What’s with the blue hair?

This is just a question to dispel my ignorance. A lot of the kids, and some adults, are dyeing their hair fluorescent colors like blue, red, and green. I’ve seen it on both men and women.

Now I think it’s ugly, but that’s their choice, and I’m not going to hair-shame. Often the dyed-hair crowd comprises social-justice warriors, like the famous “Big Red” below, but I’m not sure that’s always true. My question is this.

What’s with the colored hair? Is it to show adherence to a particular ideology, or are there other reasons?



  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I think it’s a hipster phenomena. I find there is an overlap of hipster and SJW when it comes to fashion trends and attitudes. They all seem to have a tribal snooty “too cool for school” outlook and I think the hair style is just a reflection of the same. I remember recently hearing middle aged women being criticized for joining the trend which only seems to support my theory that it’s trendy and exclusive.

    • Beau Quilter
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Age-shaming in the world of hair-dying trends seems ironic to me. Weren’t octegenarians the original “blue hairs”?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Yeah, well being a middle aged woman gets a lot of “thou shalt nots” including “wearing mini skirts” and putting on make up a certain way. It’s a way of kicking you out of “youth crowd”.

        • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          Sort of like us old guys being told to leave the Speedos at home.

          • XCellKen
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            ALL guys should leave their Speedos at home. And this coming from a former competitive swimmer

            • Dave
              Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

              What’s wrong with dick-stickers?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            No, that’s all guys.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          ‘Twas ever thus. The arrogance of youth must assert itself, including by excluding old folk — it’s a biological imperative, like salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

          As Marlon Brando said in The Wild One when asked what he was rebelling against, “What have you got?”

          • XCellKen
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Lisa Simpson also said that to Principal Skinner

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Interesting, but I might disagree. From what I can tell (and that is very limited) it just seems to mostly be playful self-expression. Perhaps the remark about a middle-aged woman doing so is because it isn’t seen as a very “grown-up” or “professional” look. Perhaps if the trend continues that attitude could change. I’m not bothered by it (yet?) and I think it’s kind of fun.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Could be or it could be both things or many things depending who the person is.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Yeah. It’s a “youth culture” thing just like tattoos and facial piercing. At one time all of these were looked down on as kind of seedy belonging to a certain type of undesirable. Now of course it’s everywhere. I think it’s an identity signal showing that “Hey, I’m cool too just like you.” wink wink nudge nudge.
      On older people it looks just silly to me.

  2. Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    It’s just fun as far as I know

    I am 57 and have hot pink hair, or bright purple, or even really bright blue

    My daughter always has her hair colored, a few times like the pic in this post, but usually purple, or an ombre effect

    Back when I was younger I colored my hair to be red/auburn because no one takes a blond seriously, especially back then

    So, old joke for you.
    What do you call a blond who dyes her hair red? Artificial intelligence har har har

    Anyway we don’t do it for any reason other than to have fun

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Ditto. Hair is a renewable accessory, like nails. Some people also iron their hair, perm it or use hair gel for a spiky look. It’s like changing your clothes.

    • Christopher
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      My son, who turned 21 last Sunday, showed up to the restaurant with bright pink hair. He is, like me, a natural redhead, and also like me struggled with all the attention (much of it negative, though often just embarrassing) the hair color brought as a child. What I find curious is that unlike me, he chose to draw MORE attention to his hair, but then again, now that he’s 6’7” and all muscles, he probably gets the positive attention from people he wants, whereas I only got the old ladies (the blue hairs, as we called them) who for as long as I can remember have fawned over me and said embarrassing things (for a 5 yr old especially) like “oh I just love your hair, would you trade with me?”

  3. Mark Reaume
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I think a common opinion is that they do it to rebel or come across as non-conformists. I think it is more simple than that for most people. They do it because:

    1) they think it looks good (eye of the beholder and all of that)
    2) they like to change their appearance from time to time
    3) they feel that it better reflects their personality

    • Luis Servin
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Maybe many just do it for fun. As a 61 year old male, whose hair is thinning fast, all I can say is: Go for it!! If you’re male, it’s likely that in you future there won’t be enought hair left to do crazy stuff with it.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        I like it – oh, I apologize – I mean :

        [ thumb up on hand extending from cufflinked formal wear]

  4. Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Could be they’re saying “I’m different, I’m special, I’m rebelling.” Personally I’m OK with hair of any color. It’s nose rings that I don’t think I’ll ever like.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      And tongue beads – Yuck!!

