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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Research => Topic started by: ruecole on May 11, 2012, 10:29 AM

Title: Pink hair?
Post by: ruecole on May 11, 2012, 10:29 AM
In my WIP (contemp humourous MG with a dash of fantasy/adventure) I've been trying to get a handle on my MC's older sister (13). So far she's shown herself to be smart, knowledeable about everything from history to trivia, and a bit of a know-it-all/show-off. She's also got a snarky attitude, especially with the mom character.

However, I was worried she was becoming too much of a "smart older sister" stereotype, so I thought I'd run with the rebellious streak she's aready shown herself to have, by giving her pink hair (dyed, of course, not natural). Of course, I could make it blue or purple or orange or green too. But somehow she just struck me as a hot-pink-hair type.

Does this still seem cliché?


Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Karen K on May 11, 2012, 10:37 AM
I don't think it's cliche. Off the top of my head, I can only remember seeing three or four people with pink hair in real life. One of them was a little girl, maybe six or seven, with her tattooed, pierced dad (!), and another was a college-aged girl who also wore a pale pink sailor hat and sailor dress--she looked like an anime character, but I don't think she was cosplaying. Weirdly enough, I think blue or green hair is more common than pink. That unnatural maroon red is the most common.

Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Natalie C Parker on May 11, 2012, 10:41 AM
I think that the cliche of something has a lot to do with how it's written. A way to make something that has become fairly common/cliche in literature feel unique and fresh is to make it extremely specific to that character and situation. So, having dyed hair is a typical trope used to indicate someone is rebellious, yes, but you can make that even more specific via context.

Why dyed hair? Why pink? Why now? Why is this action that character's specific act of rebellion? Its uniqueness to her and your story is, in my opinion, what will lift it out of cliche.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: MysteryRobin on May 11, 2012, 10:42 AM
I remember when Lane dyed her hair purple on Gilmore Girls because she and Rory thought pink was cliche. ;) They listed all the cheesy people with pink hair. So I've always agreed with them. But I do have trouble with that line between fantasy and reality where the Gilmore Girls is concerned, so, take that as you will.

That said - I'd dye it blue. Or purple.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Jaina on May 11, 2012, 10:45 AM
Just to be helpful, I'll argue the other side.  I seem to see a lot of pink hair!  In fact, I was just picking my daughter up at school earlier and saw a girl of about 10 with a cute short hair cut dyed pink.  I looked at her mom and sure enough, her hair was dyed pink, too.  It was something I noticed only because in my daughter's last school (a private one), hair dye wasn't allowed.

Anyway, when I see people online say they got their hair colored, hot pink seems to be a favorite.

So this is my rambling way of saying that to me, blue or green or any other color would be a touch more original.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: jeffman on May 11, 2012, 11:12 AM
If she's rebelling against "society," she's going to have to work harder than that. If she's rebelling against Mom, the trick will be establishing Mom as more uptight than a typical mom. Remember too, your pub date is 3 years from now and our attitude toward hair color has been changing fast.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: jeffman on May 11, 2012, 11:17 AM
Just remembered. One of my college students this last semester showed up with a new set of hair colors every 3-4 weeks. I mean, there would be one big section of some rainbow hue, and a complementary section that looked more natural, though of course both were dyed. Her last version was a combination of black and popsicle-blue.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: CaroleB on May 11, 2012, 11:27 AM
Instead of pink, how about Christmas red? What about a tatoo or nose ring?
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Kell on May 11, 2012, 11:34 AM
A tattoo would be hard for a 13 year old to get!

Pink hair is only a little rebellious. It's usually quite pretty and flattering, and I think most parents would be too upset. But the girl might not know that! Still, she'd be better off shaving her head or dying it in skunky black stripes, something that isn't pretty or feminine.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: MysteryRobin on May 11, 2012, 11:41 AM
Or doing something she knew her mom wouldn't like - it was really rebellious on the show I watched because her mom would have flipped. Your MC's mom might be really into her daughter's long hair so she cuts it off. Or something like that...
Unless pink hair were an issue (like my kids' school won't allow it -so it would be a big problem for me if my girl came home with pink hair) it seems less rebellious and more expressive...
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: olmue on May 11, 2012, 12:20 PM
I think it depends on the mom. What would she be dead set against?
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: AnnH on May 11, 2012, 12:23 PM
I see various shades of pink hair here in Eugene.

