New Country, New Hair



So… I did a thing!!! On Monday, I went to a hair salon near campus, chopped off several inches, and got my hair dyed for the first time ever. I figured, what better way to lose my hair virginity than to go for an unnatural color AND get it done in a foreign country? Go big or go home, amirite?!


Before a couple months ago, I’ve never had any interest in dying my hair, not even highlights. I’m not against it or anything—but I guess I just liked my brown hair as-is and couldn’t imagine it any other way. I’m very low-maintenance when it comes to hair and makeup (what can I say? I’d much rather spend my time and money on fashion!).

That is, until my friend split-dyed her hair last year. She rocked a bob with bangs, where one half of her head was a bright red/pink color, and the other half was her natural black shade. She looked SO cool and badass! It inspired me to start thinking about dying my own hair a fun color as an act of “rebellion” while I’m still young. Sure, colored hair isn’t really considered rebellious in this day and age, but when you come from a pretty traditional family like mine, it’s kind of a big deal.

My only hesitation was that I would never want my outfits to clash with my hair. I feel like when your hair is dyed a fun color, it acts as a new accessory—one that should complement your outfit instead of take away from it! That’s why the only time I was ever willing to dye my hair was during my semester abroad… because I knew I would have to pack a small capsule wardrobe with a very specific color scheme.

hair-by-hanlon-balayage-first-time-hair-dye maroon-hair-purple-hair-dye-balayage

I’ve always loved maroon and wear a ton of it, so it’s no coincidence that my capsule wardrobe colors and the colors in my hair are the same. Now, all my outfits will match my hair perfectly! (Well, maybe not perfectly, but more on that in a sec.) I figured dying my hair while I’m abroad would be an ideal introduction to hair dye because the stakes are so low. First, if the color had turned out horribly, I could rest easy knowing that I don’t really know anyone here and will likely not see most of these people again after I leave in May. Second, now my hair matches my clothes, so I don’t have to worry about clashing outfits. And third, I get to have a fun color before I go home to graduate and enter the workforce. (I would prefer to have naturally colored hair when I start applying and interviewing for jobs.) It’s a win-win-win!

I originally planned to get my hair done over Christmas break just before coming to Scotland, but my mom gave me the idea to do it here instead. I thought that was genius so I could pick the brain of my hair stylist! And that I did—she gave me tons of great recommendations for restaurants around town and things to do while I’m here.


Here’s the before pic of my very frizzy hair! I had a consultation with the hair stylist last week to look at colors and do a strand test. Originally, I wanted purple ombre that faded into a bright maroon at the tips. However, the stylist told me the dark purple would be hard to achieve on my color of hair and that it would fade into a greenish shade over time. I appreciated that insight because I am obviously very clueless about hair dye! I let her take the reigns, and whenever she asked if I wanted this or that, I would ask her in return, “What do you think would look best?”

I know some people are really attached to their hair, but I honestly have never been one of those people. Hair grows back, and I love the excitement of a drastic new cut. Was it risky getting my hair dyed for the first time in a foreign country? I guess, maybe. But I figured, the worst thing that could happen was that I hated my hair for a few months and that I wasted the money. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.


My stylist did balayage instead of ombre, so she painted bleach throughout my hair with a big paint brush first and then added toner to the bleached areas. I knew I didn’t want my whole head dyed because a) that would be a lot for my first time, and b) I knew I wouldn’t get it touched up, so I wanted it to fade nicely over time. My natural roots are still showing, as are bits and pieces of brown throughout my head.

I do have to admit, the color has a lot more blue than red tones, so my hair is more purple than the maroon color I was imagining. I still absolutely love it though! And I think it will pair with most of my maroon clothing items just fine, even if it’s not an exact match. What I love most about the hair is how different it looks in different lighting. It’s very dynamic—sometimes the strands looks really purple, and sometimes they’re much more pink. In fact, I think the left side of my head is way more purple than my right side, which you can kind of see in the pic above. The right side still has a few streaks of bleached hair showing through, making it kind of a rose gold color! I actually really love it. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was just along for the ride.

As far as the cut goes, I got it shoulder length and slightly asymmetric, so that it’s longer on the side of my part—just a fun, edgy detail, I thought. I also asked for a few layers to texturize my hair. I haven’t washed it yet, so I’m still not sure how it will dry naturally! I’m very excited to find out tonight. My hair usually gets a little wavier when it’s shorter, and I’m hoping all the moisture in Glasgow’s climate will make it even wavier than usual. I’ll also be interested to see how the colors fade over time.


What do you think?! I’ve never thought of myself as a colored hair kind of person, but I’ve been loving it so far. Who knows, maybe I would even do it again in the future! Short hair is so much easier to maintain, and I’m looking forward to all the cute braids and hairstyles I can do with it. Contrary to what one might expect, I’ve always found I can do more with my hair when it’s short than when it’s long—I just get lazy and annoyed when there’s too much of it.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by the blog and reading my hair rambles! Many more maroon/purple outfit and hair pics in the weeks to come.


Miles of smiles,

8 comments on “New Country, New Hair”

    1. Thanks Mireille! Yes, I love that it’s not *too* over-the-top in color, I wanted something slightly more on the subtle side. And I hear ya, long hair is such a pain!

  1. This is a great colour on you! My sister always dyes her hair purple and she suits it so much – I’m always really jealous! I did think for a while back about dying mine when it was shorter but I knew it would mean it would take me even longer to grow my hair long enough to donate again (you can’t donate dyed hair) so I haven’t done it, but maybe next time I get a short cut after donating! 🙂

    Hope that your week is going well 🙂

    1. I usually donate my hair too! It was definitely long enough this time but I wasn’t sure how to do it here in a different country – I didn’t really want to deal with it, to be honest. But that’s a good point – it will take a long time to grow out. Thanks for stopping by, Mica!

  2. Grace, this hair cut and color look so amazing on you! I am glad that you took your mom’s suggestion and waited to do it abroad. What a fun idea and it worked out brilliantly for you! I really like how it is pinker on one side and more purple on the other. And your friend’s half and half hair color that inspired you was one of my hair goals for a long while! I wanted half white and half black but my stylist said we would never get my hair to white. I never thought of doing it a darker color with black! Doy. But now my hair is so darn long that I think I am going to just grow out my gray! Have a fantastic weekend, my friend! Go show off that fabulous new hair style!


    1. Thanks so much Shelbee!! And ooh a half white and half black look sounds SO cool, kind of Cruella-esque but in the best way possible.

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