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I don’t like nose rings (septum piercing), but I find nostril piercings attractive. I really dislike the look when people make huge holes in their earlobes. Just looks incredibly ugly to me. But what’s worse than that imo are facial tattoos. I just don’t get facial tattoos.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Often people regret those huge earlobe holes and need plastic surgery to fix them.

        • Mark R.
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          Not surprising.

          I often wonder about young people with excessive “ink”. How many regret it once they are much older. Especially people with facial tattoos. At the same time, maybe tats are easier to get rid of then I think.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            A brown paper bag works.

            With eyeholes, natch.


            • Mark R.
              Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

              That’s definitely the cheap way!

              I was actually curious earlier and looked up “removing facial tattoos”. Per googly, companies out there remove w/ lasers for $200-500 per session. It takes 2-5 sessions depending on how many tattoos. More expensive than getting the tattoos in the first place.

              • Hempenstein
                Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

                Yep, my ladyfriend removes tattoos and does other laser-based skin treatments. Tattoo removal ain’t cheap, or painless. She removes gang-related facial tattoos pro bono.

                There’s no regulation on what can be used as an ink, either. Prison tattoos often use cigarette ash. Some inks, as you might imagine, are easier to remove than others.

                Amuses me to see people in the local food co-op, tatted to the hilt, with loads of organic, non-GMO stuff at checkout.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

                My fear is an immune reaction to the ink. Knowing my body it would do just that too & then you’re just screwed.

                I thought of getting something to cover my scar near my armpit from the sentinel node biopsy scar but that biopsy cut my nerves & it really hurts there plus I don’t want crap going into my remaining lymph nodes & even though I didn’t get them all out so unlikely I’ll get lymphodema, I still have issues there so don’t need to ask for trouble.

                So I wonder how many people really botch things up. You don’t hear of it so much.

            • Hempenstein
              Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

              I don’t know where this will show up, but it’s a reply to Diana.

              It turns out that the immune system is responsible for the ink staying where it does, something that I think has only recently been understood. Otherwise it would diffuse away and be cleared in one way or another. Here’s a bit that NPR did on it recently

              None of this intended by any stretch to encourage you to get tatted. Plus there is apparently ZERO regulation or standardization in tattoo inks, and that is part of what makes their removal so difficult. Different inks, which of course have different molecular structures, respond differently to the laser energy, or to put it the way my ladyfriend explains to clients, “Some inks are easier to remove than others.”

        • Merilee
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          My darling daughter did that in her late teens…

          • Merilee
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            I mean the big ear holes and then plastic surgery.

            • Diane G
              Posted October 11, 2018 at 1:10 am | Permalink

              Did you find out about it before or after the deed?

  5. Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    While dyed hair may be disproportionately set to a more leftist inclination, I would guess that could be explained by originality and independence prompting creative expression (as opposed to “conservative” – in a traditional definition).

    I haven’t seen any evidence that directly ties it to anything. As of right now I see it more as playful self-expression.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      It’s conformist behavior.

      • Merilee
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. I find it a pity that especially young people, who usually have such healthy shiny hair, dull it with dye. I find Asians with orange and yellow hair especially ridiculous, but à chacun son goût. I’ve never dyed my hair; was blonde (but not dumb🤓) for years, then darkened a bit, now somewhat lighter again with a few grey streaks. I’m lucky to have much less grey than my three younger brothers. Who knows why? I think that people usually look best with the hair they’re born with. As lovely as Michele Obama is, I wish she’d let her hair go “natural” (not that she asked me).

  6. Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Chanty Binx. If I were writing a novel, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a character name that good.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Yeah, that moniker coulda come right outta a Pynchon novel, like Oedipa Maas or Rachel Owlglass.

