Five(+) Ways a Hairstyle Can Change a Person’s Life

Sep 23 2014

Yes, beauty professionals make it their mission to improve their clients’ appearance, but that doesn’t mean the positive change they can make stops there. Here are five ways that a hairstyle can make an awesome, so-much-more-than-skin-deep difference in a person’s life.

  • What’s happening IN your head reflects what’s happening ON your head. Our hair is very much tied to our self-confidence, and the way we view and treat ourselves. According to Psychology Today, “Styled, well-kept hair gives us the external appearance of being well managed, and it can contribute to feeling that way internally.” Accordingly, “bad hair days” intensify self-criticism, say researchers at Yale University. “When experiencing bad hair,” says Dr. Marianne LaFrance of Yale, “individuals perceive their capabilities to be significantly lower than others.”
  • Bad hair can prevent a good opportunity. In a survey of 500+ Human Resource professionals, a whopping 90% of them said that being well-groomed is crucial to creating a great first impression. For many opportunities — for instance, a job, a scholarship, an internship, or an audition — hair matters. A lot. Nicole Williams, Career Expert for LinkedIn, has said, “Many people tend to think about hair as the last thing they do before an interview, but it’s honestly one of the most important steps.”
  • Hair can make or break a career. When natural brunettes Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe went red and blonde, respectively, their careers skyrocketed. Other career-catapulting hair changes include model Twiggy’s fashion-forward pixie cut and Rihanna’s sleek, asymmetrical bob. Conversely, when the star of the 90s teen drama Felicity, Keri Russell, cut her trademark ringlets — ratings tanked, and the show was cancelled shortly thereafter.
  • High-touch services are therapeutic. Forget about the fact that many people feel more comfortable talking to their hair stylist about personal matters than to a certified therapist. Studies show that human touch is found to lower blood pressure and cortisol (stress) hormones. So a shampoo and blowout can mean much more to your client than just great-looking hair — it actually improves their well-being.
  • It’s a physical symbol of change. Often, when people are ready to take a big step in their lives (like graduating, breaking up, or switching careers) they’ll mark the occasion with a dramatically different haircut or color. Other times, they’ll make a big change to their hair as a stepping stone that gives them the incentive to make a more profound life change. Getting a new hairstyle or color is a symbolic act of transformation, and has the power to motivate someone to make a much-needed change.

It’s truly gratifying to have advanced skills in cosmetology that can literally change lives for the better! Think about “Look Good … Feel Better,” a program that matches cancer patients with volunteer cosmetologists who teach them to deal with skin and hair problems caused by cancer treatment. The program has served over 1 million people worldwide with cancer, and 86% of participants say that improving their appearance gives them more confidence to battle the disease.

Or, consider the many salon programs nationwide who offer free haircuts to women in emergency shelters to boost their self-esteem and/or get them ready for job interviews.

There’s also the selflessness of individual stylists like Mark Bustos, who spends his days off from his high-end NYC salon job giving free haircuts to the homeless. His Instagram account chronicles his good works, with Bustos’ signature hashtag #BeAwesomeToSomebody perfectly summing up his philosophy. As he says on Instagram, “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”