Hair and Dopamine

The production of dopamine in our brain
Photo: Science Photo Library/Canva
Q: Can a good haircut, of course resulting in a hairstyle you find appealing, lead to the production of dopamine? And is dopamine produced when you observe someone else with beautiful hair?
A: Yes, there exists a possible connection between a good haircut and dopamine. During the process of cutting hair, a fascinating neurobiological interaction occurs in our brains. There is an interesting relationship between cutting your hair, the feeling of being attractive, and the subsequent release of dopamine. And an equally intriguing phenomenon of dopamine release occurs when you gaze upon the beautiful hair of someone else.
When you enter a salon and entrust your hair to the skilled hands of a stylist, more than just a physical transformation awaits you. The expectations you hold, the sensory experiences during the haircut, and ultimately the revelation of a new hairstyle that aligns with what you find attractive can trigger a cascade of positive emotions.
Dopamine, often referred to as the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter, plays a significant role in this emotional response. The sense of reward and satisfaction associated with a well-cut hairstyle is linked to the release of dopamine in the brain. When the stylist creates a style that accentuates your best features and aligns with your personal preferences, the reward system in your brain becomes active, giving you an immediate sense of well-being.
Self-expression through a personally chosen hairstyle is essential for a strong sense of confidence. When you see yourself in the salon mirror and perceive an appearance that aligns with your personal preferences, dopamine production is heightened. This increase establishes a connection between cutting and styling hair and the pleasure center in the brain. It underscores that the psychological impact of a hairstyle should not be underestimated.
When someone undergoes a satisfying experience, such as getting an attractive haircut, the brain's reward system is activated. Dopamine neurons release dopamine in crucial areas of the brain, including the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex. These areas are associated with pleasure, motivation, and decision-making. The release of dopamine reinforces the positive feelings linked to the experience, encouraging you to engage in similar rewarding activities in the future.
The influence of dopamine extends beyond your own hair. Mirror neurons play a crucial role in shared pleasure when admiring the beautiful hair of someone else. These neurons are activated both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else performing the same action. If you visually enjoy someone else's beautiful hair, your mirror neurons come into action, reflecting the positive experience, in this case, a well-cut hairstyle, leading to the release of dopamine.
Beauty standards also contribute to dopamine production when seeing someone with beautiful hair. Societal norms of attractiveness unconsciously influence our perception of beautiful and well-groomed hair. Observing someone who aligns with these standards can evoke a sense of pleasure and reward.
So, the next time you catch yourself admiring a person with attractive hair or enjoying your own appearance, remember that dopamine subtly establishes a connection between that beauty and your brain.
See also:
First impressions
How to get a good haircut