  7. Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    It’s a style thing with some rebellion mixed in. It’s been going on for years, waxing and waning. Mostly young people, but I know a couple in their 80’s who color their white hair blue and yellow and pink. Rainbow hair.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Most all of the seniors at my local Senior Center dye their hair some color. And a third of them have streaks of bright colors. Certainly is as valid 9and natural looking) as dying your hair jet back once you’ve turned all white.

    • AC Harper
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Back in the 70’s I wore my hair long and beard and moustache untrimmed. The loon pants were pink though.

  8. alangrohe
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    clearly this is the work of antifa and the Oberlin student council

  9. Larry Smith
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    AFAIK it’s just for fun/fashion. My daughter did it, and she’s no SJW/hipster. Very common out here now in So. Cal.

    Pointless chess reference: Board 3 for the US Women’s Olympic Chess Team, Tatev Abrahamyan, has purple hair.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      So did some woman scientist who was featured here, last year I think. She had to be in her 50s at least, and the purple? pink? stripes looked great on her spiky hairdo.

      • davidintoronto
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Prof. Rosie Redfield @ the University of British Columbia.

        • Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          Yes, thank you! That was her! She rocked it. (IMO)

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            You’re going to trigger Jerry by saying that someone “rocked” something. 😀

  10. peepuk
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Red or blue hair seems a mild form of Crediblility Enhancing Displays :

    In performing these displays, our commitment is perceived as more genuine, which enhances our credibility within as well as outside the group, increasing the cohesiveness of the group and the likelihood of others joining as a result of that degree of cohesion. These can range from fire-walking, to crucifixion, to self-castration, to vows of celibacy, silence, and/or poverty, to food restrictions, to dress and grooming standards, and on and on and on.

    from “https://danielomcclellan.wordpress.com/tag/credibility-enhancing-displays/”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Well at least it is better than self castration!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Yeah, commitment is why biker gangs wear the 1% patch — to separate themselves from the weekend warriors.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        I’m a long time, nearly every day rider, and I’ve never been able to decide which group is really the posers. The self-identified 1% or the rest of us?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          All the world’s a pose, I suppose, and all of us on some level posers. 🙂

          • darrelle
            Posted October 10, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

            Definitely. It’s what social creatures do best. It might be what all the extra cognitive power is for.

  11. Richard Guérette
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Why do SJW have colored hair (The Saad Truth

  12. Ivan
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Dyed hair + problem glasses: Mental issues and/or SJW

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Why are they called “problem” glasses, do you know?

      • Ivan
        Posted October 10, 2018 at 4:35 am | Permalink

        If a woman wears them, she has mental problems 😉

    • Merilee
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      What are problem glasses?

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      And then there’s “hipster glasses”…glasses with frames only, no lenses. Fashion trends are strange.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        As someone with severe myopia, I find someone wearing eyewear without lenses really annoying. Perhaps it will also become trendy to walk around wearing a cast.

        • Mark R.
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          Me too! I knew someone who used to wear non-Rx glasses and it drove me crazy. It was during the 80’s “preppy” fad. He was also banking on “women like smart guys”…what a poser.

          The cast wearing fad would be creepy; it reminds me of the tactic Ted Bundy used to lure women.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Ewww yeah. Bundy & Silence of the Lambs is why I’m not nice to strangers, making me a bad Canadian.

            • Mark R.
              Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

              Nah, you’re one of the many good ones. 🙂

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 9, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

                You say that now but wait until you approach me in a cast and I kick your cane out from under you and scream “not today perv!” 🤣

              • Mark R.
                Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:05 am | Permalink

                The Outrage! fun=knee

  13. Serendipitydawg
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I did have my pony tail dyed red and blue, mainly to annoy people who didn’t like men with pony tails (not hipster, lazy person who can’t be bothered to get it cut!).

    I did have the whole lot dyed bright cerise in 2003, but that was to raise a few grand for Breast Cancer UK’s ‘Wear it Pink’ appeal.

