The decision to dye your hair to some shade of unicorn hair takes guts. Some deliberate for months after seeing Instagram posts with #Grandmahair or mermaid inspired dye jobs on Tum­blr, and eventually take the plunge into a glorious head of platinum or some fluorescent color of the rainbow they find after countless boxes, tubes, tubs of bleach, developer, toner and manic panic. Afterward their bathtubs and ears might be stained indigo, but the results are hopefully worth it. One of the sucky parts, aside from possible mess ups and dry scalp, is the likelihood of appearing unprofessional, mostly because some companies will not hire people that have unnatural hair colors.

In public, many with colored hair are met with a tentative mix of haters and admirers. When you see another person with colored hair, it’s almost like being a part of a secret club, some­times exchanging winks in passing. People, including professors, generally remember you after a few interactions. For the most part, it is great, except for interacting with your family, which often includes concerns regarding the viability of your future employment and subjective criticism. Basically, they either love it or hate it.

UWT student Karana Kem rocks an ethereal lavender to platinum ombre that has taken almost two years to be­come as pale as she wanted it to be. Like many unnatural dye jobs, Kem was inspired by social media. At her part-time job at Sephora, she enjoys the pleasant comments from some but also notices the cold glares from others. She recounts her recent search for a car when a salesman asked if her parents were with her. At times, Kem feels that she doesn’t receive the respect that her natural hair counterparts do.

“I’m majoring in business manage­ment and marketing, and with this field, appearance plays a factor. So some­times, I feel like even my business pro­fessors are judging me about my hair. But maybe I’m just paranoid.”

Body augmentation, such as hair coloring is just one of the many ways in which people can be discounted for being different, which is frankly absurd. There is no reason that an individual that has purple hair should be seen as less worthy than another person; to claim that unnatural hair is unprofes­sional is entirely subjective. I’m looking at you Starbucks, Multicare, and other picky employers that have workplace policies that don’t allow unnatural hair colors!

Having unnatural hair can frankly be pretty rad. It makes you feel like elven royalty. If you are dying to make a homage to your grandparents or fa­vorite mythical creature then take the plunge, the haters might “hate hate hate” but at the end of the day the one looking at yourself in the mirror is you. If you aren’t going to do it in college, when else would you?

PHOTO BY MOLLY REETZ
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