Shapeshifters never stay permanent

By Caela Magale, September 13, 2022

Read time: 4 Mins

Shapeshifters never stay permanent Image

It’s been almost a month since I’ve changed my hair to its current state, retouching and rebleaching my roots and dyeing the other half peach. At first, it turned out to be this shade of red once it dried and it had me thinking, ‘Did I use the wrong color?’ and, ‘Was my hair not light enough for the dye? Now though, it’s faded enough to the kind of peach I had in mind. The waiting time as I let the dye sit on my hair made me think, ‘why I’m so keen on constantly changing my hair?’

For younger me

Like other things, this is another that I feel like I owe to younger self. As early as 13, I wanted to try another color. Blame Tumblr or those teen magazines. The Tumblr grunge era was a really huge influence and that girl on Instagram who had purple hair and was famous for it. For a long time, I wanted purple and then electric blue hair. I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair, among other things, the reasons being that my hair will be ruined and I was “too young”. 

I remember finding this kool-aid method the summer after 9th grade where you basically dip your hair in water with boiled kool-aid. When I finally put it on and did as the tutorials said, it didn’t work. I ended up wasting kool-aid because to achieve the desired results, you at least need to have brown hair but my hair was virgin black. The next summer I got extensions. Anyway, I just know I would’ve been more annoying had I been allowed to dye my hair back then. 

17-year-old me bleaching her hair for the first time is a core memory even though it was this really crappy dip dyed brassy brown. It’s been five years since my first bleach job and I could say I learned a lot. I went from using 12% developer, leaving bleach on my hair for 2 hours, using permanent dye even when I frequently change colours to using better hair product brands, 6% developer, and temporary direct dyes. Shout out to Fray and that hair dyeing community for the tips and takeaways. It’s a really nice learning process.

Frequent change trigger

I’m always constantly seeking what’s next. Newness and thrills cure boredom, the void, and the gnawing feeling that you don’t know where it comes from. Over time, I realised I love shapeshifting. I remember this video of a Youtuber I used to watch where she was like “I tell the months through my hair colours” and I guess that’s kind of what I do now. I don’t know. I’m quite stuck currently, thanks to the global pandemic along with other reasons, so my hair is kind of one of the limited options I can go to for change. When you want to be impulsive, you can just take it out on your hair. At least it’s one that doesn’t have that much of a negative consequence if you do it properly. It gives you something to do and for a given period of time depending on how fast it wears off.

Being unrecognisable is quite an amazing feeling. This month I plan to have blue hair. Will I keep it the coming month? We’ll see. How long ‘til I’m a bleach blonde again? We’ll see, we’ll see. Shapeshifters never stay permanent. Changing my hair makes me feel like I’ve done something different and I like to be ambitious or delusional, manifesting that I trigger a new mindset and lifestyle with it. Sometimes there’s a reason behind the change, and it can be heavy or just because I felt like it.

Anything but my natural hair

Well, I’ve had it for over a decade and it just doesn’t feel right. I’ve outgrown it, you can say. Although yes, it fits the goth or alternative aesthetic which I also enjoy but currently, I just feel more myself with dyed/bleached hair.

It’s also a statement to my old schools, the ones I had to have “normal” hair for. Also, to people who were in my way in having dyed or bleached hair. I remember how some people would be against me for doing it, “That better be the last time” is a statement I’d hear back then almost after every new hair change, making me feel constricted yet again. I don’t plan to go back to black for as long as I can.

As someone about to enter the workforce, I hope I end up in a workplace that is less traditional and less restrictive. Black, being my natural hair colour, is such a pain to remove. It’s such a waste to have it stripped off and lightened to just redye it back again. Having these fun hair colours also make me feel like I’m far from turbulent periods in my life. That, and the confidence it gives.


This might be one of the major reasons, perhaps. Through my hair, I can feel like I’m free. It makes me feel like I can opt for bigger and brighter things. It allows catharsis which, believe me, we all need more than we think we do.

Rinsing the dye out made me realise the length of this internal ramble, I just really felt like plotting out the reasons behind this highly sought-out activity of mine. On surface level, I can just say it’s a reaction to worldly current events and being stuck or I’m just another Gen Z keeping up with the times. Those are true but you know, there’s more to it.

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