    These days it is the natural platinum blonde of advanced years, grey to you 🙂

    • AC Harper
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Sun kissed and distinguished in my case.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Sounds wonderful 🙂

        • Serendipitydawg
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          I forgot to say: My wife and her brother started to go grey in their teens (that’s genetics for you, their mother was completely white haired by around 39 to 40) and my wife was pretty much fully grey by her early 30’s. They regularly ribbed each other about being grey and her brother’s stock response was “But on me it looks distinguished”. Now we are all in our 60’s it really makes no odds, though I would prefer mine to be white all over rather than the hold outs of pigment that I still have.

          Maybe it is time for another all over dye job… perhaps green this time, never had that!

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            grow yerself a ‘man bun’

    • Roo
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I was going to say, pink tips are almost mainstream among middle aged working women where I live due to the breast cancer awareness projects / fundraisers that incorporate them. I think after people do it for a cause it doesn’t feel unusual and then they just dye their hair for fun.

      Also, I think part of it is a matter of sheer efficacy. I remember in college, if you wanted to dye your hair an unusual color, you had to bleach it within inches of its life (and often people missed this fine line and it just fell out,) and then apply some Manic Panic that looked bright for a day and then like grey lizard hair that faded out in uneven spots after that. With upgrades in hair color, I think it may be the “Why? Because now we can.” effect.

  14. busterggi
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    My kids were doing this twenty years ago so there’s nothing new about it. Meaning? “I’m just so rebel, like everyone else!”

    • XCellKen
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I dyed my hair several colors one hot summer day. Used food colors, which ran down my face as I sweated. Everybody laffed at me.

      Why did I do this? Cause I wanted to look cool like Todd Rudgren did on his album cover.

      BTW, that was the Bicentennial summer, exactly FORTY TWO years ago !!!

      • darrelle
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        On that July 4, 1976 day I was at a barbecue at the remote USAF communications site Langerkopf, near the town of Johanniskreuz. I was the the first person to successfully climb a greased flag pole and remove the dollar bills that were taped around the perimeter of a garbage can lid that was attached to the top of it.

        • Diane G
          Posted October 11, 2018 at 1:17 am | Permalink



  15. Mike Anderson
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    It’s just a fashion trend. It started in the late 70s in punk counterculture, now it’s mainstream. It is not rebellious at all, at this point.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink


    • alangrohe
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      back when I was a kid some of the teen girls would wear roach clips with brightly colored feathers in their hair. of course this was to attract indians with snack foods (sexual selection). now that the peacocks are extinct they have no other choice.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Yep — I still remember when punk finally arrived in the little backwater (Tasmania) I grew up in, in 1979. A friend of mine walked into class fifteen minutes late one day with a buzzcut and one half of his hair dyed green. Everyone was speechless. Nowadays no one would think twice.

    • JezGrove
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Todd Rundgren was dyeing his hair pink and green by the time of ’73s “A Wizard, a True Star”.

  16. James
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Not everything has to be ideologically focused. I’ve had red and blue and purple hair at points of my life. It’s common in scenes of people who are into rock music. It’s just a fun thing to do.

  17. TJR
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Hair should be grey, As God Intended.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      If there is a god, he (she, them) made mine bald.

      • Desnes Diev
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Bald is for atheists. After all: atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

        • BobTerrace
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          I guess I am a shiny example then.

  18. Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Although I think most people dye their hair for fun or to be a bit different it does seem to me there’s a fairly strong correlation between left leaning political views and dying. I wonder if it also correlates with a certain personal type – a sort of eccentric anti-establishment. I’ve always been a bit envious of people who think nothing of dying their hair green because it also suggests to me a person who is utterly unconcerned with the opinions of others.

  19. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    It’s edgy



    Not like old people (but only kind-of)

    Looks cool – beauty is different and not the goal here.

    Uniformity of color.

    Perhaps only for certain hair types – e.g. straight brown.

    I think that’s it. The only identity going on here is youth. I know there are exceptions.

  20. alexandra Moffat
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I just saw brilliant red hair in the local village store. Female. Chaque a son gout but in an effort to be different, they merely join the crowd. Oh, well, there are worse things…

    • Florent
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      “Chacun son gout” ^^ If I may. Chacun : [to] each ; son : their ; gout : taste.

