The Hair Story: Are you part of the 44% whose mood is affected by your hair?

Image via We Heart It
There are women who live to experiment with their hair. I am not one of them. A spritz of hairspray; a tousle with molding wax; maybe a squirt or two of shine spray, and I'm done. I do not mix up my own concoctions of styling products, I do not trim my own bangs, I do not pontificate over choice of hair accessory. I am not a hair person. I essentially wash, blow-dry, and go.

I've had my pixie cut for about five years. When I was a child, my hair draped down my back nearly to my waist. My mother, a hippie burnout with flower-child fantasies, brushed and styled my hair into submission every morning as I howled in complaint. There were torturous braiding sessions, hours spent whining in her lap as my scalp burned with the rage of a red hot fire. My hair was as thick as a horses' mane, a deep chestnut brown, and seemed to have a mind of its own. No matter how tight my pigtails or taunt my braids, it would escape.

It wasn't until I entered high school that I realized I had some control over my tresses. So I chopped them off. Then I permed them, colored them with henna, straightened and blew-dry and curled and bleached and grew out and chopped them off again. Eventually I settled into a shoulder-length bob before transitioning into the pixie cut I have today.

I observe with wonder the women who have the patience and dexterity to style their hair. These creatures amaze me with their long fringe, artfully coaxed into buns and braids and cascading waves. Their hair is never frizzy, never unkempt. Indeed, they always look perfect. They have hair that shines from within, glossy strands that hang in place seemingly without aid of products or pins. They effortlessly arrange their hair into sleek ponytails and twist it into updos while I stare longingly with amazement.

A  survey from ShopSmart, the publisher of Consumer Reports, found that the average woman spends about $195 a year on haircuts and $260 on color. More surprisingly, only 60 percent of women are happy with their hair. More than 1,000 women aged 18 and over were interviewed for the survey, which found that 44 percent of women have had a mood affected by a bad hair day, and 26 percent have actually shed tears after a haircut. The biggest complaints women have about their hair is the thickness and the color. According to the study, 23 percent of women are frustrated with their hair thickness. Seventeen percent of women think their hair is too thin or too fine; 14 percent dislike their hair type, and 10 percent are unhappy with the color.

Here are some more interesting facts revealed by the survey:

  • 19% of women love their hair, 41% like it, 5% dislike it, 4% hate it and 30% are neutral
  • 49% have naturally straight hair, but 10% of them style it curly
  • 23% have naturally curly hair, but 19% of them style it straight
  • On average, women pay $39 for a haircut and $65 on salon color
  • 53% regularly color their hair
  • On average, women spend 15 minutes or less styling their hair, and wash it 4 times a week

I, for one, am perfectly happy with my hair. It's quirky, unique and low-maintenance. And it's the one thing I consistently get the most compliments on. I have never once felt regret over cutting it. In fact, chopping my hair off was one of the most liberating things I've ever done. No longer did I have to pretend to be a hair person. My pixie gives me an easy out of the world of straighteners, curlers, blow-outs and tangles.

But I can't deny that I have moments when I imagine what it would be like to have long tresses, hair to twist into a ballerina bun or braid into plaits to wind around my head. I'd swish it around and pile it under hats and weave it with feathers and dip-dye the ends pink and moan about daily shampoos and the need to constantly snake my drain. I'd whine about how heavy it was while brushing it luxuriantly out of my face.

In the end, though, it's just hair. Those long-hair girls can have their buns, their braids, their cascading waves and ironed locks. I might have the occasional flash of jealousy, but truthfully, I wouldn't change a thing. My pixie is here to stay.

Now I ask you: What's your relationship with your hair? Have you gone through dramatic changes in styles? How often do you have a bad hair day? Does the state of your hair ruin your mood? Have you ever cried after a haircut? Is there something you wish you could change about your hair? And what does your dream hair look like?


  1. I have a love hate relationship with my hair. Most of the time I love it, but there are times when that bad hair day gets me down. I think since I have gotten older I don't care as much about the bad hair day. I am perfectly happy with my hair straight, curly, or frizzy - whatever it wants to do.

  2. I have gone through a love/hate thing with my hair for years. It is fine, but not thin. I could never keep it full and bouncy. But there are days when I come close and those are the days I feel best. I can't believe that only 44% of women who have a bad hair day say it affects their moods. I can't see how it couldn't! If my hair if flat then I am feeling awful and if you feel awful, how can that not affect your mood? lol.

