After years of scrutiny under center, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is having his best season yet — and sporting a fauxhawk so counter to his typical even-length military trim that even ESPN felt inclined to comment on it. A little extra length and jar of gel later, the guy is throwing the best passes of his career, including 18 touchdowns to only four picks at the helm of an undefeated team. Coincidence? Sure, maybe. But we don't think so.
There's actually some real science behind the idea that altering your hairstyle can impact other areas of your life. Researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that when people do small things, like getting a haircut, growing a beard, or buying a wardrobe to make themselves feel better about their appearance, they also perform better on the job and feel more confident in their ability to succeed. An investment in a new look, it turns out, is also an investment in your own success.
"A great haircut can produce self-confidence and inspire others to trust you" agrees Theri DeJoode, co-owner of Groom For Men in Milwaukee, WI, and global technical director for American Crew. "Even a minor adjustment such as a small change in texture, or a tweak of taper and sideburns can influence a fresh look and feeling."
Bust a Rut
Surprised? You're not alone. According to a recent UK survey, most men change their hairstyles just once every six years, and some only three times during their adult lives. Women, on the other hand, alter their look twice a year on average.
Interestingly, when men do bite the bullet and try a new look, one-in-four make the switch because they are trying to break out of a stale life routine and their hair feels like as good as any a place to start, according to the survey. "I remind clients that as you change and grow in your life and in your relationships, your hair should change," DeJoode says. "A more refined look can produce a more refined relationship, whereas a more creative look can spark a creative outlook."
Of course, it's not just from the inside-out that changes occur, but from the outside-in. To wit: Matthew McConaughey just shaved off his signature locks for a new movie role. Suddenly, the image he conveys is a little less California surfer cool and a little more suburban dad in a sexless marriage. Or consider Leonardo DiCaprio, who underwent a total transformation from goatee-sporting club hopper in the spring to bushy-bearded, manbun-wearing brooding artiste over the summer, then back again last month to a clean-shaven face and frat boy haircut. With each new look, a different attitude conveyed. "The easiest change for the classic or traditional guy is facial hair," says DeJoode. "As 'Movember' embarks again, guys can take advantage of the trend and use beard shaping and mustache trims to switch up their look."
Where To Begin
For men with traditional short haircuts, consider mixing things up by growing in your sides. "The guy who typically wears the short clippered cut with a long top can change his look just by growing in the sides and allowing some hair to cover the hairline," says DeJooode. "The added texture will give him a more contemporary look." Or switch to a low fade. The hairline should be kept tight and tailored, and some hair should cover the sides, DeJoode adds.
Don't let images of a bathroom counter covered with products deter you from experimenting with something new. Most changes in hairstyle can be achieved with as little as one key styling aid. Look for a product that has medium to high hold while still allowing for some movement, like American Crew Grooming Cream. "Use a moderate amount to elevate the hair and add texture," a la Dalton's new look, says DeJoode. For a sleeker look, "use a large amount, part the hair, and comb it to the side."
It can be nerve-wracking to change your game face, but sometimes you've just got to be bold and trust it will all work out. It could change your day, your relationship, your career, and even the hopes of a fan base that's waited nearly 25 years for a playoff win. And if it doesn't, hell, it's only hair. It'll probably grow back.