By Julie Morel
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. This scheme of colors known as ROYGBIV finds itself frequently among the hallways of Brooklyn Tech. It’s not in the classwork hung on the walls or in the tiles of the floor – it’s in the hairstyles of today’s teenagers.
As students attempt to squeeze past enormous book bags in the sea of tired teenagers and studious souls, Brooklyn Tech often becomes a mass of people that blur together. But standing out among this crowd, unique hairstyles light up a conglomeration of monotony and stress.
Rita Lu ’15 has been dying her hair for as long as she can remember, and it’s something that she takes pride in. Showing up to school every few weeks with a different gradient of colors brightening her locks sets a bold personality statement.
She pays no attention to what others have to say about her hair; only her own opinion matters to her. “It’s nice to be complimented, but my hair is very much something I do for myself,” she said.
Although her father often expresses concern for the health of her hair, Lu said he is coming to realize that her hobby and talent of hair-dying is something she finds joy in. Lu is thankful to have parents and friends who both respect and admire her style choices.
With a constant change in hair color – from fiery orange to ocean blue to pale purple – Lu’s style is one of a kind. It’s also one that many have become accustomed to.
“My closest friend has gotten so used to my hair that she doesn’t even notice when I change it anymore, but I take that as a positive thing,” she said.
But hairstyle isn’t all about the colors. Hallie Robin ’15 cut off all her hair on the first day of the New Year, ready for a fresh start.
Over the past few years, Robin has repeatedly dyed her hair all colors of the rainbow, including green, pink, and purple. Due to the bleach she constantly used to achieve a desired color, her hair was left frazzled, damaged, and unhealthy. Although she shaved the sides of her head to a Mohawk in order to get rid of most of her damaged hair, she still wasn’t satisfied.
“I was getting fed up with dying my hair and wearing wigs and weaves. I just wanted my natural hair to be healthy, so I decided to chop it all and start from the beginning,” she said.
Though Robin believes that hair shows a big part of one’s personality, having no hair is equally as telling. She said, “It looks great and healthy now, and I love it.”
Interesting hairstyles aren’t only limited to the female population. Raymond Pan ’15 has had a variation of hair styles throughout the past ten years. From long hair in his middle school days to a fohawk as he began high school, his current look is one of short-trimmed and clean-cut hair.
“As I’ve matured, my hair has too,” he said. “I thought it was getting too childish at a certain point, and I came to a stage where I wanted to find a job and look professional, so I went for a change. And now I look cute.”
Marwan Ramadan ’15 has also recently made a transition as he is nearing the time for college and professional life. Having a thick head of curls for the past four years, Ramadan chose to live out the rest of his senior year with a much shorter style, free from bad hair days.
“I felt like I wanted to start a new chapter in my life, and I’m happy with my hair. My friends and family have been constantly urging me to cut my hair for three years now, but this transition was just for me,” he said proudly.
Though teenagers tend to have the most interesting hairstyles, adults can pull off some awesome looks too. Yongjun Lee, a Chemistry teacher at Brooklyn Tech, is known for his fashionably long and good-looking hair.
Because Lee constantly craves change in his life, his hair has seen many different phases. Two years ago, he rocked a headband to keep his hair from getting in his eyes. Last year, he tied it up, causing a trend among students. This year, he has returned to a down-and-loose style.
Ever since he was a college student in Japan, a country which once charged the equivalent of $300 to cut and dye one’s hair, Lee has become a true professional at coloring his own strands. But after years of dyeing, the bleach he constantly used to obtain the perfect hair color finally beat him down. A few months ago, standing with a burning scalp of bleach while thinking of the horrors of impending skin cancer, Lee promised to go all-natural and vowed to never dye his locks again. He said he plans to keep it black from now on.
Because Lee’s super thick, resistant, and rebellious hair “looks like a Russian furry hat” when he wakes up in the morning, he has an organized routine of hair-washing, alternating his shampoo-and-conditioner days with his minimal-shampoo days. But as far as the hairstyle itself, his wife is in charge. Hoping to create a Korean or Japanese celebrity from his flowing hair, she organizes many of his trips to the barber shop.
“To me, hair is very important,” he said. “You have to make a first impression to whoever you meet for the first time, and having a neat or unique hairstyle kind of gives you an interesting look. For many people, hairstyle is a way to say ‘I don’t give a damn about what other people think about me,’ and I like that,” he said.