Smiling Asian woman with long dark brown hair.

Like most in the early 2010s, Twilight was my number one obsession. My 13-year-old self couldn’t help but be enchanted by Robert Pattinson’s intense gaze and mysterious brooding (sue me!). Above all, I could relate to Bella Swan. We both have a penchant for clumsiness and painfully ordinary lives. But more importantly, we both have dark brown hair, which she thinks is undesirable. Simply put, we’re two plain Janes, hair-wise.

However, I know better now. It took me a decade to fully grasp that, one, Edward is a and, two, being a brunette is far from boring. To hell with Bella and her inferiority complex. I’ve learned to appreciate my natural hair color and am no longer fighting against it. That said, I did take a few wrong turns before reaching this point of self-acceptance.

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone

Growing up, I was pissed about having dark brown hair. I wanted to be blonde – bright, buttery, . You know, the kind of hair that can make your life doubly exciting. Since my parents refused to allow me to , I did what any smart middle schooler would do: I sprayed my hair with lemon juice and hoped for a miracle under the blazing sun. Instead of golden highlights, what I got was .

Did I learn my lesson and leave my hair be? Nope. As soon as I hit my final semester in college, I decided to get drastic. I saved up enough money to visit a salon and dye my dark brunette hair cranberry red à la . It was pretty awesome, NGL. Something about brought out the feisty side of me.

My first taste of rebellion tasted so sweet, yet it was fleeting. I realized the vibrant hue washed out my fair complexion. It didn’t match my charcoal brows, either, which made my features look weird. It was as if someone copied and pasted my face onto a stranger’s head.

That was surely my last foray into hair coloring, right? Wrong again. The third time’s the charm, but in my case, it was a reality slap. Maybe it was curiosity or a quarter-life crisis that led me to test out a boxed dye in a caramel-brown hue on the eve of my 25th birthday. Whatever the reason, things didn’t go as planned. My strands started to feel dry and, worst of all, they fell out in big chunks. It was the last straw for me. I couldn’t wait to reconcile with my natural cocoa brown hair color and make reparations for the harm I caused.

Dark Brown Hair Is Simply the Best for Me

In each of my phases, I found myself longing for the familiarity of my natural brunette mane. She’s low-maintenance, unfussy, and perfectly suited to my personal style. Only after testing out different shades did I truly appreciate the effortless charm of the hair I was born with.

I also have – what TikTok considers – a high visual weight, characterized by a smaller face and prominent features. Basically, bright hair colors make me look older than I am and, on the contrary, dark brown hair frames my face in a way that draws attention to my features without overwhelming them. Despite my ambivalence about social media’s beauty theories, I agree with this assessment. I love how my tresses contrast with my skin. On top of that, I feel most like my true self with dark brown hair.

On a sentimental note, my natural hair connects me to my late grandmother. I was one of her few grandchildren who inherited her dark brown locks. Now that she’s gone, I want to hold every single memory of her close to my heart. And what better way to honor her than through loving a part of her that she passed down to me?

It Takes Time to Grow Out Your Natural Hair Color

I’m not color-averse when it comes to hair. Dyeing my locks felt a lot like playing dress-up, and there were days when I was very into my hot new look. But once I grew tired of it, I realized changing it back to my natural hair color wouldn’t be easy. The growing-out phase had me clenching my fists and wrestling with impatience. 

It has been almost two years since the last time I dyed my hair, yet remnants of the artificial color still linger at the tips. It’s a slow burn, and all I can do is stick it out. Of course, I have some tricks up my sleeve to make the transition more bearable.

Sacrifice some length and pamper the rest.

First and foremost, regular trims are non-negotiable. They keep my ends fresh and gradually remove the dyed portions. I also go for a weekly deep-conditioning hair mask session at home to help repair and strengthen my weakened hair. When I feel like splurging, I do a hair spa at the salon as a self-reward.

Fake it ‘til you make it.

My biggest post-dye issue is , which, admittedly, has always been a big insecurity of mine. To help tackle this, I’ve befriended TRESemmé Root Touch-up Spray for Dark Brown Hair. It quickly covers up sparse areas on my scalp, giving the illusion of thicker strands. Best of all, the stain lasts all day and is resistant to smudging.

If you’ve been dyeing your hair for years and want to hit the reset button, I’m totally behind you. It’s good to give your strands a break. Besides, returning to your roots can be a positive experience. You may even grow to love your natural hair, like I have. As for me, I’m open to changing my hair color again, but for now, I’m digging my dark brown hair.