10 Things to Know About the Psychology of Cutting Your Hair Short

Throughout our years and life experiences, hair is something that we often experiment with. Whether you are a man or a woman, you have likely experimented with your hair throughout different stages in our life. While many of us may try different colors and styles, most of us also try different lengths. Hair cuts are common, it’s something we all do. Perhaps this is because our hair grows constantly and we must keep up with it. Unlike a style or color, hair growth is unavoidable. Perhaps it’s because the length of our hair says a lot about how we feel and who we think we are. Maybe it’s because heading to the salon to chop all of your hair off is an unmatched adrenaline rush. 

Regardless, it’s clear that while our hair is a physical feature, it deeply ties into our inner psychology. More specifically speaking, cutting your hair short is just as much as psychological decision as it is a physical decision. If you’ve cut your hair short in the past, how did it make you feel? If you’re considering cutting your hair short, why are you feeling drawn to it? When you see somebody with short hair, whether it’s a man or a woman, what are your initial thoughts on them? Let’s dive deeper and get to the bottom of some of these questions. Here are 10 things to know about the psychology of cutting your hair short.

Our hair is part of our identity.

For some people, their hair is part of who they are. It is their identity. This is especially true for women. Women with long hair should take the time to think and consider before cutting their hair. Whether they realize it or not, their hair is a part of their identity and drastically cutting it short can make them feel lost. A drastic hair cut, even though it was a conscious choice, can promote a loss of self. 

Cutting your hair short promotes self assuredness.

According to an article published on Stylist, a website for all things beauty, health, and fashion, shorter hair cuts are quite powerful. The piece reads “embracing a shorter ‘do is proven to imbue us with a sense of self-assuredness and control.” While the article is focused on women and their hair choices, the same can be said for men. Looking to feel a new sense of control and confidence? Might be time to book an appointment! 

Women often cut their hair during life changes.

While this may be true for men as well, it is a common scenario for women. Ending a relationship, new career, graduating school, moving to a new city, overcoming a hard time…these are all huge life experiences that can make women want to cut their hair short. It may feel like a way to reinvent themselves or a way to step into a new chapter as a newer version of themselves. Regardless, most women will agree that they have booked an appointment with their hair stylist during a time like this.

The feeling of masculinity promotes a feeling of power.

Historically and societally speaking, extremely short hair is a masculine hairstyle. This doesn’t just refer to a bald head or a buzz cut, it can just mean a few inches of length that don’t pass the ears. While it is traditionally a more masculine look, many women sport short cuts like this and are drop dead gorgeous. Interestingly enough, the idea that it is a more masculine type look is what draws women to the hair length. Women have reported that when they cut their hair short, they experience a newfound sense of power. They claim that shorter hair promotes confidence. This is most likely tied to the energy that masculinity carries. Our world has long been controlled by men and they tend to hold most of the power in situations. 

Teenagers love to use their hair to rebel.

Teenage years are where rebellion thrives. When adolescents choose to act out, they may sneak out of their bedroom windows orwear clothes that they know their parents don’t approve of. They might pierce their noses, so on and so forth. However, one of the most common acts of rebellion is chopping their hair off. Experts believe that this is tied to the idea that cutting your hair provides a sense of self control and emotional release. Being a teenager is hard and this may be a coping skill. 

Photos of haircuts can be powerful.

Have you ever been reading a magazine and suddenly you’re wondering if you could pull off a celebrity’s haircut? Or have you been scrolling through instagram and suddenly you’re taking screenshots and sending them to your hairstylist? Cutting our hair short can be scary but when we see somebody else rocking a short cut, we may feel inspired. We may have a newfound desire to do the same. Photos of short haircuts on other people can be powerful.

Short hair may be viewed as a sign of adulthood. 

Have you ever noticed that when a man or a woman enters a certain stage in life, they often times cut their hair short? Imagine a woman has had long hair her entire life but just earned her master’s degree and is about to enter her new career field. She may cut her hair short as a way to feel established her professionalism and feel on par with the others already in the field. Imagine a 25 year old man has hair down to his shoulders but he just landed his dream job managing a hotel downtown. He may get a new, short cut to “improve” his look. While of course the length of our hair does not determine our maturity, for some people there is a powerful mental transition that happens after a significant hair cut. 

Women with long hair may be seen as more feminine.

Have you ever noticed that every Disney princess has long, beautiful, shiny hair that perfectly blows in the wind? According to the same article published by Stylist, “as do the majority of of models seen in magazines or actors on tv.” 

Heather Garbutt, a psychotherapist at TCPC, contributed her expert opinion to the Stylist article as well. She shares, “There are some very deep traditions that run within our culture with regards to the length of women’s hair. Long hair, for whatever reason, seems to simultaneously represent the innocence of childhood as well as the allure of adult femininity. Think about it; how many times have we seen the letting down of a woman’s tresses as a sensual and sexy experience? It’s almost a symbol of opulent femininity, almost an image of exposure and vulnerability that draws out feelings of sexual attraction often allied with feelings of protection in men.” Whether you want to feel and look less feminine, you are trying to push society’s buttons, or you just want shorter hair, we say go for it. 

Sometimes we feel grief after chopping our hair off.

As we’ve discussed, cutting your long hair can be a magnificent transformation. It can be a great way to say goodbye to the old and embrace a new you. However, there is often an experience of grief after cutting your hair off. Because our hair is a part of our identity, making a big shift like this can take some getting used to. The feeling of grief often comes from idea that we are letting go of who we used to be and moving into a new phase of life. 

Remember, hair is just hair.

We put a lot of pressure on the hair on our scalps. At the end of the day, hair is just hair. It is not who we are inside. While it is important to have a hair style that makes you feel happy and confident, it is not everything. We must promote the happiness and confidence within ourselves as well. Our hair can be taken from us in an instant. It might be because of sickness or the side effects of medicine. It might be a mental disorder or a bad experience with a product. It could be any reason. We can lose our hair but we must work hard to not lose ourselves so easily. 

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