The Plusses and Pitfalls of Being Your Own Barber

NYU students talk about their experiences doing their hair on campus.

Students are choosing to dye hair themselves in the dorms rather than pay for expensive dye jobs at the salon. (Photo by Patrick Tan)

Unless you can rock a look like The Rock or Charles Xavier, hair is one accessory you can’t get rid of. A bad hair day can be covered up with a cute beanie or bucket hat, but that’s no long-term solution. Nonetheless, some courageous students still opt for DIY hairdos instead of heading for the nearest salon.

For Steinhardt first-year Hazel Tang, dyeing her own hair in her dorm was an option simply because of preference. A rebel at heart, Tang is currently rocking it as a redhead and has always opted for her own hairstyles and colors rather than listening to barbers’ advice. 

“When I first dyed my hair in high school and I went to the barber’s to get it cut, he asked me if I was going to an art school […] They would judge you based on your hairstyle,” Tang said.

For anyone who wants to dye their own hair, Tang strongly suggests asking for roommates’ approval, as the chemical smells can last for a long time and irritate those who share the space. She also recommends using specialized conditioner to keep the color from fading. (Anna Donna’s Every Hair Color Treatment is her choice, around $20.)

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For Stern senior Yerin Jee, a DIY haircut was simply an effort to save whatever money she had left after tuition and occasional retail therapy sessions. Coming from Korea, she was shocked by the average price for a haircut in New York.

“The cost of getting a simple haircut at a hairdresser’s is crazy in New York compared to my home country,” Jee said. “So I just decided to do it myself. Not that I’m good at doing it.”

Nonetheless, after doing it so many times, Jee has acquired quite a few tips and tricks.

“First, cut little by little, especially when you are cutting bangs and the sides. You really don’t want to mess that part up. Secondly, make sure to check your progress every now and then,” Jee said. “Lastly, and perhaps most important, don’t be afraid of messing it up. That’s when you use hair gels and sprays to make it look better.”

However, if you ask CAS first-year Rafael Baez, a recommendation for the DIY route is the last thing you’ll get. Despite successfully changing his hair color from black to orange, he is still scared to recall the experience. 

““Do it at a beauty parlor. […] If I [had] done it wrong, I could have fried my hair off,” Baez said.

Using peroxide and lemon juice in his hair after reading about the method online, the color he wanted didn’t turn out as red as he desired. However, he still loves his hair dearly for the recognition he received during the first few weeks of school.

“I’ve noticed that people remember me because my hair is big and orange,” Baez said. “So that’s a positive influence.”

Whether you do it yourself, or get it professionally done, be sure you research what you think is best for you and remember, hair always grows back. That being said, will your next haircut be in your dorm room?

Email Alex Tran at [email protected]

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