Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013

Yearning for Color


I’d like to ask everyone a question.

When did we become so afraid of color?

It’s in our homes, adorning our bedspreads and covering our laptops. It’s out in nature, blanketing the Earth with flowers and vibrant birds. Some of us wear a variety of colors, using them to express our moods or personalities.

But why do we stop ourselves from being too bright or bold?

Clothes are conventionally limited to a safe pattern of what “matches” and what doesn’t. People tend to stray away from contrasting colors, or even shades of the same color.

Blue and orange? You’re so crazy! Blue on blue? Whack!!!!

Gosh, there’s an even an entire store in the mall dedicated to women only wearing black and white, with maybe one pre-approved pop of color here and there.

I spent my teen years not being allowed to dye my hair because people with vibrant hair colors were goth, emo, sad, depressed, rage filled, goat sacrificing hoodlums with no futures.

So then I starting dyeing my hair auburn when I was in college. I gradually went a little brighter with my red each time. I finally settled on a color that started out a beautiful merlot color and faded to a fun, bright, but definitely not “Little Mermaid” caliber, red.

I loved it.

Then I started student teaching. And then the ladies in the office (not-so) subtly told me that I had “some hair color there”.


And they told me that often.

Finally, right before I graduated, I sadly went back to my plain, fairly mousey and cool toned brown.

I felt that a part of me had been taken away.

I had spent the better part of the end of my college career and my grad school career trying to regain my confidence and sense of self, after I had spent time being a meaner, poorer, shell version of myself.

My problem was that the red hair change had come just when I was starting to feel good again. I was coming to terms with my chronic illnesses, I was becoming happier, and I was finding out who my true friends were.

And honestly, I have just always loved red hair. From ginger to Ariel under the sea, I loved all of the shades of red hair.

So losing that spark was not fun.

Similarly, when I started to wear colorful eye makeup and either bright pink or pale bubblegum pink lips, people told me I was wearing too much makeup.

Too much, or was it too bright, colorful, and not the norm in a sea of neutral loving folks?

Again, I was stifled.

Recently, I tried to regain some of my confidence through color. I dyed the under-layer of my hair a vibrant red. As an under-layer, it’s still pretty subtle, but fun and quirky. And fiery in just the right light, just the way I like it.

I use a special color system to keep my hair bright. It has morphed into a color that I call “red velvet,” and I love it.

Red Velvet Hair Color

Recently, I used that same color system to add subtle pink to my bangs. I know that my job probably won’t allow this if it gets much more pigmented, but it makes me feel happy.

extreme pink bangs

It’s been a long, gray winter y’all.

Then I added purple to my red under-layer. Now my red has gone from red velvet to berry colored. I also apparently only make food analogies to describe my hair color. I do love food.

My hair is a little more berry than red velvet today!

My hair is a little more berry than red velvet today!

Anyway, it makes me happy. Color is life. And doing whatever I want with my color is even better.


Recently, I bought purple lipstick. I hadn’t had the courage to wear it out of the house for the longest time.

One night, I found myself at one of my shows and in need of some lipstick or gloss or something. Like the sword of Gryffindor in the Sorting Hat, the purple lipstick just presented itself to me. So I put it on.


Wahbam! Suddenly I was a million times happier and I felt kind of fierce with my red velvet hair, big eyebrows, seam ripper around my neck, and helping put on a ridiculously colorful version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Color was back in my life.

I was happy.

But why can’t I have my whole head be berry colored? Why can’t I wear purple lipstick everywhere, while still being a classy, cool, and trendy lady?

So here’s what I want to know:

Where and when is it acceptable to be colorful, funky, and free?

Kids in a lot of schools, and households, can’t dye their hair. Forget about purple, blue, and bubblegum pink lipstick. Even when colorful hair is an accident, kids are punished for it.

Most workplaces don’t want that kind of stuff. Vibrant hair styles and colorful makeup looks are only for artist types.

But why? Colorful hair is on the runways, in the magazines, on celebrities, and, like I said, color is everywhere. Am I rebel, or am I on trend? So you have to be celebrity or a cartoon character to sport blue hair? 

What gives, world?


Sadly for now, my dreams of a fully berry toned head of hair are just that, dreams. Maybe the norm will change one day. How many more runways and magazines need to feature bright colors before kids stop getting suspended and I can dye my whole head some fun colors?

What do you think about bold color combos in your wardrobe, makeup, or on your head? Yea or nay?


Author: Allyssa Ellen

A costumer, a makeup artist, an educator, and a librarian, all rolled up into one convenient, fun-sized package.

3 thoughts on “Yearning for Color

  1. Ugh. I hate that this is a thing. I love your hair and I think you should be able to do whatever you want with it. People are so judgmental. What is having red hair going to teach the kids you work with except that they shouldn’t be afraid of who they are and what others think? Dye you hair red, dye your hair green. If it makes you happy, do it.

  2. Reblogged this on Truths with Lori and Allyssa and commented:

    In anticipation of something cool happening this week, here’s this post from our old blog Honesty Time.
    I still want to know: What do you think about color? If there a time and a place for “not the norm” hair and makeup? Or is it more widely accept? Or do we not care, and just let other people live their lives? Honestly, it’s just cosmetics, people. Get a grip.

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