Here’s why cutting your hair after a breakup is so powerful



After my first big breakup, I immediately made a haircut appointment.

I was bitter and resentful and decided that my best revenge was cutting the hair my ex didn’t want me to cut.

What I thought was unique is actually one of the best coping mechanisms, especially after ending a relationship.

Cutting your hair after a breakup is a powerful and healing mechanism for so many women — here’s why.

1. It gives you control when you want it most

As counselor Liz Hughes explains, “[People] respond to stress by grasping for things they can control…” In a way, it’s a much healthier approach to controlling your environment than attempting to change others or your circumstances in unhealthier ways. Some other healthy ways to feel in control can include exercise, managing your emotions, and taking time to think through decisions. Yes, that includes the decision to cut your hair.

2. You’re able to move on easier having ‘weight’ lifted from your head

You can’t suck out the negative thoughts from your mind, but you can symbolically do so with your hair. When I recently chopped off my own mangey locks for a shorter look (not breakup related, for once), I was shocked at how much lighter my head felt. After heartbreak, you want the least amount of burden possible and cutting your hair is a great help.

3. It’s like you’ve taken on a new identity

Your old hair is associated with dating your ex. Your new hair and look isn’t. Hairstylist Eloise Cheung explains the phenomenon pretty well, saying: “We’re on a mission to create a new and better version of ourselves….a fast and easy way to do this is by cutting our hair.” When Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson split, she premiered a shorter cut and a reddish color. When she split from ex-girlfriend Alicia Cargile, she took it a step further and shaved her blonde look to a shaved one instead. It was like she became a new person each time (and looked hot doing it).

4. It gives you an adrenaline rush

If you grew up in a family or community where having long hair was valued and short hair was seen as too “boyish” or “rebellious”, you’re much more likely to choose it as an impulsive “f-you” decision when sh-t hits the fan. And if you already don’t care about anything else, what’s a shaved head to you? Just remember that adrenaline rushes don’t last and impulsive decisions we make can be our biggest regrets later.

5. You’re establishing a new chapter in your life

“New year, new me” can mean a lot of things, but a new look can help pair body and mind with one another. You feel like you can move forward and begin a new journey without hanging on to the past. If you’re in the salon, watch as each piece of your hair falls to the floor while the stylist is cutting it. If you want to feel even more empowered, ask if you can dump your old hair in the garbage yourself. You might get weird looks, but after explaining why, plenty of people can relate to that feeling of getting rid of negativity in any way possible.

6. You’re ensuring you never, ever go back to your ex

Holding on to old hair can tempt you to hold on to old relationships, too. Sometimes cutting hair can represent permanently cutting someone out of your life and establishing a “point of no return.” This can really help with breakups with particularly toxic people or one that you keep running back to despite knowing you aren’t good for one another in the long term.

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