The healing power of a new hairstyle

Selena Gomez nailed post-break-up hair with her striking blonde bob following her split from The Weeknd. But can a fresh cut really heal a broken heart?

Break-ups can be hard, but they can also be a time for personal growth and change.

We’ve seen it with celebrities, in movies, and in TV shows, and for many people, this change manifests in a physical transformation – and the hair is often the focus.

Making a bold modification to your look may seem drastic, but fair to say it’s a better reaction than fleeing town or damaging your ex’s car.


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A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez)

Why the urge to change our hair post break-up?

While stepping out with a fresh new look post-break-up is not unusual, why do people feel the need to change their look so dramatically?

A 2013 study found that people who experience intense life changes, such as the ending of a serious relationship, are likely to make sudden changes in their appearance.

The study reported self-change can be a coping mechanism, and while there is a number of explanations for it, regaining a sense of self and control of one’s body is one.

Clinical psychologist Dr Rowan Burckhardt, founder of The Sydney Couples Counselling Centre, says a break-up is a huge transition in someone’s life and several emotional factors may influence someone to change their hair following a break-up.

“Most people do need to turn the page after a break-up and so trying a few different forms of non-permanent changes such as a new hairstyle would be generally a good idea,” Dr Burckhardt says.

“It could be that change brings change, insofar as given the person is already going through so much change and transition, their attention is more open to other forms of change.”

Dr Burckhardt says post-break-up hair changes may be motivated by the fact the person now feels free to try a look they may not have felt comfortable doing while in their relationship, or perhaps the fresh style may help to welcome new relationships.

“It could be that they are trying to attract other people again and so create a new style for that reason,” Dr Burckhardt says.

“They may feel they no longer need to please their partner and so may try something that they didn’t dare before as they knew their previous partner would not have approved.”

The types of post-break-up hair transformations

We’ve seen countless celebrities dramatically change their hair after a break-up, from Khloe Kardashian’s stunning blonde makeover to Katy Perry’s powerful pixie cut.

Celebrity hairstylist Max Pinnell says he’s helped many women make significant changes to their hair after a break-up.

“It seems to be a common reaction for some people to seek a fresh start or a sense of empowerment by altering their appearance, specifically their hair,” Max says.

“These changes can range from a different cut or style to a complete transformation in colour.”

The dramatic hair chop is appears to be commonly adopted when it comes to break-up makeovers.

Celebs including Ariana Grande, Reese Witherspoon and Kylie Jenner have all taken to the scissors, lopping off their locks to sport spunky shorter cuts and fabulous fringes following their break-ups.

Another popular post-break-up transformation is to a new and noticeable hair colour.

Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian and Bella Hadid are all partakers in this trend, revealing new hair colours remarkably different from their signature locks following their splits.


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A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)

What to keep in mind when transforming your hair

Sudden hair changes may be thrilling, but Max warns changing your hair too drastically too quickly can damage your hair.

“While changing hair can be liberating and empowering, it’s important to approach it with care to minimise potential damage,” Max says.

Studies have found bleaching the hair and chemical straightening treatments especially, can permanently alter the hair, making it difficult to regain its natural health.

“Sudden and drastic changes, such as excessive bleaching or frequent chemical treatments, can lead to hair breakage, dryness, and loss of luster,” Max says.

If you are looking to make a drastic transformation to your hair, chat with your stylist on the best way for you to achieve your eye-catching ‘revenge hair’ look.

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Written by Kasey Markovic.