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Style > Beauty

Myths and Truths Behind Beauty Theories

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

When considering the theory of beauty, some often look at society’s framework of perception to gather information. However, this method might not always be accurate. To begin, let us first define a truth and myth. Truth focuses on reality, based on factual information rather than assumptions. On the other hand,  myths arise from attempts to understand how the world or things should be, often seen in stories, practices and concepts. To truly understand beauty theories, looking at the origin is essential. Then we will be able to discover the myths and truths that lie within.

If you were to ask someone what the standard of beauty is, they may arrive at different conclusions. One may go based on the historical standpoint of beauty, and another may state that beauty is based on the eye of the beholder. With these differences, I believe that we can all agree that beauty is subjective and a response is dependent upon who is asked. The theory of beauty suggests that individual perspectives determine the criteria that make up this theory.  Now I will unravel the myths and truths that lie within society’s beauty theories. 

Red Nail Theory 

This viral TikTok trend created by Robyn Delmonte spread like a firestorm throughout online media with over 13,000 videos with the #rednailtheory hashtag. The theory suggests that wearing red nail polish will attract potential partners. The color red in itself represents passion, love and strength, so this theory should not be as far from the truth. Right? According to Vogue Magazine, red nails may attract attention, but not in the assumed context. The response to this color is often evoked by the individual’s memory or experience as reported by TODAY.com.

In other words, the reaction to red nails may have to do with preferences and associations over a potential connection.  The notion that red nails help with manifestation also is a topic for discussion. Astrologist Bri Luna says, “You can manifest your dreams through caring for your nails and selecting a shape and color that reminds you of the desired intention” (Harpersbazaar.com). One must not only do this, but also seek to maintain a positive manicurist relationship for a better energy transfer. An undefinable truth within this theory is that grooming choices affect the perception of others beyond the nail theory.  Despite all of these theories, a truth that exists is that our personal beauty choices do have an impact on ourselves as well as the world. 

Hair Theory 

The hair theory has gained popularity with over 48 million views on TikTok in the beauty industry. Before delving into a discussion, it’s important to understand what the hair theory entails. Simply put, hairstyles not only influence how others perceive you, but also impact your self-perception. Additionally, hairstyles can alter the image you present to the world. According to Caroline Brooks, founder of Glasshouse Salon and Spa, a sleek and classic haircut may convey sophistication and professionalism. Therefore, the hair theory advocates for experimentation and diversity, as different hairstyles can have a significant effect. India Arie’s song ‘I am not my Hair’ emphasizes that one’s hairstyle should not define them, despite societal perceptions. This highlights the importance of embracing individuality and self-expression. 

yearbook style photos of young people
Photos by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The popular hair theory that claims brushing your hair will make it healthier is a common myth. In actuality, brushing your hair the right way will determine the health of it compared to the frequency. It is advised to brush your hair twice a day to distribute the correct amount of oils throughout your hair (Healthline, 2020). The best advice regarding your hair would be to speak to a trusted hairstylist or get specific recommendations to ensure the right information is being presented to you.

The truth of the matter is that theories have been seen throughout the history of beauty. How we choose to approach them makes the difference in the outcome we receive. The next time you encounter a beauty trend or theory, take the time to access the possible myths and truths that lie within. Ultimately, beauty is multifaceted and based on interpretation while seeking to embrace individuality and diversity. This reminder will help you arrive at a reasonable conclusion when considering the validity of beauty theories.

Rachel Campbell, a junior Fashion Merchandising major and Marketing minor at Old Dominion University. She's passionate about fostering authenticity providing space to express individuality and celebrating diverse perspectives. Outside of writing you can find her enjoying all things artsy whether it be diamond painting or creative baking.