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Trial and Hair-or This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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At 7 years old I had my heart set on becoming a hairdresser. Like many 7-year-old girls, I had experimented on the unfortunate plastic heads of Barbie dolls, streaking their platinum blond locks with food coloring and hacking off clumps with safety scissors. I thought myself quite the stylist. Looking back, I should have taken their perpetual bad hair days as a warning.

8th-grade year was the year I decided to put my stylistic flair to the test—on my own hair (my brother, who had seen the Barbie-hair carnage, would not let me come near the mop atop his head). Long and the color of black coffee, my hair offered almost endless opportunities. I decided, in a moment of utter brilliance, to dye it slightly redder. Unfortunately, my hair did not come out the auburn shade promised on the box. I had instead dyed my hair purple.

The next day at school was torture. Instead of the multitude of compliments I imagined I would receive from impressed classmates, I was bluntly informed that my burgundy hair was similar in hue to squashed beetles. Whispered rumors spread through hallways like an infectious disease, each one more ludicrous than the last. Girls turned up their noses at me, assuming I had done it for attention. Boys snickered about the unexpected color behind my back, wondering aloud who, exactly, I was trying to impress. Luckily, the dye was semi-permanent and washed out after three weeks. The memories of violet hair, however, still haunt me.

I have since given up the dream of becoming a professional hairstylist. Despite the embarrassment, I reaped a valuable lesson from this experience: don’t shy away from risks, but leave the permanent changes to the professionals.



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