- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Summer often brings out sun-soaked blond streaks in hair, although sometimes with a little help from lemon juice or products like Sun-In.

But red, purple and blue?

Some local teens use their summer break away from school - and policies that prohibit distracting hair colors - to experiment with their hair whether they’re trying a trendy Ombré or dip dye look or just a few temporary streaks that will wash out.

“Most of them are wanting to experiment and be a little bit more creative with their hair color and not just the same old, same old blond highlights and brown lowlights,” said Jessica Thompson, a hair stylist at Hairport salon in Dothan. “They’re teenagers, and they can get away with it and their bosses won’t make them have normal hair. I think it just gives them a little chance to be a little more eccentric.”

Thompson recently added red to the long brown locks of 13-year-old Macey Neal, who had brought a red petal from home as a guide for Thompson. Macey, whose new hair color was a gift after she begged her parents to allow her to do it, wasn’t getting an all-over dye job. Instead, Thompson was coloring only the bottom half of Macey’s hair so the red would only show through on the ends and even more so with certain hairstyles.

The 13-year-old originally wanted blue - a request denied by her parents.

“I like red, but I didn’t want a fluorescent red - I wanted a darker red,” Macey said. “It took me forever to find the right red.”

Whether her school will allow her to keep the red, since it is a natural hair color, remains to be seen, but Macey is prepared to go back to her natural color or even cut her hair once school starts back.

“It’s hair; it will grow back,” she said. “If you’re looking for a certain change, and . you want something new, it’s not that big of a deal to just dye your hair because you can cut it off, you can re-dye it.”

Hannah Moates, 16, colors her own hair during the summer using a store-bought color kit. Last summer, she dyed her blond hair blue. This summer, she went with dark purple. The purple blends with her natural blond and is mostly underneath the top half of her hair. The color, she said, will fade by the time fall arrives.

“It’s my favorite color, and I just thought it would look pretty,” Hannah said. “Whenever I pick the color . I always think about the clothes I wear and what my hair color is. And you have to think about your skin tone, too, like what’s going to clash with it or look good with it.”

Red is a popular color choice among teens as are turquoise, purple and pink, Thompson said.

“It’s just their own little creative outlet,” Thompson said.

And it’s not just teens seeking unusual hair colors.

Douglas Lehr, another stylist at Hairport, actually gets more clients in their 20s. Last year, he said, the trend was toward bright, tropical colors. This year, clients want soft blues, lilacs, pinks and even silver.

“Right now it’s all about the pastel colors,” he said.

Like many trends, celebrities have a lot of influence. Kelly Osbourne has had lilac and silver hair and singer Katy Perry is often seen with bold streaks of color.

“Fashion has changed,” Lehr said. “Stuff like that would have been like rebel stuff once upon a time, but it’s way more prevalent nowadays.”

And the main reason many teens and young women are willing to experiment with their hair is because it’s something they can easily change, Lehr said.

But both Lehr and Thompson said those considering a bolder hair color should understand the maintenance required.

“It does require maintenance - good take-home products to help maintain the hair, being mindful not to go in the sun because it bleaches it out and tends to mute the color more than you want it to,” Lehr said. “You want to get good trims because if you do bleach it out, it does tend to get a little frazzled and fragile.”

And if you’re opting for an at-home color job, Thompson said YouTube has some great tutorials.

“The biggest trick is finding the right hair color,” she said. “Just because it looks like that on the box does not mean that’s what your hair is going to look like. I would suggest subtle changes rather than big changes.”

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Information from: The Dothan Eagle, http://www.dothaneagle.com

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