Take a look at your friend rocking the fluoro hair and you’ll know your locks can be a fun way to express yourself. But you don’t need extreme bangs for your hair to speak volumes. Whether you like it or not, your look has a huge role in shaping people’s perceptions of you. So if you want to know what your co-workers and potential dates are thinking, then pull up a seat and let science decode your ‘do.
Sexy or intelligent?
A study by Yale University has found that any hairstyle that increases your perceived sexiness decreases your perceived intelligence, that rules out a Victoria’s Secret-style blow wave then. Apparently, if you want to appeal to guys, then you have better odds with longer locks: in a survey by Pantene, the highest percentage of men found long hair to be the sexiest.
People believe blonde jokes
According to researchers, girls with long, straight blonde locks are seen as the sexiest and most cashed up. So if you’re rocking a “Gwyneth Paltrow”, people may expect you to pick up the dinner tab, but they’ll also want to sleep with you. It also means you’ll need to prove your smarts the old-fashioned way – talking – because people won’t immediately assume you’re intelligent, cliché we know.
Women with medium, no fuss-looking haircuts (read: members of the wash-and-wear brigade) come across as smarter and good natured, according to the Yale study. And they get double points, if they’re a brunette. Research undertaken by scientists at the University of Westminster shows they aren’t just seen as smarter, but more attractive too. The scientists sent blondes, redheads and brunettes into different nightclubs and recorded the number of dudes who hit on them. They then asked the guys to rate their attractiveness and intelligence. Brunettes got top marks for both but came second in the get-picked-up race. Why? They probably looked too smart to fall for the usual lines. The bright side for blondes? The same study found even if they were rated lower in attractiveness, fair-haired girls were chatted up twice as often, proving they still have the most fun. Considering the results of the Yale study, it seems being sexy and being attractive aren’t the same thing, this may be a case of shag or marry.
Short haircuts can be seen as less feminine and flirty but what they lack in demure-ness, they make up by showing you’re kick-ass. That’s right, short tussled hair is the most confident cut you can have, says the Yale study. If you have minimalist tresses á la Halle Berry, you’re more likely to be seen as out-going, brave, independent and self-assured. Not a bad first impression when you’re meeting new peeps, right?
Curly versus straight
Straight-haired girls are seen as serious, professional and straightforward as their locks, according to sociologist Dr Rose Weitz, who studies perceptions of women’s hair, because they look more pulled together. So if you’re heading for a job interview, why not pull out your GHD? But a word of warning: get too eager with the straightener and you might come across as “too harsh” because dead-straight hair can make you look more severe. Make sure you still have a few soft kinks. If you have curly hair, people see you as more carefree and approachable, so whip out those curls for a first dates.
Now you know what message your hair is sending out, why not try messing around with the signal? You might be surprised how a change affects your mojo too.