The women in my family, on my mom’s side, are all independent people who share certain personality traits. Myself, my mom, and my two cousins are all prone to talking loudly, talking a lot and (sometimes) talking over each other. But less annoyingly, we all also have a penchant for messing with our hair. We’ve probably covered every possible color outside blue or green among the bunch of us.

A family story favorite that we still talk about today: my mom dyed her hair brown for years before letting the gray settle in. When I was younger, my mom didn’t check the bottle carefully, and wound up with purple-y hair. She freaked (it was awesome) and washed her hair a thousand times before dyeing over again. Cut to the next weekend at a family gathering where one of my cousins, probably 17 at the time, shows up with the same hair color. On purpose. Cue my mom freaking out. Traumatizing at the time for my cousin, sure. Awesome story to harp on later, absolutely.

In high school I was pretty tame with my hair color choices, usually different shades of brown: darker, lighter, bronze-y, reddish, ice-y, etc. And my one rule was never to use permanent dye. Thirty days and I’m out! That’s not always the case, of course, when you choose a very different color, like red, which I dyed my hair twice during college. The red fades in a bad way, and I had to dye over it with brown after month or two.

So what’s my next move? To dye my hair an even darker, harder to fade out color: black. You can blame C for this one, because it was a challenge. He’s a dude, and given that most dudes don’t notice hair, he hasn’t noticed many times I’ve cut or dyed my hair. Recently, he mentioned, “I bet if you dye it black it wouldn’t be that different.” Challenged accepted, thank you very much.

The result:

I’ve never been so scared dyeing my hair before. Not only was I trying to keep the dye from getting all over the bathroom, but I knew if I didn’t cover my hair completely it would look ridiculous. Oh, and a funny thing, when you use a dark color, the dark dye will aggressively stain any part of your body is gets on.

I should have remembered when this happened to my friend Maren in college. She gave me the sense to realize that it’s just hair, it’ll grow back, and why not have fun with it? She’s the person whose head I shaved freshman year, the person who attacked me with bleach to give me my first highlights and the person I trusted for the rest of college to cut my hair. That also might be the reason I get the scissors out myself these days and hack away out of boredom or curiosity. I still have never been to a salon in New York. Crazy, I know.

I’m pretty happy with this new look. I don’t love the blue and purple stains below my neck and on the back of one of my arms (uh, how’d that get there?). Looks like I’ll have to thank C for this challenge after all. But what can I possibly do next? Purple just isn’t for me.

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