Sunday, 10 July 2016

Having unnatural hair in Japan: how people react

having bleached hair in Japan

having pink hair in Japan

One of the things I was worried about before I came to Japan was how people would react to my bleached hair, and the blue dip dye I had at the time. I even seriously considered dying it back brown(!) In the end I decided that Japan should accept me for who I am, but I worried a lot about it, and I did my own share of frantic googling. There wasn't as much info around as I thought there'd be, so here I am with my two cents. Basically. the reaction from people has been mostly really positive, especially to the pink.

Firstly, I'm a white girl, and in a country that is 99% Japanese (and lots of that 1% is Korean or Chinese people) you're gonna get stared at if you're white. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, but I don't think it's coming from a racist place and most of the time you can just ignore it. It is what it is. So even if I had my natural brown hair, I'd probably still get stared at. Honestly, I don't think there's much difference between being a blonde gaijin and a pink gaijin either. Because I'm not Japanese or Asian, it might make people more lenient towards unnatural hair - people expect foreigners to be different anyway. Sometimes, people also think that blonde/ white blonde is my natural colour anyway.

Having said that, I think having blonde hair might attract more male attention here- sometimes salarymen have come up and tried to talk to me, and I've been catcalled before (and someone called me barbie recently) I've also had a guy keep asking me to go to a bar with him... I'm definitely approached less when I have pink hair, because it's more scary >:) Saying that, it doesn't happen a lot at all. We're talking only a couple of times over a whole year. It's something I thought I'd mention but I don't want to make it a big deal because honestly, it's pretty rare.

I'm also a uni student so I don't have to worry about looking "professional". Like in any country, if you're working for a company or looking for a job then people's attitude against coloured hair might be stricter.

Overall, much like in the UK, most of the actual feedback I get is positive. I get a lot of shop staff and people commenting on it when it's pink: one of my teachers asked to touch it and was really excited when I had pink hair, and she has since said that my pink hair is her favourite. I also have had starbucks staff comment "ooh it's pink" "it's so pretty" type of comments, and I've even been asked to be a hair model a couple of times. Of course, it fit right in in Harajuku too ;)

I'm pretty shy to be honest, but I've had my hair pink, silver, blonde and even blue! If I can do it then so can you ;) In the end, if you wanna do coloured hair, and you aren't restricted by things like job hunting, parents etc. you should totally do it! Coloured hair team go <3

Check out the other posts in this mini-series: where you can buy unnatural hair dye in Japan // which Japanese hair care products I'd recommend

Thanks for reading! Do any of you guys have bleached or coloured hair? How do the people around you react to it?
-Amy xoxo


  1. I wish I had read this before dyeing my hair back to brown, I had pink hair but since I'm going to study in Japan I was scared it wouldn't be okay. I'm not white so in my home country I was stared at a lot and didn't know how it would had been in Japan, specially Osaka or Kyoto. I still have pink strands in my hair and I was thinking on getting rid of them but as you said, they have to accept me for who I am. I really miss my pink hair! I might dye it back pink once I get there :3

    1. I'm glad this post could be a little helpful! Your hair looks cute brown too, but I think if you want to go back pink then you might as well do it :) see how it goes when you get there I guess :) and enjoy studying in Japan!! I hope you have the best time! <3

  2. Wow.
    Growing up in my country here in Asia, it was common knowledge that youths of Harajuku would have all kinds of bright crazy coloured hair. So "unnatural" hair is really nothing new. And this was as early as the 1990s.

    1. Thanks for your comment! You're right that in Harajuku and the 'fashion world' in Japan, it's not uncommon to have unnatural hair. But, in the suburbs and among 'normal' Japanese people the most common colour to dye your hair is still brown, so my pink hair stuck out like a sore thumb :')

  3. Hey there! I've been enjoying your blog and hair dye reviews and saw you had a few on Japan, do you have any recommendations for buying bleach in Japan? Thanks!

    1. Hi! I'm glad you're enjoying the blog :) I hope it's been useful! The bleach brands I used in Japan were Gatsby's bleach and megamega bleach... both seemed all right, plus they were cheap and easy to find in my local drugstore :) The one I ended up preferring was megamega bleach, but please let me know if you find a better alternative though!
      I wrote a little bit about it here:

  4. Hey I have pink hair right now and was considering dying it either blonde or brown if I got approved for a study abroad program, and I just wanted you to know this is really encouraging to me! I feel the best with pink hair, really, and it feels so natural to me that dying it back now feels kind of like i'd be losing part of myself, so I really appreciate this advice.

    1. awwh I'm sooo pleased to hear it <3 <3 best of luck with your study abroad, it's gonna be great!


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