Stuck-at-home boredom makes hair dyeing an exciting pastime


Stella Heon

Stella Heon after dyeing her hair from her natural brown color to red.

By Amanda Cassel, University of Chicago Laboratory High School

The governor may have deemed hair salons to be non-essential businesses, but when teens are stuck at home facing extreme boredom, some take matters into their own hands by turning changes in hair color and style into entertainment.

“It’s just no one can see how bad you look over Zoom, and it’s not like you’re seeing anyone, so really, why not,” junior Stella Heon said, reflecting on her decision to dye her hair while stuck at home.

 For Stella and sophomore Leila Garfinkel, the answer to their boredom was red hair dye.

“I was bored so I bleached my hair, but then I was too tired to dye it red, so a couple weeks later I dyed it red,” Leila said.

It’s just no one can see how bad you look over Zoom, and it’s not like you’re seeing anyone, so really, why not”

— Stella Heon

Leila has dyed her hair before, but this time, it felt different.

“Last time, my friends helped me do it, so it was much better, and I really thought about it,” Leila said. “But, this time, I really just went for it.”

Dyeing her hair was a success for Leila, and she plans to leave her hair as is. Like Leila, Stella also dyed her hair due to boredom, but for Stella, it didn’t work out so well.

“It was really a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” Stella said. “I mean, I have dyed my hair before and I’ll do it again, but I don’t think I would have used my mom’s really old red hair dye if I wasn’t stuck at home.”

For Stella, it was a normal Thursday afternoon, she had just finished her school work and resolved to dye her hair. She surveyed her friends for what color to dye it and the resounding answer was red.

“Now, I was too scared to actually ask my mom to order proper red hair dye,” Stella said, “so I decided, ‘I’m going to take this congealed bottle of crimson food coloring that expired in 1989 and put it on my head.’”

Stella combined the food coloring with her conditioner and prepared to place the dye. 

“I just went for it,” Stella said, “and I was so unprepared. I had a stained scalp and hands to show for it.”

Stella was not thrilled with the outcome.

“It was this kind of ugly pink that clashed with any pink clothing, and I wear pink all the time, so I knew I needed to fix it,” Stella said. “I ended up using other dye to get it back to this natural-ish brown color.”

Despite Stella’s lack of success, she said she would dye her hair again, but as words of advice, she said, “If you wouldn’t do it out of quarantine, don’t do it in quarantine.”

This story was originally published on U-High Midway on May 18, 2020.