Back-to-School Basic


Britt Jacobson

Basic. A word every Milken student has been exposed to. “Basic” is the marker for someone who acts in a predictable, mainstream fashion. This includes, but is not limited to: shopping at Brandy Melville, frequenting Starbucks, taking excessive selfies and listening exclusively to KIIS FM-esque music. We’re all basic at one time or another. However, coming back to school provides us the perfect opportunity to get out of the Milken-mold and try something new.

“You look emo.” I was wearing a shade of lipstick called “blackest berry.” I loved it…though my mom didn’t. As long as I owned my look, it didn’t matter what anyone else thought. (No offense Mama!) They say that beauty is confidence. I can confirm that this is absolutely true. The less weight I placed on other’s perceptions of me, the more compliments I received. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder;” I can verify that as well. What I thought was edgy and fun looked to my mom like teenage angst. But the only important thing is how I felt. The only voice that can tell you what works and what doesn’t is your own. Embody your own style and don’t look to others for confirmation – after all, it’s on your lips, not theirs.

One bold trend that has recently been on the rise is colorful hair. The world has seen every shade of the rainbow by now: from gatorade yellow to mermaid teal, pastel pink to smokey blue. God knows I’ve read enough Buzzfeed articles, Pinterest pins, and Instagram posts dedicated to the subject. Perhaps that is why last March I had my hair bleached blonde as a base to dye colors onto.

I chose to begin with light lavender.


I had to have my hair bleached professionally from a deep brunette shade in order to achieve this. Going into the appointment, I realized that the process of coloring my hair was much more complicated than I had anticipated. There was the debate between dying my whole head or leaving natural roots. I was also faced with deciding between one solitary shade or a gradient from darker to lighter or vice versa. I opted for the latter in both instances. I arrived with virgin brown locks and left blonde. This was a drastic change to say the least and the initial reactions really affected me. If someone complimented me, it would boost my mood, and if someone gave me a passing glance, it would deflate my confidence.

I was greeted with “are you an alien?” the first time I saw my older sister, Leigh. I had loosely gotten permission from my mom before moving forward with this experiment, but hadn’t really consulted my sister. When she looked at me like I was E.T., I panicked. I thought I had made a mistake on par with getting bangs! After her initial shock, she then nodded in approval. Since then, I’ve gotten many wow’s and love it’s! I’ve also gotten confused why’s and the incredulous your mom let you’s?!?

The only reaction I consider now is my own. As I walk down aisle 8 of Target and spot my next shade, I grapple. Should I get my “natural” brown or continue experimenting? How much can my hair actually take? To be frank, my hair has gotten damaged from this process. That is not me saying “it’s not worth it.” I don’t mean to spout the same “YOLO” message we’ve all heard before. But there is merit to it. If you see a style you like, why not just go for it? Hair grows back, makeup can be removed, but our time as teenagers is fleeting. The chance to try new things will pass us by, and pretty soon we’ll be reminiscing, thinking “what if?”

Right now my hair is (albeit faded) Vidal Sassoon’s “Midnight Blue.” Before that it was L’oreal “Red Velvet,” Adore “Sweet Mint,” L’oreal “Smokey Blue” and L’oreal “Smokey Pink.” I’m fairly jaded from having most of the rainbow on my head, though not done yet. I’m thinking about black next. How about you?