Candace Samora and Janeth Hernandez advocate for dyeing one's hair for fun flair. Photo by Gus Richardson

A sea of black, brown, blonde and other normative hair colors flood my vision. But, here and there I see pinpricks of alternative hues, splashes of green, blue and red…dyed hair. Humans have been dyeing their mops for centuries now, with evidence of hair coloring going back to the paleolithic era. 

Today, it’s a form of self expression. Going from undyed hair to colored is a big choice — a big choice that I have yet to try. Yes, I have the metaphorical “virgin” hair. Still, the topic intrigued me to write about and create a narrative guide with tips from chromatic-locked teens in the Valley. My first two sources were Candace Samora (purple) and Janeth Villa Hernandez  (blue).

I learned a lot from my discussion with Candace and Janeth. Hair has a level of proteins and vitamins that contribute to hair’s porosity. Low amounts of proteins in your hair, means a lower porosity. These girls had pretty low porosity. So, if you have fairly healthy hair some of their suggestions may not be the best fit. A common theme here and the most notable piece of advice I received is that you just have to feel it out for yourself. 

The girls suggested wearing a bonnet or using silk pillows to help keep hair healthy and, of course, mentioned that it’s a good idea to use a moisturizing shampoo. 

My second source was Jax Carpenter (red) — a punk-rock, transmasculine 17-year-old boy. He had a lot of great advice. He advised that you have to be gentle with your hair. It’s part of your body, and you don’t want to damage it. He stressed the importance of using low porosity hair-dye for low porosity hair, due to the fact that these dyes are meant to reduce the chance of damage . Generally, semi-permanent hair-dye has the lowest chance of harming hair. 

When attempting to make choices about hair-dye, it’s also important to keep any allergies in mind. You don’t want to break out in hives from trying to dye your hair! Not to worry though, often the worst results from a hair-dye related mishap are some blisters or hair loss (the latter would likely come from leaving bleach in too long). Still, bleach can be necessary for darker hair tones if you want a lighter color. 

I asked Jax what his stance was on salons. To paraphrase, he said that salons are expensive but a good choice if you want something more elaborate. He heavily endorsed at home installation though and suggested to do it with friends — not only to help get the back, but to become closer too.

As far as brands, Candace and Janeth suggested Strawberry Leopard as a great at-home dye which lasts a long time but is better for later on in your dyeing endeavors. Jax gave many suggestions. First off, Manic Panic is vegan, vibrant and good for all stages of your dyeing journey. Second, XMondo is a hair care and color mix which will make hair vibrant and keep it healthy and reportedly can even repair damaged hair. The company apparently also sells shampoo and conditioner that promote hair health. It’s a bit more expensive than other brands though. He also suggested a brand called Nutrisse, which sells kits with oils in them to repair damaged hair. 

In conclusion, hair-dye is an interesting form of self expression but it can feel a little scary to get into. Not to mention, there is a lot to keep in mind whilst exploring. Anyway, hopefully this extra bit of information from our local youth hair dyeing savants will help would-be dyers jump in and make their own alternative hair coloring discoveries.