Psychologist explains why you can’t stop watching haircut videos

TikTok has led users down rabbit holes of content, spending hours scrolling through videos we wouldn’t normally watch.

With beauty being one of the biggest subcategories on the social media app, it’s not surprising that some unconventional content has become extremely popular, including advice videos.

Consultation videos are a subgenre of hair content, usually featuring a client and their hairstylist discussing hair appointment plans. While this type of content may seem mundane on paper, #hairconsultation has been viewed over 2.2 billion times on TikTok, proving the audience’s appetite for it. The content has proven so popular that hairstylists like James Busby are racking up millions of views by sharing client consultations in videos like the one above.

Woman Hair Salon Smiling Stylist
Stock image of a hairstylist and their client smiling during a consultation. Hair consultation videos have proven popular on social media, with #hairconsultation gaining billions of views.

PeopleImages/Getty Images

To shed some light on why this style of content is proving so popular, hair care brand Rossano Ferretti tapped mindset psychologist Dr. Ritz Birah to delve deeper into why we’re addicted to advice content.

Birah explained: “Watching videos like hair consultations gives rise to so many things, from escapism, relaxation, education and inspiration. It also plays a role in emotional dynamics and human behavior.”

She talked about how many people use their hair, nail and other beauty treatments as a form of mental care, as well as physical care, often using their therapist or stylist as a sounding board. She said: “People often refer to their hairdresser as their therapist, someone they confide in and share their inner world with. You can see there is emotional vulnerability in these types of videos.”

The emotional fragility of those sitting in the salon chair is often what stops us from scrolling further. Birah explained: “Clients often share personal stories. This show of vulnerability can evoke empathy and compassion in viewers, highlighting the universal experience of what it means to be human.”

They are not just customer stories either, as hair can often be a physical representation of our lives, choices and experiences, telling a story of its own.

Birah said: “Hair can involve stories of identity exploration; it is a choice we make and how we choose to present ourselves to the world. Deliberation often involves discussions about self-expression, personality and desired aesthetics.

“Viewers can think about their own relationship with their hair, their personality and how this contributes to their sense of identity and self-worth. We could take it a step further and think about how body image and beauty are likely to play a role in this offers the opportunity to explore the perception of beauty and body image.”

In short, seeing a wide range of people attending their consultations makes the case for the fact that we all look different, rather than reinforcing societal norms. “By observing diverse customers with different hair types and concerns, viewers can challenge society’s beauty standards and appreciate the unique beauty in individuality,” Birah said.

It’s not just the customer that keeps us hooked. Birah shared that the hairstylists themselves are an important part of the content, explaining: “Overall, if you watch it from start to finish, you are likely to experience a sense of vicarious mastery in witnessing skilled individuals share their expertise demonstrating, which can be psychologically rewarding.

“If you look at the relationship between the customer and the hairdresser, they place a certain amount of trust in their hands to change their image. Through the interpersonal interactions we witness the sharing of suggestions as they go through a decision-making process before arriving at come to a decision.