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A New Hairstyle Will Change More Than Your Looks

A New Hairstyle Tells Others a Lot about You

Putting together my online hairstyle class “Finding the Right Hairstyle for You!” I had to do quite a bit of research on new hairstyle issues that I needed brushing up on, I found the Procter & Gamble’s hair care research site invaluable. Since that time I keep finding nuggets under the Procter & Gamble banner. I ran across this article, while being a couple of years old, confirms something I have long advocated. Visual discrimination does exist, a new hairstyle can convey all sorts of images about who we are, some good some bad.

University Study Concludes A New Hairstyle Make or Break Your First Impression

Evidence Reveals Different Hairstyles Are Linked To Perceived Personality Traits

New Haven, — Within three seconds of meeting you, people form a first impression about the type of person you are, and it’s not your face that gives you away — it’s your hairstyle! A recent study validates that a new hairstyle dictates the first impression you make, significantly overpowering the impact of facial features.

We all know how important it is to make a good first impression, whether you’re looking for a new job, getting ready for a first date, or meeting the potential in-laws. Your choice of a new hairstyle might project an image of intelligence and self-assurance, or one of insecurity and conceit, so make your new hairstyle work for you. If celebrities can change their hairstyles to play a part or make a statement, why can’t you?

Dr. Marianne LaFrance, director of the study First Impressions and Hair Impressions and Professor of Psychology and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Yale University, asserts that until now there has been no investigation of the unique effect a new hairstyle has on first impressions. “We wanted to learn whether the frame around the face — the hairstyle — can significantly alter how a person is seen,” says Dr. LaFrance. “We found that different hairstyles quickly lead others to ‘see’ different kinds of people.” First Impressions and Hair Impressions was commissioned by the team for Physique®, a styling-based hair care line.

So what does your new hairstyle say about you?
Dr. LaFrance’s study confirms that no hairstyle is all good or all bad, and that we do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. The following key findings demonstrate that different new hairstyles are linked to perceived personality traits. Those range from positive qualities to the not so flattering:


Can women have it all? — It appears that this is not the case, as the study showed that any new hairstyle (relative to base) increases a woman’s perceived sexiness, but decreases a woman’s perceived intelligence. We wonder how stereotypes start.

Short hairstyles = successes — Women wearing short, tousled hairstyles (think Meg Ryan and Charlize Theron) are seen as the most confident and outgoing, an asset when meeting new people or starting a career.

Does hairstyle length matter? — It is no surprise that women with long, straight, blonde hairstyles, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Christina Aguilera, are perceived as the sexiest and most affluent. By contrast, women with medium-length, casual-looking hairstyles, like Liv Tyler or Sandra Bullock, are viewed as more intelligent and good-natured.


Who’s the sexiest of them all? — Men wearing short, front-flip hairstyles (think Brad Pitt and Matthew LeBlanc) are perceived as most confident and sexy. It is not surprising that men with this hairstyle are also perceived as the most self-centered.

Why Wall Street men walk tall — Men with medium-length, side-parted hair are viewed as the most intelligent and affluent — great for that job interview. However, men with these hairstyles are also seen as the most narrow-minded.

Fabio ain’t so fab after all — Bad news for long-haired Fabio types. The study validates the myth that men with long hairstyles seem to be all brawn and no brains. They are perceived as least intelligent and most careless. But all is not lost — they are also seen as the most good-natured.

“Working with Dr. LaFrance and her team last year (An Experimental Investigation into the Effects of ‘Bad Hair,’), we confirmed that hairstyles have a profound psychological impact,” says Diana Shaheen, North American Marketing Director for Physique. “This year the Physique team commissioned the study to understand whether your choice of a new hairstyle impacts your first impression. We now have clear evidence that a new hairstyle does dramatically affect first impressions and is linked to perceived personality traits. You might even say, projecting the right image depends on creating the hairstyle that’s right for you.”

Physique, from Procter & Gamble, is a hair care collection of products for men and women that is scientifically designed to help you create a volume, straight, curly or controlled hairstyle and keep it for 20 hours. Physique is available at grocery, drug and mass market retail locations nationwide. For more information, product samples or styling tips, visit


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