Asymmetrical haircuts rule in for youths in Ireland

I find Irish hair fascinating.

I should preface this by saying that I generally find hair fascinating, so perhaps it isn't unusual that I've fixated on it while abroad. Hair is a wonderful modicum of expression and artistry, and I've always loved the most exotic of contemporary styles (remember Natalie Portman's bald era? I can’t be the only person who misses it. What a diva).

Or perhaps I'm just sensitive to it at the moment – after years of short, wild, colorful haircuts ranging from black pixie cuts to cranberry A-lines, I'm finally growing my own hair out again, and letting it return to brown, which feels painfully tame.

As a result, I have wretched hair envy.

And the exotic Irish youths are definitely making it worse.
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This country seems to be a home for some of the craziest styles I've ever seen outside of a boutique folio. True, it's not universal – but these wild cuts are far, far more common than they are back home. I have a theory that it might be partly due to the pressures of “secondary school” (read: high school), during which teenagers are almost universally forced to wear conservative uniforms. Maybe that's why so many have turned to their scalps as an alternative way to stand out.

Rockin' the plum look
Either way, it seems to be a lasting lesson, particularly for girls. I can certainly testify that my college campus is home to many women who crown themselves proudly with bubblegum pinks, plummy purples, and lollipop yellows. It's like a candy display.

Some others go for crazy cuts. Pixie cuts are fairly commonplace, as is an unusual youthful style which leaves hair boyishly short on one side of the face and long and shaggy on the other, like an irreversible comb-over (it's actually very cute; I'm tempted to mimic it when choosing my next haircut). Another common style requires the hair to be ratted on top and straightened on the bottom, with a shaven triangular patch above the ear. It sounds bizarre, I know, but I’ve seen it on at least half a dozen different people, including one of my roommates.

Alisa's own nature red hair
It’s not just the kids, either. Granted, fewer adults indulge in wild hairstyles, but there are definitely some middle-aged models here, as a fair number of women past the age of forty or fifty still sport crazy styles. Dyes are most common for this age group, it seems; some opt for Little Mermaid shades of red, while others go for dark brooding purples.

As for the wildest composition I’ve seen, well, that’s easy. I spent a good five minutes at a stop light last week admiring a forty-year-old woman with a buzz cut, her sheared silvered hair spotted with irregular dark circles of dye. She looked like a chic and complacent Dalmatian.

However, true confessions – my favorite Irish hair is natural. Ireland has long been stereotyped as an isle of redheads, and the rumors are all true; I count between six and ten gingers a day, wondering to myself if they have any idea that they've won the genetic lottery. It doesn't get any better than being born an Irish redhead, after all.