How many women do you know who lack confidence in themselves? And for no good reason? With International Women’s Day almost upon us once again, it’s an important time to put the matter of women’s collective confidence (or lack thereof) under the spotlight. In this article, we’re going to explore the relationship between confidence and hair. We’ll also consider whether women need more confidence in order to wear their hair naturally.
What do we mean by confidence?
Confidence means being sure of yourself – your views, your knowledge, and your abilities. It means having faith in the validity of your experiences and in yourself, at home, in the workplace, and in society. For most women, there’s also the confidence associated with bearing and rearing children.
A number of surveys have examined women’s confidence levels in relation to different situations. Research involving 2,500 people in 2019 for Getting to Equal: Career Confidence and the Path to Leadership, for example, looked at confidence in the workplace. It found a notable difference between the sexes. 79% of women reported that they regularly lack confidence in respect of their careers and speaking up in the workplace. For men, the figure stood at 62%.
There are also plenty of statistics that show how early issues around confidence arise in girls and young women, particularly in relation to their appearance. The Dove Self-Esteem Fund’s Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem provides some worrying data. It found that seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or that they do not measure up in some way, from their performance in school to their looks to their interpersonal relationships. 62% of girls, meanwhile, report feeling insecure or unsure of themselves.
When we consider that the same report found that 98% of girls feel there is immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way, we begin to understand how deep the links between confidence and appearance are. And this is where hair comes in.
When we think about the links between confidence and appearance, weight often leaps to mind first. In so many conscious and subconscious ways, girls are taught that it’s important or right to have a certain body shape or be a certain weight. It’s ideal that some young women die trying to achieve, from models with anorexia to women undergoing risky surgeries designed to change the shape of their body.
But confidence and appearance don’t only relate to body shape. Hair can play a huge part in how confident a girl or woman feels. According to research by All Things Hair, 72.8% of women feel that their hair is a strong part of their identity. And issues around identity are of course often linked to confidence as well.
What does confidence mean when it comes to hair?
So, what does finding one’s confidence mean in relation to hair? It actually means many different things. For some women, it means finding the confidence to experiment – to dye their hair a different color, to curl it, or to cut it super short. For others, it might mean finding the confidence to wear their hair naturally.
All Things Hair recently found that just 77.6% of women always wear their hair naturally. 10.6% do so only on the weekend and 8.8% do so just a couple of times per month. 3% of women, meanwhile, never wear their hair naturally. Are those who always wear their hair naturally doing so due to a superb degree of confidence in their natural look? Or do they lack the confidence to experiment with different styles?
How to find your hair confidence?
If you would like to feel more confident regarding your hair, the first step is to identify where your lack of confidence lies. We’ll look at a couple of scenarios here.
Let’s say that your lack of confidence is holding you back from trying out a vastly different hairstyle. Would you like to perm your naturally straight hair? Would you like to go from having black hair to blonde? Whatever it is, first talk to your hairdresser about it. As a haircare professional, they will be an invaluable source of tips, advice, and support when it comes to your restyling plans. You can speak to them about how your new style will look and what maintaining it will involve – anything and everything that you need to know.
For any change of style, bear in mind that alterations that you make to your hair won’t last forever. If you try a color and you don’t like it, what does it matter? You can always change it again. If you cut your hair short and realize you prefer it long, it will grow back – and in the meantime, you can always have some fun experimenting with different wigs.
And if your lack of confidence relates to embracing your natural hair? Why not decide to take the plunge and just do it? Again, speak to your usual hair care professional first for any advice they may have that will help you along the way on your natural hair journey. It’s worth drumming up support from those you are close to as well – they should be there to help build your confidence up and boost your self-esteem with their encouraging words (if not, it might be time to find new friends!).
So, do women still need more confidence when it comes to wearing their hair au naturel? Yes, some certainly do, while others need the confidence to move away from their natural state!
Ultimately, finding your personal hair confidence is a question of identifying what it is that’s holding you back from achieving the style you want and then putting a plan in place to address it. If you’ve been putting off doing so, why not use this International Women’s Day to spur you into action? It might just be the best hair decision of your life!