Last week, Katy Perry debuted a brand new bleach blonde pixie cut, which many media outlets dubbed a "post-breakup" haircut. In case you were unaware, Perry recently split with Orlando Bloom, after dating the actor for about a year. So, is her new haircut her way of saying goodbye to that stage in her life? Or was she just trying something new? (The answer could easily be both.)
After obsessing over her new 'do, we got to thinking -- is the post-breakup haircut a real thing? To put it plainly, yes. But what is it about breakups that make us want to shed our locks?
"Dramatic haircuts are a way of shedding the past and moving on," hair stylist Eloise Cheung told HelloGiggles last year. As the outlet notes, one's appearance, including a certain hairstyle, can be a constant reminder of who they were at specific period in their life. If there's a desire to forget that period, a haircut is an easy change.
Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell told HelloGiggles, “Hair is one of the most important aspects of our expression of who we are and who we want to be seen as. Dramatic haircuts would indicate a wish to make a drastic change and then fit into that new persona we’re creating.”
There's also the idea that making a physical change is something we do when we're feeling down, in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. Think of all those makeover TV shows and montages in your favorite teen movies -- new hair, new you!
"There is something about a drastic cut that can feel cathartic after a breakup, like you are cutting off the dead weight and becoming lighter and freer," relationship and sex educator Dr. Laura Berman told InStyle in 2016. Aside from feeling physically lighter, one might also feel mentally relieved, as though all those thoughts from the past were left behind with the strands of chopped hair on the floor.
Of course, making a dramatic change after a major life event isn't always the best idea. There's a chance chopping your locks could make you feel worse, especially if you end up with a hairstyle that wasn't quite what you had in mind for that shiny, new you.
“Remember that during this break up period we’re going through a whole swirl of emotions which are constantly changing,” Cheung explained to HelloGiggles. “One minute changing our hair will feel like the best decision in the world, but when we look in the mirror and see a total stranger staring back at us it can leave us feeling more alien than we did before.”
So, while the idea of getting rid of five inches might seem liberating, it might be better to take baby steps. Think about your potential new cut and give yourself a little bit of time to commit to the idea. Because, the thing about hair is, you can always cut it shorter, but once it's gone, it’s gone -- at least until it grows back. And let’s be real, no one really wants to deal with the grow-out period.