What age for DD to dye hair?

(34 Posts)
Monstera Fri 21-Jun-13 09:21:55

What age did your DDs start dyeing their hair?

DD is only 11 - off to secondary in September and she has mousy hair that she doesn't like. I can sympathise as it's the same natural colour as mine. I started dyeing at 16 and never stopped. Mine's mostly a couple of shades darker (mid or chocolate brown) but occasionally a redder henna colour.

She really wants to do the same. From a school point of view I can't see any problem or objection to her darkening it a few shades, and adding some gloss and condition at the same time. I'm happy to help her do it, but I don't like the thought of the chemicals on her scalp and it wouldn't be a one-off, it would need doing every few weeks.

Has anyone else had a DD start dyeing hair in Y7? Any tips on safer / milder hair dyes?

shelldockley Fri 21-Jun-13 10:13:21

I have mousy hair and started dyeing it at about 12/13. I only used wash-in wash-out colour then though, Shaders & Toners, they don't do them any more but Superdrug do these in a few different colours. They can't have as many chemicals as normal dyes, and she can change the colour when she gets bored, they're really easy to use (I've been using them to top up my dyed red hair) and last a good few washes.

Monstera Fri 21-Jun-13 11:06:45

Great thanks Shell. I like the price too!

I think we'll try to stay fairly close to her natural colour for the first time rather than do anything too shocking. I'll pop in tomorrow and have a look.

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 11:45:04

TBH I think that is far too young but maybe I am just a fuddy duddy.

I know this might be going against the grain but at 11 her focus should be on settling into year 7, making friends and getting down to all that extra homework!

IMO I think that very young girls- children really- look tarty with dyed hair. It just gives out the wrong message to be so concerned about appearance when she is just out of primary school.

It WILL be a talking point amongst her friends- new and old- and make her appear older ( emotionally) than she is.

I used to be a secondary teacher and TBH I would make a judgement about parents who allowed/ encouraged a year 7 child to dye their hair.

Sorry- not what you want to hear I'm sure, but that's how I see it.

I don't really see a problem. I could definitely see your point Missbopeep if the OP was allowing her DD to dye her hair an unnatural colour/unsuitable colour.
Try it over the summer holidays and if she doesn't like it, chances are her natural colour would have returned. If she does like it, I would make sure it is dark when she starts so no-one knows her any other way.

celestialsquirrels Fri 21-Jun-13 11:52:41

What are you teaching her? That at 11 yo her hair colour isn't good enough?

I think this is mad personally. Let her be a child.

AnaisB Fri 21-Jun-13 11:53:30

Missbopeep - I don't see why it would make her look "emotionally older."

The thing is OP, she is concerned about her appearance whether you let her dye her hair or not.

I would also strongly reject the stereotype that girls and women who are concerned about their appearance work less hard!

At what age do children stop having more sensitive skin - I'd probably look for something hypoallergenic if I decided to let DD dye her hair when she was relatively young.

AnaisB Fri 21-Jun-13 11:58:52

Maybe OP would be teaching her that superficial changes to her body are just that, and not something to make a massive fuss about.

You don't teach someone self-esteem by banning them from using cosmetics or hair dyes. It's more complicated than that.

GobblersKnob Fri 21-Jun-13 11:59:31

Weirdly I am the opposite, I would have no problem with my dcs dying their hair, pink, blue or green (in the holidays obv.) as it is fun, but I would object to them wanting to colour their hair in a natural shade as i agree it is implying that their natural hair is somehow lacking and I wouldn't be comfortable with that message at that age.

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 12:06:05

Well I do think it would make her look emotionally more mature than she is simply because using make up, changing hair colour and wearing certain types of clothes are associated with girls who are a bit older.

I also agree with Celestial that it's not good to comply with a child who doesn't like her own hair colour at 11. The vast majority of Caucasian women have naturally mousy hair- it's not a crime.

I never said that being concerned about how you look means you work less hard. What I said was basically allow her to be a child and cope with the transition to secondary school and all that involves, without adding worry about whether her hair colour is 'right' or if her roots need re-touching.

You'd be better off telling her that she looks lovely as she is, that there is nothing wrong with her natural colour, and that there is plenty of time when she is 16+ to change it if she still feels the same.

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 12:09:34

Anais- I don't think there is such as thing as hypoallergenic hair dye- simply by its definition, and you don't 'grow out' of sensitive skin if that is what nature has given you.

My DD's 11, also off to high school soon.
She hasn't asked yet, but can dye her hair if she wants, I really have no problem with it.

