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My 3-year-old asked to have his hair dyed black and red. I agreed to it and have no regrets about his permanent dye job.

Lauren Gordon and her son
Courtesy of Lauren Gordon

  • I have done fantasy hair colors on myself for years.
  • I wasn't surprised when my toddler asked to dye his. I feel that it helps him express himself.
  • My husband agrees, and neither of us thinks it's a big deal. 

I recently picked my son up from day care after taking a personal day to get my hair done.

It was a much-needed, months-overdue appointment, so I decided to treat myself to something fun.

"Let's do forest green," I said matter-of-factly. My stylist set to work on conjuring up just the right color, and I smiled at myself in the mirror.

I had begun doing fantasy colors five years ago. Just after my wedding and just before I became a mom, I began dyeing my hair all colors of the rainbow, and I did it to really celebrate beginning to accept my body for what it is.

For me, letting myself choose a color that physically didn't allow me to blend in felt like I was taking ownership of the space I occupied. When the pandemic hit, I pretty much stopped dyeing my hair and really hadn't been feeling like myself since. So my decision to go green wasn't as erratic as it sounded but it nevertheless surprised my son at pick-up.

A decision was 'quickly' made on his part

Once we got outside the building, he looked up at me and said, "I like the hair."

I beamed. I couldn't help it and thanked him for the compliment. He then said, without much hesitation, "I really want my hair black and red."

My blond-haired boy had said this a few times before. But now, as I was standing there in front of him, a full-grown adult with bright green hair, I really had no reason to put it off. So I agreed.

It was his turn to beam up at me, excited at my quick and enthusiastic yes.

I had no reason not to let him

When the next day rolled around, my husband and I picked him up and asked him whether he was sure he wanted to go through with it. He nodded with a wide grin.

Since we weren't bleaching his hair — something I wouldn't do — we were limited as to which colors we could choose. I went with Manic Panic, as it's vegan and cruelty-free, and grabbed a fiery red.

When we got home, we decided we'd do the dye job the next night, just to give him one more sleep to think it over. And when we were met with enthusiasm the third night, we got to work. When we washed it out of his hair and styled it, he was over the moon.

Lauren Gordon dyeing her son's hair
The author dyeing her son's hair black and red.
Courtesy of Lauren Gordon

"I'm just like Shadow, mom," he screamed as he ran past me imitating his favorite "Sonic the Hedgehog" character.

The lesson I hope he learns from this is to be himself, always

He was so excited to show off his hair to his soccer teammates and his friends. And anytime an adult noticed his hair and complimented him, his grin got a little wider. Perhaps it is incredibly superficial, but I think allowing him to express himself however he wants is important. 

That level of autonomy keeps him in charge of his body. I also hope it teaches him to respect other people's choices and boundaries.

And really, truly, it doesn't really matter. It is hair. It will grow. It's not an outlandish request, it hurts no one, and it's not a lifetime commitment. He likes it and it makes him happy — low risk, high reward. 

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