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How I Finally Accepted My Natural Hair Color After Dyeing It For Over 15 Years

Writer Dory Zayas shares how she learned to accept her natural hair color changing over time and how her hair color has been a part of her identity.

I've been blonde my entire life. As a kid, my naturally blonde locks would turn white in the summer sun, thanks to daily swims in the town's chlorinated pool. But as I've gotten older, I've learned to *enhance* my natural base with highlights. As a beauty editor for more than 10 years, going to the salon every eight weeks wasn’t just for vanity—it was a job requirement. Maybe it was a self-imposed rule, but I felt like I needed to look the part before giving other people advice on what to do with their hair. When the pandemic took hold, I gave up on my once-religious appointments, and didn’t give them much thought. 

That was until my family took professional photos in November of 2020, nine months since my last visit to my colorist. Although my hair had been getting darker with age, I was not prepared for the shade I saw in those photos. However, since then, with even more non-colored growth, I’ve actually learned to accept and love my natural hair color, which I would describe as a wheat or dirty blonde. Here’s how. 

Writer Dory Zayas shares how she learned to accept her natural hair color

How My Natural Hair Color Has Changed Over The Years

Growing up, my platinum blonde hair was effortless and easy. As I got into my late teens and 20s, and spent less time in the sun and more time at a desk, my hair started getting darker, which I didn’t love. So I promptly started a decade-long relationship with my colorist, getting highlights on a regular basis. 

Writer Dory Zayas shares how she learned to accept her natural hair color

It’s not to say I’ve never had roots—in fact, there was a period of time after giving birth to my daughter where I went a then-whopping seven months without salon color. But before every major moment in my life—my wedding, giving birth—I’ve made sure my highlights were picture-perfect and I was as blonde as I could be. My last highlighting appointment was in February 2020, only a few weeks before New York City went into lockdown. Obviously, no one knew what would become of the next year and beyond. 

Writer Dory Zayas shares how she learned to accept her natural hair color

To keep my family safe, I begrudgingly said goodbye to my treasured blowouts and bleach. In November 2020, my family did a socially-distanced photo shoot as a holiday present for my in-laws. The photos came out great. They were exactly what I was looking for—with one small caveat—I hated my hair. 

My natural blonde hair color seemed to be completely gone, and all I could see in the photos were my uneven roots and dull strands. Of course, this feeling was immediately followed by guilt, as we were still in the midst of a devastating and deadly pandemic, to be concerned about my hair. But my natural hair color had always been blonde in my mind. And now, it just... wasn’t.

How I Learned To Accept My Changing Natural Hair Color

After posting about my *feelings* on Instagram, I soon realized that no one really cared about my hair color. They were just looking at the gorgeous photos and my adorable daughter, whom I got to spend the entire year with at home. My hair obsession seemed trivial and frivolous. My family was lucky and privileged enough not to lose any close loved ones during the pandemic and our income didn’t change. But although hair color may seem silly to some, for me, it was and is a large part of my identity. 

After 14 months, I decided to embrace my “brunette” hair—my new natural hair color. Again, I looked for external validation, and was met with nothing but positive vibes. My hair was getting darker with age, and that was ok. Just as my hair has changed in the past year, so have my priorities. I think we have all learned how important health and family are. Although I’m sure I’ll find my way back to the salon chair in the future, for now, I’m accepting and embracing the new me. 

Interested in switching up your hair color? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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