The Terrifying Truth About Unicorn Hair

I don't want to be That Girl, but I had unicorn hair WAY before unicorn hair was unicorn hair. My brightly colored hair was part of who I was - and I changed it A LOT. It's been every shade of blue, purple, pink, red, and orange you could imagine. But it wreaked havoc on my hair - and my life. Though all the mistakes I made with my own hair, I've learned what it really takes to get healthy unicorn hair. An trust me, there's a LOT you need to know.

If you're thinking about going rainbow, buckle up. Here's everything you need to know about unicorn hair - and you might not like what I'm about to tell you.

Yes, you HAVE to bleach your hair.

Simply put, unicorn hair dyes DO NOT WORK on dark hair - hell, even natural blonde hair has trouble absorbing bright pigments. Bleach lightens hair and opens the follicles wide open for pigments to seep into.

If you don't bleach your hair and go straight to slathering your hair in purple goo, you're going to be really sad when you realize it didn't do anything but leave a mess in your bathroom.

Depending on the hue and brightness you want your hair to have, you're probably going to need toner, too.

Toner eliminates yellow tones in hair, and if you use one that requires a developer, it can also be damaging. it is, however, vital if you want any color that's neon, pastel, or cool toned. The whiter your base, the better those dyes are going to look down the line.

Just beware, going platinum blonde comes with its own set of Terms and Conditions. And bleaching your hair is going to cause a whole lot of damage if you don't have patience and invest in professional assistance.

You can prevent some damage by keeping your hair well-conditioned, but there is NO hair mask that can magically erase damage caused by bleach. The only way to fix it is to cut it off and wait for it to grow back. This is why you're best off with a professional who has access to healing chemical bonds like Olaplex, a pair of trimming scissors at the ready, and whole lot of hair knowledge.

There's a LOT of upkeep. Unicorn hair is not a low-maintenance look.

Fashion colors, the catch-all term for hair colors not found in nature, fade fast. And, for dark-haired people especially, roots are VERY visible.

Every color is going to fade differently.

Reds and pinks have the smallest pigment molecules, so they fade faster than any other color. Blues, however, can last over a month, but will almost always fade to a greenish hue. Light purple fades to silver, which then fades to dish-water blonde.

Hot showers, shampoo, and the heat styling will play a role in how long your unicorn hair lasts.

Hot water and shampoo are a fresh dye job's worst nightmare. If you want your colors to last, it's best to stick to washing your hair once or twice a week in lukewarm water. Don't have a shower cap? Invest in one before you dye anything. You can blow-dry, curl, or straighten hair frequently without seeing immediate results, but the less you touch your hair, the longer the dye will last.

If you have white bedding, it's bound to become unicorn bedding after you shower.

Fashion colors bleed a LOT when they're freshly dyed. A light pillow case will stain IMMEDIATELY if you lay your wet head on it. Same goes for your towels. Be careful with white tops, too.

Sweat doesn't cause the same amount of bleeding that straight-up water does, but if you're sweating after a recent touch-up, you might find some dye creeping down the back of your neck.

You WILL get the Stare of Death from certain passersby.

How many dirty looks you get will certainly depend on where you live. Where I live now, in New York City, colored hair is very popular and therefore no one cares. But when I debuted my long, blue locks back in 2013, I was living among conservative folks in Texas. They didn't like it so much.

Not going to lie, though, it was a great lesson in Not Giving a Fuck that I'm glad I learned when I did.

Despite its recent mass popularity, having unicorn hair is still a bold statement that not a lot of people are willing make. If you're one of the brave ones who took the plunge, don't shy away form commentary about your hair - embrace it. It's now a part of your look and your personality, and those deserve to be in the spotlight!

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