What your hair says about you

We all know that it’s what’s on the inside that really defines a person. But in the real world, your external appearance, including your hair, can do a lot to affect your success in life. Hair care and styling can be a factor that may affect your ability to get a job, get a promotion or a raise, or succeed in the dating world and other personal relationships.

“We have many decades of research that physical attractiveness — including hair — does affect how others perceive you, and the opportunities that are created,” says Carla Lundblade, MS, a clinical therapist in Beverly Hills and a sports and celebrity counselor. “For example, studies have shown that attractive men earn an average of 5% more than unattractive men. And attractive women are also presented with a wider range of opportunities in their careers and personal lives.”

So what kind of message are you sending to the world with the appearance and style of your hair? While a stylish haircut and color may not be what gets you that job or that raise, it may be true that the opposite — an unkempt or uncared-for look — could make a recruiter think twice about hiring you. And in today’s economy, you don’t want to let any negatives drag you down, so your hair is important!

“Hair and appearance are part of a total package for anyone looking to move forward in their career or in life, and should be considered as something you’d improve just like your resume,” says Lundblade. “This doesn’t mean looking like somebody else — it means looking like the best ‘you’ you can be.”

Finding your best you
So how do you find that best you and bring it out with your hairstyle? Rowena Yeager, who owns Salon Wish in Streetsboro, Ohio, and serves on the Salon and Spa Council of the Professional Beauty Association, says it’s about finding something about you that’s striking and beautiful, and then using your hairstyle to highlight it.

“Some people focus on hiding flaws, but to me, it’s more important to find where the beauty is than to look for flaws to correct or conceal,” she says.

Do you have high, strong cheekbones? A great smile? Large, captivating eyes? “Your stylist should try to enhance your best feature through your color and haircut,” Yeager says. For example, if your cheekbones are your best feature, consider styling your hair so that layers brush gently in toward the face at cheekbone level.

Maintain to gain
No matter what style your hair is, make sure that it’s well kept and cared for. “If you have color, make sure that you don’t have a regrowth line, for example,” says Yeager. “If you have dramatic, straight, Bette Page-style bangs, you need to take particular care of your eyebrows, since they’ll draw attention there. You want to project that you care about yourself and care about the position you’re applying for, or the people that you’re meeting.”