Let’s take a trip back to the ’50s, when Clairol’s “Does she . . . or doesn’t she?” slogan promised the no-makeup makeup equivalent of hair color: stealthy tints that could pass for a God-given shade and demanded monthly touch-ups to keep up the illusion.
But for a certain kind of girl, a grown-out dye job has always held a slightly rebellious allure. New Wave sex symbol Brigitte Bardot’s hint of regrowth could have just as easily pointed to a summer spent basking under the St.-Tropez sun as a missed salon appointment, but Edie Sedgwick’s two-toned crop felt as gleefully exaggerated as her heavily mascara-ed lashes.
Once the ’70s hit their stride, dark roots became a symbol of the urban underground. Take punk’s Marilyn Monroe, Debbie Harry, whose DIY platinum bob and inky roots toughened up her cherubic lips and razor-sharp cheekbones, or the infamous groupie Nancy Spungen, whose fried blonde curls proudly revealed a double dose of peroxide. A “Material Girl”–era Madonna carried the look into the ’80s, complete with un-tweezed raven eyebrows, and a teenaged Drew Barrymore made it the grunge beauty statement to beat.
These days, hair chameleons like Sky Ferreira nod to the look’s rocker roots (literally), while Sarah Jessica Parker, who jump-started its natural-looking cousin, the “bronde” trend, during her Carrie Bradshaw years, continues to riff on the look to this day.
From Courtney Love to Soo Joo Park, here’s to the eternal downtown cool of a few inches of regrowth.
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