Ever wonder how much your identity is wrapped up in your hair color? Whether you're a blonde for life or love rocking your red, the shade of your locks can affect your mood and how others perceive you — and not necessarily in the ways that you think.
Do blondes have more fun? Well, maybe — but they may also be a little bit more neurotic than their darker-haired sisters. According to Dana Ionato, hair colorist at Sally Hershberger Downtown, blondes attract more attention simply because their hair is more naturally eye-catching. "Blonde hair is lighter, so when women have light hair and they walk into a room, people are going to look at them." The problem is, blondes can get more used to that attention than they realize — and blondes may miss that attention if they decide to try lowlights. Says Ionato, "Women with blonde hair that go darker may experience a bit of an identity crisis, because they don't feel that they stand out as much. They miss that attention."
Which kind of explains the existence "blondeorexia," in which women get addicted to going lighter and brighter, risking major breakage with each bleach application. Says Ionato, "Oftentimes, the darker the woman's base color, the blonder they want to go. The problem is, this look is very high maintenance — and most women don't want to be in the salon every six weeks." Rather than OD'ing on the bleach, Jason Backe, a celebrity colorist at the Ted Gibson Salon, suggests that the addition of a few lowlights will actually make the lighter pieces of your hair stand out more and avoid a flat, brassy look. "Sometimes women forget what their natural hair color is," says Backe. "If you gradually add lowlights, you can avoid damaging your hair, but still stand out in a crowd."
For every blondeorexic out there, however, there's probably a brunette that's similarly paranoid about her chocolate locks going too golden or red. "Women with dark hair always want to go darker, because they want it to look shinier," says Ionato. It doesn't necessarily hold true, however, that women who go brunette are more serious or book-smart, according to Ionato. "I find that women who are smart and successful just do what they want with their color, because they have more confidence." Rona O'Connor, Goldwell celebrity colorist, however, disagrees. "I do think that sometimes women want to go darker because they want to be taken more seriously — darker shades are stronger, and they make a statement all on their own."
Speaking of confidence, a woman who wants to ensure she stands out might want to try shades of red, says O'Connor. "Redheads are women that want to be seen and noticed, says O'Connor. "Red is a color of many moods — bubbly, energetic, bold, and sexy." Backe concurs: "A woman who chooses to color her hair red isn't a wallflower."
Not quite ready to totally overhaul your hair hue? O'Connor notes that you don't have to make a huge change to give your look a boost. "For any color, if you're feeling drab or bored, your colorist can add subtle warmth or lightness to your existing shade — it can totally lift your mood," says O'Connor. If you do decide to go from dark to light and back again (how very Emma Stone of you!) O'Connor suggests making friends with a color-protecting product, pronto — you can't have healthy, vibrant color if you don't take great care of those delicate locks.
Have you noticed a difference in your attitude after changing your hair color?
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Photographed by Sara Kerens