Coffee Talks: A Love Affair with Hair Dye

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I have a serious love-hate (but mostly love) relationship with dying my hair. Spare me any lectures on box dye versus salons. My mom was a beautician, so I know the basic nitty gritty of why salons are the optimal choice.

I’m no where even remotely close to a hair expert, and I wholeheartedly believe stylists and people who work in salons have a lot of knowledge and skill base. Honestly, I would have loved to go to beauty school, but you can’t get a license in that field if you’re legally blind.

With that being said, my love affair with dying my hair, particularly at home, has little to do with salons. Aside from the fact they I’m stingy with money, especially when it comes to myself, I just prefer having total control over my hair.

Always Curious

I’ve always loved hair and different hair colors. The women in my family have hair of all colors and types. We have brown hair, black hair, blonde, hair, curly and straight hair. The majority of them tend of have red hair though.

I have been in love with red hair since I was little, and I always felt a bit left out having boring straight brown hair. There were some natural red and golden shades in my hair, but it was stick straight the majority of my life. It wasn’t until my hysterotomy a year ago that my texture actually became a mix of straight and curly.

Being a beautician, my mom was always dying, perming, and changing her hair. I was so curious, but she wouldn’t let me do a thing to my own. In the 9th grade we had a formal dance, and my mom finally let me change my hair. My mom and a neighbor girl put bold, blonde chunky highlights in my hair- think Rogue from X-Men. I was obsessed, and the my love of hair dye started that day.


Throughout my teen years, I had a boyfriend that didn’t want me to change my hair. My mom also convinced me to not mess with it too much. Once college hit, I was able to experience a bit more. The guy I dated still hated when I dyed my hair, and reminded me how unprofessional it was. I felt controlled, so I rebelled.

I started with temporary dye, because the highlight kit I used with my mom in my early teens was the only experience I had aside from watching her. The tips of my hair were the only part I colored at first. A few years later, I dyed the underside of my brunette hair darker brown. I felt so edgy and cool.

After college and that previous relationships fed , I felt free to do what I wanted with my appearance. I was struggling with my eating disorder, and I had a bit of an identity crisis. Honestly, I had been with that boyfriend for many years and didn’t know who I was outside of that relationship.

Finding Myself In a Box of Hair Dye

Once I was in out-patient treatment and therapy for my ED, my therapist told me I should experiment with things I’m interested in, and she included reestablishing my look and how I see myself. Being in love with red hair, I went out a picked the perfect box. I fell in love with having red hair, and from that moment on, my hair was about to go through the emotional roller coaster I was already on.

I tried pretty much every color of hair dye, including bright unnatural colors and having ombre hair as well. Red was always my favorite, but my hair took a beating. Back then, I had no clue about hair masks or deep conditioning. I washed my hair every day of the week, and I just wasn’t very kind to it.

After years of hair abuse, I decided to let it get healthy again. When my last little one was born, I grew out the dye and did a chop. It wasn’t until these last few months that I picked up the box dye again. Honestly, I have mixed emotions.

Can’t Turn Back

The only negative feelings I have about dying my hair is that I feel like I can’t turn back. I love red hair the most, and red is one of the most challenging colors to get out of your hair, whether you go to a salon or not. The red that I want is one I love so much, but I also feel stuck.

If I’m still being honest, I kind of want to keep dying it red. There’s even a box of dye sitting on my bathroom shelf right now. It’s a color that I want to actually keep up with, rather than my old habit of constantly finding a new shade to try. What scares me is having my hair get damaged again.

Granted, I am much smarter in my approach with hair. I know about masks, protein treatments, and how to keep it healthy with wash days and such. I still have a few nerves that are popping up and telling me to stop, before I have to go through another period of hating my hair incase I have to chop it again.

Advice Welcome

Please don’t recommend going to a salon. I did go to get it colored once. The girl and the entire experience was awful. She was so mean and made terrible comments about my hair and home dying. I know that not everyone is like that, but I do genuinely enjoy doing my own hair.

