The latest trend in hair color has some people seeing red -- and pink and purple, blue and green.
People of all ages, male as well as female, are highlighting their hair with streaks of bright colors. While some of the color treatments are done with long-lasting chemicals, others can be washed out with soap and water.
Chattanooga preschool teacher Lindsay Williams, 32, adds colorful highlights to her hair as well as to the hair of her 8-year-old son, Ezra Howard, and 5-year-old daughter, Greta Williams.
"I've always had some kind of pink," Williams said, noting that she first added streaks of bright pink to her hair in 2009. "For the past year and a half, I've had some shade of turquoise or green, too. I've always liked bold streaks of color, even in high school."
Williams said she opts for streaks rather than dyeing all of her hair because she doesn't like the way her hair looks as it grows out.
"I didn't want to worry about my roots, but I wanted to do something fun," she said.
Most people are complimentary about her colorful hair, she said.
"I've always had positive reactions to my color, but I think that's because I keep it up so it doesn't look faded," Williams said. "Because it isn't an all-over color, it isn't so shocking. I get compliments and questions from strangers more than I ever expected."
Williams said she prefers dyeing her hair rather than getting temporary color.
"I have it prelightened (bleached) and then colored," she said. "The upkeep is minimal because I have the colors hidden under the roots of my natural hair. I touch up my color myself every couple of months, and I don't usually have to have my hair rebleached but once a year. [Infrequent rebleaching] also keeps my hair healthier."
Some are embracing a runway trick for brightly colored hair -- craft-store chalk.
The obvious benefit of chalk is that it is temporary.
Just a few months ago, Williams allowed her son to have his hair colored for the first time. She used the chalk method.
"It worked great and washes out," she said. "It's completely temporary."
Ezra chose green, his favorite color.
"Some of my friends give me compliments on my hair, and it looks pretty cool," he said.
For her daughter's colorful locks, Williams uses micro extensions.
"She's had them in combinations of colors," Williams said. "She once chose pink, purple and blue because they looked like the hair on her My Little Pony. She just has pink right now. They're really vibrant and last about a month before the fastener or glue loosens up and the extension falls out."
Greta loves the bright colors.
"My friends really like my pink hair," the 5-year-old said. "I like a lot of colors, and I wish I could have all the colors at the same time, like a rainbow."
Coloring hair, particularly with colored chalk or washable paint, has become a popular activity for children at birthday parties and festivals.
"I think it's gotten more trendy in the past year," Williams said. "I was a teenager in the grunge era, and I've always been a fan of it. I'll keep it up until I'm tired of it or just feel like I look like a foolish old woman.
"I work with little kids, and they love it. I recently changed the turquoise blue in my hair to a bright green, and when they asked about it, I teased them that I was turning into the Hulk."
Chris Greer said she allows her young son, Kevin, 11, to color his hair during the summer.
"He goes to a school where he wears a uniform all year, and they are strict about things like this," she said. So when summer rolls around, Kevin is encouraged to express himself. Last summer, he chose a blue mohawk hairstyle and color."
Though Greer is aware of the chalk method, she dyes Kevin's hair.
"I go for the real deal. After all, it's just hair. You can shave it off."
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karennazorhill.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...