Cutting off those dead ends


Senior Vanessa Laub shows off her newly dyed hair at an air riflery match. Photo courtesy of Laub.

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life,” says Coco Chanel, the inspiring fashion designer behind luxury brand Chanel. This saying implies why women cut their hair or dye it following a breakup or season of sadness. 

After splitting with a partner, we sulk in our sadness for a moment, but eventually we get up and wash our face. Then, for some, we feel the need to drastically change something about our appearance, starting with our hair. Why do we often feel the need to cut our hair after a tragic life change?

In a blog called “Expert Reveals Why We’re So Eager To Change Our Hair After A Breakup,” Dr. Terri Orbuch says, “When people experience relationship breakups, one of the things to help people let go of the past—emotionally detach from the former partner and relationship—is to get rid of emotional triggers connected to that partner or relationship.”

Emotional triggers include people, places, things and objects. Hairstyles could also be an emotional trigger that stimulate certain memories and feelings, bringing you back to the past. We feel the need to alter our hair to change the routine we were previously in, disconnecting ourselves from those memories.

Sacred Hearts Academy senior Vanessa Laub dyed her hair for the first time in September.

“I was really upset about some things, which were going on in one of my extracurriculars at the time. I guess dying my hair made me feel better,” Laub said. 

In an article, “This Is Why Women Really Cut Off Their Hair After Break-ups,” relationship educator Laura Berman says, “When you feel poorly, it is natural to make changes to your external body in the hopes that it will make you feel better internally as well.” 

In a quote by Sarah Claire, she writes, “She wasn’t just talking about her hair when she said she cut off her dead ends.” Meaning to say that cutting your hair could mean more than just a hair cut. It could be used as a coping mechanism. A way to dress yourself as “assured” or “gleeful” even when you may be feeling depressed and confused.

“Dying hair gives you something which you can be in control of, which is good when you’re facing situations when you have little to no control over things which are happening in your life,” Laub said.

In an article, “3 Health Reasons To Cut Your Hair,” Chris Brown writes, “Studies have shown that cutting one’s hair (especially when going through a traumatic life change) can provide a sense of control and emotional release. Changing one’s hairstyle can also be a powerful tool in helping redefine or solidify one’s identity.” 

“I think that hair is something that really defines a person. You can style it how you want, cut it, dye it, etc., and it will always grow back,” Laub said. “It’s a semi-permanent way to express yourself and who you want to be. I think that hair can have certain meanings, but a lot of times people are just looking for a change from whatever current color (or) cut they have.”

Cutting your hair also has mental health benefits. Leaving a salon after a simple trim gives you a mood boost; it is a practice of self-care. Speaking with a hairdresser is a form of therapy.

In an article, “The Life Changing Magic Of Cutting Your Hair,” Christal Yuen writes, “Getting a haircut for me is like talk therapy, retail therapy, and self-care rolled into a two-hour session of unplugged pampering. Yes, please. A really good haircut can last me longer than three months, if it’s cut right. And, at the end of the day, your hairstylist is kind of like the therapist you want —someone who’s always on your side, no matter how wild your story is.”

“It is very liberating to cut your hair,” a quote by actress Pamela Anderson. Cutting your hair allows you to release a situation that’s holding you back.