I know you’re praying for me
I hope you wait for me too — Lil Peep, Hair Dye
Lil Peep’s pink hair was easily the most iconic of all his new and experimental hairstyles. His constantly changing hair was a natural addition to the ever growing collection of tattoos which he so loved. Later, it would seem the tattoos took over, but Lil Peep’s hair had been his first form of self expression.
Lil Peep’s first experiment with hair dye happened in the fourth grade: purple and green stripes. Before his death, Lil Peep’s blonde hair was shorn short on both sides in a mullet. He always had fun with it. After his first dye job he sported a Mohawk that he’d grown out, and then Lil Peep’s long hair was taken entirely off at his favourite barber shop, Rivoli’s in Long Beach. Following his cut, Lil Peep’s hair was bleached: in a black and white photo of Lil Peep from then, he smiles toothily at the camera, his hair peroxide blond.
Lil Peep’s long hair wasn’t a thing of the past, he’d grow it out and then shave it short repeatedly in highschool. Grow it out. Shave it. Grow it out. Shave it. Lil Peep’s short hair made a return when he left for community college but after that, Lil Peep’s blonde hair was seldom seen until the months before his death owing to the fact that it normally resembled a colour not unlike Froot Loop’s milk.
It began to grow out when Lil Peep was getting ready for his first performance with Schemaposse in Tucson. Lil Peep’s hairstyle was boring, he’d decided and he wanted a look, having already elected on a pink undercut. His friend Emma dyed it twice that night. The first time, Lil Peep had been mad. The pink was too light. He was going to shave it all off, he said. He had wanted a darker pink. So, Emma told him to give her another chance. She marched right back over to the store and bought a darker magenta pink. This time, he was happy. The color was just right. That was the color he performed in at his first performance ever on February 12, 2016. A star was born. Lil Peep’s pink hair became a celebration of his earliest concert, and an unmistakable part of his emo style.
As with his lyrics, when it came to Peep’s tatted-up grungey-mall-rat aesthetic, provocation was the point. Lil Peep’s pink hair was the only consistent thing about a rapper who never dressed the same way for more than a week. “I like to get weird and mix things. Not necessarily draw on the streets, but mix darker, dirtier cultures with high class shit,” he told GQ magazine in an interview published 2 months before his death. That there are whole forum threads dedicated to imitating everything about the way he looked is unsurprising, whether fans are trying to find tutorials to help them get Lil Peep’s blonde hair or asking their barbers what products made Lil Peep’s long hair look the way it did, he continues to make waves.
Lil Peep’s hair, that multicoloured mane was his calling card. It’s distinctive, something he’d started toying with around middle school by looking to My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way who’d bleached his coif for the 2006 release of The Black Parade. “It’s like professional wrestling — everyone has to be a character,” he once told the music website pitchfork, “if you’re not fun enough, nobody’s gonna fuck with you because you don’t have enough shit that’s different.” That Lil Peep’s pink hair was an immediately identifiable, therefore important part of this character is undeniable. Though it’d take the perils of highschool for Lil Peep’s blonde hair to become the recognizable on-purpose mess it was throughout his career, he was always different, always himself. Perhaps paradoxically, authenticity was as important to him as image. “I just don’t want to do that whole thing of saying I have this co-sign and I have a feature with this person so I’m mainstream now. I’m just trying to build my own thing up with my own friends.”
It wasn’t just Lil Peep’s pink hair, his whole look had in it the euphoria of someone who’d long stopped caring about what other people thought and embraced who he was. There was freedom in self expression through the coloured fur, face tattoos, personalised graffitied jackets, clothing emblazoned with messages. And the fluorescent hair dye, of course. When it had grown out: Lil Peep’s long hair was in a blonde mullet, or a pink Mohawk. When it was cropped close: Lil Peep’s short hair was the classic pink and black undercut, or short and blonde and shaved on the sides or barely there at all. Lil Peep’s hairstyles, numerous and varied as they were, were representative of his refusal to be pigeonholed into a digestible category of artist: he was a trendsetter and tastemaker, and the legions of fans still flocking to threads dedicated to Lil Peep’s hair dye are proof of the fact.
Though perhaps not a fashion icon in the traditional sense, Lil Peep’s legacy remains upright partly because of the relatable way he projected his interests to the public. He came up because of the internet, his fans were bonded to him because of his accessibility. In an eerie Instagram post published right before his death, Lil Peep’s blonde hair, so bleached it’s nearly white is cropped close to his skull. “When I die, you’ll love me,” the caption reads. Only, he’d been loved before, too.
What does Lil Peep wear?
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