Guinea Pig: DIY Technicolor Streaks

DIY Technicolor Hair

I’ve never taken risks with my hair. I had the same bob for my first 18 years, and other than a few summertime spritzes of lemon juice, no color has touched my head.

A recent decision to get blunt bangs came after 18 months of frantically polling friends, a few canceled appointments, and more methodical research than I ever employed in any of my collegiate endeavors.

And, in a very Steel Magnolias parenthetical to my autobiography, my mother, my great aunt, and I all see the same trusted hairstylist, Miss Elizabeth (she attended my high school graduation and we exchange Christmas presents). So yeah, I’m a little wary of anything unfamiliar, and my threshold for change is limbo-to-the-ground low.

Before Technicolor strands hit the runway at New York Fashion Week, I had already been secretly stewing over livening up my coif with a brush or two of vibrant color. Some trusted friends insisted this look was best left to belligerent pop stars who are in expert hands and inquired if I was having an emotional crisis. But evidence was mounting—Chris Benz! Isaac Mizrahi’s poodles!—that I could pull off bright hues and not seem unreasonably outlandish.

I chose Manic Panic Cotton Candy Pink, hoping the sugary-named color would not be too bold for my first foray into dyeing the darker blonde at my neck. I didn’t bleach or lighten beforehand (too permanent), so the dye barely took—not even after two separate applications, for which my kitchen-gloved roommate generously swathed on the pink stuff longer than the directions suggested.

But I found a winner in Clairol Jazzing Fuchsia Plum, a deeper tone that promised to at least be visible. Two rounds and about an hour later, part of my hair was slightly, semipermanently pink. Not too light, not too brazen—I love it, actually. And I’m thinking of adding more.

Call it a delayed teenage rebellion, call me My Little Pony—just don’t call Miss Elizabeth. She’s going to be very surprised.