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Dramatic hair change evokes strong reactions

POSTED: March 23, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Savannah King elected to change her natural brunette locks into a platinum, almost-white blond.

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I’m more restless than risk taker when it comes to my hair.

Sometimes I get bored and the itch to do something totally different with my appearance must be scratched. Honestly, I just like the way it feels to look in the mirror and see a brand-new version of myself.

A year ago, that inclination resulted in my walking into Princeton Salon in downtown Gainesville and asking a stylist to “cut all my hair off.” Senior stylist Shanon Williams accepted the challenge and gave me my all-time favorite hair cut, the pixie.

As a working, single mother, I liked the cut because I felt it was equal parts easy and stylish. The only problem is it doesn’t change much from day to day. Hair typically grows about half an inch in a month.

For months I’ve been thinking about changing the color of my hair from dark brunette to blonde.

I had blond hair once before when it was longer and I was younger. But seeing pictures of Hollywood stars such as Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway with their blond crops awoke a vain curiosity in me.

This time I tried to be less impulsive about the change. I spoke with Williams about the process, maintenance and cost I’d be taking on and scheduled an appointment a month in advance so I’d have time to think about it.

When I finally sat down in Williams’ chair, she took a deep breath and said “OK, we’re finally doing this?”

It took some time — two separate bleaching processes spaced out over two different days — to get right, but she did it. My almost-black hair is now a white platinum blond.

The bleaching process was frightening. I watched my hair turn every shade of yellow while the color lifted.

And I’ll be the first to admit for all my excitement and mental preparation, it took a little while to adjust from the shock of seeing my reflection for the first time.

That night I had a nightmare my color was stuck in the “baby duck yellow” stage.

But when I’m getting dressed to come into work in the morning, I can’t help but feel a rush of excitement about my new blonde persona. I find myself looking into the mirror and asking things like “Will blond Savannah have more fun today?” or “If I chance upon a gentleman, will he prefer blond Savannah?”

Who knows? Maybe.

Wearing this color requires a higher level of confidence than I’ve previously had to exercise. And since confidence is attractive and confident people do what they want, it stands to reason I’ll enjoy being a blonde, at least for now.

Savannah King is a reporter for The Times. She can be reached at


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