What may have originated as a sign of fertility has evolved into a device for wider-reaching social messaging about who you are. “Hair is the Swiss Army knife of beauty tools because it can convey so many things,” says Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of “Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty.” Here are a few ways your hair speaks volumes:
It can symbolize a fresh start
A flattering new cut and color offers a visual and mental do-over, which is why breakups and big birthdays are prime times for a chop. “When you’re open to meeting someone new after a breakup, you want to project a new level of confidence like you haven’t ‘had’ to project during your relationship,” says Art Markman, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and YouBeauty Psychology Advisor. Similarly, reaching a major age-marker, like turning 40 or 50 are times when women often want to make a new statement about who they are.
Or totally reboot your life
Hairstylist and YouBeauty Hair Advisor Guido likens a big change to a journey. “Every woman should chop her hair off once in her life, to try something totally new,” he says. It’s the sort of risky move that opens you up to changes and fulfillment in other parts of your life. “Even if you don’t like the initial results, as it grows back it will change and you might find a look that you would never have experienced,” he says.
Hair attracts similar types
The hairstyle you choose can act like a homing device to other like-minded people. “There’s a ‘birds of a feather effect’ with certain aspects of style that show our affiliation to a group,” says Etcoff. (Just look at the Real Housewives of Orange County…or the cast of Jersey Shore.)
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