My hair does this funny thing where it likes to remind me about the lack of control I have in my life. On good days, it’s like a Pantene commercial and I feel more positive and ready to take on the day. On bad days, my hair gets frizzy, greasy, and becomes a trigger for mounting anxiety and irritation.
Once, while I was having doubts about a new relationship, I watched Netflix’s newest Gilmore Girls season where Emily Gilmore is cleaning out her house based on Marie Kondō’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. My house is going to stay the mess it is. I don’t mind. But my hair?
What if my hair has become this separate entity that reflects the mess that is my life?
Hear me out.
Sometimes, when I have an out of control hair day, it triggers an anxiety attack or depressive mood. I can take one look at my reflection and start spiraling …
There are some findings that suggest your hair’s appearance affects more than your mood. In a series of five studies on class inequality, researchers at Stanford found that memories of a bad hair day affected how participants viewed inequality. And that’s just memories — what about the actual day?
Bad hair days can cast downpour on your life like San Francisco fog. There’s no downpour, but it sprinkles, is gray, and gets in the way. According to Dr. Juli Fraga, a licensed psychologist in San Francisco, who specializes in women’s health concerns, “Bad hair, like a bad outfit, can affect mood because it impacts how we see ourselves.”
Hair care is an investment in your confidence and happiness
Hair as a barometer for mood, confidence, and esteem isn’t a new concept. I looked into the symbolism of hair, and it’s been tied to health — hair loss is a serious concern for men — and femininity for a long time.
In 1944, French women had their heads shaved as punishment for collaborating with Germans. Today, women who shave their heads get associated with cancer first. Even in pop culture, female celebrities who cut their hair short get sensationalized.
Entertainment Weekly had an exclusive on Emma Watson’s pixie cut — the day it was out. All of that still relays the same message to me: Appearances are part of the feedback loop that builds confidence and self-worth.
So, well-kept hair is a personal and external sign of control, but even learning how to control my hair took a while. Thankfully, my dilemma was a result of being too cheap and inconsistent.
Your relationship with a hair stylist is one of the most important ones you’ll ever have
Until I started working full-time, I would scour Craigslist for free cuts, rely on trainees who needed models, or look for budget places for under $20. Almost always, I would leave the salon feeling like I was wearing someone else’s skin.