    I have also dyed my hair red for the past 20 years. Long red hair, I wanted to be in a Waterhouse painting, but now I am letting it grow out because I like the bits of white. Now I remember what my normal color looked like and I have to say that I am not sure why I ever hated it. It's actually not the dull ash brown I thought it was. There are red highlights in there and with the white I am thinking it is quite pretty.

    But the growing out of long hair is taking too long and I have another year my hairdresser says. I am about 2 years into the grow out and when I see pictures I get discouraged because it is grey/brown on the top and faded out red on the bottom, but it really isn't that noticeable to other people because really, people don't care about other people's hair, lol. I am going to make it through this rough stage and then I am going to have to find another artist with whom I can identify.

  3. For as long as I can remember I have always loved my hair (I may not have liked it from day to day depending on it's cooperation). As it stands now it is in it's most natural state; past the bottom of my shoulder blades, pin straight in places and big natural S waves in others with faded red dye and about 4 inches of roots on top.
    Through out my life it has been long like it is now, shorter than what your pixie is and everything in between. I have naturally dark red/light brown color, but over the years much like the length it has been every color; from my natural platinum blond that sprouted out of my head at age two to jet blue/black (my husbands idea; I am as porcelain skinned as they come).
    And now today I am debating chopping off the back and sporting some major layers and angles. I have never cried after a haircut nor regretted one either.
    My mood has never been dictated by my hair day. I have grown up with the adage that it is only hair; it will grow out, you can re color it, straighten it, curl it, change it with your every mood. It is an expression of you, your personality and personal style. You are the one that decides if it is a good hair day or not; not your hair.

  4. I am a hair person. I can do much with my hair, and it has usually been long. I spend less on salons since I'm lucky if I get a cut every 4 months (it's usually 6 months!), and don't salon color my hair. That would be way too spendy, so I do it myself. Having to use 3 boxes of dye at a time ain't cheap, though. ;)

    I do envy women like you who have those cute short cuts, but I'm too enamoured with doing different hairstyles. I would get bored quickly with it, and then what? I have cut my hair twice for donations, though. Once when my hair was sit-on-it-length and then two years later. I'll probably do it again, but not this year. I'm loving my long hair right now.

  5. My hair is a serious point of stress for me... and I have changed it a lot.

    Starting with high school I have: cut it into an asymmetrical bob, pixie cut, naturally curly blob bleached, shoulder length straight (still blond), curly long (blonder), straight long (ashy blond), brown long curly, brown straight very long (below my chest) (stayed there for awhile)... currently: bangs very long straight (with wavy and curly days mixed in...).

    I actually love my current haircut. I had my hairs naturally frizzy/curly texture. I need to spend less time with a flat iron.... but it is the only way I feel truly comfortable with my hair...

  6. I had a pixie cut for years -- then all kinds of short hair cuts. The good thing about the longer hair that I have today is that less maintenance is necessary, which is especially good for me as my stylist is always traveling!

  7. My hair and I leave each other alone. We just don't know how to work together. Which is why most of the time it's air dried. So it's relatively low maintenance.

    The only thing is I hate greasy hair so I wash my hair everyday and twice a day in the summer. I've heard it over and over again that I shouldn't wash it that much, it's bad for my hair, etc, etc, but I simply cannot stand dirty hair. So I may not fix it up but it MUST be clean. And that's about the extent of our relationship.

    I LOVE your hair, it's awesome.

  8. I have resigned myself to my hair, I guess you could say. I have pencil-straight blonde hair. It is fine, but not super thin. For years I've despised it because it refuses to do anything other than lay there, flat and lifeless. I have no body, structure, or shape other than flat. Of course my girlfriends who have thick, wavy, luxurious locks finger my strands with envious eyes and tell me they wish they had such easy hair. This always elicits eye rolls, sighs, and irritation from me. "It never does anything!" "It just lays there!" "I have to wash it every day to keep it from looking like an oil slick!" I whine.

    As I have gotten older though, I have gotten better about accepting my features. Yes, my hair is baby-fine and straight as an arrow. But it never frizzes. It is still blonde and not a hint of grey. It looks cute in a wedge bob, where it swings around like a janunty cap. Will I ever be able to have long locks that don't wisp out of every up-do, create a pony-tail that looks anything more than a mouse-tail, or go one day without a scalp scrub down? Nope, but I can live with it. See...resigned. Learning to live with the locks given to me via genetics.

    Although it doesn't stop me from cursing the genetics that gave my younger brother thick, wavy, brown hair.

    At least his is falling out:)

  9. I must admit that I am one of the 19% who loves their hair, however I am totally guilty of letting a bad hair day get me down. I love to experiment with my hair; weaves, wigs, afro, straight you name it. I've done everything except color it.

