"Have I become so old that I'm finally the stick-in-the-mud when it comes to giving kids the freedom to try new and trendy things?" I thought the other day, when I passed by a hair dye display at the store. It featured a number of younger folks with vibrantly colored hair, dressed up in Halloween costumes. I was grateful I had left my daughters at home for this shopping trip, lest hear the incessant chatter in the back seat about how much they wished they could dye their hair, too.

A few years ago, in passing, I had seen an article about just what a mess dyes like this can make of someone's hair. So I reached out to one of my go-to beauty gals, Hairstylist Meghan Jordan, who works for Fringe Hair Salon in Orono. She's great at giving it to me straight.

I asked her if I was being a prude, not letting the girls experiment with this holiday hair dye, and she came back to me with an emphatic "No!"

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"Oh man, that stuff is the worst! Stays on till it’s cut out or covered up and even when it gets covered it may not be the color you're hoping for! Then the parents get mad at us bc we can’t fix it or it’s going to be over $100 to try!"

Jordan says that she's seen a trend lately that the dye is being used year-round and not just for the holidays.

beautiful sad girl on a red background

"Definitely more around Halloween, but the past few years since fashion colors are more accepted and widespread it’s all year it seems like. The color they chose will fade to a more bland color and they try to get it out on their own with no luck. They sometimes try to bleach over it which will turn the surrounding hair into many different colors usually a shade of orange even when using nonprofessional bleach the hair can fall off or chemically burn it off bc it is too harsh."

She says to treat hair that has been damaged by this dye is not easy or cheap.

Hair salon. Coloring.

"When we try to fix it we use a metallic remover to try and strip it out of the hair, Over-the-counter colors have metallics in them, which is NOT good. Then, once we do that, the hair is washed multiple times with a clarifying shampoo to further cleanse."

And Jordan says this process is not a guaranteed fix, particularly with certain brands.

Close-up of a hairdresser cutting the hair of a woman. Selective focus.

She says if you do end up with the color you don't like, be prepared for the repair to take hours. It's not a quick fix.


"The treatment takes up to 45 minutes of sitting on the hair plus the 3 shampoos afterward. And if we color over it that can take up to an hour or more and still there is no guarantee what you're going to get it."

Jordan's overall piece of advice when you're considering using hair dye...

"Don’t mess with your hair. There is a reason why we have to pay to go to school and get a license to do this job."

Portrait of young woman with pink hair showing peace sign.
Aleksander Kaczmarek

Maybe get a wig instead.

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