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Here Is What I Learned From Cutting My Hair

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 UCF chapter.

A few weeks ago, I looked in the mirror at my hair–medium length down to my chest, and I felt like I was drowning. With the temperature rising, I couldn’t stand the feel of my hair on my neck, coupled with the visible damage from years of bleach and hair dye. That day, I made an appointment and the following week cut 10 inches off of my hair. 

I spent days before the cut pondering if this was the “right” decision. I scavenged through video after video, chart after chart telling me what kind of haircut I should have, and what hair would make my face look “slim”. Every single one abided against having short hair. It’ll call too much attention to the face, it’ll make my features rounder than they already are. I was hesitant after making the appointment, but the second my stylist started cutting, I knew I had made the right decision, even if it didn’t abide by any of the pictures and videos I had been seeing.

People, especially young women, are suffocated by assuring our appearance is “flattering”. Our clothes should be a specific color and cut, our hair should be a specific length, and our makeup should be done a specific way. We are bombarded with the pressures of looking our best, which usually means looking as slim as we can. Whatever happened to expressing ourselves in whichever way we deem fit?

I’d like to argue that hair doesn’t magically change one’s face shape. People shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with different haircuts. Self-identity and self-expression change so frequently. We all change and develop every day—our fashion taste, our self-perception—so why can’t our hair do the same? It is the most consistent accessory with whatever we wear, and it should be used as such. Experimenting with hair dye and cuts shouldn’t be life-altering, it should be fun!

I have had many different haircuts: shags, mullets, pixies, bobs, hip-length hair, bright orange hair, you name it. Each time I change my hairstyle, I do it for different reasons. Sometimes it’s for a change of style, simply a way to express myself. Other times it’s a lesson in vanity, a way to challenge myself to not hide behind my hair.

In July, esteemed actress Florence Pugh shaved her head, seemingly for a role she was playing. However, according to an interview from the Daily Mail, Pugh explained that her decision to shave her head was because she wanted “vanity out of the picture”. It was inspiring to see someone of such high social standing advocate to take pressure off of appearance. Of course, this is an exaggerated example of my sentiment, but the message still stands: hair is a powerful tool, yes, but the way it looks should not depend on what other people think.

This is not to say that you should purposefully get a bad haircut. Having a haircut that represents yourself and makes you feel confident is a great thing to have. However, there is more to someone than what is on their head. Yes, hair can be used to highlight your features, but it can also be used as a tool of self-expression, a way to challenge yourself. Next time you get a haircut, don’t feel too anxious if it’s a big change.

Sarah Perez is a second year staff writer for Her Campus UCF. Studying English with a certificate in Editing and Publishing, she loves to read almost any genre. When she isn't reading, you can find her crocheting or drawing.