My 11 Year Old Son Wants His Hair Color to Be Blue and Red

Updated on August 17, 2018
K.C. asks from Solon, OH
26 answers

So my 11 year old son (going into 6th grade) has been asking to dye his hair blue and red. Although I am not comfortable with this, I agreed to buy colored hair spray from Sally's Beauty Supply. I am trying to allow him to express himself without always telling him no. I told him that we can color his hair because it is summer, but when school starts we are done...unless it is spirit day at school. He is only coloring his bang area not his whole head. He is insisting that he colors his hair for school too, which I am totally not comfortable with for two reasons. One because it doesn't look very good on him and two we don't have a lot of extra time in the morning to do this. He doesn't have many friends and I am worried about him doing this. A lot of kids are naturally mean and not accepting to different things. I am hoping this is a phase, but I am also curious how many parents are experiencing this. I am standing firm on not going to school like this, but I am also worried if this will make him rebel as time goes on.

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answers from Norfolk on

It's only hair.
It will grow and/or wash out eventually.
When I worked in high school I saw kids (guys and girls) with all colors hair - sometimes rainbow on one head.

It's not like it's a piercing or a tattoo - I'd put my foot down over that.
But hair is easy and not that permanent.
The worse that could happen is he fries his hair (depending on the dye he uses) and it breaks a lot.
But within 8 weeks it will grow out and/or be trimmed.
It's no big deal!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

my kids had mohawks, rattails, flattops and hippy hair past their shoulders. they were every color of the rainbow at different points.

hair is just hair. that was never a hill i cared to die on.

what 'looks good on him' is completely subjective. do you listen to his advice as to what looks good on you?

i think not having time to deal with it is perfectly rational, and i wouldn't be very happy with him 'insisting' as a last minute thing. i'd put the brakes on that pretty quickly.

but other than that i don't get all the discomfort and worry.

it's just hair.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

It's hair. Is hair really a hill you want to die on?
At 11, he can spray his own hair. Make it his responsibility to get up early enough to spray it before school if he wants it done.
FWIW, I'm 54, my hair is colored in rainbow stripes over my whole head, and I work for a government office.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Honolulu on

I'd let logic take the reins here. By that I mean, you tell your son "you can do what you want to your own hair, with these considerations. 1/ you earn the money to buy extra hair stuff beyond shampoo. 2/ you get up early enough to spray or style your own hair without being late for the bus, carpool, or school 3/ there will be no hairspray or gel or goop on any bathroom surfaces, carpets, clothing. 4/ it's not against any school dress code rules.

You explain to him that he's almost a teen. Mom and/or Dad pays for the rent or mortgage, electricity, clothes, food, water, the car, etc. But when pre-teens and teens start deciding they want hair colors, manicures, a cooler backpack than the basic one Mom had in mind, etc, it's time to step up. Make sure to take him to Sally Beauty and show him the cost of hair color spray. That can be a real wake up call.

I remember once when my son and I were shopping for school shoes for him. I found a good pair of sneakers. He was a young teen and he REALLLLLY wanted this particular pair with some sports guy's name on them. There wasn't much difference between what I chose and what he chose except for a small autograph of the guy. I told my son "sure, you have some birthday money, I'll chip in what I was going to pay for the sneakers I chose, and you pay the rest". He was so happy. Until - he turned his choice of sneakers over and saw the price. All of a sudden he turns in Mr. Consumer Guide. He was indignant. "These are practically the same shoes, except these have [sports guy's] name on them, and they're an extra $80 for that!". Lesson learned. He chose the shoes I originally chose.

Make sure your son has a way to earn a little extra money (extra chores beyond the regular chores that go along with being part of the family and the household, neighborhood yard work, etc).

Either your son will do what's necessary to color his hair, or when the logical consequences (time, money, extra cleaning of the bathroom) set in, the desire will phase itself out naturally.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You've mentioned in the past that your now 11 year old sons are twins, and their older brother is a couple of years older.

Do your twins look very similar? Do you think the one who wants to dye his hair is searching for a way to "stand out" from his brother (maybe from both brothers, if the twins will now be in the same school as their older brother)?

Hair dye is definitely not a "need" for a child. But developing a strong sense of identity is. And the year of starting middle school is a big year for that.

Talk to your son about his "look", maybe you can work with him to find some mutually acceptable compromises (a bunch of cool new teeshirts to wear to school, etc).