Is the girl going to go to a hairdresser to have it done? Or maybe a do-it-yourself thing that doesn't quite turn out the way she'd hoped?

Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Christine B. on May 11, 2012, 12:52 PM
Rue--pink hair itself does not sound clichéd to me, but having pink hair as an act of rebellion might stray more into cliché territory. As Robin said, colorful hair can be expressive rather than rebellious. I was a really good kid and briefly had both pink hair (age 14) and blue hair (around 18). It never even occurred to me that it was rebellious. My parents, who are somewhat conservative, didn't care. So maybe it's not so much about the hair color, but about the assumptions made about people with pink hair, that lead to a feeling of cliché?
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Melissa on May 11, 2012, 01:02 PM
I'm not sure hair dye is rebellious--unless the family is very straight-laced.  Both of my kids have dyed theirs (blue) in either under or peek-a-boo chunks.  Over the years (including this yr), I've done blue & purple chunks, white stripes, & often an unnatural shade of red/purple.     

I don't know that piercing is rebellious either. My daughter has a piercing (just got it at 18) . . . but I've had nose, lip, & industrial. I only have the industrial currently, but again, the piercing bit is only rebel behaviour if it's in a place or family that is opposed to it.

That's my vote--define it in opposition to her environment.  My spouse, frex, was raised by a hippie. He "rebelled" by becoming a Marine :)  My kids have joked that they can't rebel unless they decide to become Republicans, refuse to attend cultural activities, or stop reading--all of which would hurt them as much as us.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: TracyH on May 11, 2012, 01:14 PM
I don't think it sounds cliche at all. Although most kids I know don't dye their hair to look strange because they are all so self conscious, and definitely not at thirteen because our local middle school doesn't allow dyed hair. I think the color choice would really depend on your character (and it says alot about the parents, too, who would allow it).
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Artemesia on May 11, 2012, 01:34 PM
lol, yeah, you need to be careful to separate what we, as adults, might find rebellious, and what kids might find rebellious or cool. I know it stuck out to me in Harry Potter when JKR described Bill Weasley, and how Harry could only think of cool. (pony tail and an earring?) The physical description of Bill didn't seem like something kids of this generation would think of as being the epitome of cool, but maybe it would have been more so when I was a kid.

Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: literaticat on May 11, 2012, 02:02 PM
Nobody (not even my extremely conservative grandparents) said boo to me when I started dying my hair (age 13) or got a nose piercing (16)... and that was 20 years ago.

My mom only got mad at me about it twice. Once when I royally messed up the bathroom with dye and it looked like a crime scene... And once when I did my hair blue just before I'd promised to go have summer job interviews. So she paid for the (very expensive and lengthy) salon visit to strip the blue out & re-dye it brown... but it turned GREEN. Ack.

Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Artemesia on May 11, 2012, 02:05 PM
LOL, my hair turned green when I was 18 or 19 after trying to use a black henna. No amount of trying to remove it would work, and my hair was down to my waist. It was a very lovely shade of hunter green tho, and I was in art school, so everyone thought it was on purpose.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Michelle J. on May 11, 2012, 03:22 PM
You could go with the smart, know-it-all angle and have her dye streaks of her hair using Kool-Aid. When I was 14, I heard Kool-Aid could dye hair, so of course I tried it. Boil a packet of Kool-aid (I used red, whatever flavor that is), let it cool for a minute or two, then dip chunks of hair into the cup/bowl. Leave it for a few minutes than voila your hair is red, blue, whatever. I have dark brown hair, so it wasn't a bright red, but it probably looks really good on blonde hair.

Maybe she dyes different parts of her hair using different Kool-aid colors. This is something she could do as an "experiment" hinting at rebellion.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: MysteryRobin on May 11, 2012, 03:42 PM
I turned my hair orange in London trying to get it to platinum blonde - I missed half of Les Mis trying to get it all the way to blonde. :(
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: ecb on May 11, 2012, 04:31 PM
Laini Taylor. Just sayin'. :)
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: AnneB on May 11, 2012, 04:35 PM
Pink hair was on the cover of one of Lisa Yee's books,Absolutely Maybe. ( It probably depends on the family involved, but I suspect by now pink hair is more fun than rebellion.
I think it's Clairol that makes a temporary coloring agent called Hair Paint (in the hair care aisle of supermarkets near you...)