    In the end I agree that it is just hair and like India Aire says "I am not my hair" it is simply a glorious extension of who we are.

  10. ok, wow, I can't believe most women spend less than $200/year on cuts!! I have great hair texture and don't currently color it. I have had a lot of different cuts owing to it growing quickly and adhering to the 'it's just hair' philosophy of hair cutting. be adventurous! Try new things. Hair is like fashion - you might find your next best look with your next cut!

  11. Totally obsessed with having long is literally part of my identity..BUT that said- I rarely wear it is usually in a ponytail or I don't know why I continue to keep it long. Its like a security blanket. Oh well.

    I LOVE that image at the top of the post...hilarious....and I am pretty sure my 2 year old looks like that everytime we go to get a trim.

  12. Ooooh fabulous topic. Mostly, I love my hair. It's fine, but abundant, and kinda bushy/wavy naturally that I can turn into curly or straight too.

    I go back and forth on if I want long or short hair, literally getting it all chopped off every couple of years. Right now I'm growing it LONG because my dream is to have mermaid hair. BUT that means I get ridiculous tangles (let's be real, these are mats, like a cat) and my hair needs WORK to look cute. When it's shorter I still like to style it every day (in a multitude of ways), but it takes less time to style, and then to air dry (which means I'm not at work with a wet head for half the day). BUT then short hair has limited styling options compared with long.

    I think next time I see my hair stylist I'll get a trim, get that shape/bounce back that comes with it, and go from there. I also think highlights are next. My hair color is kinda mousy brown with natural highlights from the sun... so since I stay out of the sun (because it's usually hiding in these parts), I have no problem adding some artificial tones.

  13. I love my hair. I love experimenting with it. And in the end, I realize it's really just hair. ;)

    But truly? Snaking the drain is so disgusting. If I do it, I gag for a good ten minutes. So now I plead with my father to do it for me. I know, pitiful.

  14. I have to be low maintenance with my hair, if it was unruly and I had to blowdrow it / straighten it, etc, I honestly think I would be a completely different person. I feel like my hair is an extension of myself - free flowing, unfettered, simply adorned. And anything above my shoulder looks awful! I'll never cut my hair shorter again. Fun topic!

  15. I loved my hair before I had my girls and the first few years after I'd had was very thick and a lovely shade of strong red....then I got ill, my hair thinned out and the colour faded.....I ended up cutting it from a thick luxerious bob to a very short cut so that at least it was something. I mourn the loss of the thickness and the lovely natural colour.....When I was young it was very long and I loved it....then it became hard to manage with all the athletics I did so i got it cut shorter but still loved I don't like it at all and dont do anything with it it just sits there like a blob on my head. I don't know how to use any product....the hairdresser can always make it look wonderful.....I just wash and comb and let it dry.....maybe that's why i don't wear makeup face is slightly hairy and i think it draws attention to it when i put anything on my skin.....guess i'm hiding behind being bland

  16. This is a fun post! I have an extremely non-sentimental relationship with my hair. I sometimes cut it and sometimes color it but more out of a sense of boredom than anything else; boredom not with my hair but with another area of my life which manifests itself in changing my hair I suppose.:) I spend only seconds on my hair each day and it probably looks like it but I think I'm good looking enough to get away with it.;)

    Have a lovely day!

  17. I don't mess with my hair too much. It's long, straight and I am usually using my sunglasses as a headband. :) I do spend tons on it though. Color and cut every 4 weeks, keratin straightening treatment a couple times a year, special shampoo. *sigh* At least I am one of the 41% who like my hair. :)

  18. I am definitely one of those hair girls. I taught myself how to french braid in elementary school b/c my mom didn't know how. I dye my own hair all the time. That being said, I just cut my hair in a pixie cut and I love it!

  19. Folks wash their hair 4 times per week- I had no idea! I've been wondering if I should wash it less often but I don't like how it feels after a full day without shampoo.

    Re: style and hair happiness, I do the absolute minimum with my hair (aside from OCD overwashing apparently) and I'm happy with it. I keep it fairly long (middle of back), don't blow-dry it or heat style it or use any products aside from a dab of Moroccan Oil, and don't dye it at all even though I've got a substantial amount of gray (and I'm in my 30s so it stands out).

    As nonchalant as I try to be about my hair, I have cried after bad cuts before- I left a hair school with a cross between Monica Lewinsky's style and a mullet and was so horrified that I wore a scarf over my head until I could book an appointment at a better salon.

    Pixie cuts are adorable. If my hair were the right texture for a short cut, I'd totally go for it.


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