Now, since I'm going to be leaving my job while I'm away at school, I don't have such trivialities to waste my time with, so I've been planning a whole-life makeover that would include my hair, dorm room, tattoos, and maybe a few piercings if I'm feeling up for it. Since I don't currently have a job to worry about besides the business projects I've been working on myself, and the main place I've been putting in applications is Hot Topic (don't judge me!!), I don't find myself overly concerned with how people will think of me in this light. I've been vanilla for probably four or five years; I owe it to myself to have a few months of fun.
But now that I have the option of changing my hair, I find myself facing a dilemma. I've been collecting little tidbits of ideas for the past few months as to how I want this style to look - natural red with hints of blue, soft curls, side bangs, versatile and without much styling needed - but now that it's come time to start seriously considering making salon appointments and the price tag, I find that I need more guidance and a more concrete idea before tossing over what could be some of the last of my hard-earned money for a while. If you're also looking into redoing your 'do, here's a few steps you can take to start.
First of all, remember that you don't need to have an exact picture in your head from the very beginning - if you did, you wouldn't be reading this! It's okay to have a blurry, lucid, half-formed idea in your mind when you start out. For example, for months all I've known is that I want to try out both natural red and bright, deep blue - it didn't even occur to me to try them both together at first! As long as you start out with some preliminary ideas, the rest will come with time. This is what I consider "laying groundwork."
...plus this blue....
Okay, so you know you want it chocolate brown, or bright pink, or super short. Awesome- you have your foundations. The next step is to clear those foundations up with some more details. For me, it was at this stage that it occurred to me to mix my two color ideas; I knew that a whole head of blue hair was definitely not the way to go right off the bat, and that I would get bored with only red for a long time, so it was a natural progression. I started focusing on style. To do this, think about your hair now. Figure out what it is that you like and dislike. For example, I think my hair currently is a great idea in theory: I like the idea of a side bang with soft, natural curls, but unfortunately I live in a climate where that isn't always achievable without lots of work, between humid, frizz-inducing summers and dry, static-laden winters. I've been frying my hair by straightening my bangs all the time, and I've been tying back my hair almost every single day for the past few weeks; I also know that just letting it grow is not working out for my hair type and that I need some layers or other types of fancy cutting to tame it into the style I want.
Okay! So I figured out what I wanted to keep and what had to be changed. Now comes the fun part: eyecandy. Flip through your favorite mook - my choice was GLB volume 36 - and see what pops out at you. Another great resource is your favorite photosharing website - my drug of choice is Tumblr, but We Heart It is also up there- anything that'll let you do a tag or keyword search. Almost daily I searched for "blue hair" and "red hair" until I came up with the best depictions of the shades I wanted. That's very important - to us, "brown" or "blonde" may seem like all the adjectives we need, but a stylist often has many different options of each color. To avoid hair regret (and having to empty your wallet for it, too), it's best to go in knowing what you want and having the resources to properly explain it.
If you do choose to go to a stylist (which I recommend, for a big change like this), it's kind of out of your hands from this point. Just keep your eye on the scissors and make sure she isn't going too short, too layered, or just too far from the plan. This is the part I'm worried about, and the reason the last professional haircut I had was when I was about 11 - I just have problems trusting other people with my appearance. Blame it on my astrology - Taurus is self-important and beauty-obsessed, and Scorpio Moon is eclectic and fancies themselves utterly misunderstood, so the idea of trusting someone else to define my aesthetic in a way that I'd have to deal with for months just never struck me as a good idea. The only reason I'm going back is because I need inspiration and would like to see what someone else can do with me. Sometimes trusting the artist is not a bad idea... I'm just hoping this is one of those times!