Have you every found something you love doing but get nervous about results and all that comes with it like with at home hair dying? I know I can’t be alone on this. I’m on the fence, because I absolutely adore dying my hair red. But I want to be smart about it as well. Send advice, please.

Thanks for reading my ups and downs of my affair with hair dye. I’d love any advice, tips, or conversation in the comments.

-With Love,


18 thoughts on “Coffee Talks: A Love Affair with Hair Dye”

  1. I went through a phase of dying my hair in my early 20s. I did it at home because I was far too cheap to go to a salon. I’m also a fan of red hair, but the problem is my natural colour is too dark for red to show up very well without bleaching it first. It looked great in the sun, but in normal light it didn’t look that different from my natural colour.

    1. I can definitely sympathize with that. I have medium brown naturally, so I never get the copper red I want unless I lighten.

  2. I didn’t have a boyfriend, I had a father who wanted me with long blonde hair for the rest of my life. It took until 6th grade for me to be able to cut my hair to shoulder length. It took until my 20s to dye all of my hair (I did bits and pieces, but nothing dramatic).

    I will always be a huge fan of the reddish-brown, or mahogany color on both me and you!

    XO Steph

    1. My father was also strict about length. I had butt-length hair until junior high. I do love a good reddish brown, and I think it’d look magical on you! Thanks for reading!!

  3. I use to dye my hair every 2 weeks. It was SO bad, my hair was a mess. I wanted black hair so my Dad and his friend dyed it for me. HUGE mistake! At that time I had a anime inspired haircut so I thought I would ste the front red over the black. What could go wrong right? I ended up with black hair and bright blood red roots. Then I tried to bleach it, it went green, orange and a crapton of hideous colors. Anyway long story short I kept dyeing my hair and it started to fall out it was so damaged. Now oodles of years later my long hair is a pixie cut and my dyed hair is my natural hair. I do want to color it again though but it will be a shade of brown 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing your hair plunders and journey too!! Sending all good vibes for the next time you dye. I’m sure it’ll be amazing!! 😘

      1. No worries love, I love being a cautionary tale :p. I wanted to get it done this past weekend but my stylist was all booked up. Hopefully this month I can get in <3

      2. Hope ya can get in! I’ve had such a bumpy road with hair. The biggest challenge I have is letting is grow out and having the roots be a different color.

      3. Ah, yes. I have naturally medium ash brown hair (I like to call it dirty mouse) if I have a nice shade of red the roots take on a grey color. Haha. I had blonde hair last may, it wasn’t a shade that fit my skin tone sadly. And it was very yellow. Didn’t care for that

      4. I’ve used ash brown shades to temper my reds before for growing them out. I think cooler browns look so pretty.

  4. I like that you did bright unnatural colours, I hope to try them on my locs sometime.
    Also red hair suits you, you looked amazing in all the photos.

  5. LOVED reading your hair journey! I was the same way, I did perms, every color hair dye, straightening treatments etc as a teenager. I always went to a salon, but the one color I was afraid of (blonde) I ended up doing it myself from a box. My hair stylist was the absolute best and did NOT judge me at all (she was actually impressed with my hair dying skills lol) And after years of experimenting, and being afraid of that ne color, I think I will be Blonde for life. I love it so much.
    I also love red, but much like you mentioned it is such a hard color to dye your hair (technically you should wash your in cold water, BUT red you really have too!) and it gets on everything. BUT you rock the color! I always tell myself, it is just hair it will grow back 🙂
    For red (and my apologies if I am repeating information you already know) and for hair health. I swear by hair masks. Thy have saved my hair. I also when I was a redhead used red shampoo and it protected the color and kept it from fading. Thanks so much for sharing this sweets! Good luck! <3

    1. Yes! You made amazing points! I’m so happy I learned how to take care of my hair, because I really enjoy dying it. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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