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'd allow it. He's trying to express his independence, and clamping down on a relatively harmless rebellion can actually increase the likelihood of more serious (or undesirable) rebellious acts later.

Yes, kids can be mean, but we cannot keep protecting our kids from that. Your son, presumably, knows the social situation at school more intimately than you do. Maybe he's trying to be cool, maybe he's trying to stand out and establish himself a bit. Maybe it will backfire, maybe it won't.

If the school allows it, and if he can get himself ready in the morning, I'd let it go. (And if he can't get ready and is late for school, I'd tell him he can certainly explain his reasons to the principal when he checks in late for his first class. That usually takes care of these things without the parent having to be the big nay-sayer in the kid's eyes. Natural consequences are far more effective than what kids see as arbitrary controls by the parent. And it's a great life lesson.

You could do a spray, or you could do a temporary color that will fade with each shampoo. I think refusing to allow him to go to school that way will be perceived as unnecessary control over something relatively minor and reversible. You could say he can't have blue hair for school picture day maybe, or for a family wedding, but for the daily routine? What's the rationale. I'm sure there are kids doing much more outrageous things.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't think it's that big of a deal. My BFF's son is about to start 7th grade and has had a purple steak (done at a salon) for close to a year. I would teach him how to do it himself, though, because that's not something I'd want to deal with in the morning. I would make it his hair, his responsibility. If he gets teased he probably won't keep doing it. And as others have said, make sure it doesn't break any school dress codes.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Hair is not a battle I am fighting. They ask, I suggest then they do it.

My son has had hair down past his shoulders and was called a girl...he didn't care. Then months later for the summer he cut off 4 inches an still gets called a girl. He likes his hair and that's all that matters. It is still pretty long

My daughter cut about 5 or 6 inches off her hair I told her I was worried she wouldn't like it and we should cut it a bit at a time. She didn't...she hated it and grew it back out. Her hair has also been red, blue, black, white and her natural blonde.

The spray in hair stuff makes your hair course like it is full of hair spray and it will come off if you touch it. The gel or cream lasts longer your hair is smoother and more careful if he is blonde it will not come out completely there will be a slight stain.

Our school handbook says only natural colors but at our middle school campus they seem to ignore the wild colors as I have seen every color under the rainbow there and in the school panoramic photo. So, I guess they value attendance more than hair color. Good luck!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It's just hair color and a battle I'd choose not to fight. It's something he'll likely not continue forever and isn't that damaging if done correctly.

However, around here, hair color for boys and girls is addressed in the school dress code so you might check that out before he goes to school with it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son had a mohawk that we dyed blue when he was 8. He has had a bald head, longish hair, and right now it's this curly MOP that he likes. It's just hair. I have never cared what they do with their hair as long as they are doing well in school and are good kids.
Kids in school will make fun of you for a thousand different reasons. Your ears, eyes, hair, clothes, shoes, name, skin color. It doesn't matter WHAT you have done to make yourself "perfect" kids will find SOMETHING to make fun of.
I say, let your son express himself!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I just did my sons hair today, it is dark pink and he loves it. We did it because school is starting. It will wash out in about a month and he may choose a different color or he may not, it is always his choice because it is his hair. He is not the only kid in his class or school with colored hair, and I am betting that is also the case in your son's school, dying their hair different colors has long been popular with kids, even back in the 80's when we had to use food coloring and koolaid to do it. Let him be who he wants.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

He may be over by time school is over if he tries it out now and sees how long it takes to do. Time him and let him see how long it will take so he is aware that he has to budget time for this in mornings if it's going to be part of morning routine.

I think parents can gently nudge and we're aware of how cruel kids can be - but it's a real balancing act. If you know your kid is making a serious mistake ... then I would probably intervene. I don't think this is a huge deal. It's not a really bad haircut that's going to be disastrous. This is wash out hair dye from sounds of it. Worst that is going to happen is, he'll go to school, someone will say something - he'll be bothered (or not), and if it matters to him, he won't re-dye it. Peer pressure works wonders. More than you saying 'no'.

