Hayley Williams’ extensive hair journey is well documented. In her expansive, genre-defining career as a punk rock icon, she’s inspired a legion of fans to embrace their individuality with her powerful words and bolder fashion and beauty moves. Williams has shown the importance of self-expression, taking risks and playing into your creativity, one bright hair dye at a time.
Every time Williams debuts a new hairstyle or hair color — whether it’s a bold red undercut (via Cosmopolitan) or blonde waves (pictured above) — she reveals another part of herself. In a 2019 interview with Insider, Williams named the biggest inspirations behind her hair transformation. “I saw women like Missy Elliot and Gwen Stefani doing really rad things with their hair, their makeup, their clothing choices,” she explained. “I felt like that’s the world, even aside from music, I just wanted to be a part of — where you could be very expressive.”
Her long-time hair stylist and makeup artist Brian O’Connor (via Mane Addicts) is a hair magician. But before you reach for the hair dye, Williams got real about evaluating your reasons for switching up your hairstyle or color before making any drastic decisions. “I think if you know why you’re choosing certain accessories, or why you’re expressing yourself in specific ways, it helps to feel more confident when that gets questioned,” she explained (via Insider).
These iconic looks worn by the singer-songwriter still give us serious hair envy and have us running to the nearest beauty store, stat.
Hayley Williams' fiery hair revitalized the punk hair movement
Hayley Williams’ fiery locks in her band Paramore’s 2007 smash hit “Misery Business” (via YouTube) was the start of a transformative punk hair journey. Not only has she rocked this signature orange shade throughout the years, she’s effortlessly incorporated this bright hue into different cuts and styles. Fans everywhere rushed to replicate the orange, red, and yellow tones in her hair for this video shoot and Paramore era.
Williams admitted to Seventeen that though she first experimented with this iconic color at 13 years old, she also spent time with her hair dyed black. Imagine 2007 Hayley Williams at the peak of the pop punk scene without her tri-colored locks.
In 2008, she traded in her famous vibrant hairdo for a darker look at the 50th Grammy Awards (via YouTube). She dyed her hair burgundy with pink highlights, but kept her side bangs.
In 2013, she went back to her colorblocking roots
Hayley Williams sets trends with every shot of her experimental and creative hairstyles. In a 2019 interview with Nylon, she shared the excitement she feels each time she switches up her look. “I was always excited about changing my look and altering my appearance based on the things that I could control,” she explained. “How could I alter my appearance in ways that expressed something that I was feeling or what I was interested in?”
Williams proved that two colors are better than one at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards. She chopped off her side bangs, grew out her hair and dyed it fluorescent pink and orange. Per Allure, this edgy look kicked off Paramore’s self-titled album era, and continued to show off the singer-songwriter’s playful side.
Months later, she had one of the biggest fashion moments at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards. In a bold move that had Paramore fans taking notes, she cut her wavy, two-toned locks and brought back her signature orange hue. Her cropped bob gave off a more mature vibe, and complimented her band’s new sound very well (via PopSugar).
Her electric blue phase hinted at struggles in her personal life
Refusing to be defined by her signature orange hue, the style icon did a complete 180 and added a gorgeous turquoise shade to her look. She showed off her tousled, multi-colored bob during her 2014 performance on American Idol’s finale (via Just Jared). Come summertime, she went full on blue.
As flawless as this look was, Williams inadvertently revealed that there was a deeper meaning behind her electric blue phase, years later. In her 2020 single “Dead Horse”, which appears on her solo album “Petals for Armor II,” she referenced issues in her past relationship with ex-husband New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert. In the first verse, she dropped the staggering line “Held my breath for a decade / Dyed my hair blue to match my lips”, which hints at her feeling like she was suffocating in the relationship and possibly holding herself back (via Genius).
When discussing the song with Rolling Stone, Williams got vulnerable and admitted that her relationship with Gilbert started off as an affair, an admission she struggled with the entire time they were together. Since the beginning of her career, she’s used her hairstyles, fashion and music as an outlet for her personal struggles, which is what makes her fans relate to her.
She said goodbye to Neon Hayley in the mid 2010s and welcomed in a softer look
In 2016, after spending years with bold hues and haircuts, Williams retired her neon dyes and debuted a platinum blond hairdo in an Instagram post celebrating her 28th birthday. Though she’s bleached her hair before, this look marked the start of a new era for the punk-turned-indie-pop singer. In an interview with EW, Williams shared the emotional impact that her hair has had on her. “The hair thing is so emotional for me. About a year ago, I called my colorist and was like, ‘I’m going through so much emotionally. I need a reset. I need you to bleach my hair,'” she explained.
She also added “This has been really important for me, as a 27- and 28-year-old, to show myself every morning when I get up that I’m not someone who is going to live in the past. When it’s time for Neon Hayley to come back to life, she will. But right now, this is me.”
Her transition to her natural hair color helped her embrace her authentic self
Williams told InStyle that her bleached look was her all-time favorite because it helped her feel more confident in her skin. She also cited rock legend Debbie Harry as her biggest hair inspiration. In 2018-19, she fully embraced the blond wave and wore her hair closer to its natural blond shade. She even added fun rainbow streaks using products from her own vegan and cruelty free hair color line Good Dye Young (pictured above). Her experience testing out assorted shades, plus her constantly evolving look makes her a hair dye expert, as reported by PopSugar.
Her decision to go back to basics was symbolic, and reaffirmed her refusal to live under other people’s expectations of her. There’s an entire Reddit thread celebrating the move, with fans sharing their excitement about seeing a more authentic Hayley Williams. The beauty guru opened up about the sense of relief that came with her new color in an September 2018 post, writing “havent [sic] totally recognized myself in the mirror the last couple days but weirdly i’ve felt more like myself on the inside. haven’t felt that since @colormebrian bleached my hair 2 summers ago.”
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