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Is Cutting Your Hair a Sign of Depression The Truth Explained!

Is Cutting Your Hair a Sign of Depression? The Truth Explained!

A great hair day can make your day! So can a new haircut. But is cutting hair a sign of pleasure or depression, let’s find out!

The modern-day has gifted us with new technological advances, easier communication, and better health care resources. That being said, we also have tons of stressors to deal with!

The stressors that can trigger a state of grief or trauma are the loss of a job, the death of loved ones, the end of a serious relationship, or our health conditions. And we often cope with such stress or trauma by changing ourselves. We want to start a new day with new us!

So, is the urge of cutting your hair a sign of depression? The answer is no! Cutting your hair during times of tension or trauma is a normal coping mechanism and not always an indication of depression. So here’s why cutting hair is sometimes linked with mental health and when you should watch for the signs of depression.

Why Do We Cut Our Hair During Mental Breakdowns?

We all should realize the fact that sometimes, a haircut is much more than grooming and styling. A haircut, in stressful situations, helps us to brave the inevitable grief, sorrow, frustration, and lack of energy. 

So, why do we reach out to scissors and why do we cut our hair during mental breakdowns? The answer probably won’t surprise you, as it has a ton to do with our desire to feel in control. Many respond to stress or mental breakdowns by changing the things they can take control like cutting hair.

We sometimes assure ourselves that things will be different now that we have this new look. This can assist us to begin the process of starting over new and fresh! However, human behavior changes are more complicated than spending a few hours at the salon. 

Sometimes the illusion that everything will be different gets wiped out when we recognize we can’t change our personality or habits as easily as we can change our hair! So, we cut our hair during mental breakdowns to content ourselves and gain instant gratification. We find the heroic act of cutting hair during periods of mental breakdowns as self-liberating, dominant, and instantly pleasurable.

During depression, feelings of worthlessness, despair, and pervasive sadness are bound to linger for an extended time. Thus, anything, really anything that makes you feel better and can cheer you up, should be given the highest priority.

How Should You Deal With the Urge to Cut Your Hair?

Cutting hair might be a fairly unhealthy way of coping with a mental breakdown or depression depending on what is precisely meant by ‘urge to cut your hair.’

However, if by ‘urge’ you mean a strong compulsion or obsession and by ‘cut’ you mean chopping chunks of your hair off randomly or shaving all the hair off completely then that’s a different scenario! 

This kind of urge can be considered potentially problematic. This kind of behavior will not provoke the relief you seek –it’s only temporarily satisfying and can escalate. If you’re feeling this kind of urge for cutting your hair and other episodes of depression, then that’s worrisome.

Healthy coping techniques can be learned, even without therapy. So it is always better to respond rather than react to the urges. The impulsive decision to cut your hair is frequently accompanied by days of obsessing over why it’s “just not right.”

There are relatively few life decisions that need to be made in 24 hours or say instantly. So we recommend giving yourself a few days or at least a week to re-think the long-term effect of changing your hair. If you’re 100% committed after a few days on your decision of cutting your hair, then we would say, go for it.

A Look At The Symptoms That Can Be Signs of Depression

Depression is an ailment that indicates signs of a low state and difficulty or loss of interest in things that once gave you joy. 

The following are the common symptoms of a person experiencing depression

  • Constant mood swings
  • Weeping, or the constant feeling of sadness

Other signs could include Anguish, desperation, along with body aches (back, head), muscle stiffness, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, anorexia, breathing problems due to anxiety.

  • Unhappy outlook: Major sign of depression is a mood disorder. Having a mood disorder can change your outlook on daily tasks and even influences the way you feel about life in general. Feeling an unfortunate or unhappy outlook on life and its daily tasks is the most widespread sign of depression.
  • Loss of Joy or Pleasure: Depression can take the pleasure or joy out of the things you once loved. It can result in loss of interest or isolation from activities that you once looked forward to — athletics, hobbies, or socializing with friends — which is also another indicative sign of major depression.

In addition to your daily routine, you might also lose interest in your intimate life. Symptoms of major depression include a lower coitus drive and even impotence.[1]

  • Grumpiness in men: Depression can affect both the sexes differently. Research study shows that men with depression might have signs such as irritability, escapist or uncertain behavior, substance misuse, or lost sight of anger.[2]
  • Emotional Overdrive In Women
  • Changes in food cravings and weight: Weight and craving for food can vary for people with depression. However, this experience may be distinct for each person. Some people will have a heightened appetite and gain weight, while others won’t be hungry and will lose weight.
  • Suicidal thoughts and overthinking on Death

Other signs associated with depression may be worthlessness, self-hate, or a constant feeling of guilt.

