If you've ever coloured your hair, read this.



For those of us who mess with our hair colour, and have been for many, many years, try for a moment to think about the hair you had before all that Sun In and Napro Live and Clairol snuck onto your strands.

Let’s say when you were, oooh, 12? (I began colouring in Year 7, when I was 11. Which sounds preposterous but is A) Pretty normal actually B) Not at all surprising if you are familiar with the small town of Bundanoon, where, as a fidgety teen, a few hours colouring your hair with your bezzie on a Sunday is the most fun you’ll have all month.)

By about age 12 your hair has outgrown its baby colour, and become The Colour You Were Meant To Have. And when I write that, I mean in terms of:

– Your skin tone
– Your eyebrow colour
– Your eye colour

In other words, you are witnessing the specific genetic puzzle you were given, which all fits together and complement each other perfectly. It’s your genuinely “natural” look, and I tend to believe your DNA knows what its doing.

Should you choose to revisit this ‘natural’ condition, years on, by letting your natural hair colour come back, I am almost certain you’ll discover:

–       your eyebrows will need less tinting/filling in, (although I still recommend them to be two shades darker than the hair colour; something our genes don’t seem to understand)

–       your skin tone is just right. Use of fake tan seems a little less imperative, and for some reason, (maybe the fact so many of us played in sun as rugrats?) annoying freckles that arrive despite extreme UV border patrol don’t seem to bother you as much

–       less eye makeup is needed, because your eye colour, when placed against your natural hair colour, should sing. (A simple palette of taupes and chocolates being the most flattering and enhancing makeup is utilised.)

Of course, a lot of us couldn’t give two burps about looking natural, or returning to a hair colour that is spectacularly dull compared to the exciting blonde highlights or mahogany hair we’re currently sporting. We’d rather exploit the full artillery of salon and supermarket hair magic available to us, and enjoy many different looks, as opposed to the one we were given.


Here are some of our favourite (and most inventive!) coloured hair looks. NB: Post continues below galley

But while I love to experiment with different hair colours, oh, I do like the occasional return to healthy, natural hair. Very much. Having currently returned to my/let my natural dark blonde/mousy brown shade grow though again after being blonde and before that very dark brown, I am delighted and mystified how everything immediately…. Works better. Brows look fine without their usual filling in. Eyes stand out more. Less foundation is needed. Hair is becoming so swishy and healthy. (I of course still do my best to style in in a fashion that makes it look tatty and unkempt. I’m no dummy.)

And all of that matchy-eyes-brows-skin-tone stuff aside, it’s always nice to get your hair back ship shape before you start messing round with it again, am I right, girls, or am I right?? (Hallelujah! Right on! Word! Etc.) Plus, when/if you do choose to colour again, you’ll give your colourist the enormous gift of virgin hair to colour perfectly, because it’s very hard for them to get you the exact shade you want when you have several years worth of other colour/bleach under there.

Have you ever returned to you natural hair colour?

Did you find it was thrillingly compatible with your eyes/skin/brows/look?

Or did you feel uninteresting and swamped with memories of awkward teen years, and immediately compelled to buy some ‘ebony magic’ or ‘golden strawberry’ semi-permanent as soon as the chemist opened?

As a fun treat, here is me at 14, with the only hair a young girl obsessed with Kris Kross, Janet Jackson and SWV knows how to do.


(‘Feel free to upload your own teen pic!’, she types, knowing full well none of you will.)

Zoe Foster is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air KissesPlaying The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on Zoe Foster here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë Foster cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Do you colour your hair? What’s your natural colour? Would you ever go back to it?

To see more celebrity hair colour  changes, check out our sister site iVillage.com.au here.