Hair Journey Part III: Chocolate Brown.

I always wanted dark brown hair.

Ever since I was little, I’ve admired people with deep chocolate-black hair. To me, it always seemed the most striking, romantic, thoughtful hair color. As if being brunette made you automatically pensive, if not intelligent (like Belle! Or Hermione!). So I was super excited about this stage, mostly to see if being dark-haired would make me feel as wise and mysterious as I’d always imagined.

Not that any of that makes sense, because, shocker: dark hair did not make me wise and mysterious. I am neither of these things, particularly. Common-sensical and interesting, probably—or at least those are the words I would prefer to use. The point here is: for probably no good reason at all beyond cultural stereotypes, I project certain personality traits onto people based primarily on their hair color, and then subconsciously expect myself to conform my behavior to match those stereotypes. Unless there actually is a good reason for these stereotypes, because once people start self-selecting their hair color to match a stereotype they make the stereotype true? As in: blondes are stereotyped as being ditzy and shallow because a lot of not-blonde people have dyed their hair blonde for ditzy and shallow reasons? (Dear natural blondes: Have we all ruined blonde hair for you?) And similarly, many other people have dyed their hair dark colors because they believe having dark hair makes you mysterious and they want to be perceived as being more mysterious? Am I over-thinking this yet?

Whatever—back to the hair journey! Elizabeth and I decided on a chocolate brown with red undertones, and she used a red glaze when she rinsed the dye out to give it a warmer effect. My biggest anxiety was that it would feel too dull after all the red, so this sounded like a good idea to me. Elizabeth also wanted to curl my hair, which I let her do because I love it when people curl my hair and also I would probably let Elizabeth do whatever she wanted because she is magic. So she took her time, and I had to wait patiently for her to finish, all the while trying to get sneak peeks in the mirror because it’s really hard to look even if you also want to be surprised. Anyway, Elizabeth finished up and spun me around, and I got my first glimpse of my childhood dream.

My first reaction was: HOLY COW I LOOK LIKE MY MOM FROM THE 70’s.

I’ve been told my whole life that this is the case, and I guess the above is proof. I meant to do a reconstruction of the picture of my mom (on the left, in case you couldn’t tell), and there was even snow on the ground which would have made it perfect. But I never got around to finding a camel-colored coat, so I’ve probably lost my chance.

For some reason, I also felt like I belonged in a WW II movie for as long as the curls lasted. I’m not sure why, because that hairstyle didn’t exactly scream 1940. Maybe it had something to do with the contrast of all that dark hair against my pale skin: I felt like a black-and-white photograph every time I looked in the mirror.

Which is, I think, what ultimately dimmed my enthusiasm for dark brown. Or maybe it was how the color faded back to a reddish hue after a couple weeks. Maybe one day I’ll try again and go for a more true-brown, but for now, I’m not sure dark hair suits me after all. I feel too washed out, too stark, too contrasty. Or maybe I’m just not wise enough to pull it off.

Either way, here’s my official chocolate brown hair pic. Looking pensive, obviously.


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