Showtime Fri 21-Jun-13 12:13:19

I'd tell the child the truth, that best-looking hair is glossy, well-cut and easy-to-manage at any age, and that adding colour is not going to help condition.

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 12:23:18

I just think this is terribly sad in many ways. It's one thing for an adult - like the OP- to make a judgement about her appearance and decide that she doesn't like her natural hair colour, or that some highlights, low lights whatever would enhance her appearance.

But it's another altogether for her to use that behaviour as a role model for a daughter who is still a child emotionally and physically, and agree to the child copying her mum.

OP- your DD will only be months older than she was in year 6. How would you have reacted had she wanted to dye her hair then? And how would her peers and teachers have reacted? Their opinions would be aimed at you- as a parent for allowing it- not at your DD for wanting to try it.

Monstera Fri 21-Jun-13 12:32:09

Ooh interesting posts.

Re the stereotype thing - yes this is exactly what I'm concerned with - that dyed hair makes teachers judge children (girls) as tarty and therefore brainless. My DD is absolutely not brainless, top sets for everything and ambitions to be an engineer (and solve global warming!), so I'm confident once teachers get to know her they'll get past some hair dye but we're all human and when faced with a class full of new kids judgements will be made.

I absolutely don't want to teach her not to be happy with her appearance. I'm afraid though that I have done that through example, through her seeing me dye my hair all her life. I don't really wear make up and I don't pay much attention to what I wear, but I do like dyeing my hair, and it does give me a boost when I do it eg compliments from friends, improves condition. DD doesn't wear make up and is always in jeans, but she doesn't like her hair. She swims twice a week too and it is always dull and poor condition.

I still haven't made my mind up on this. It seems far too young, but I'm holding off on letting her get her ears pierced and somehow this seems less permanent / painful / invasive / expensive. Maybe I've got my priorities wrong.

Monstera Fri 21-Jun-13 12:37:11

Sorry MissBoPeep -slow posting and I hadn't seen your post.

Yes I agree, while it was unconscious rather than deliberate, she is copying my behaviour. I dread the idea of my DD becoming one of the many fish-faced pouty girls on facebook constantly messing with her appearance for all her friends to see.

On the other hand I also dread her entering her teens lacking confidence and hiding away like I did, to the point where I went whole days at school not speaking to anyone and hiding in the toilets all breaks and lunchtimes to avoid having to speak to anyone.

Knowing my DD as I do, she definitely leans more towards the second than the first. Based on some of these responses though, it has made me think am I allowing too much based on my own experiences.

VillaVillekulla Fri 21-Jun-13 12:45:20

I think I used those Toners and Shaders around that age too. Personally I don't like the thought of DD wanting to dye her hair but I'm not at that stage yet so maybe I'll feel differently if/when it happens.

I would however urge you to research what's in the hair dye. Lots of so called "gentle" dyes still contain PPD which can cause severe reactions.

I would have thought henna would be safer but it's a faff and a commitment and she's stuck with it if she doesn't like it.

freddiefrog Fri 21-Jun-13 12:48:25

I have no objections to my DD dyeing her hair temporarily - she's 11, 12 in September and have allowed her to mess about with dip dyeing, bright pink wash-in/wash-out dyes.

My DD is quite mousy too, I call it 'office carpet', a sort of neither here nor there colour (not to her face obviously)

She also hates her hair colour, but I've been encouraging her to get it cut regularly and getting into really good condition before we consider dyeing permanently and it looks so much better just for being cut into a decent style and all swishy and glossy

inneedofrain Fri 21-Jun-13 12:49:13

Um by that age I had been dying my hair for a year or more

I was prematurely going grey, white actually (genetics) I'm sorry but why should I have to feel terrible just because I have hair like that?

The kids at school already used me as a physical and emotional puck bag and there was no way I was going to school with a lot of white hair

My mum users mouse was in was out colour and by the time I earning money from a weekend job I was saving it for salon hair colouring

If its making your dd unhappy op I would consider a wash in wash out hair dye in a close shade to her natural hair colour over the summer. She may keep it up a while and then give it up

DianaTrent Fri 21-Jun-13 12:49:33

I would let her use something like the 'brun' lush henna to give her hair a shine and extra richness of colour without harmful chemicals or a radical change.

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 12:59:05

Monstera- you do at least seem open to points being made smile

I think there is a huge 'projection' element going on here. Your DD is not you- and if you manage her wants as if she were you, then it's likely her behaviour will begin to replicate yours- and not all the good stuff!

It's sad don't you think that your own parents didn't spot or deal with your low self esteem and the fact you hid in the toilets- and helped you become a confident person by praising and encouraging you.

