You just got dumped. You hate your job. You feel like you’re getting old. You no longer fit into your favorite jeans. Or maybe you just don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You want to do something radical to rebrand yourself and start anew. I get it.
You’ve looked into potential tattoo designs but can’t seem to commit to one. You tried recording a beat, thinking you could turn yourself into a successful rapper, but you couldn’t figure out how to use Logic and angrily slammed your laptop shut. You Googled “celebrity septum piercings” thinking you could pull off the look the way Zoe Kravitz does, but quickly realized you don’t have the nose for that. You’ve thought about impulse-buying a motorcycle or maybe a boat, but you checked your bank account, and, well, that’s not happening.
Many attempts later, you finally settled on the idea of reinventing your look with a bit of bleach and calling yourself a platinum blonde. Okay, we're kidding, but this is the stereotype that goes through the minds of many when they catch a glimpse of those luminous, bleached locks. You might as well take a Sharpie and write the word "crisis" across your forehead. In all seriousness, though, it’s become a social fad for both celebrities and regular people from a range of demographics to dye their hair blonde, and the reasoning behind this widespread trend definitely varies more than the rumors you've heard would suggest. Is dying your hair platinum blonde really a cry for help, or can it be a gateway to discovering your higher self? Let’s discuss.
From Hollywood starlets to pop culture icons, platinum hair is almost a rite of passage for those in the limelight. Creatives, notables, glitterati -- you name it; they’ve done it. Troye Sivan employed the icy look to mark his transition from brunette Youtuber to major pop star, perfectly coinciding with his thrillingly honest and emotional music. Kim Kardashian West debuted a futuristic platinum mane in 2015, and the perfectly strategic publicity stunt (which has become a staple in her married-to-Kanye-era beauty transformations) stunned the public and led many to follow in her trail. Zac Efron made the dye job mainstream when he strayed from his natural, clean-cut style to go full blonde this year, telling E!, “It’s just for life, bro.” When Cara Delevigne rocked a platinum bob, it elevated her alluring appearance with an edgy, almost grungy vibe.
The list could go on and on and on. Regardless, with such massive followings, these celebrities essentially dictate the future style choices of the millions who idolize them. Their stardom grants them the power to act as catalysts for the spread of more provocative trends as everyday people attempt to mimic their viral looks. Kristen Stewart’s fierce arctic cut was so icy, it provided compelling inspiration to abandon all thinking and just grab some bleach and scissors immediately. With each star who joins the platinum hair club, more and more regular people embark on beauty experiment journeys in order to become members.
If so many celebrities have largely received positive attention for pulling off the frosty look, then why is it considered so unstable for common people to do the same? Even proposing the idea of dying your hair platinum leads people to immediately jump to the rash conclusion that you’re going through a crisis, and yes, I’m speaking from experience. What people don’t realize is there’s actually so much more to it.
Cara Delevigne’s hair colorist, Nina Kairouz, spoke with L'Officiel USA to provide some valuable insight into the trend as well as the psyche of those entering her salon. “Everybody wants that moment of shock and awe and you get that," she explained. "When you have somebody who was a brunette and then all of a sudden they show up the next day and they’re platinum blonde, it's definitely a shocking moment and it gets a lot of attention, whether it's a personal need for it or maybe they're influencers and they want a big post."
It’s that shock value that Kairouz noticed through her years of experience that attracts so many eyes and makes the platinum shade so alluring. Hair (or lack thereof) is a crucial factor in completing your look. One snip, buzz, or squirt of dye can alter an appearance completely and revolutionize one's self-image. It’s a palette for experimentation and exploration that allows for discovery and expression in individualized ways. People who have spent their lives with the same hair color experience an exotic thrill as they become acquainted with the new image staring back in the mirror. For the fashion-obsessed, the icy look could simply be a bold style statement or a new accessory of sorts. It showcases an edgy, carefree aesthetic that has found a prominent place in both mainstream culture and the fashion world.
For newcomers, blonde hair is an adventurous endeavor, something so foreign that pursuing it provides a rush of adrenaline. Seasoned hair dye users often see bleached blonde as just another look to add to a portfolio of altered personas-- just scroll through the Instagram feeds of any Kardashian sister or a YouTube beauty influencer like Jeffree Star to see an abundance of hairstyle alter egos in an array of colors and styles. Each new color unleashes a new element for self-discovery and development of an ever-changing personal aesthetic.
For those in need of a confidence boost, platinum hair provides a sensation of fearlessness with its shocking presentation that is certain to garner compliments and stares. With such a striking look, a new blonde dye job emanates a refreshing aura of power. Something as simple as a hair makeover can prompt many to reassess their entire identity and inspire the cultivation of their character, so maybe the stereotypes aren't so universal. But for the rest? Well, it might just signify a crisis.