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Artistic Teen Hair Expression

"Let them be creative if and when it's safe and appropriate... I mean--why not?"



Watching my 12-year old's excitement during the process of expressing herself through a physical manifestation... was not only fun for me but it was also a nice reminder of a time when I was more adventurous and proud to declare my own hair creations. 



If your teen is thinking about trying something different with their hair, I say - hear them out, think about options that could work, and if you both decide to move forward, make sure you do some planning before taking the plunge (especially for drastic or permanent changes).



Natalie's purple-to-blue ombré stylist:
Jacquelyn from Bubbles Hair Salon in Pentagon City Mall

Jacquelyn is a beautiful stylist... she has a colorful, fun, and gorgeous aura to her. Jacquelyn moves incredibly efficiently, yet is detailed and caring about every single hair of strand she touches. =)  As all stylists, Jacquelyn is a true artist. If you're in the DC, MD, VA area and you're looking for a stylist, call and visit Jacquelyn at Bubbles Hair Salon in Pentagon City Mall! Thank you, Jacquelyn!  =)


Is your teen inquiring about a big artistic change with their hair and you're thinking about considering it? If so, keep reading below for information that could help you with the thought process and/or for the planning of it.  =)


Questions to ask during the research phase:

  • Is it appropriate? (e.g., does the school allow it, does the style send the right message?)
  • Is it safe? (e.g., will you use a professional stylist or are you or your teen thinking of trying a home DIY?) You may also want to research if the process could be too damaging for your teen's hair.)
  • How much will it cost? If you're going to a hair stylist or salon, they can likely give you a rough estimate on the phone but might need to see your teen in person before giving a solid estimate. Bleaching, dyeing, and many other hair styles can get very expensive so it's best to know what these charges are before diving too deep into the process. Also, don't forget to calculate at least an additional 18-20% tip for the stylist... and there might even be special after-care products that need to be purchased (e.g., color-specific shampoo and conditioner).
  • What is the upkeep and maintenance? Make sure you and your teen are considering what happens after a month or two. Is the style something that will need to be repeated every 4-6 weeks? If so, are you both willing to fork over the time and money for it? If not, you may want to consider other options. Keep in mind that if a teen wants to do something to his or her hair that just isn't feasible, there are likely other fun and cool options that could work. A few less-drastic hair changes could be learning and trying different hair braids, using hair decorations, or getting a different type of cut or style.

PERSONAL NOTE: I like that Natalie chose an ombré dye because it means there's little to no maintenance. Since there isn't dye at the root of the hair, I don't have to commit to any future salon visits.


Once all of the research is done, it's now ready for some good ole' communication.  :)

  • Clarify and verify. Ensure that you and your teen understand what you both are agreeing to and the maintenance moving forward.
  • Foster appreciation. Personally, I think it's a good idea to let your teen know why you're even agreeing to any of this. My reasons to Natalie were that she's a really awesome daughter in a million and more ways... but to name a few-she puts forth effort into school and does well; she's kind and respectful of others; and because she's wanting to express herself for positive reasons (not because she's trying to impress or fit in).


Okay - so all the above is good to go and now you're both ready to take the plunge. You're not in the clear quite yet... well, not if you're needing to go to a stylist.

If your teen's hair expression includes a stylist, here's some things to think through the process:

  • Choose a salon/stylist. If you don't already have a salon or stylist fit for the task, call a salon with good Yelp reviews and ask the salon receptionist to recommend the best person for what your teen is getting done.
  • Schedule the appointment. But...!!! Before you book the appointment, here's a few things to think about before making that call:
    • How long will the appointment take? Sometimes a trip to the salon can take three, four, or even 5 or more hours! Natalie has thick and long hair. For her purple-to-blue ombré process, it took about five hours... yea--a long time!! =)  Inquire on how long the appointment might take... and a safe bet is to add another hour since time allotted is usually underestimated.  
    • Plan what needs to happen a day or two before appointment. For some hair processes (e.g., bleaching and dyeing), it's better if the hair isn't washed for one or two days prior. Check with the salon about recommendations when you make the appointment.
    • Plan what needs to happen a day or two after the appointment. Again, for some hair processes, there might be recommendations regarding not washing the hair for a certain amount of time afterwards. For Natalie's dye, it was recommended to wait 48 hours. If your teen has a sports event or some other sweaty task, you may want to schedule around that. :)  Check with the salon about recommendations for the specific process your teen is getting.
  • Plan and prepare for salon day. Lastly, if the process is going to take a few hours, here's a few things you may want to think about:
    • Make sure your teen has eaten right before going to the salon and it might also be good to have snacks for them too (e.g., almonds).
    • Bring water.
    • Have example photos of the style your teen is going for.
    • Plan for the time spent waiting (e.g., have your phones charged, have a book, grab some of the salon magazines).

And, last but not least, HAVE FUN with whatever you and your teen decide... and hey, if invokes you as the parent or guardian to also do a little adventurous something for yourself, even better!  :)

I hope this guide is helpful for someone... this is my first JLoves post and quite frankly... I'm not quite sure what made me want to write it. I think it's because the process took quite a bit of thought for me so if I could help someone else think through and plan for it, I wanted to be able to help. =)





Has your teen asked about a dramatic change? If so, are you thinking about it or have you already gone through the process? Please join the discussion below! =)