  21. drawingbusiness
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    PCC(E): You forgot to end this post with “Get off my lawn!”.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      It’s classified under “Get off my lawn” so perhaps he saw it is superfluous…

      • drawingbusiness
        Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:23 am | Permalink

        Rats. In that case I should classify my comment under “Pay more attention”. Is it too late to change my suggestion to “Take a bath, Hippy!”?

  22. Curtis
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I think its a way to be edgy that in a safe way that you can choose to change tomorrow unlike tattoos or piercings. IMO, it’s a smarter decision.

  23. drawingbusiness
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    FWIW, my favourite TV scientist, the estimable Professor Alice Roberts, regularly sports bright red hair, and has done since her first appearances on Time Team many years ago.

  24. Giancarlo
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Cultural expansion of the handicap principle?

  25. Ryan
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The correlation seems too strong to be dismissed as chance.

    I suspect that it had no deep meaning when it started, but people have noticed and emulated their tribe so today its a reliable signal.

  26. GBJames
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you kids cut your hair?

  27. Orli Peter
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Could it have something to do with the fact that millions of Muslims today dye their beards with red henna, as they believe Muhammad did?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      The practise of henna hair colouring in the West has nowt to do specifically with Muslim males dying their beards. The various 60s countercultural movements had a large dose of eastern mysticism mixed in & the awareness of the East grew exponentially when the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was endorsed by the Beatles – that was what caused the Yogi’s big American break. There was already a lot of elements already in place scattered here & there such as the use of Sitar in rock/psychedelia, little pockets of TM & Yoga, the hippy beads thing, mandela dream catchers, etc etc.

      Anyway ALL the religions/peoples of the Indian subcontinent used Henna for various life events & ceremonies – on their skin & on their hair – and not just women. I think therefore that ‘Eastern Mysticism’ is the likeliest ingredient that grew the acceptance in the West of ‘alternative’ lifestyles & the tribal identity uniforms that engendered.

  28. freiner
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Not much of an opinion one way or another on this, but there are times when I see instance that remind me of Alex’s mum in A Clockwork Orange. That’s a bit disconcerting.

  29. Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    My niece colors her hair light purple. I think it is only because cool kids do it and it is considered self-expression. My feeling is that if being cool is really that easy then it is not worth much. Artists who show how gutsy they are by painting nude self-portraits strike me in a similar way.

  30. Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Could it be a Zahavian handicap, professor ceiling cat? If you look at many of the youth trends, the possibility arises that the sginal being sent is “I can dress like an utter clown and still look beautiful–because of my youth”. Whereas, if, me (say) at my ripe age, tried to walk around with my hat on backwards, trousers around my knees like a toddler with a filled nappy etc I would be (quite rightly) heckled and mocked.
    And another thing–the music in my day had proper tunes…we respected our elders, and Oi, get off my lawn!

  31. walkingmap
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    It’s less permanent than a tattoo.

  32. Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Not unlike your boots.

  33. Neil Wolfe
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    As a follically challenged American any stupid hairstyle pisses me off. It’s ableism and it sends me to my safe space every time.

  34. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The pink/purple/green hair and SJW clichés are correlated for a simple reason: they both mean membership in the “cool”, independent

  35. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I think, broadly speaking, these things tend to go through three phases: a few subversive rebels adopt it; then it spreads to the vanguard; and then it’s carried outward from there until it’s co-opted into a mass cultural phenomenon. “Recuperation” is the theoretical term for it, at least as used by the Situationist International in the Sixties.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      This is true. Stages.

      Same as I can tell for tattoos. At first subversion and rebellion, vanguard and celebrities, then everyone including grandma has one.

      Some people look better with colored hair, but most do not. Same goes for tattoos. Alternatively, those with colored hair and tattoos would look good anyway.

  36. Scott
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Just a new way to stand out, like every generation has tried to do in the last 100 years.

    Remember when long hair like the Beatles had was frowned upon?

  37. BJ
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    As I said in the thread about Sarah Jeong, this is aposematism. A mutation to ward off sane people!

  38. Rachel
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    For the most part (and I just say that because I don’t know what’s in other people’s minds) it’s just a harmless act of nonconformity. It’s reversible and sometimes it’s pretty, so what’s the big deal?

