Bad Hair Days: How Do They Affect Our Mental State?
Confession: I did something earlier this year that a broke college student like myself shouldn’t have proceeded on with…I made a visit to the hair salon prior to every single date I went on. (Please don’t judge me, it was a mere phase I was going through). I also recall getting my hair done for a job interview once, if that makes me sound any better.
Now, I am well-aware that many (wealthy) women-like celebrities- utilize the salon for styling very frequently (dates, dinners, events, etc.). An extreme feeling of guilt overtook me after the fourth trip so I quite the habit. I decided that an additional $35 for each date wasn’t a rational move on my end.
A professor of psychology at Yale University (one of the most prestigious universities in the world) says that young girls receive more complements for their hair, smile or eye color than their soccer skills or math expertise. A survey done by the hair company Tresemme concluded that 23% of women don’t want to leave their house on a bad hair day. Are you apart of this 23%? I’m not. But I will admit that I feel much more confident if I spend that extra 3o minutes in the morning.
A Harvard study (another very prestigious university) stated that women who felt more youthful after a cut, color or both showed a decline in blood pressure. This is a direct correlation that proves that something as simple as a new hair styling can “trick” your body into believing it’s more youthful.
“From early on, women are given the message that appearance is massively important, and it can become a marker for their success in life,” says LaFrance.
A writer on youbeauty.com suggests that if hair can make us feel amazing, is that a bad thing? Is that such a superficial correlation to even make?
“ [No it’s not a bad thing] Your outward appearance projects things about you, and people will make judgments about you based on that,” says Art Markman, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and YouBeauty Psychology Advisor.
Researchers at Yale University found that “bad hair days” impact self-esteem, increase self-doubt and a higher likelihood for personal criticism. “Interestingly, both women and men are negatively affected by the phenomenon of bad hair days,” says Dr. Marianne LaFrance, Professor of Psychology and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Yale University. “Even more fascinating is our finding that individuals perceive their capabilities to be significantly lower than others when experiencing bad hair.” Women reported to experiencing more feelings of shame and embarrassment while men reported lower confidence and increased nervousness. Aside from these social anxiety effects, this pessimistic mentality went skin deep- these individuals started to criticize their personalities, not just their physical appearance.
These above three students can draw the conclusion that maintain a good appearance is vital for one’s mental health. When we feel confident about our externals, we are more likely to engage in opportunities we normally wouldn’t take on. We’d go up to that girl at the bar, take that solo in Choir class or ask our boss for that much needed raise.
With the extensive research done on bad hair days from elite universities, do you think that something as “simple” as hair can impact our mentality THAT much? Is that an overly superficial conclusion to make?