I've cut back drastically in the past few years for two reasons. 1) despite my love of hair dye, I hate having to maintain roots, and 2) I've been trying to keep my hair healthier for the Locks of Love donations.
My freshman year in college I went with shades of auburn, but hated keeping up with the blondish roots. After I cut my hair off for the first time, I even put a black streak in at my forehead. Sort of an anti-Rogue look or something. My roomate's twin sister had black dyed hair with a white streak that I thought was so awesome. I also love Bonnie Raitt's hair. I made the unfortunate mistake of doing henna over the two-toned look, which locked that black streak in place. Eventually I went to the beauty school at home to get a cheap overdye look to take me back to one color. The student who got me had to do a two stage process, one to take out the black with bleach, and another to dye it all then one color. I gradually went lighter and lighter as lighter roots grew in to try and get closer back to my natural color. I think this all coincided with when my hair was naturally changing from blond to ash blondish brown, so even old pictures didn't help me get back to my "natural" hair color. At one point in this process when my hair was just above shoulder length, I bleached my hair to very light blonde, in order to attempt to dye back over it. I went out with my hair that bright blond with my friend D, and we wore our sunglasses at night and I felt very Madonna movie-starish. We played it up too, going out to dinner, and dancing, and sneaking up on friends who didn't recognize me at first. But then I went back to something closer to natural on the path to natural. Although for October 1995, I used Manic Panic Vampire Red to dye it for my Magenta costume for RHPS on Halloween. It looked awesome, and it washed out from my natural roots over time, but left a pink stain on the ends of my hair. I do kinda miss the pink hair, and wish I could do it again, but it's not terribly professional, and involves bleach to get a good bright pink.
Then Natural Instincts became my friend. I used them to temporarily dye the array of colors I wanted, as my roots grew out. I played with the shades strawberry blond and browns. But then, they came out with their exotics collection, and I could dye my hair bright red using "Natural" Instincts. Ha! what a laugh. I think Dred said it best when I dyed it that red before a Crown. "Did a bunch of kids attack you with crayolas?" It was vibrant. Despite that, I did love it. Problem was, I had a red dress I wanted to wear to a friend's wedding, and my hair clashed. So I figured I'd just bleach it and go white blond again. Whoa what a mistake. Red, by the way is the hardest color to bleach out. While it washes out (eventually) and fades spectacularly, the red that is left holds on with a vise grip. So I got scared as I was bleaching my hair with it's brittle condition, and I stopped prematurely, and unevenly. Parts were white blond, parts were orange. Oh the horror, and right before a wedding. Luckily Mom got me an appointment with her stylist, and I went to him for another two part processing fix where he was cheerful and comforting, and yet sighed quite a bit.
After that experience, I became much more hesitant in my use of hair dye. I still stick to Natural Instincts for the occasionally pop of temporary change, but have steered clear of red and golden hues for many many years. You see, I have tried them all, and I haven't found a shade of red that works with my skin tone. So now, I tend to look at Bob's annual party for my hair dye fix. Two years ago I went darker when I dressed as "Grown-up Lilo" for the Elvis party. The year before that I did a pink wash over my darker hair for the cyber-punk theme, which gave me pinkish highlights in the right light, and I augmented it with spray in hair color for more pinkness. That washed out nicely, and I have so far resisted going pinkish again, except for the fabulous wig from Halloween.
I have returned to the Natural Instincts "Clove", which is a lovely rich color I think, and will fade out nicely to my natural color over the next month or so. Besides, AOD commented that Bob likes brunettes, and it is his birthday party after all. So far no one here at work has commented, but under the evil fluorescent lights my hair has always appeared darker. And co-workers aren't likely to notice or comment really.
Oh, and webcams suck.