You should have fun researching this on your own hair! ecb, for a minute I thought you'd posted a picture of you with pink hair!
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Artemesia on May 11, 2012, 04:39 PM
I've always wanted to do the pastel pink chunks in the underlayer, but I have dark hair and not sure how it would look. It looks great with platinum hair...I've tried before and my hair will not lighten to platinum, no matter the industrial strength of the hair bleacher...
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: ruecole on May 11, 2012, 04:58 PM
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone!

You've given me a ton of info to digest. I'm going to have to think this over and see what works best for my character and the story. I do tend to agree that for most families, pink hair isn't all that rebellious. Not even sure if it is in my fictitious family. But where I live, I don't see a lot of people with pink (or other) dyed hair. I've seen a few with streaks, but not 100% solid pink (or other) hair. So, to me, a 13-year-old dying her hair pink is definitely a bold statement (whether it's rebellious or just expressing herself)!

I do think my character strikes me as the type who'd dye her hair a vibrant colour. (And I think the reason I chose pink is because she's got dark hair, and to me pink is the EXACT opposite of the colour she naturally has.) She seems to like to be "different" and doesn't really care what people think of her (at least she puts on that air). I can also see her expressing herself through her clothing, piercings, etc. too (especially as she gets older).

Anyway, muchly appreciate all the feedback! :)

Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: MysteryRobin on May 11, 2012, 05:20 PM
Keep in mind if she has dark hair, she'll need to first bleach it blonde, then dye it pink. And it would have to be a bright pink, because the bleach may not strip all the color out. It would be a lot for a 13 year old to do by herself!

Arty - I've got dark hair too, you just have to keep putting the bleach on. It takes time - hence the orange waystation.

Have you tried using chalk for highlights? It's all the rage in the kid hair youtube videos I watch! Looks pretty cool, but my kids can't do that at their school. I might try it this summer on Gigi, though...
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Artemesia on May 11, 2012, 05:34 PM
when I worked at Aveda, they told me it wouldn't happen...too much red undertones.
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: ruecole on May 11, 2012, 06:06 PM
Thanks, Robin.

I still think I'm going to give her pink hair, but it's probably not going to be a rebellious thing. More of an expression of her personality. And I'll be sure her fictitious school allows kids to dye their hair. :)

Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Melissa on May 11, 2012, 07:47 PM
I've always wanted to do the pastel pink chunks in the underlayer, but I have dark hair and not sure how it would look. It looks great with platinum hair...I've tried before and my hair will not lighten to platinum, no matter the industrial strength of the hair bleacher...

My natural colour is dark, as far as I recall at least ;) To get white chunks, my stylist buys them & beads them into my hair at the roots. You can do it with vibrant pink or purple too. (Blues & deep purple work on dark hair.) If you're naturally curly, you need to stop somewhere like Ulta & get a micro-curling iron, but since it's just chunks it takes a total of 5 minutes.  Avoid the glue or bonding (it itches), and be sure to have your stylist layer them starting around the ear OR you need to use product bc the ones at the top of the head will be too visible without product.

(Sorry to be a little off-topic, mods.)
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Artemesia on May 11, 2012, 07:51 PM
since you're giving me hair tips, this mod is allowing it ;)

thanks, Melissa! that sounds like a great solution! My hair is really long and in layers, so I think it could be blended in quite easily!! And I just wanted them in the underlayers anyway...
Title: Re: Pink hair?
Post by: Helen on May 12, 2012, 06:25 AM
I have secretly wanted a shocking shock of bright blue hair. Then I could pretend that I was half mermaid...sigh......My teenage daughter dabbles in hair colors, but only darker natural colors.
I like the character expressing herself with her hair color.  In college I knew a girl nicknamed  Purple Martha.  She had long flowing purple hair, purple clothes, and a purple bicycle with a purple horn.