American Prejudice on Colored HairBy Dylan Devine-Casebolt, Dakota Selvidge, Hunter Jahnsen, and Jakob Briggs

Question: In our day-to-day observations, we have noted that Americans have slight prejudice against those with unnaturally dyed hair, especially in the workplace.

Process: In order to test this, we devised a series of short, yes/no questions to ask 4 different age groups (25 people from each of the following groups: middle school and below, high school, 18 and above, and 50 to above).

Hypothesis: We believe that prejudice will be evident in the results of our surveys, especially in the older age groups.


A brief history on colored hair:


Hair coloring agents used throughout history to display ranks, status, or instill fear in enemies.
  • 2000 years ago- Sumerian men used plant extracts and minerals to bleach hair blonde and dye their hair red. They did this to be different than the rest of the world who had brown hair.
  • 1500 BC- Egyptians used henna to paint hair red and to cover their grey
  • 1st Century- Gauls dyed hair to display rank and to scare people
  • Babylonian men had gold flakes in their hairexternal image Love-this-guys-hair..-Can-anyone-plz-ask-me-to-do-this-hairhaven-guy-beard-trendy-hipster-lilavie-sa.jpg
  • Greek/ Roman/ Egyptian- used animal matter to dye hair.This could only darken the hair
  • Victorian Era:
    • Natural red hair originally = witch
    • Queen Elizabeth has red hair = red hair more popular which is more red dye
    • Baroque Period- powdered wigs ( pink, yellow, blue, red)
    • Chemicals introduced to dye hair (PPD Para-Phenylenediamine) circa 1800’s
  • Modern hair coloring:
    • Hydrogen peroxide is a more gentler and easier hair lightener for bleaching
    • Eugene Schueller invents L’Oreal
    • 1950 first one step hair dye lightened hair w/out bleach

Types of dye:


  • Ammonia- Free
Uses monoethanolamine
  • Bleaching/ highlights-
Moves color from hair through the process of oxidation to lighten hair
  • Semi- Permanent (Temporary)
Can’t lighten hair color, will fade over time due to showering or sunlight.
Include: mousses, hair crayons, colors and sprays
  • Permanent
An oxidizer such as hydrogen peroxide and ammonia and the coloring are mixed together and changes the melanin content in the follicles giving the hair a longer color that lasts longer


Why do people dye their hair?

People often dye their hair as a way to express themselves outside what is considered the norm without permanent procedure. It has also been stated by many that dying your hair (especially in unnatural colors) can cause you to seem like an entirely different person.
Dylan expresses that her reasoning is simply that she's always been rather unassuming and likes to make herself stand out without being a rebel. She has been dying her hair various colors since fifth grade.

Statistics on dyed hair:

According to Daily Mail, in 2013, sales for pink hair dye increased by a whopping 243%.
Clairol sells 70 different colors of blonde.

Our survey questions:

1. Have you ever dyed your hair (natural or unnatural colors)?
Yes, natural; yes, unnatural; no
2. Do you believe in or have noticed prejudice against those with unnaturally dyed hair (ie the workplace, school, etc)?
Yes; No
3. If you were a business owner looking for new employees and had received a qualified female applicant with unnatural hair, would you hire her?
Yes; No
4. Follow-up: Would you hire her if she had piercings and/or tattoos, in addition to colored hair?
Yes; No
5. Another follow-up: Would you hire the same person (colored hair) if they were a man?
Yes; No
6. If you have any additional comments, experiences, or anecdotes you would like to share, please do so.

Answers received:

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