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Does a bad hair day affect your well-being?

Having bad hair may lower self esteem.

By Kim Anne Feb 8, 2013 11:28PM
Photo: Courtney Bell/Getty Images

We all have them—bad hair days—the morning you wake up that no matter what product you throw in your ‘do, it’s not ‘do-ing’ what you want it to. So you leave the house in a funk and secretly have a slightly less elevated mood, no matter how much you try to convince yourself this is not the case. But little did we realize, having a bad hair day can do more than affect your afternoon. Bad hair can have a serious impact on your overall mental well-being, says a new study. 

Researchers have found that people have a tendency to perform well below what they are capable of when they believe their hair doesn’t look good.  The study, conducted by Proctor & Gamble, found that even the thought of a bad hair day made both men and women feel less intelligent. In addition, it was reported that men feel less self-confident and more nervous when they don’t like their hair, while women feel embarrassed and ashamed.

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“There is a strong correlation between what we see in the mirror and how we feel about ourselves,” Amy L. Flowers, PhD, a psychologist with expertise in self-esteem and body image and with a practice in Macon, Ga, tells San Jose Mercury News.

“Thomas Cash, a famous researcher in body image, states that up to 25 percent of our self-esteem is determined by how we feel about our bodies — you can't hate the way you look and still love yourself,” Flowers said. “Also, we assume that others see us the way we see ourselves, so if we don't like a particular feature (like our hair), we assume that others find it repulsive, too.”

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“I think hair can say a lot about how we see ourselves — if it looks like you just fell out of bed, it implies that you don't care about your appearance, which to me indicates poor self-esteem,” says Flowers. “I don't think you have to have on a full face of makeup before going out to get the mail, but a person who is going out in public should be clean and tidy. It shows self-respect and makes a good impression.” And she urges people to "remember that old expression: You only have one chance to make a first impression.”

Tell us: Does your hair affect your mood?

Photo: Courtney Bell/Getty Images

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22Comments
Feb 10, 2013 11:12PM
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A bad day can destroy my moods because I don't feel good about myself when my hair doesnt look good.  
Feb 10, 2013 10:02PM
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People tell me I'm pretty,  but I suffer from female pattern baldness. Some days I can camoflauge it, some days, not so much. So, yes, it does affect my self esteem. I'm also a 4 year cancer survivor, so I'll have to say getting breast reconstruction effected my confidence and self esteem more, albeit in a positive way. Not having a breast in this  culture was the hardest thing I've had to deal with.A bad hair day doesn't seem so bad when I remember what it felt like having a crater in my chest! :O)

Feb 10, 2013 8:48PM
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I believe its hair and shoes, you can have on a 1,000 suit but the shoes make it  look bad. If they are run over etc, etc, etc, same with hair bad hair day takes away from the outfit.  I don't feel this article meant to make anyone feel bad, about what they have are can afford. Sure they are aware people are suffering, and have to do with what they have. No matter what I wear, jeans and top they may look ok and my hair in a pony tail it still ok. Didn't have much of anything growing up, food clothes or anything else. But that same old worn out dress I wore on a very reg. basis was clean. Raised by my grandmother, who washed that sucker on her hands and taught me to wipe my ran over shoes everyday. She told me you may not have much, but make sure what you have is CLEAN. You can have new shoes, every strand of hair in place, but if you smell people will avoid you. And I encountered some of them have you too ? lol its about keeping yourself clean if @ all possible not dressing to impress, and covering up the odor with perfume which makes one sick. Kids made fun of what I wore, but they never said she stinks. :)
Feb 10, 2013 7:59PM
Feb 10, 2013 7:56PM
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Doesn't bother me, I just put on hat!



Feb 10, 2013 7:27PM
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Slide that mop back a bit.  John Teske
Feb 10, 2013 7:08PM
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Looks matter a great deal in our society, and people judge you more favorably if you are beautiful, period.  This phenomenon is doubly true if you are a woman.  It is what it is, and people instinctively know this. 
Feb 10, 2013 6:39PM
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I think a bad hair day can affect your self esteem but also transversely, having a low self esteem day can affect your desire to improve your appearance or put the little extra work into your hair that it might need that day.

My suggestion for a bad hair day are to have  plenty of cute barrettes (adults can wear them too) and a Scrunchy or two in your arsenal. Better yet, start from scratch if you can't get your hair to behave.
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