This entry is part 5 of 31 in the series The Hope Toolbox

When Your Daughter Wants to Dye Her Hair Blue

When Your Daughter Wants to Dye Her Hair Blue

By Kiersten (age 17) and Sara (age *the mother*) Borgstede

When our daughter Kiersten was 13 and in the 8th grade, she started BEGGING us to dye her hair blue. My first reaction was “No way, Jose,” and figured that would be the end of that conversation. To me, having a child with a head of hair that was totally blue was right up there with kids who get a head full of piercings to the point that when they take a drink, fluids come out of them like a sieve. They stay out all night doing bad things of which we don’t speak.

Not my child.

Kiersten

Kiersten’s original hair color.

And — not that I care what people think, but since it went through my head multiple times, obvious I do — what would the church members think?

Yet she was relentless.

We talked to her about first impressions, and how what others think of us shouldn’t matter, but it really does matter. We allowed her to dye the tips of her hair blue, hoping that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.

Kiersten's blue hair

Blue tips.

Finally, we decided it was, after all, just hair. We would allow it AFTER CONFIRMATION. The hour we came home from her Confirmation, she was up in the bathroom with a bottle of dye in hand, turning her hair, splotches of my sink and several of my towels, blue.

Rockin' the BLUE HAIR.

Rockin’ the BLUE HAIR.

Check out my video story of it here:

I thought this would be a passing phase, but no. Kiersten is now 17 and her hair has continued to change colors on a consistent basis over the last 5 years.

009010Kiersten's hairKiersten's hair

Why is my daughter so incessant about this change to her looks? What should you do if your teenager has the same desire?

I decided the best person to answer these questions is Kiersten herself.

An Interview with Kiersten

Q: What is so important to you about changing your hair color?

Kiersten: Changing my hair color is important to me because I wanted to change something that isn’t permanent and can be reversed. It’s a way of expressing my emotions of that time.

Kiersten's hair

Q: What would you say to parents who do not allow their teens to change their hair color?

K: I respect your decision, but I do think it’s something that can easily be changed back. It’s a way for your teen to express themselves without doing bad things.

Q: What are some of the reactions you have gotten from adults about your hair? How do other teens react?

K: Teens all like my hair. “Cool hair,” is a comment.

Younger adults are positive. One adult said I looked like something from Dr. Suess as a joke. I thought that was funny. Older ladies at our church love my hair and are always asking when I’m going to dye my hair again.

At a job interview with the city I asked if it was okay if I had different colors of hair, and she said it was fine and I still got the job. I had blond and purple hair at the time.

.Kiersten's hairKiersten's hairKiersten's hair

Q: You are also into darker clothing. Does it go along with changing your hair color or is that a separate thing?

K: It goes along with hair color. I like to be colorful and have contrast. If I have dark colors on top with my hair, I wear lighter clothes. If I have lighter hair, I like to wear all darker clothes.

Q: Are your hair and clothing colors an expression of your feelings?

K: Yes, I always try to match my colors to my mood. When I was depressed, I wore all black and had black hair. That is something you do need to watch out for with teens. Their colors express how they feel. The darker the colors, it’s a good chance the more down they are feeling. (Blacks and browns, not necessarily dark blue. I love to wear dark blue because it’s beautiful but I am not depressed when I wear it.)

Q: Explain “Emo” and what that means in general, and what it means to you personally.

K: “Emo” is short for “Emotional.” What most people think it is has to do with depression, cutting, suicide and hating yourself. It does correlate with those things extremely closely. Emo is all black. It is a very steep road to be on if you are depressed. You get sucked into things. It’s important to know what you are in there for and what you want out of it.

The way I see it, Emo means I express my emotions on the outside. Emo is closely related to Goth, and Goth is an art style. It was an art style before it was a clothing style.

I do not classify myself as Emo now. For about 4 years I saw myself as Emo and I was probably depressed off and on that whole time. (I was getting help.)

Now, I see myself as Scene. Scene is more of an artistic way of expressing yourself on the outside. I am still drawn to and interested in dark things. It’s more my type. But I do have to watch out for it and be careful with my depression. I know it’s easy to get sucked back into it.

With my music, I love Metal Core (Screamo) or Hard Rock and there are many Christian Metal Core bands. (My dad, who is a pastor, likes them too and we have been to some concerts together!)

I always look for a bright side in the darkness. For example, when I want to wear dark clothing, I do my hair in very bright colors. When I want to have dark hair, I wear lighter colors. I also like to match the seasons.

Q: What advice would you give to a parent who has a teen who wants to be Emo?

K: Let them test the waters, but make sure your teen knows you are keeping an eye on them and you are concerned about this because it gets into some very dark places. But not all Emo stuff is bad. Parents should look out for signs of cutting (long sleeves and bracelets), big chokers on the neck (to cover marks from choking), and shutting out the world constantly with music and headphones. That’s a way of not coping and giving up hope.

Pay attention to the emotion of the music they are listening to, also. If you need music ideas, you can ask me for suggestions in the comments, or you can send a message through my mom’s website and she will get it me and I will respond to your questions.

There are other important warning signs that parents should look out for. Check out the resources below for some good help.

Kiersten's hairKiersten's hair

Kiersten

Q: Now for some nitty-gritty details. How do you change your hair color so often without frying your hair?

The first step if you have dark hair is to bleach it, which is the hardest on your hair. A better way to bleach hair is with a bleach bath. Add 2 T powdered hair bleach to 4 T conditioner. Apply to hair and leave in for up to 10 minutes. Check often.

Powdered hair bleach can be purchased separately or comes in some hair dye kits.

(Here is one bleaching kit.)

I use Splat for my permanent colors. Permanent means it will last about a month (depending on how bright the color) until it starts to wash out and fade. Splat is all natural. Splat you can get all over, such as at Walgreens. Splat can be left on a long time for darker color, but I would not exceed 3 hours.

For temporary colors I use Manic Panic which will wash out by the end of the month. Manic Panic is all natural and organic. Manic Panic you have to order online. (Click here for one link.) Manic Panic you can leave the dye on as long as you want — some people even leave the dye on all night and wash it out in the morning. The longer it’s left on, the stronger the color.

Hair chalks, such as from Splat, last just until you wash it out. Those are also available at Walgreens.

Kiersten's hair

Kiersten's hair

Kiersten’s look as of today.

Kiersten and Zack

Kiersten is an amazing big sister!

The Hope Toolbox

hope for depression

Today’s Bible Verse: 

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;  for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:5

Today’s Journaling Prompt: 

If you are a parent, are there discussions you need to have with your children today? If you are not a parent or your children are grown, who are the children or parents in your life that you can encourage? Your influence matters!

Resources (Suggested by Kiersten as helpful for Teens and Their Parents)

Teen Treatment Center: Signs of Depression in Teens

What is Emo?

The Hope Toolbox Printable Kit for Depression & Anxiety

When Your Daughter Wants to Dye Her Hair Blue

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