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Style > Beauty


This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

I vividly remember crying in my mom’s car parked outside the hair salon as a child. I was probably six or seven at the time. Getting a haircut was my least favorite activity because I wanted to have long, luscious hair like Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and Taylor Swift. To me, long hair meant that I was beautiful.

But my mom always kept my hair at a mid-length, shoulder-length cut. So as I got older and gained more autonomy over my hair-stylistic decisions, you can guess what my style of choice was: long. And I didn’t just leave my straight, black hair as is – I became an expert at curling hair with a straightener, curling hair with a curling wand, french braiding, dutch braiding, waterfall braiding, fishtail braiding – the list went on. Camping trips with my cousins comprised a line of my female cousins (aged six to 20) waiting for me to braid their hair. I actually
remember making it a point in eighth grade to have a different hairstyle for every day of the week: Monday was the dutch braid and Tuesday was the half-up half-down waterfall.

But the pinnacle of my long hair era was late high school and early college when I finally mastered the beachy wave. Seemingly like clockwork, I’d whip out my curling wand for every school dance, interview, or dinner, and by the end of the 30 minutes, I’d feel beautiful. I started curling my college roommate’s hair, my older sister’s hair, and even my mom’s hair (who claims that I’m more skilled than a professional hairstylist — ironic, right?).

So it came as quite a surprise when in October of my sophomore year of college, I chopped off 10 inches of hair. On Tuesday night, I booked an appointment at a salon on Telegraph for 10 am the following day. I was left with a short bob that extended just a couple of inches below the tip of my ear lobe.

It’s March now, and my hair is well past my shoulders. It’s long enough for a ponytail, half-up, half-down and, most importantly, a little beachy wave. But for the past five months, that wasn’t the case. And these past five months not only pushed me to experiment with my hair and fashion choices but also forced me to recognize the value I place on my appearance.

I remember waking up for class, doing a face of makeup, and putting on an outfit I felt confident in but completely clueless about my hair. Most days, I’d ignore the overwhelming fear that I was resembling Lord Farquad and would just put on some big earrings to hide the attention away from my hair. I’m not one to live in regret (because I don’t think it’s a productive feeling), but boy, did I miss feeling beautiful just by the magic of my curling wand. Eventually, I learned. I experimented with headbands and hair ribbons and figured out a blow-drying technique that made me somewhat like my hair.

Kayla Bacon-Hair Flip Short Hair
Kayla Bacon / Her Campus

But there were still days when I looked at photos of myself and felt ugly. It didn’t matter how often my friends told me they loved my hair or that it had never looked better.

To me, every time I was photographed at an unflattering angle where my hair looked less than perfect.

These past five months have served as a reality check for me. I could claim that I don’t care if people think I’m pretty or attractive — that I only care about how they view my character. But these past five months would disagree. They held a mirror up to my face, showing me how much I truly do care about my appearance and the immense value I place on it.

So, my note to you: if you’re considering chopping off your hair, do it. It will give you a sick new look for a few months and push you to pursue introspection that you never knew you needed!

Jasmine Aggarwal

UC Berkeley '25

I'm a Data Science and Business student at UC Berkeley with a passion for writing!