  39. James
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Sample bias.

    The media is going to pick the most striking people to interview–the rudest, the angriest, the best-looking, the zaniest, the weirdest. Those outside the norm, in other words. That’s what gets people’s attention, and that’s what sells ads on your channel. So any media representation of any group, unless it is specifically intended to be a cross-section of the group, can be assumed to be looking at extremes. Extreme fashion choices (not that hair dye is THAT extreme, just that it’s striking) are going to attract attention.

  40. darrelle
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to convince my wife to get some blue accents in her hair. So far no luck. I’ve seen many such color styles that I thought were quite beautiful. It seems I’m partial to the blues and purples.

  41. Curt Nelson
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The idea is to show that you’re a unique, outside the box individual not constrained by conventions. Turns out that there are huge numbers of such people. Tattoos work the same way.

  42. Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink


    No, not the stuff Labour is riddled with. This:


    It’s a warning that this is a looney, keep your distance.

    It’s nothing to do with individualism. Individuals don’t all do the same damn thing.

  43. tubby
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Because it’s fun. You might have grown an SJW association with it because there’s probably some overlap between places of work that tolerate, allow, or encourage people to dye their hair in silly colors and places of work that support, encourage, and/or attract SJWs. Less formal, more liberal places and crowds. Maybe I’m old but I associate it more with punk rock fans and bands. A little bit playful, a little bit rebellion, a little bit attention seeking, but mostly just to have fun in a way that’s harmless and a bit out of social norms. Like wacky facial piercings.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s pretty mainstream now. There aren’t too many places that would tell you that you couldn’t colour your hair and you see EMS and police with tattoo sleeves these days. Piercings are probably only frowned upon for safety reasons.

  44. Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    The beginning of the school/college year usually displays a shift in cultural advertisement; the hair color that definitely is the IN color this fall is not red but a blue purple color?

  45. Shane
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s just plain fun. I colored my hair for fun back in high school in the 1980s. I haven’t colored my hair since then.

    More recently, since my military service, I like to get a high fade for easy maintenance, which unfortunately, has become associated with anti-justice warriors/”dapper Nazis” like Richard Spencer and his ilk.

    Calling that haircut the “Hippler” has me laughing though.


    • John Ottaway
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      There’s a guy in my office with that style, I’m just off to call him “Hippler” now

      Thank you

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Ha ha.

  46. Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Where I live (Cologne, Germany, in the super-hip Belgian quarter) all the young men have perfectly groomed beards and stand around wearing a suitably earnest expression. When I was their age, thirty years ago, I had a kind of unkempt afro and a big unkempt Karl Marx-style beard. I guess it all looked kinda atrocious.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      They look like the Smith Brothers cough drop guys!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      “super-hip Belgian”

      Is that some kind of oxymoron? (I kid, my Belgian friends, I kid! 🙂 )

  47. Nicholas K.
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Pursue it further and another thing you’ll find, Not only are they deaf and dumb they could be going blind and no one notices

    I think I’ll dye my hair blue

  48. JezGrove
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I asked my (British) 16-year-old daughter about whether this trend had any political / social significance. I got an eye roll and the reply, “It’s just a 2018 thing, Dad”. Though personally, I’ve noticed it for longer than that, but then what do I know…

  49. revelator60
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    It was Oscar Wilde who said fashion is a form of ugliness so unbearable we have to alter it every six months.

    Today he might agree that it takes a longer time to alter truly bad fashions. And afterward they tend to return in a few decades.

    Case in point: Dyed hair was in fashion two decades ago, and is now trendy again. When it comes to fashion, humanity is like a dog returning to its vomit.

    Still, dyed hair is better than piercings and tattoos. The craze for the latter has gone overboard in the past few years. I shudder at all the oldsters with hideously inked wrinkled flesh that will be walking around five decades from now.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but dogs returning to their vomit do not comprise a trillion dollar industry.

