Rad Facts About Blue Hair
Has a client or loved one ever come to you and asked to have their hair dyed bright neon blue? For some people it’s a sign of rebellion; for others, it’s a way to confidently stand out from the crowd. Blue is not a naturally occurring human pigment; even “blue” dogs and cats are more of a gray than bright aquamarine. Nonetheless, blue hair has been quite prevalent through human history, with a variety of meanings and cosmetic uses.
Ancient people used plant and animal matter to dye their hair, but there isn’t a lot of evidence for the use of blue dye in this manner; natural indigo pigment was extremely rare. The Greek poet Homer would describe characters’ eyebrows turning dark blue when they were angry, and Egyptian gods were often depicted as having hair the same color as lapis lazuli plants. The Biblical matriarchs Eve, Leah and Rachel were also sometimes described as having sky-blue hair.
An 18th century English politician named Charles Fox became famous in his youth for his dedication to an outlandish and fancy fashion trend called “Macaroni.” Macaronis were young men who took the traditional trends over the top, with gigantic powdered wigs and red-heeled shoes. Fox made a scene at Eton College by wearing a wig dyed with blue powder, though he later settled down and became a very successful Secretary of State.
A blue hair fad rose briefly in Paris just before the first World War. The New York Times cynically reported the trend in 1913 out of London, describing “brilliant green, blue, and purple hair and bizarre combinations of different colors are the latest freak that fashion is trying to foist on the heads of those who would be smart.” Monsieur Antoine, the first celebrity hairdresser known for popularizing the women’s bob cut, dyed his pet dog’s hair bright blue in 1924; the pooch inspired a fashion designer named Lady Elsie De Wolfe Mendl to follow suit, and she made it truly famous as a statement of high fashion.
In more modern times, blue hair has been associated with the punk movement, as a way for teenagers, and some adults, to rebel against societal norms. It has also made its way into high fashion again, with stars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry sporting bright aquamarine tresses. But this blue hue is not reserved for only the young. A “blue rinse” is a treatment for graying hair in older women; it’s a diluted dye that reduces the yellowed appearance of gray hair on a pink scalp, creating a rinse that is blue-white in appearance.
If you want to dye your hair blue, it’s good to be prepared! Blue is one of the toughest pigments to maintain, as it usually requires bleaching the original hair pigment away and it can fade fairly quickly. Blue hair can also discolor to a yellow-green if it is not maintained. But even though it does require some work, you’re sure to make a statement and turn some heads!