Should You Bleach Your Hair?

26 May 2020
Grooming Gods, Hair, Hair style, Hair Colour, Bleach, Zayn Malik, Lil Yachty, Jaden Smith, Self-care, Self Isolation, Lockdown, Home Quarantine
Image: Illustration by Michael Hoeweler
GQ’s Fashion Editor, Keanoush Zargham takes the plunge

Do you know what made me finally go through with dying my hair? Ego. I could give you all this rubbish about being inspired by a style moment, but when it came down to it, beyond all the would-I-wouldn’t-I, the tipping point came when a friend suggested I didn’t have the courage to go through with it.

But what started out as a simple going blonde job morphed into something else altogether along the way, a radical move that felt like it could actually define who I was as a person.

Read Next

GQ Dispatches: Cristiano Ronaldo And David Beckham's Quarantine Haircuts

Full disclosure: this wasn’t the first time I had played with my hair tone. At 16, I dyed my brunette locks a shade of petrol black (radical, I know). Now I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I do have a hazy recollection of trying to get the money back on that Schwarzkopf purchase – my outrage taken out in full on the poor person behind the pharmacy counter.

This time, however, reputation was at stake. You see, despite working for one of the more maximalist and colour-rich men’s magazines out there, I’ve spent the longest time wearing head-to-toe black. It got to the point where I became worried that my own style didn’t truly reflect the work I was so proud to create. This was an opportunity to set the record straight.

Never mind blonde, I would dye my hair pink! It was time to practice what I preached (or should that be bleached?). And if I didn’t like it? Well it was ok, we were on lockdown… I could hide.

Thankfully, there was no shortage of visual inspiration when it came to pulling off a new hue. From Frank Ocean to Zayn Malik, Jaden Smith to innumerable anime films, more than a few have nailed the look. This is about attitude, too. Best advice? Channel your inner punk. Kurt Kobain’s pink hair, circa-1992 was – and still is – such a style moment. While I wasn’t quite aiming for grunge, he remains my biggest fashion icon.

Now, let’s be very clear, I’m no expert in salon-level hair colouring. I came into this an amateur and executed it at home. Happily, I had virtual company. A hairstylist friend hopped on Zoom and guided me through the entire procedure, from buying the product (you need to nail the right quantity of oxidizer and bleach, and to select your hue of colour meticulously) to executing each step. Make no mistake, this is a long, drawn-out, multi-step process.

Of course, if an expert had bleached my hair, it would have come out a uniform, salon-quality pink. I get that. But these are testing times, and so my colour ended up a mélange of pink, orange and blonde. Not exactly what I was expecting, but I kind of liked it. The accidental colour spillage looked so rad, and for a fleeting moment I felt like Cobain himself.

Read Next

How To Cut Your Own Hair At Home

I then got to sit with my hair colour like it was a new couch, taking my time to get accustomed to it, inspect it from all angles and see how it flows in my life. It would have taken supreme confidence to go straight to the office with such a wild change in my appearance. But now I got to control my own hair PR.

Will I keep the colour? Well, it’s growing on me. Ultimately, I think it comes down to this: to experiment with your appearance is to experiment with your personality. It challenges your ideas of who you are and how you present yourself to the world. It’s what I love about fashion, it’s what I love about grooming, and it’s what I love about my punkish, perfectly imperfect, pink-orange-blonde hair.

Life’s a Bleach

Call it coincidence, but the guys that embrace hair dye just happen to be the most stylish on the planet

Zayn Malik

Image: Getty

Zayn knows that easing yourself into a new colour can be clutch. Dye smart not hard, people.

Read Next

Three Signs You Might Be Losing Your Hair (And What To Do About It)

Lil Yachty

Image: Getty

Looking to make a statement? Allow Lil Yachty to educate you on the value of going all-in when it comes to colour.

Jaden Smith

Image: Getty

If in doubt, be a triple threat like Jayden. Buzzcut, pink hair, pink eyebrows. Boom!