The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Patchy Yet Perfect

The story of how I dyed my hair for the first time.
Addison Griswold
Photo By Addison Griswold

She’s glaring at me but I’m glaring back because I mean business. The small, chrome packaged box of the L’Oreal Feria “EXTRA Bleach Blonde” hair bleach in one hand, disposable gloves in the other. I walk up to the counter and pull out my wallet, filled to the brim with gifted cash from Christmas. A 20 dollar bill and a couple quarters later, the crime was committed. 

Going against my parents wishes wasn’t really a thing in 2020 – at age 14, especially. Fresh into high school, fresh into a new hairdo. Assisted by a good friend, the “Master at Hair Dye and Haircutting”, Emma Sheverbush. 

“A New Years Eve sleepover,” I convinced my parents by fully lying. Sure, it was a sleepover that took place on the date of December 31, 2020, but it was clearly so much more than that. A breakthrough and a rebellion; finally declaring myself as someone serious enough to go against their hard enforced rule, but it was just their kindness at heart, really. fourteen-year-olds don’t care about that, though. “They didn’t need to know the details,” I had thought. 

 The singeing on my scalp burned, itched, and most of all, it stunk. The smell of that intense box bleach was so strong, and even if you plugged your nose, it wouldn’t stop your eyes from watering. 

“I don’t mean to freak you out, but your neck is bright red…” Emma would worriedly reiterate many times that different parts on my head looked like they were being scalded off. Sure, it hurt a little, but the title “chemical burn” really isn’t as intense as you think it would be, at least not with hair bleach. Do not take my word for it with other chemicals. 

A good 35 minutes later, the hardship was done. The bangs were cut. The hair was rinsed and blow dried. 

It was patchy.

 Of course it was, why wouldn’t it be, we didn’t have schooling for how to color hair. For some reason, I had expected it to look jaw-droppingly stunning. It was the shade of a yellow street light, or Google’s “Google Slides” icon yellow is more of an accurate comparison. My bangs were fortunately even across my eyebrows, but I later learned from my angry hair stylist that they were cut wrong; see any video online about people cutting their own bangs and let your imagination run. You’ll probably be correct. 


“It’s so good! You look so good,” Emma convinced me. I assume deep down she knew it wasn’t very good, either. We didn’t have proper judgment at the time, obviously. I’m sure we thought it was actually good at the time. 

My dad picked me up the next morning and like any sensible person would, I hid it with a wig. When I got in the passenger seat of his black Chevy truck, he said,

“You better not have that color on underneath that wig,” 

Jokes on him, I didn’t. The wig was black. My hair was yellow.

He had to run errands after he dropped me back off at home, and I decided to peel off the wig and present my new look to my family who was home at the time. I showed my mother, who like any 40-something year old white woman would, snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook. My dad got home about an hour later. 

“You look stupid. You look like Ronald McDonald,” 

It wasn’t even red. Orange is the furthest stretch you could make but it was still very obviously yellow, Dad. If any made up character I shared a resemblance to was brought into the conversation, it should’ve been He Man. That would’ve been unarguable. 

Grounded is a given punishment for what I had done, but it ended up being very worth it down the line. It had opened a door to less criticism from my parents, and to so many other hair colors. Now, I’ve had everything from red to teal to purple to pink and back to purple…the list goes on. To be fully honest with you, I haven’t seen my natural hair color take over my head since that day of December 31, 2020. 

I like it that way, though.

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