The Kylie Jenner Effect: Maybe Changing Your Hair *Does* Change Your Personality

And maybe there's nothing wrong with not wanting to be yourself.

Kylie Jenner
(Image credit: Getty, design by Betsy Farrell)

It is 2016, the year of, like, realizing stuff. People get woke. Sirens go off in the distance as citizens band together to build a better world for everybody, regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, creed, opinion on Westworld, and gender—a social construct. JUST KIDDING. But those of us who have only become more attuned to the complexity of the universe and its injustices are now prepared to say the five scariest words in the English language: I was wrong, Kylie Jenner—wrong for ever pitying you, even though I'm the one who has to work and not in the holding-up-a-bag-of-tea sense, which is really weird, if you think about it.*

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You see, I saw her statement about keeping a rotating cast of wigs on hand (opens in new tab) as indicative of a low-key identity crisis. (It "'makes [her] feel so good about [herself]' mostly because it doesn't make her feel like herself." I still stand by this.) I thought it sad to be so outwardly complete but still not like who you are. But then I cut my own hair and dyed it green. Then I got bangs. And I began to witness the phenomenon that is becoming the person your hair makes you seem like. Or becoming more of the person you already are via your hair, which now reflects your inner life. I don't know. (The second-riskiest words in the English language.)

I started wearing less different clothes (opens in new tab), including some '70s suede jackets, and going out more pretty much the same amount, which is still quite a lot. I upped my piercing count by three. The sexagenarian women I volunteer with at the Metropolitan Museum of Art started to look worried when I listened to Joey Bada$$ before a shift. (HOW ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO GET PUMPED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT MANET, THO?) I became less agreeable, especially with men (though the political climate might have something to do with it (opens in new tab)).

I began to witness the phenomenon that is becoming the person your hair makes you seem like. Or becoming more of the person you already *are* via your hair, which now reflects your inner life.

It's not that I wasn't a combative, vintage-wearing, rap-listening, granny-alarming extrovert before. It's just that, with my "normal" hair gone, there was less keeping the public from judging me—correctly, a sign that, at last, my long national follicular struggle was nearly over.

When your appearance finally matches the image of yourself you carry, you can see the push-pull of the inner and outer so much more clearly. Like science says, we are assholes who make lasting valuations (opens in new tab) based on split-second first impressions. What you look like counts. But it counts the most when you are seen as you would like to be seen—this is the ontological argument for why we even strive to develop personal style: to be ever more individual.

Now the big concern, next to "What does it mean if I've got bland hair or like regularly changing it?": Will I become docile when, in the lifecycle of a haircut, it inevitably grows out and reverts to "boy-hot?" DOUBTFUL, because the answer, as always, to both questions, is "Keep doing you until you arrive at the most you you." (Also, "bad hair is a just a pitstop.")

This is the ontological argument for why we even strive to develop personal style: to be ever more individual.

It's like my stylist Kat (opens in new tab) said, when I flounced in asking her to "change my life" because "just f*ck me up" leaves too much room for interpretation: "I'm not going to change your life—YOU are, by asking me to do this." And I did.

*This turned out to be more of a non-apology to Kylie Jenner. Sorry again, Kylie Jenner.

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.