So I'd let it go if it was me - in this case. If it really bugs you, and you don't want him to do it on picture day - then you can compromise kind of thing.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

This is my philosophy on hair dye. I wouldn't say no to this, but I would also not buy it. My kids. I have said they have to buy it themselves. It's a want, not a need. Let him buy the color spray or hair dye himself. He doesn't have any money? Well, too bad. That will have to wait until he's old enough for a part time job to earn his own spending money. Or he would have to save his allowance money. Or save his birthday gift money, or something like that. You'd be surprised how often things kids say are so important to them suddenly become not so important when they have to spend their own money.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Will school allow it? Many schools only allow natural looking hair colors, so double check to make sure he is allowed to have blue hair. My kids attend public school and the uniform rules are enforced. If it's not a spirit day they will be asked to change to comply with the rules. Which include hair color being natural looking, no wild colors.
If school allows it then I would allow it. it is just hair and will grow out eventualy

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Following your logic about what future issues could arise, I think you should ask yourself whether his hair color is an important enough hill to die on. Whether or not you think it looks good, whether or not YOU think he will be teased about the color, those things are irrelevant. As long as the school dress code allows it and as long as he gets himself up early enough to manage his hairstyle in the morning, I really think you should ease up on this one. Elena B and Diane B expressed my views well. Save the 'NO!' for a future issue which will affect his basic well-being.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from unknown city on

Honestly, I am 41 ... today, I went over to my mom’s and she put some color, streaks, in my hair ... I came home and my 8yr old said that I look like ‘Sonic the Hedgehog.’ 🤣 I went with blues today, last time I did some greens, and before that it was pinks and purples. My mom apologized because she got a bit too much blue in one area.

I simply told her, “It is hair ... it will grow out.”

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Brightly colored hair is really popular in the middle school ages around here. Some of them go full-heads of pink, blue, etc and some choose to get just streaks or color highlights. This is done during the school year, as there is no dress code rule against it. If he was here, he would fit right in.

A spray is fine to test colors, but it is not suited to regular use unless one's hairstyle is of the stiff and shaped varieties. The parents I know who have kids with colored hair take them to good salons to have the work done professionally, particularly if they have dark hair. Light hair can often use the semi-permanent wash in type.

IMO, his hair is not the hill you should pick to die (dye?) on, because this is a superficial issue. Firm stands have more power when they are saved for important life issues.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Why are you so against it? It’s just hair. If the school allows it, let him. My daughter does her hair at least 4 colors every summer. Everyone loves it. If it makes him happy that’s what matters! :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

It's just hair. We let our daughter (11) dye her's pink last year. It washes out. No big deal.

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answers from Portland on

I suggest kids will not be mean. He'll be seen as cool. Or whatever word kids use now for being with it.

Colored hair is in now.
My granddaughter's attended the same school as her mother. Kids had to have natural hair color for my daughter. My grandaughter could color her hair.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think the hair spray is the perfect compromise - color that washes out easily in 1 shampoo. I think you should let him be responsible for his own hair and let this go.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I would think twice about the hair spray, that stuff can ruin his uniform or other clothing because it is not waterproof or sweat proof. Then, it will become a mess if it runs down his forehead and face, and ruin his clothing and the bedding. It is also stiff, like hair spray and putting that in your hair daily is not very healthy. L'Oreal Colorista has a line of semi-permanent hair colors in funky colors, and they have shades for dark hair that do not require bleach, assuming your son's hair is not blonde. Maybe you can put the color on his ends, like a lot of boys and girls do these days, and that way, if he gets tired of it or the school says no, he just trims his ends rather than having to dye his hair, wash it over and over and over till the color comes out, or shave his head.

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answers from Fort Myers on

A lot of schools have a strict dress code policy, that includes hair color. My son is only allowed to have his hair dyed on crazy hair day during spirit week. You are the mom. You can tell him no.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

Please check on the health effects of any hair-dye product on a child - many are OK for adults, but not for kids who are smaller.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your best bet is to get some temporary hair crayons for him to play with. THey are non permanent and wash out in one wash even with pale blonde or color treated hair. (mine and my boys) They also do not lighten or appear to damage the hair at all. Then he can "test run" colors, placement, and the school policy. We have done this and my 10 year old son loves having the flexibility and no request for permanent color yet. I like this brand: If he really wants to jump in, have him do the tips, so it is an easy undo, and it is trendy vs rebellious, and might go over better with the school. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

What interests me is your statement of always saying NO! "You are trying to allow him to express himself." How about asking him questions so he can learn to express himself verbally.

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