Can a 'mirrorless haircut' help with warped perceptions of beauty? One writer finds out

what is a mirrorless haircut
What TF is a mirrorless haircut? I found outSteven Puetzer - Getty Images

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? Well, clearly not me; Have you seen that gigantic pimple on my forehead?; My pores are huuuuuge; Now that I think of it, my teeth could do with a round of whitening, too.

For some, taking a trip down to the hairdressers is seen as a time to relax, decompress and reinvent with a new look, while for others the dread of glaring at one's reflection for hours on end can seem, well, like a confidence assassin.

Now, I wouldn't say I'm an insecure person, but with everything from mirrors to Zoom calls, Instagram and even TikTok, we're constantly faced with our own reflections – and that, paired with the heightened (and somewhat unrealistic) beauty standards of today, I think it's safe to say that overly critiquing and comparing the way we look has become as normal as brushing one's teeth in the morning. In other words, perceptions of beauty today can be (though, not always) totally and completely warped.

Dr. Judy Ho, neuropsychologist and author of The New Rules of Attachment How to Heal Your Relationships, Reparent Your Inner Child, and Secure Your Life Vision tells Cosmopolitan UK that this type of self-awareness can become toxic. Scientifically speaking, Dr Ho says that "the brain is on a constant feedback loop, gathering information from our environment which then helps update our internal operating system. As we get messages from the media and perceptions of others and their responses to attractive people, etc., we compare our own self-image to those that are being projected in our social environment.

"Often, this causes people to see themselves in a more negative way when they perceive that they're not measuring up to societal expectations."

And so, this brings me to a treatment that's attempting to turn the hair salon back into a safe haven of relaxation, and combat hours of painstakingly picking ourselves apart... Enter: The mirrorless haircut. Many hair salons now tout services such as 'silent haircuts' which you can request upon booking – that is, if you're not into the chit-chat client-hairdresser culture – and interestingly, Not Another Salon on Brick Lane in London has taken that next step, also introducing said 'mirrorless haircut'. And as one can probably assume, this involves the removal of the mirror when having your hair done.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK, Sophia Hilton – the salon's founder and lead hairstylist – reveals more about why she introduced this initiative."For those who have self-confidence issues, looking back at themselves for the duration of a hair appointment can be damaging to their self-esteem," she says. "A client's salon experience is supposed to lift them, yet many leave the salon feeling less confident after hours of picking themselves apart."

And so, very simply, Sophia has printed cover-ups that can be applied to the mirrors in her salon, making for a relaxed haircut experience that ends in a Mia Thermopolis-esque The Princess Diaries reveal.

Say it with me now: To be beautiful means to be yourself!

All in all, the experience of having my hair cut without being able to see myself was an interesting and positive one. Yes, you must have a level of trust with your hairdresser to have a mirrorless haircut but I knew I was in very capable hands. While I only had a few inches chopped from the end of my locks, not being able to see it happening did, in fact, make the reveal even more exciting. I – to my surprise – came out feeling more confident than ever and ironically, could not stop admiring myself (and my new look) in the mirror post-mirrorless cut!

You'll notice that I've not included before and/or after pictures of my trim – and that's because what matters here is not the physical outcome but how I felt.

Of course, the mirrorless haircut is not a forever solution for those who may be image-conscious, however, it does allow for a period of time to relieve some pressure that needn't be there in the first place.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a GP, physician or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding body checking or conditions alike.

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