How Our Beauty Routines Affect Our Overall Confidence: A Conversation with Dr. Judy Ho

Proof that the right hairstyle can be a game changer. 

Have you ever thought about how your beauty routine affects your overall confidence? If you find yourself reaching for a go-to shade of red lipstick when you’re not feeling great about yourself in an effort to lift your spirits, chances are you are somewhat aware of how your beauty habits are linked to your sense of confidence. We sat down with Dr. Judy Ho, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Confidence Expert, and Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University, to talk about her research on the role a woman’s hair, in particular, has on her confidence. Keep reading to hear more about what Dr. Judy Ho has to say:

dr Judy ho tresemme
Proof that a beauty routine can be life-changing.

What kind of stigmas and stereotypes about lengthy beauty routines did you discover?

In our survey conducted in May 2017 of 2,099 U.S. women from ages 18 to 35, 95 percent of women say that on a regular day the look of their hair is important. 81 percent of women say their hair is the leading factor in their confidence. Over and above other activities in their beauty routine such as putting on makeup!

However, 70 percent said there is a negative stereotype associated with caring about looks, and therefore feel they have to downplay the effort they took to look good. Half of the women polled thought that it is viewed as superficial to spend too much time on their appearance. They believed others would perceive them as vain or unintelligent.

How is a woman’s beauty routine linked to her confidence?

A woman’s beauty routine is directly linked to her confidence. When women take time to put themselves together in the morning, they are communicating the message that they are worth the time. This can help to bolster their self-esteem. When women are put together and particularly when their hair is properly styled, they feel much more ready to take on the day. 88 percent of respondents felt confident when their hair looks its best and subsequently felt comfortable taking on all types of challenges and activities. This includes job interviews, romantic dates, and outings with friends.

What are some of the factors that contribute to someone’s first impression of you?

First impressions are usually formed within seconds to a couple of minutes but are unbelievably long lasting. Studies have shown that once a negative impression has been formed, it takes 13 different disconfirming pieces of evidence to reverse the first impression.

To make a good first impression, a focus on external presence is important. People who do not know you can only try to understand something about you based on your physical appearance and how you present yourself. Important factors include 1) being well-dressed, 2) being well-groomed (hair and makeup in place with good hygiene), 3) being on time, 4) good eye contact, 5) a great smile, and 6) a positive demeanor.

Is there anything in particular about confidence as it relates to one’s hair vs. their beauty routine as a whole?

In our TRESemmé study, participants overwhelmingly chose hair as their go-to beauty activity. 97 percent stated their hair is important in their daily morning routine and comes second only to brushing teeth as a crucial element of their daily routine. 88 percent believe great hair was the main determinant of their confidence!

In addition, most women chose to freshen up their hair if they want a little boost before an interview or a date. It’s interesting to see how important hair is to most of the women in our study. But it makes a lot of sense since we often associate hair with an individual’s identity. And we often use it as a way to make a strong statement to the world.

What are some of your top confidence building tips?

Don’t be afraid to spend time on taking care of yourself, inside and out! This means taking the time and energy to devote to any routine that makes you feel good. Whether that’s exercise, styling your hair, putting on your makeup or engaging in a favorite hobby. It is really helpful to make sure you spend at least 30 minutes each day doing something you want to do. Choose something that’s just for you and no one else.

Try to find an internal sense of who you are that isn’t reliant on what other people think! It can be very difficult to have consistently good self-confidence if you are always worrying about what others’ opinions are. There’s one simply activity I like to ask people to do. I recommend doing it as part of your morning routine before you start your day. Write down one personality trait you like about yourself and one physical attribute you appreciate about yourself. Choose one person you are grateful for and one activity you are looking forward to today. Lastly, choose one goal you’d like to accomplish. This exercise really sets the tone for appreciation and positivity. In turn, this helps us to feel a surge of self-worth which directly links to confidence.

Finally, make sure that you take some time serving others. When people get down on themselves, they can become very self-focused and get pretty deep into negative thinking. Interestingly, what brings us out of that is to do something to help someone else. Focusing on others and how you can help gives us a great boost in self-confidence. It also helps us to appreciate the things that are going well in our lives. And it doesn’t take much! For example, a quick phone call to a friend you know is having a stressful day, making a small donation to your favorite charity or doing something nice like running an errand for a family member you know is really busy will go a long way.