By Alyssa Clough
Updated Apr 21, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
Credit: Getty Images / Susie Cushner

Up until a few weeks ago, I had virgin hair. I didn't know this was a term until I was in the process of losing my hair virginity, so I feel cheated. Yet somehow I made it through 23 years of life with hair so pure, that even homemade lemon sun spray hadn't even touched it.

The first obstacle standing in the way of coloring my hair was my conservative mother, who thankfully, for whatever reason, prevented me from altering my hue throughout my entire adolescence. I can still hear her saying, "Not under my roof!"… While this made my middle school years dark in more ways than one, it also saved me from a lifetime of embarrassing photos. The hideous, zebra blonde highlights everyone rocked in the early 2000s would not have been a good look on me.

Not having permission to color my hair was especially devastating for me personally, because from a young age I had decided that in order to be pretty, one had to be blonde. In attempt to make up for my lack of blonde hair, I kept it very straight and long. Fortunately, those phases ended once I graduated high school. After confessing this to my coworkers, they became semi-concerned.

Then, halfway through college, I discovered having short hair wasn't just easier to manage, it was life-altering cool! This discovery spurred a series of drastic cuts and an official good bye to my waist long hair. To give you an idea, my two most recent cuts were an ear-length bob, and once that grew out (whew), I swiftly moved on to blunt bangs.

Credit: Alyssa Clough

So once I became addicted to cutting my hair, I became worried that if I were to color my hair, the situation would escalate pretty quickly to a platinum situation in a mere matter of months. It would be like watching a caged animal run free for the first time—fulfilling, yet dangerous. Enough would never be enough. Certain that a full head of pastel pink hair was just a salon visit away, I smartly stayed away from dying my strands. Plus, to be honest, I can't afford to continue getting crazy haircuts every few months and extensive coloring.

Okay, okay, there's a third reason too. I love my natural hair color. It flatters my pale skin in the winter just as much as it does my tan skin in the summer. And much like how I continue to swear by the fact that my hair looks better air dried than when I style it myself, I swore that any colorist would just mess up the good thing I had going.

All that changed a few weeks ago. I decided it finally was time to take the plunge. I made my appointment and that was that. Little did anyone know, I was terrified. I was so scared, I hadn't even looked up photos of what I wanted (big mistake). This lead to an hour-long, manic stalking session of Alexa Chung's Instagram, and the decision to copy her ombré balayage look.

When the appointment finally arrived on a crisp Friday afternoon, I was even more nervous and apprehensive. After a brief conversation with a friend who had bad past experiences, I was convinced I would walk out of the salon a red head. Much to my surprise, I felt an instant rush of relief upon entering the Marie Robinson Salon—and even more relieved when I met my colorist, the lovely Nikki Chick.

She kindly answered all of my elementary questions and laughed along with me when my eyes started watering from the bleach. A newb in every sense of the word, I was even excited for the foils. Do you know how many times I've dreamt of having foils in my hair?! Too many times for it to be socially appropriate. To commemorate this momentous life event, I obviously took a selfie.

Credit: Alyssa Clough

Once it was time for the reveal, I was certain my reflection would be that of a blonde stranger. When it turned out not to be the case, instead of breathing a sigh of relief, I felt underwhelmed. Truth be told, the color, tone, everything is perfect. Totally cool and natural, my hair actually did resemble that of Alexa Chung's. It was exactly what I had asked for, it just wasn't shocking.

Credit: Alyssa Clough

After realizing this was the dye job of my dreams, I immediately sent photos to friends and family, walking home with more pep in my step with each compliment I received. The best news is that I don't even feel like a rabid animal! I am 100 percent satisfied with my color experience, have no regrets about ending my hair virginity, and don't feel the urge to take it to the next level—all of which makes me feel like a true, content adult whose hair is finally reaching its full potential.