Hair Part and Personality

Zigzag hair part
Photo: Diego Cervo/Shutterstock
We all know of the importance of first impressions. But were you aware that even such small details as the way you part your hair can have an impact? Just as the shape and texture of your eyebrows, the shoes you are wearing, and the whiteness of your teeth, the location and nature of your hair part sends a message.
Computer scientist John Walter and his anthropologist sister Catherine Walter conducted a thorough study of the combed line patterns on our heads, and their findings will make you look at parts in a new light.
Our brains are longitudinally divided into a left and a right cerebral hemisphere. This fact of our biology was first studied by Pierre Paul Broca in the mid-1800s and later followed up on by German physician Karl Wernicke. In a broad simplification, this split became known as the left brain and right brain idea, with distinct characteristics associated with either one of them.
In this sweeping generalization, people are said to be more dominated by one or the other, making the left-brain ones more logical, objective, and academic, while a right-brain-dominated person is more creative, intuitive, imaginative, carefree, and subjective, and bases decisions more on feeling than on rational thinking.
According to Walter and Walter, this relates to why the location of a part in one's hair is so important to produce the first impression that one wants.
The siblings compared hair partings of presidents and other politicians with their personalities and how it was subconsciously perceived by others. One of the basic ideas was that the way we are treated by others has an impact on our personality, simply due to our own adjustment to the positive and the avoidance of negative reactions by our peers.
The Walter study is mostly geared towards men, perhaps because women tend to change their hairstyles more frequently and are more creative with their looks based on current trends.
Man who is wearing the part in his hair on the left
Image: AI illustration
Left Parts
One of their observations was that the vast majority of men part their hair on the left. Among these on the celebrity lineup are David Duchovny, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and most American Presidents. Only six of all presidents parted their hair on the right! That attached impression is that of a natural and confident leader, a successful businessperson, charismatic, outgoing, and generally popular. According to this, a left part is the quintessential corporate look ready for the pinstripes and ties.
Right Parts
Men with certain traits are viewed as being more introverted, aloof, and idiosyncratic. Perhaps this is the reason why in Christopher Reeve's Superman movie Clark Kent wears his part on the right, while his alter ego, Superman, has a clean and crisp part on the left. Coincidence? James Franco and also wear their parts on the right side.
Center Parts
These are dubbed the outsiders, the individual free spirits blazing their own trail and often wearing longer hair that is parted in this balanced way. Among them are Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Russell Brand, and Jared Leto.
Man who is wearing the part in his hair on the right
Image: AI illustration
Little or No Part
The boyish look is as popular as ever and it is for men of adventure and old-school gentlemen. The mini part often changes location depending on where the wild locks want to fall. A natural curl often accompanies this look. A nonchalant and effortless chic speaks for a man who likes to style his hair by running his fingers through it (and many ladies will want to do the same). Robert Redford, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Liam Hemsworth are known to sport this style.
Then there are, of course, the non-permissible styles like bald heads and the unspeakable comb-overs. The study did not cover those.
John Walters tested his theory on himself and found out that just by parting his hair on the left side, after wearing it on the right for many years, he gained popularity, made more friends, and gained confidence, which then set off another chain of events.
What about Cowlicks?
The Walter theory may be thought-provoking, and it is a fun idea to try different approaches and see if you are treated any differently.
Then again, for most of us, the hair falls where it wants to fall, and our individual direction of growth, together with the famous whirlpools of cowlicks, often take the decision of where to part our hair away from us.
Every hairstyle has an ideal way of parting to make it look attractive, and you should not overthink the deeper meaning of it and just have fun. Keep them left, right, angled, zigzagged, or not at all. Or just confuse the world around you by changing it up every other day.