Can Depression Cause Hair Loss?

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, and if you’ve also seen some hair loss, you might wonder whether it’s just another clue or a side effect of depression.

As such, there is no clear research study that suggests that depression directly causes hair loss. But depression is known to have an indirect role in hair-related problems like increased hair loss, hair thinning, etc.

Depression and stress aren’t the same, but chronic stress can certainly lead to depression. Unexpected, unwanted life shifts and ongoing life challenges can increase your stress level. Stress is a known cause of reducing brittle hair. Stress can play a part in three distinct types of hair loss such as;

  • Telogen effluvium
  • Trichotillomania, or hair-pulling disorder
  • Alopecia areata

Depression and stress can adversely affect your hair growth. But having severe hair loss can contribute more to trauma and stress and add up to your disturbed mental health. Hair loss can also lead to a lessening in self-esteem, impressions of unattractiveness, and even post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).

Thus the process of losing one’s hair can be a traumatic circumstance for many people, especially during stress and anxiety. It is known that while suffering from mental health issues like depression, stress, and anxiety we slowly stop taking care of our physical health, and this damages our hair health much faster. And so it is said: ” A Healthy Mind First For A Healthy Body”. So if you have good mental health you would take conscious decisions of maintaining an overall healthy body.

Why do I get emotional every time I have to cut my hair?

Getting a haircut or going that one extra mile to cut a chunk of hair and getting a bob is a roller coaster ride. For women, hair is always associated with gender-based beauty standards. Longer, thicker, and glossy strands of hair of any color are considered to be a gold beauty standard.

That’s the reason when a woman decides to cut her hair or opts for a bold haircut, we know she is seeking a difference. So experts suggest while the change is the reason, people do undergo bouts of emotions. 

People are known to experience the feeling of uncertainty and anxiousness associated with their new haircut. And if that decision of getting a haircut is made in an urge or without thinking in peace, people might experience the feeling of guilt, tears, or uneventful sadness.

Experiencing a short feeling of anxiousness while getting a new haircut is common. So if you have decided to get a haircut on an impulse or as an urge from anxiety or depression, you are more likely to suffer from extreme outbursts of emotions.


What does cutting off hair symbolize?

In some communities, including Native Americans and many Asian ones, a person would cut his or her hair as an ordinance of grief, disgrace, or even rebellion. 

So cutting off hair is considered a sign of freedom, empowerment, or a sign for bringing a new change in one’s personality.

Is cutting your hair a coping mechanism?

Cutting your hair is not the best mechanism for coping with stress, but sometimes people do opt for it. 

Cutting off hair is a big deal for women because their long hair takes a lot of time to grow and long and lustrous hair is considered to be feminine. Nevertheless, women do consider cutting off hair to move on from bad breakups or job loss. You can’t alter the situation. But with hair, you’re provided the chance to change it and stride on.”

Can cutting hair reduce stress?

Cutting hair cannot reduce stress completely but it still can be considered an act of bringing a new change or moving on from the current situation.

That being said, if you face an extreme level of stress and have a constant urge to cut your hair then it’s best to consult a physician.

Is cutting hair a mental illness?

Cutting hair is not always associated with signs of mental illness. If the decision of cutting hair is taken with a calm mind and to feel empowered by bringing change in one’s physical appearance then it’s not a sign of mental illness. 

That being said, if you have encountered depression lately or have been diagnosed with depression you might face the urge to cut your hair or shave it completely. Trichotillomania (TT) can be considered one of the mental illnesses that can lead to the pulling of hair. It is defined as an obsessive-compulsive habit of cutting or shaving hair.

Wrapping It Up

Nonetheless, if you do choose to revamp your look in reaction to a breakup or demise in the family, it doesn’t mean you’re certainly coping or putting off deeper issues. It all depends on how you continue to feel afterward. If you’re not beginning to feel better after weeks of haircut then, there might be something deeper going on.

A Word of Caution: Regardless of the situation with the hair though, if you have depression or if you experience any of the above mentioned signs in extreme, you should seek professional help. When done in the right mind space, haircuts can be a profound means of self-transformation, and allow us to become more optimistic about ourselves.

What Next?

If you have some more concerns about taking care of your hair, we suggest you read our article on,  Top Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Hair Growth and Health and if you dream of healthy skin do read, Top 6 Awesome Benefits of Alpha-lipoic Acid for Your Skin.


  1. National Library of Medicine.”Sexual Desire Disorders”.(2008)
  2. National Institue of Mental Health.” Men and Depression”