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What Is Hair Theory, the TikTok Trend?

"Hair Theory" Is All Over TikTok Right Now — Here's What to Know


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Have you ever experienced a bad hair day that completely threw you or a good hair day that changed your entire week? Maybe you've noticed that every time you wear a slicked-back bun, people seem to take you more seriously, but every time you throw your hair up in a messy style, you get side-eye. Curious as to why? Well, everyone on TikTok thinks they have an explanation, and it's called hair theory.

For the unfamiliar, people are convinced that how you wear your hair — the length, colour, and style — influences both how you look and how you're perceived. The hashtag #hairtheory has more than 500 million views and counting, so if you haven't yet given the viral trend much attention, it might be time to start. Not sure where exactly to begin in your research? Ahead, we chat with professional hairstylists who answer all of our questions about hair theory, including what it is and whether it actually makes a difference.

What Is TikTok's Hair Theory?

"The 'hair theory' on TikTok claims that the way your hair is styled can change how you look and are perceived by others," Clayton Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist, tells POPSUGAR. "Ask anyone who's ever changed their hair colour or thrown a wig on, and they'll tell you: people absolutely treat you differently depending on how your hair looks."

Not only can it affect how others perceive you, but it can also affect how you personally feel. Think about it. Have you ever had a bad hair day that left you feeling completely down in the dumps? Alternatively, a good hair day that left you feeling more confident than ever? Maybe you switched up your parting for a night out with your friends and found the compliments rolling in.

So, what factors yield the biggest impact? Hair colour, for one, can make a difference, as well as cuts and styles that are done specifically to accentuate certain facial features. "There are absolutely certain haircuts that complement different face shapes," says Andrew Fitzsimons, celebrity hairstylist and founder of his eponymous hair-care brand. "For someone with a rounder face, a short, blunt cut can really help elongate the face and create soft angles. I'd recommend long layers for someone with an oval-shaped face to create lots of movement, paired with bangs if you'd like to conceal more."


#greenscreen The hair theory is the idea that people perceive you a certain way based on your hair sryle. How you sryle your hair can make you look 10 years younger! Keeping up with hair trends is important if you and to stay looking young! Outdated hair styles will age you! #hairtheory #agewell #lookyounger #antiaging #middleparthairstyle #hairstyle #aging

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The overall style matters as well. In a TikTok video, user Nicole Smith shows a side-by-side photo of Jennifer Lopez and "Golden Girls" actor Estelle Getty. "They are both 50 in this picture," Smith says in her video. While pointing to the photo of Getty, Smith asks, "Do you think if she had a different hairstyle she'd be perceived as looking younger? The answer is yes." Smith then shows photos of other "Golden Girls" actors with different hairstyles, and it's hard not to agree that the updated hairstyles make a difference.

Fitzsimons says long, loose waves are perfect for achieving an effortless, youthful look. Hawkins adds that full, voluminous hair will always make you look "beautiful and younger, regardless of your texture." On the other hand, "For a more mature look, a sleek ponytail or bun can add a sophisticated touch as there's more focus on your facial features and less hair to play with," Fitzsimons says.

Still, while most of us might be considering hair theory for the first time, it's something stylists are constantly thinking about. "What I love most about TikTok's hair theory is that it's an insider's view of what we as hairdressers do every day, behind the chair," says Chris Jones, Virtue ambassador and co-owner and stylist at Salon Bugatti. "It's a breakdown of what we discuss during every consultation with the clients. If I can marry hairstyle with lifestyle, then I know I've done my job as a stylist."

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