Your role is to support her as she matures- not to give in to every whim she has about how changing her appearance will somehow make her more popular, more confident, or a 'nicer ' person.

At 11 it's highly likely that she is copying you- you are her role model- and if she is party to the compliments etc that you get after dying your hair, then she is wanting that too- as well as believing there is something 'wrong' with her own colour.

I don't think there is anything wrong per se in colouring hair. But I do think that early use of make up, revealing clothes, and yes hair dyes, are all part of early sexualisation which 11 yr olds can do without.

And on a practical note, chlorine will play havoc with the colour and it will end up fading or looking like dead, dull hair.

My mum used to brush peroxide through mine when it started to go mousy - I was definitely still in primary and I am taking probably in the early 1970's. I think when I was about you daughters age I used to use Sun-In and started to get highlights or "streaks" as we called them then - all done by my older sisters at home and i'd also occaisionally buy shaders or toners too. As I got into my late teens, my hair darkened itself past mousey and so I either left it or had various fancy stuff done at the hairdresser when I had earned enough cash.

My hair did eventually go a really nice deep shade so for many many years I did nothing - now I have the grey going on so back to square one!!

I think from what I see that girls seem to be quite commonly having their hair died from about your daughters age and some of it is quite funky as opposed to tarty bleached blond.

Only word of caution I would give relates to a boy in my sons class who was blond, decided to dye his hair blue - couldn't find blue, so died it purple though it came out sort of beetroot colour - that faded out and he tried to dye it red and it came out a very natural looking orangey ginger colour - now his hair is growing in that colour instead of blond! I wonder if he has damaged the hair folicles in some way?

PoppyAmex Fri 21-Jun-13 13:06:15

"I also dread her entering her teens lacking confidence and hiding away like I did"

OP, unfortunately that kind of confidence doesn't come bottled in hair dye form.

There will always be something that supposedly might help with her "confidence" (my lips are too thin, I need to dye my eyelashes) so I think you need to decide where you draw the line.

FWIW I think she's far too young.

teta Fri 21-Jun-13 13:48:09

Gosh i really can't believe the rather serious comments on this thread.My dd[now 14] has been dyeing her hair in the holidays for years.She normally uses a semi permanant in a reddy colour[naturally brown hair].She has always been obsessed with having red hair even to the extent of having red streaks put in her hair at 6 on holiday[dh said she could,i was incubating twins and wasn't allowed to travel].Luckily they used to wash out to blond after a few weeks in time for the school term.She wants to be a vet and doesn't think its cool to have a boyfriend etc.[is very straight].I don't think any of the teachers at secondary schools judge the pupils by their hair colour round here[at 11/12 some kids are getting up to far worse] or whether they wear lots of make up etc.Its not a confidence thing either wanting to dye hair.Its natural to want to look pretty and experiment.I really wouldn't be too repressive over this type of thing.

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 13:56:37

shock you allowed your 6 year old to have red streaks put in her hair?

Some schools have a ban on very obvious hair dye.
Some schools have a ban on make up.
Some teachers do judge children on what their parents allow them to do.

But the OP's thread is not just about hair colour- it's also tied up with her own low self esteem ( or that's how she was as a teen) - and how her DD might be copying her behaviour.

That's the reason for the serious comments.

AnaisB Fri 21-Jun-13 13:59:23

I agree that whether OP lets her dye her hair or not will have minimal effect on her self esteem. I definitely agree that OPs self-esteem and the behaviours she models will have a big impact on her self-esteem, but I don't think banning her from dying her hair will make her focus any less on her appearance. OP's daughter worry about whether her hair colour is "right" - as she has expressed. Not letting her dye her hair will not change this.

Miss you say her focus should be on settling into year 7, making friends and getting down to all that extra homework, which implies that dying her hair would mean she could not focus on these things.

Well I do think it would make her look emotionally more mature than she is simply because using make up, changing hair colour and wearing certain types of clothes are associated with girls who are a bit older. Do you mean physically she will look more mature than she is emotionally?

If you do dye her OP I'm pretty sure that you can get hypoallergenic dyes (google), as children do have more sensitive skin than adults.

AnaisB Fri 21-Jun-13 14:00:50

Proof read fail, should read:

OP's daughter already worries about whether her hair colour is "right" - as she has expressed. Not letting her dye her hair will not change this.

Monstera Fri 21-Jun-13 14:14:54

This thread has become very philosophical and dragged up all sorts of issues I didn't really intend to get into, but they have been interesting.

Yes I had very serious self esteem issues at school. I don't think my DD is anywhere near being as bad as me (I really hope not) but then she's only 11 and hasn't even started secondary yet so it's probably too early to say.

