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Survive The Blues of a Bad Hair Day

Written by Jennifer Strailey

Lack of self-confidence and poor self-esteem are issues most of us struggle with. But before you blame mom, consider that the real culprit may be nothing more than a bad hair day.

Low self-esteem, relationship woes and career setbacks, science has finally gotten to the root of these troubles. It's bad hair. And all this time you've been blaming your parents.

Research from Yale University suggests there's more to limp locks than meets the eye. Both men and women report feeling less capable, confident and intelligent when having a bad hair day. These feelings of inadequacy may affect the bad hair sufferers' performance at work and play.

"When our hair looks good, we feel good about ourselves," says Josie Abillano, master designer at Yosh For Hair in San Francisco. When it doesn't, it can be troublesome. "Especially if you have something important planned, a bad hair day can be a really big deal."

Yosh colorist Carmen Lara and designer Josie Abillano share their tips for coping with and avoiding bad hair days:
To make sure your shampoo is working for and not against you, change it every three to six months.
When weather is the culprit, slick your hair back and go for a sleek, indestructible look.
For straight hair, a basic rubber band works wonders. Pull your hair back, wrap it around a few times and secure it with the band.
A single styling product can be a man's best friend. Wet your hair, apply a small amount of gel, style and go.
Wash your hair regularly. Greasy hair always makes for a bad hair day.

It is a big deal, and not just for women. Contrary to popular opinion, the study found that men wrestle more with their self-esteem on bad hair days than women. Women experienced embarrassment and felt more self-conscious, while men were more nervous, less confident and more inhibited socially.

The so-called "psychological, interpersonal and social effects of bad hair" study, led by psychologist Marianne LaFrance, examined the effects of bad hair on 60 men and 60 women, aged 17 to 30. In many cases, the subjects' poor self-image started with bad hair and snowballed into something more serious. When having a bad hair day, participants were likely to list more negative traits about themselves than those blessed with a good hair day.

How can you keep cowlicks, frizz and lackluster hair from jeopardizing your edge? "If the haircut isn't there to begin with, no matter how you style it, your hair isn't going to look good," notes Abillano. The best way to get a great haircut is to ask someone who has one where they got it and go there, she adds.

Managing your emotional response to a botched do can be more important than managing your unruly mane. Keep in mind that a bad hair day is mostly in your head. It's doubtful that others will even notice your frizzy, limp or lifeless hair.

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