You’ve realized your hair has fallen a little flat, so you give your locks a flip or a scrunch. Sure, it may give you a boost of volume when a can of dry shampoo isn’t handy, but it could also be giving off a hidden message to other people that isn’t that appealing. No, it’s not about you being vain—turns out, all those hair flips may be telling others that you’re anxious and insecure! When it comes to what your hair says about you, that’s not what we want it putting out there.
According to author and behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards, playing with your hair can be a non-verbal cue to others than you’re uncomfortable.
“The moment someone touches their hair, head, or neck, it’s sending off low-power keys,” she explained to us at an event for Dove Hair Care’s Oxygen Moisture line. “As humans, we’re constantly trying to decide is this person reliable, are they confident, do they believe in themselves? So anxiety and discomfort expressed non-verbally is something we pick up on, even if we don’t realize it. The moment we touch our head or face—we’re saying to someone that we’re unsure, or we don’t believe what we are saying.”
Makes sense why we catch ourselves nervously twirling our hair in meetings or on dates, right? In fact, Van Edwards told us that any time our hands leave what’s considered “the strike zone” (the area directly front of us where a batter holds a bat), others around us could perceive us to be unreliable or disorganized! That presentation that took two weeks to put together won’t be nearly as effective if your body language isn’t conveying the right message.
But we’re not always nervous when we’re flipping our hair or teasing it. We could be doing it to flirt or to work out a tangle! But the temporary boost isn’t worth it—as Van Edwards puts it, “You’re trading a confident personal presence for volume.”
So what’s the solution? Other than being mindful of your hair-flipping habits in meetings, there are products you can use to ensure clean, volumized hair that won’t need as much fussing. Dove’s Oxygen Moisture Root Lift Spray ($6, walmart.com) is incredible for the way it lifts, volumizes and adds body to all hair types. If you have fine hair, though, you might want to give Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Biotin Volume and Vitality Root Lift Spray ($7, walmart.com) a try to boost your lovely locks without weighing them down. Oribe also recently took a new approach to volume with their new Imperial Blowout Transformative Styling Creme ($68, barneys.com), a product that actually turns into powder to absorb oils that form after your blowout.
Confidence-wise, Van Edwards suggests faking it until we make it. “Try breathing deep or “power posing” instead,” she tells us. Straightening your posture by pushing your shoulders back and lifting your chin makes you look more confident and self-assured, which in turn will make you feel less anxious.
Who knew we were conveying so much about our mental state through our hair? Though our hair-flipping habits may take time to break completely, we’ll gladly take on the challenge if it means we’ll look—and feel—more confident.
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