Colorfully dyed hair has become a staple of the K-Pop industry.
An idol with suddenly dyed hair is typically an indication for fans that a comeback is coming.
Bright, colorful hair is used to further the aesthetics of each idol’s concept and allow group members to distinguish themselves.
Seeing idols with brightly dyed hair has become commonplace, but that wasn’t always the case.
K-Pop girl group S.E.S debuted under SM Entertainment with three members, Bada, Eugene, and Shoo, in 1997 with I’m Your Girl.
At the time of their debut, S.E.S focused on an innocent concept, singing cute love songs and fitting into the public’s expectations for what a girl group should look like.
But when S.E.S released their third album, Love, Bada decided that the group should change their concept and dyed her hair blonde without telling her company. For their new album, all three members dyed their hair with more vibrant colors, creating a new image for themselves.
While the public loved S.E.S’s new concept, making Love their best-selling album yet…
Music broadcasts had strict censorship rules at the time. Much like how music broadcasts today often have idols covering up tattoos, dyed hair was considered unacceptable at the time.
SBS, MBC, and KBS said that [dyed hair] was a bad example for young people, so anyone who dyed their hair was considered to be a nuisance and would not be able to show face on TV.
– David Yi via allure
Because of this censorship, S.E.S couldn’t promote Love on music broadcasts as much as with their earlier albums, which ultimately didn’t affect their sales and, if anything, increased their fanbase.
Given S.E.S’s success with their new image and dyed hair, industry standards slowly started to evolve to where they are now. S.E.S were trendsetters for today’s idols and their well-loved dyed hair.