When a celebrity gets a haircut, it becomes front-page news on both sides of the Atlantic, and Yahoo News writers break their keyboards in excitement. Last week, “The Hunger Games” actress Jennifer Lawrence became the latest in a growing number of celebrities to go short and get a pixie. As much as I am loath to suggest following Hollywood trends, I wish more people would similarly ditch what’s safe and comfortable and experiment with different hairstyles. If there’s ever a time to see if you can rock hot pink hair dye or a half-shaved head, it’s now, before you graduate and actually become accountable for looking like what the job market deems a respectable adult.
According to health and beauty psychologist Vivian Diller, hair is one of the top three features — alongside height and weight — that people use to describe others and is prominently remembered after social interactions.
Unlike other physical features, you can readily alter your hair through cutting, dyeing and highlighting and control its appearance through straightening, curling and styling. The way you present your hair immediately sends cues to others about your character and personality. Wealthy men during the American Colonial times wore white powdered wigs to project wisdom and sophistication. Diana Ross channeled disco diva with her voluminous ‘fro. Carrot Top would only seem half as neurotic without his bright-red, curly hair.
If you’ve been hiding behind the same curtain of hair since high school, consider trying a new look. Most women balk at the idea of venturing outside of their comfort zones and shearing off all of their locks.
I took the plunge myself two summers ago on a whim, when I went in intending to get the usual noncommittal trim and ended up leaving eight inches on the salon floor. It was 105 degrees Fahrenheit that day, and I would have honestly been happy going for a Sinead O’Connor.
At first I hated my new, chin-length bob. I was convinced I looked like a boy. I would tug on the ends of my hair in a futile attempt to stimulate follicle growth. When I woke up in the mornings, I would look weirdly retro, because the ends of my hair would flip outward. I tried curling what hair I had left to see if it would look more presentable that way (it didn’t — instead of Flo, I looked like Shirley Temple). But I just had to give it some time: I started to appreciate not having the same mid-back-length hair as every other girl, and I’ve kept my hair short to this day.
A little switcheroo won’t kill you, and you might even be pleasantly surprised by the results. For me, the next step might be trying cheetah print hair dye (just kidding, I would be judged pretty hardcore at work). If you’re curious but afraid, make a change now as the weather gets colder — if the results are disastrous, you can always cower under a knit beanie for the next few months; everyone else will be none the wiser.