Look, I’ll be first person to say "yes" when someone suggests something ridiculous and dangerous. Flying for 36 hours straight to get off the plane and immediately climb Machu Picchu? Sure, why not. But when the editors of ITG approached me about dying my virgin hair from the safest color in the world—dark brown—to red, I paused…and then panicked.
Because when it comes to all things hair + makeup, I have been about as adventurous over the years as a Dolce & Gabbana runway show. Case in point: I once went six years without a haircut. The makeup I’m wearing as I write this on a plane to Toronto is the same I’ve been wearing since the eighth grade.
In the month leading up to my appointment with legendary color-goddess Sharon Dorram, all I could see was Julianne Moore’s beautiful hair and how mine would look nothing like it. I worried about the bleach. I worried about the red-undertones in my skin, and I worried my dark roots would grow too fast and that my early-20s stress-grays would be on full display. I worried on the subway there all the way up to her second-floor studio. But in the moment I stepped in the door, I adopted the same mindset I’ve maintained through almost every irresponsible decision I’ve ever made: Too late to turn back now.
The first shock came when I found out I wouldn’t actually have to bleach it (highly pigmented dye will still be able to color naturally dark hair). But the real shock was the moment after it was done when I realized I actually...really liked it? My hair still fresh with the scent of Virtue Full Shampoo and Uplifted Volumizing Whip, I noticed that my eyes looked greener! My skin looked warmer! Suddenly, I was seeing the world through rose-colored glasses; or, burgundy-rich-auburn with no brassy undertones, to be exact.
I felt adventurous walking down Park Avenue that day. I had conquered that feeling that always told me to play it safe with my hair—that a risk wasn’t worth it. And as the old saying goes, blondes have more fun, brunettes are smarter, and redheads, well, I like to think they’re risk-takers.
—Morgan Von Steen
Photographed by Tom Newton.
For more from Morgan, read here to find out everything she carries in her makeup bag.