truth be told, I equated hair dye to a low-level cosmetic procedure. This might sound dramatic, but it was what I thought for most of my teenage years. To take it one step further, I even felt noble in refusing to dye my hair, as though accepting my natural hair color meant I was somehow accepting myself along with all of my flaws and imperfections. I pledged to stick with my natural hair color well into my elderly age, as I so admired those women who fearlessly go gray.

It wasn't until a close friend dyed her hair freshman year of college that my opinion flipped. She went four shades darker, an abrupt transformation I didn't think I'd like. But much to my surprise, I loved it. It was so much more, well, her. This exceedingly ordinary experience showed me how hair color can suit one's personality just as much as one's appearance. Realizing how easy hair color is to switch up, and how much fun the process can be, was mind-blowing.

Suddenly, I didn't view hair dye as a guise or a façade; I viewed it as just another form of expression, like makeup. After all, everyone knows I don't have naturally bronzed eyelids or cherry-red lips, but what does that matter? Hair color accentuates; it doesn't hide. It's fun, experimental, and never binding.

I even felt noble in refusing to dye my hair, as though accepting my natural hair color meant I was somehow accepting myself.


@esalon merci beaucoup!

A post shared by Kaitlyn McLintock (@lookits_kaitlyn) on

After months of debating, I finally decided to go for it. I booked a hair color appointment with an eSalon stylist and had some blond highlights added to my naturally chestnut-brown hair. I was new to California, and I thought I would embrace the beachy, sun-kissed look of the golden coast.

Since taking that leap, I haven't looked back. The lighter strands do wonders to brighten up my dull, winter-ravaged skin, and the new color dimension gives the appearance of extra volume. But the most important change was internal. My new hair makes me feel much more confident, much more like me. It matches how I feel inside.

So consider this my PSA: If you've been debating whether or not to dye your hair for as long as I have, go for it. You may be in for some self-discovery somewhere along the way.

To make your experience seamless, we solicited the advice from two master colorists. Keep reading to learn how to have the perfect first hair dye experience!

Tell us which color you've been dying to try out yourself in the comments below! Then, read all about the newest version of balayage that's all over Pinterest!

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