    • JezGrove
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      I remember teasing a tattooed friend in the early ’90s about an article in The Guardian with the headline “Tattoos: A barcode for criminals” which reported on the correlation between tattoos and criminality. Times have changed, and now tattoos have become so normalized I sometimes feel I’m the odd one out.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Speaking of tattoos and criminality, one of the many ways criminals often get caught is by tattoo identification.

        “I don’t remember his face, but there was this scorpion tattoo on his right forearm…”

        Plus catching a criminal’s tats on video camera.

        My advice: if you want to live a life of crime, do NOT get any tattoos.

  50. ladyatheist
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it means anything. If some people do dye their hair to belong to some kind of ideology, they’re not conveying much to the rest of us. It’s not the equivalent of wearing a specific headgear to show your devotion to your particular deity.

    The opposite could be true, though: that young people who do *not* dye their hair (or shave their heads or have tattoos) may be more satisfied with the status-quo in general, or perhaps just not very creative.

  51. ladyatheist
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    p.s. also, this trend is popular in Asia and a lot of American young’uns are fans of Asian culture. Do a google image search for “Harajuku style” to see what may come next!

  52. Hemidactylus
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    It started in post-punk Goth counterculture I think. In early to mid 80s there were “misfits” in my high school who dyed their hair. They were ahead of their time musically (The Cure, Smiths, etc). I’m drawing on South Park episodes but there have possible been fractures into Vamps and Emos. Emos have a certain type of music preference and hair color variation.

    Now it’s mainstream. I’ve noticed grey hair is a thing amongst the youths. Mine is naturally going that way.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the taxonomy of nested hierarchies within post-punkdom. 🙂

      • Hemidactylus
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Well I can think of one well respected scholar who has no qualms about dying her hair to look like a rainbow:

        Or she could be wearing noncommital extensions. Nonetheless no judgement.

        Hair color, piercings and tats are nothing I concern myself with. Well I do kinda judge people with face and neck tats. That seems extreme and hard to reverse later in life. Face tats seem a really bad idea. Everything else as self expression is not a big deal.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          I like her paua shell/abalone necklace.

  53. Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    It is for attention, usually sexual. Same as jewellery, tattoos, makeup, body-building, expensive clothes/cars/etc.

    • Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink


      So you think those of us with colored hair are looking to hook up and bump uglies?

      I promise you that you have no idea what you are talking about, we color our hair for ourselves, not you or any other reason, just to please ourselves.

      Unless I TELL you that I want to have sex with you there is no reason to think I am sending a “signal” with my hair color

      That you think this way frightens me.

      • Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        Good grief! For at least several years now, I’ve known friends who food-colorize their dogs AND horses for special occasions- parades, contests, holidays, etc. It’s quite common and not much worthy of notice.

      • Posted October 10, 2018 at 1:55 am | Permalink

        Please do not make assumptions about me. Because a peacock fans its plume does not mean I think it should be raped. That you jump to such a conclusion is frightening to me.

  54. gluonspring
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Observing my daughter’s high school, I conclude it’s just what the kids are doing today. I see no pattern that it’s any particular kind of kid or goes with any statement. Buzz hair is more likely to be a statement, from my limited observation.

    I like it in a lot of cases. In some cases the colors interact with natural hair color in bad ways, though. I’ve seen a green color on brown that seems to come out bad more often than not, and I wonder if they intended that brown/green mixture or if they were aiming for actual green and missed. But, as the kids say, whatevs.

  55. Kevin
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    A student at college with me in the 1980’s tried to treat his head with henna (to give a reddish tint to his brown hair and strengthen the the hair).
    After a while, he decided he wanted to get the colour out and try something else, so he bleached it with peroxide. This remove the natural pigment but not the henna, leaving his hair bright pink, which I thought was hysterical.

    This serves to show that not all pink hair you see is actually deliberate.

  56. Greg Geisler
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    There are differing reasons for why humans alter their appearances. At one time it was a non-conformist attitude but these days it is more about fashion or simply having fun. In my sphere women from 12-50 have colored hair of some type. And, being an artist, I kind of like seeing some color. In my demographic and city that is seen as something to celebrate. There’s a cashier at the Whole Foods downtown sporting a 12 inch rainbow-colored mohawk and he’s always a hoot to talk to. He’s very much in love with life, perhaps moreso than am I.

