I Let My 9-Year-Old Dye Her Hair

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Rebecca's daughter, Rowan

Rebecca’s daughter, Rowan

My daughter and her new punk red dyed hair went to school for the start of grade five last week. Yes, I “allowed” my daughter, who asked to dye her hair punk red, to do it. I took her to the salon. This dye was not a spray dye. It was serious. I’m talking bleaching the ends of her dark brown hair first and then applying the punk red dye. We were in the salon for about two hours.

My 9-year-old daughter is an interesting character to say the least. I love her because she is so…dramatic. Before school started, when she started talking about her hair, she dropped to the ground of our home like she had fainted and cried out, “MY HAIR NEEDS TO BE CREATIVE.” She didn’t say this in a demanding way. She literally meant it, as if she didn’t get it done she would explode with frustration. She continued, “I have to wear a uniform, so how else can I show my creativity but with my hair?!”

It’s true. At her school, she’s not even allowed to wear nail polish so I was a little worried about dying her hair punk red. We compromised that she could only get the front couple inches dyed. I read the school code of conduct and, like always, I rarely read the fine print. But I didn’t SEE anything that said, “NO HAIR DYED PUNK RED!” I thought, if worst comes to worst and I got a call sending her home because of her hair, I’ll just get her hair cut shorter or dyed back to its original color.

My daughter has always been fashion forward. Yes, of course, there was the period of dressing in a flowered skirt with polka dot leggings and a striped shirt. But she has always “done” her own thing. For example, last year she was really, really into hats and caps. She wore them all year every day. She has a collection of them. Or she’d accessorized every outfit with a scarf. She started wearing leg warmers before everyone else in her class, and knee-high socks with skirts and motorcycle boots when not in school. Last year, when she wanted her hair cut in a bob, we had it done. Two days later, half her class had the same style hair. She picked out a pair of flowered Doc Martens months before everyone else started wearing them. She just seems to KNOW what she wants to wear and always has.

But back to the hairdresser, who I asked if the dye was going to ruin her hair.

“No it’s just like you dying your hair. Hair grows six inches a year, and these are just the ends. I have done a lot of young girls.”

Of course I then asked, “So we can turn it back to brown if she gets kicked out of school because she’s nine and has punk red hair?”

No problem, he said.

My daughter went off to school and I waited all day for the phone call, “COME GET YOUR DAUGHTER NOW! WHAT A BAD INFLUENCE SHE IS!” But the call never came! In fact, a number of teachers complimented her hair and my daughter told me that kids were “whispering” about her hair in her classroom all day. A grade eight student even told her that she loved her hair.

One mother who saw me drop her off said, “Great. Now my daughter is going to want to get her hair dyed.” She called me later that night and said, “I told you. My daughter asked if she could dye her hair blue.”

Not my problem. Most mothers at her school, I know, would NOT allow their daughters to do this. But like I told my daughter, “It’s your hair,” which I believe to be true. It is HER hair and she’s turning 10 in a month, so she kind of knows what she wants.

The only people who didn’t “get” it were my parents – then again they didn’t agree with my belly button piercing when I was 15 either.

Someone else did ask me, “What’s next? Tattoos?” No. There’s a difference between getting a tattoo and dying your hair. My daughter is well aware that I hate tattoos – even though I have two (Yeah, thanks rock star who I dated for years for the music note on my ass!) Hair grows. Tattoos are pretty much forever.

I will admit that my daughter did originally ask for the Miley Cyrus hair cut, shaved on one side and long on the other, and I said absolutely, “NO!” to that, even though she loved that style. I figure if I let her get all her “creativity” out NOW when it comes to her hair, then later in life she’ll have it out of her system. What can I say except  that it’s just hair, and it’s not mine. I just wish the assistant hair stylist didn’t say to her, “It gets addictive!”