Experimenting with hair color brings life to coronavirus quarantine

Morgan-Taylor Thomas

From flashy color streaks to mohawks, expressive hair is not uncommon to see while walking around campus.

Some students have dyed or cut their hair in unique ways since quarantine began. As they continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, some students have found joy in changing their hairstyles.  

Undeclared freshman Joyati Modak said she has always enjoyed having color in her hair and started dyeing it when she was young. 

“I can remember back in elementary school, I would take chalk pastels and rub them on my hair for color,” Modak said. “I even went to Dollar Tree and got those cheap single color hair extensions.”

As an Indian classical dancer, she wasn’t allowed to dye her hair because she and her fellow dancers had to look uniform during performances, Modak said. She said she was required to have her hair in a bun surrounded by flowers and a braid reaching down to her waist. 

Modak said as soon as quarantine began in March, she asked her mom to go to the store to get a box of pink hair dye. From there, she bleached two strands at the front of her hair and channeled her inner e-girl. 

After showing off her new look to her family and friends, they were surprised to see she went through with it, but Modak said she couldn’t have felt better.

“It made me feel so much more confident,” Modak said. “My entire camera roll was selfies of me with the hair.”


Linguistics junior Victor Rodriguez said he wanted a mohawk for over a year, and he finally cut his hair into the style in late July. He said because the sides of his hair were really short, he knew it wouldn't be exactly how he wanted at first, but after a month of growth he had no regrets. 

Rodriguez said he expected his mom to disapprove of the haircut, but surprisingly, she liked it. 

“Every time I would come out of the hair salon, she would (say), ‘Oh, that’s what you wanted?’” Rodriguez said. “So I asked her, and to my surprise, she started laughing and said, ‘OK, go ahead, that would be funny.’”  

History graduate student Gwen Lockman said she has been cutting and dyeing her hair for the last eight months while quaranting with her parents in Montana. She said she felt like quarantine was an excuse to get a little wild and started coloring away.

“I’ve just been using the semipermanent dye, but I did magenta twice, then purple, then purple and pink and then … some really wacky blue chunks,” Lockman said.

Lockman said when she worked as a legal assistant for a Major League Baseball team from 2016 to 2018, she worked in an office with business professionals and didn’t want to be noticed for any of the wrong reasons. 

“Being a woman in that environment, you’re very aware of your appearance,” Lockman said. “I tried to keep everything very business Barbie. I only did my highlights to keep my hair the right shade of blonde and … wore a lot of navies and gray.”

Lockman said coloring her hair has brought a little bit of joy to life during the pandemic.  

“Sometimes, wanting to get dressed up and putting yourself together does just make the day a little more bearable,” Lockman said. “(Hair coloring) just brought a little bit of excitement to what has turned into an endless time warp of pandemic.”