  57. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink



  58. Mark R.
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised at how many responses PCC(E) got from this question. This was a fun thread to read.

  59. Michael Scullin
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    My daughter dyed her hair raspberry when she was a senior in high school and taking college classes. At six feet tall she stands out, but with the hair pink she really stood out. There were no political statements involved and it was 2002. She was just young and always liked to be at least one step ahead on being cool. She now has some kind of public relations job in Canada.

  60. eric
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    IMO every generation seeks to differentiate themselves from the one before; to strike out on their own, symbolically if not literally leave their parents.

    In the 60s-70s it was rebellious hairstyles (e.g. long hair for men).
    In the 80s-90s it was tattoos.
    In the 90s-00s it was body piercing.
    Colored hair might be the 10s. Who knows.

    If it’s any consolation, Jerry, take heart that the kids of this young generation will, in turn, find their own way to provoke a “but why do that? I don’t understand…” response from their parents.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted October 9, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      It may be signaling a recognition that this is a cheap, reversible way of identity, same as beards etc. If you don’t like it, it grows out at zero cost vs. tattoos.

      I wonder a lot more about someone tatted or pierced to the hilt than with green hair.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        Maintaining dyed hair is the real commitment and it can be costly. Because I’m lazy and cheap about hair, I don’t dye mine but I’ve been lucky in having relatively few gray hairs for my age.

        • Hemidactylus
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          There are various colors available as hair extensions that can be attached and combed in. Personal story…I had a dyed rat tail for a brief time in early 80s. Dad hit ceiling and that didn’t last long. So much for the earring idea too. And mom always shot down the BB gun idea. Grrr!!! In retrospect they were probably right about motorcycles.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Even hair extensions seems like too much work.

        • Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          Do you particularly care if your hair is grey or not?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 9, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            I often think it shows my age and that affects jobs. Sad but true.

            • Hempenstein
              Posted October 12, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

              I always liked what Emmylou Harris said of her grey hair – “I earned it.”

  61. Posted October 9, 2018 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Good grief! For at least several years now, I’ve known friends who food-colorize their dogs AND horses for special occasions- parades, contests, holidays, etc. It’s quite common and not much worthy of notice.

  62. Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    I love & respect PCC[E] so it is with some trepidation that I question the syntax of that question –
    “What’s with…”

    Would it not be better to say –
    “What is the problem/issue with…” or better still –
    “Why do some people people dye…”


    Life’s a bleach & then you dye…

    • Diane G
      Posted October 11, 2018 at 1:41 am | Permalink

      Is that not a common construct across the pond, Dominic? It’s quite prevalent here.

  63. John Ottaway
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    The same question could be asked of those cowboy boots you have… Can’t the reason just be, “because I want to”?

  64. Matthew North
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Youth and hipsterism? In-crowd coolness?

    Nah, when all is said and done it’s about getting attention.

    Vanity, one of the worst of human frailties. Personified, to a frightening and monstrous extent, by that awful, tangerine shit-stain that currently sits in The White House.

  65. Posted October 10, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Every generation establishes its’ own criteria for looking or being different from their elders while being the same as their “in” group. However, elders have taken up the
    non-hair-colored hair in large numbers now also. I, like some others here, are less appreciative of tats, piercings and much metal in ears, eyebrows, lips and tongues than hair coloration. I also find it less easy to appreciate shaved or partially shaved heads (sometimes with the remaining hair vibrantly colored.)

    In the long run, it’s not a lot different than religious groups that maintain a specific dress or hair standard like Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Mennonite, Amish, Mormons, Rastafarians, etc. We show our sameness by our difference from you.

  66. Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Is it really a hipster phenomena? I’m half way my thirties and Have wanted to dye my hair blue since I was a kid. I tried when I was 15, which resulted in having to cut my hair (that has never to date ever been as long as back then) short. Really short. I would still love to have blue hair once, but I nowadays work in a corporate world where it would shock the boss too much.

    Why would I like t have my hair blue for a while? I have no idea. Why do others want it blonde or dark or curly when their hairs are not? In my case it’s def not a hipster thing.

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