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The Power of the Slick Back

How a Simple Hairstyle Taught Me the Key to Confidence

By: Lauren Jordanich

Picture of two girls with slick backs in the rain with a clear umbrella
Photo By: Eva Zheng

“Alright, who’s wearing the slick back tonight?” my friend asks as we all take turns swiping lip gloss on in front of the singular mirror in her dorm room.

“I’ve got dibs!” one of my other friends yells, gel and brush already in hand. “Someone help me with it.”

I can’t quite remember when it started, but for months, my friends and I have had a ritual in which one of us does a slick back hairstyle every time we go out. Whoever does the slick back that night is required to have a crazy night, which she must then tell everyone else about the following morning. The whole idea is that the slick back–whether it be a bun, ponytail, or braid–gives us a feeling of unrivaled confidence and the power to manifest the most fun and wild night.

It might sound silly, but it works; whoever does the slick back always has the best stories to tell. What is it about this simple, TikTok-famous hairstyle that gives my friends and me so much confidence? Is it merely the placebo effect? Or is there something more?

Undoubtedly, part of it is the fact that whoever wears the slick back for the night has eight other girls counting on her to have juicy stories to tell. However, this hairstyle is popular beyond my friend group; there must be a multitude of reasons it has blown up on TikTok and stayed popular for almost two years, right?

Maybe not. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that it’s been labeled as something that automatically boosts our confidence.

The concept of confidence all depends on how you feel, not how you look. So, even though something like a hairstyle is a physical attribute, it’s the impact of how it makes you feel that lasts and influences your actions. The slick back is just one small example of this concept.

Forbes magazine article “Use It Or Lose It: The Science Behind Self-Confidence” says confidence is “not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed.”

A slick back makes me believe I can succeed, and in what exactly depends on the day, but I believe I can succeed nonetheless. If I took on every day feeling as good as I do on my “slick back night,” I honestly think I could be unstoppable. I’m ready to expand the power of the slick back into other areas of my life and take the confidence it brings me everywhere I go.


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