Getting a great haircut is quite possibly the most criminally underrated act of radical self-improvement that currently exists in society. Sound dramatic? Think about it. Visualize with me, here. You’re staring at yourself in the mirror for the 9th time this morning, dragging yourself through another dreary round of mundane routine accented with bad breath and a cheap-wine-hangover. You stare at your closet full of clothes you’ve worn ten thousand times, longing for a day when you feel revitalized by the sight of your own wardrobe. Chugging another cup of microwaved coffee, you think about a life in which you had enough energy to survive the day ahead of you without the feeling of artificial adrenaline pumping through your body. You throw your hair in a bun and put on the same outfit you’ve worn three times in the past two weeks. It’s reliable. And stretchy.
You, my friend, are burned out.
The monotony of everyday life has sucked you dry of your zest, your zip, your zing. Think of all that lost zing!
It happens to the best of us. But fear not! The Good Haircut is the simple solution you’ve been seeking! In a few simple hours, you can go from zero to hero. Zoned out to blown out. Zip to hip. You get the idea. It’s nothing new. Everyone who’s ever had a good haircut knows the feeling of temporary invincibility that accompanies it. But why? Why does getting a good haircut make an ordinary human feel like a demi-god? How do fresh bangs somehow instantly transform my outlook on life from “Miranda” to “Samantha”?
The psychology of hair is a thick and undeveloped science, but it’s safe to start out with the simple idea that looking good can actually make you feel pretty good too. If you’re getting a haircut in a salon, you’re not just getting it cut, you’re getting it shampooed, dried, and styled as well. The idea alone of someone else doing my hair makes me feel fabulous, but actually walking out of an appointment with a new, perfectly done hairdo is an undeniable invincibility-inducer.
It might sound shallow, sure. We all know that beauty is only skin deep and we should love ourselves and feel confident regardless of the status of our hair. Absolutely. But why deny one of the few mortal pleasures we are afforded on this tiny planet? If someone with skill gives you a killer hairstyle, you better milk that temporary physical confidence for all it’s worth. Besides, you’re not feeling good about your hair because of what other people think. You’re feeling good about something that looks fabulous on you because it makes you feel confident. I don’t know about you guys, but my spirits grow indomitable way before anyone even says anything about my new hair. The moment I reflect on that girl I see, staring back at me, in the beauty shop mirror, I know I’m unstoppable for the day. No shame in a little vanity here and there.
“But Emily,” you cry. “The power I feel from a great haircut must surely go deeper than simple physical appearance! I am a being of superior intellect and would never dwell on such shallow physical delights!” True, my Asgardian friend. Very true. The real power that comes from fresh locks lies within. When you decide to chop off those gnarly ends, you’re relieving yourself of more than just lifeless frizz. You’re detaching yourself from a physical safety blanket you didn’t even know you were clinging to. For lots of us, the idea of getting a haircut can seem genuinely scary, or at least intimidating. The notion of getting rid of something we’ve had so close to us for so long seems sad, in the same way you feel sad when you’re forced to throw away that ratty t-shirt covered in barbecue sauce stains. You know you don’t need it to survive, but you really like it and you’ve had it forever and- no. Stop right there.
That’s your comfort zone talking. That’s the little voice in your head that wants to you to pick the navy blue over the electric teal. It wants you to major in economics and stop eating dairy. This is the voice that tells you a crop top can’t be worn before 4:00 pm and the voice that keeps you inside watching Breaking Bad for the third time instead of going out for drinks with your new coworkers. This tiny spark of insecurity can hinder so much growth and keep you locked in a routine you don’t even enjoy anymore. Don’t. Let it.
Throwing caution to the wind is much easier said than done, but that seems to be a recurring pattern for most of the great things in life. You feel amazing after getting a great haircut because your bold, risky choice actually paid off. There’s very little grey area for haircuts- they’re usually either amazing or an absolute tragedy. Facing the fear of Bad Hair head on and risking an accidental two-week mullet can make anyone feel alive for the first time. When you make the choice to chop, you are utilizing the risk that comes along with one of life’s necessities and letting it invigorate you, rather than intimidate you. It can make you feel proud of yourself for embracing new adventures, even though they could go horribly awry. Cutting off a few extra inches might not seem like a big deal to some, but for many of us, hair is one of the biggest personal safety nets. Being bold enough to stare into a mirror while someone hacks away the physical embodiment of your comfort zone is a feat, and Good Hair Invincibility is a well-deserved prize.
Hair can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Some days it takes 5 minutes, sometimes it takes two hours and you end up wearing a hat anyway. A good hair day can lead to endless productivity and confidence, while a bad hair day can cause you to spend an entire day a cranky pessimist. It’s not all because your hair looks a certain amount of good or bad- for me, it’s about power. It’s the idea that your hair just will not do what you want it to. Its insubordination can leave you feeling powerless, struggling to salvage a decent look out of the same head of hair that just helped you slay yesterday’s outfit. When you go get yourself a great haircut from a great stylist, you’re showing your hair who’s in charge. You’re not the boss of me now, hair. And no, you’re not so big.
Establishing dominance over your tresses may sound a little ridiculous, but I doubt a single one of you can honestly say Hair Frustration before a big night out has never made you almost tear up, at least a little bit. We deal with tons of these micro-struggles throughout our daily lives, and taking control of the situation always yields a burst of confidence. You feel powerful after getting an amazing haircut because you just took a little more control of your own destiny. You just asserted dominance over a force you deal with every single day. Of course you feel productive and powerful after getting rid of a bunch of split ends; you are the one who made the executive decision and freed yourself of unnecessary baggage. You are the one that took the reigns this time. It feels good to make decisions that leave a lasting positive impact on your life, and getting a great haircut is one of the simplest ways to do so in a physical form.
See for yourself. Next time you’ve got the time, the cash, and the gumption, go get yourself a great haircut. Those unwanted, worn-a-million-times outfits will have new life when worn in cooperation with your flouncy new mane. You’ll find yourself actually feeling excited to look in the mirror and go through the motions of your daily hair routine. Freshness and confidence abound in the land of Great Haircuts, so come along. Abandon those societal-imposed self doubts about why it won’t “work for your face” or “look right with your chin” or the million other reasons you cling to those extra 3 inches. If you need a little spice, a little oomph, or just something to break up the monotony, the salon chair is one of the easiest places to start. Even if it’s just a trim. Baby steps.