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How A Bad Hair Day Can Change How You Feel About Yourself

Alright so bad hair days, we’ve all had at least one right? Maybe you didn’t properly condition your hair or haven’t gotten it trimmed in months. Maybe the weather is changing and it’s making it all frizzy, or simply, you do not like the way it looks or how it makes you feel. But have you given it more thoughts as to why?

They say appearance isn’t everything, (which it isn’t), but it still matters a lot more than we are aware of. That’s why there are whole industries and businesses built around helping you switch up, alternate, maintain, and amplify the way you look through selling products, services, ideas, and looks. There are also societal norms, beauty standards, industry trends, cultural expectations, other people’s opinions, and most importantly there is what you think of yourself, all mixed up into one bowl that you then have to digest. So it makes sense that we can often be hard on ourselves about our appearance. 

However, appreciating your hair and feeling comfortable with it can help boost your confidence. It is a form of self-love, and believe it or not, it can play a role in whether or not you are successful in accomplishing some of your tasks that day. 

A study at Stanford University concluded that “a few bad hair days can change your life.” The study found that your perception of attractiveness affects your mindset, and because society is viewed through a social lens, when you feel more attractive it makes you feel part of a higher social class. Those bad hair days contribute to you feeling unattractive, ultimately leading to lower self-esteem and low confidence. This will affect your behavior, what you accomplish, and even how you view the world. You might think that is a stretch, but “The idea of beauty has long been linked to power,” explained Elizabeth MacBride in Stanford Business. 

There is a certain level of confidence you feel when you look good! Maybe it is wearing your power suit, those perfectly fitting jeans, high heels, your comfy hoodie, a sublime eyeliner, your workout clothes, or some red lipstick. Whatever it may be, when you feel beautiful, cute, sexy, pretty, etc. it boosts your confidence, and when that happens you will more likely perform better throughout the day. 

I have curly hair but no one else in my family that I know of has them as curly and springy as I do, neither did many people around me or in movies or tv series that I watched when I was younger. So growing up I always had this inner conflict. Even though people complimented my hair, I didn’t want to let it out and lose and I would tie it up because it made me feel different and stand out from everyone else. But over the years I have learned to take care of my hair, how to style it, what products to use to make it look fresh and shiny. I have realized that my hair is part of my personality and identity and it is what makes me a good kind of different; Unique! 

We all go through our journeys with our hair and appearance, everyone has had a day where they felt attractive and the next unattractive, but it is a learning process and a journey of self-love. The following stories of these beautiful people attest to that. 


Sabrina Romviel: 

“I’ve always had super curly hair, and it’s gotten thicker, kinkier, and harder to manage over the years. I didn’t grow up with friends or family with hair like mine, so it’s hard for me to wear my hair completely out and feel comfortable with the craziness of my curls. Right now, I just throw my hair in a back pony and call it a day, but I’m working on building up the confidence to wear it out more often!”


Ananya Shrivastava: 

“My hair has been used as a device by me constantly. It’s definitely very close to my identity in the conventional sense as I instantly present as more feminine or masculine, depending on the length of my hair in front of people. But personally, it’s been quite the journey of acceptance as just coming to terms with how I look has been really heavy. My hair has played a huge role by being as short as it is while also making me feel better by simply falling in a certain way. I think the way I talk and walk changed with my haircut because I know people associate my image with it and though there’s so much I’m still exploring, I am beginning to realize that the length is secondary to what I feel about myself.”


Lauren Brice: 

“As a younger teen, I dealt with a bad bout of body dysmorphia, and I’d always had low self-esteem. I have a whole year when I didn’t take pictures at all I hated how I looked so much. When I was 14 my mom took me to the salon and let me dye my hair pink. It instantly made me feel more complete and confident in my physical self. The color felt like a bit of my personality seeping to the outside and made me feel far more secure in myself. For the last four years, I’ve been keeping it up and I’ve had pink, blue, and I currently have purple hair. I can’t imagine going back. Dying my hair was really the start of the long journey towards gaining confidence in myself all around.” 



“I cut my hair short right after high school and my confidence has shot through the roof ever since! My hair was a source of anxiety for me in high school because I could never properly maintain it since I was a student-athlete. Once I did the big chop I feared I wouldn’t be seen as feminine but the opposite actually happened. I feel even more feminine and confident than I did with my long hair and it’s been really great! I think it’s extremely important to feel comfortable with your hair whether short or not because it is a prominent feature for women, and making sure you’re confident with your hair is important to do for yourself!”


Your appearance matters but only as much as you want it to matter! In the end, it’s about your mindset and how comfortable you feel. A good tip if you’re having a bad hair day and it is just not working, close your eyes for a second and remember a time you felt attractive and the kinds of emotions you felt– powerful, confident, determined, beautiful? Remember how that felt and then walk into your presentation or meeting and this will help boost your confidence and performance! 

Alina Ali Rawji

New School '22

Alina is studying Strategic Design and Management at Parsons, she loves to travel, keeping up with the news, and anything fashion. Where there's music you'll find her dancing and smiling (almost always).
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