I've probably over-stressed the feelings on all sides. She expressed a wish to dye her hair, some of her friends (still in Y6) have done so this term. I didn't immediately say no because I like dyeing my hair and I have the attitude that hair grows and dye washes out and it wouldn't do too much harm. On the other hand I do agree with what MissBoPeep and others have said - she's still a child and she shouldn't feel there's anything wrong with her appearance as it is.

I like the argument that she needs to work on the condition of her hair before dyeing it. I think my approach might be that she's not allowed any hair dye for the first term (or year) at secondary. I agree first impressions count - and that applies to teachers and fellow kids.

Also I'd like her to really work on the condition / care of her hair using the argument that it will be healthier if she does then decide to dye it in future, but I do agree with the PP who said well cared for hair looks so much better, and she doesn't always achieve that.

I think a good solution might be a trip to the hairdressers for a nice shaped cut (rather than the mumsnet cut that she usually gets!)

Thanks so much for everyone's input. It's not often I start a thread where there are such varying opinions and yet I agree with all of them on some level!

Missbopeep Fri 21-Jun-13 14:16:55

OP's daughter worry about whether her hair colour is "right" - as she has expressed. Not letting her dye her hair will not change this.

I think that children should be discouraged from behaving like adults.
Dyeing hair is not something that is appropriate IMO for an 11 yr old.

For me, it comes into the same category as too much make up, revealing clothes, high heels and anything else which takes children to premature 'adulthood' or early sexualisation.

As anyone who dyes their hair knows, it's high maintenance. I just don't think an 11 yr old should be spending time on this- emotionally or in a practical way.

I think the answer is ' your hair is fine- you can do what you want with it when you are older, if you still hate it.'

teta Fri 21-Jun-13 14:18:38

No MissBoPeep,i was unable to travel due to pregnancy so dd and dh went on holiday alone.I personally wouldn't have allowed it[actually i was totally horrified].But luckily the dye has always faded to a blond colour within weeks[and her hair has always been long and tied back so pretty unnoticable really].
A lot of girls are already using eye make up/lip gloss in year 7.This is not considered advanced in todays day and age.Many girls at this age do dress in a grown up way and are not considered emotionally mature.I do think op,you are over analysing this[partially due to other commentators].Incidentally MissBopeep my dd had virtually no homework in year 7[in her 'good' state school].So she had plenty of time to settle in,make friends and make herself look pretty[curl her hair etc].We changed schools to one with a very traditional school uniform and lots of homework and dd looks much younger.

Monstera Fri 21-Jun-13 14:31:31

Thanks Teta - yes I have got a bit deep on this thread. Anything to avoid work! I only posted originally to get advice on milder dyes and chemicals etc. I do appreciate all the views though because even if some of us don't feel that strongly about it, clearly other posters do, and therefore other people she will come into contact with - parents, teachers etc might have strong views about it.

fridgepants Tue 25-Jun-13 14:35:02

I would check the school rules, though - my school was very strict regarding dye or haircuts and any visible dye jobs or 'extreme' undercuts led to suspension. Which, incidentally, I thought was ridiculous even at eleven - these weren't kids coming in with green hair or swear words shaved into it. I still remember being in Spanish class when a young lad with an undercut came in in tears to collect his things from his locker, clearly having been suspended.

We were also told that if you dyed your hair before your GCSEs, you wouldn't be allowed to take them with the rest of the class but would need to take them in isolation hmm

I dyed mine the afternoon of my last exam.

Fairyliz Tue 25-Jun-13 20:31:18

To answer your original question I made my daughter wait until she was 16. She then had it bleached from mouse to pale blonde at the hairdressers and kept it up for 18 months.
By that time it was in such bad condition she coloured it back to mouse and concentrated on conditioning it. The damaged bits are still growing out two years later and last week at the age of 19 she asked me why I had let her have it done!

MushiMushi Wed 26-Jun-13 08:52:21

My mum used to occasionally dye her hair with henna from the Body Shop. She had really dark hair and it just gave it a slight reddish tint. She used to always do mine too at the same time, I was probably younger than 11. I suppose it was a sort of bonding session, it's a nice little memory I have of the two of us.

I used to use those shader & toner things too when I was in secondary school, all my friends did.

I dyed my hair bright pink (!) when I was 15.

Incidentally I haven't dyed my hair since then, I'm perfectly happy with the natural shade now. I was just experimenting when I was younger I suppose.

My mum never really wore makeup, and as an adult I don't either. I feel much more confident being 'natural' than caked in makeup and bleached blond, I presume this is something I learned from my mother.

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