23 May 2024

People express their individuality in many different ways, among them how they wear their hair. Some color their hair blond. Girls shave their heads. Boys grow their hair long. Some change their styles when they embark on a new chapter in life. Others opt for a unique look to show off their creative personality and carefree spirit. People have the freedom to wear their hair as they wish and it tends to represent their personalities and moods at particular moments.

For me, having a new haircut and dyeing my hair is a fun way to express myself. Sometimes, it’s trendy, sometimes it matches my style of the moment”, said Pornsawan Komon, 24, who is passionate about art and music.    

She holds a psychology degree but works as a hairstylist assistant and musician.


Standing out from the crowd

Pornsawan started coloring her hair when she was a student. She bleached and dyed her hair out-of-the-box colors and changed her cut and color every three months. Champagne blonde, red, blue, green, pink, purple or any other hue you can think of, she probably had it on her head.

“I feel confident when I do something with my hair that I like. It increases my self-confidence,” she said.

Changing hair colors has become her usual routine and her family and friends are used to it. They are quite supportive of her.

“My parents have no problems with my hairstyles but they are a little concerned about safety,” Pornsawan said explaining that people who dye their hair are exposed to chemicals during the coloring process.

I like my hair. My friends and colleagues like it too. I don’t worry about what people think. I don’t really care. I think people should try it because it’s really fun,” Pornsawan said.

Pornsawan Komon aith her colored hair.

Experimenting with different styles

Changing hairstyles, meanwhile, is an emotional outlet for Phrick, 28, a communication art designer. When he gets bored with how he looks, he experiments with different styles.

It feels good to wear my hair how I want to. Changing hairstyles brightens my mood,he said.  

Phrick also loves to accessorize.

“I do it with hats. I wear the right one for the right occasion and the right outfit. I think that gives a boost to my wardrobe. And I see my hair as an extension of that,” he said.

He notes that the color of his hair affects the way people perceive him and admits he has faced strange reactions and a few awkward encounters.

“A lady I met on a Skytrain station raised her eyebrows at my unique haircut and red hair,” said Phrick who now wears his hair black.

He opted for the undercut style, which means cutting the sides and leaving the top long when he was a high school student at a military school.

Student hairstyle rules are relaxed

In 2020, the Ministry of Education lifted hairstyle regulations for boys and girls, meaning that school students are no longer required to have a uniform short cut. It left it to the schools to make up their own minds about the hairstyles deemed suitable for their students.

Last week, Matthayom Wat Thatthong School in Bangkok issued its hairstyle regulations for both male and female students. According to the rules, students may wear their hair long or short.    

Male students with long hair must keep it neat and tidy, while female students with long hair must tie it back properly.

Phrick strongly supports the school’s regulations, saying they encourage students to express themselvesas well as boost their confidence and self-esteem.

“It will allow students to increase their participation in class and school activities, which will help improve their school performance,” he said, adding that rules about haircuts is one of the reasons why students are distracted from studying.

“Everyone has a right to look and feel comfortable by expressing themselves in different ways and that includes their hairstyles. Students should be allowed to wear their hair long as long as it looks neat. Having an appearance that they are proud of can help boost their self-esteem.” Phrick said.

Earlier, school hairstyle rules mandated two styles, a pudding-bowl bob for girls and an army-style crew cut for boys until they finished secondary education.

The rules were later relaxed, allowing students to wear their hair long, as long as it’s neat and tidy. Students may not perm or dye their hair, wear mustaches and beards or indulge in styling such as creating symbols or patterns in their hair.

However, teachers still have room to interpret the rules in their favor. In some cases, students face getting their hair cut by school directors and teachers as punishment for violating haircut rules.

According to the Ministry of Education’s guidelines, punishment for students ranges from warnings, probation, demerit points and having them participate in certain activities to correct their behavior.

Phrick posted for his Social media.

Parents’ power over child hairstyles

Chuleekorn K., 52, said she lets her 13-year-old daughter, who attends a private school, choose her own hairstyle as long as it doesn’t break school policies. This is to give her the freedom to express herself through her hair, give her comfort and buildher confidence.

I’m okay with my daughter choosing a cut she loves. It’s her call. I only care when it’s against the rules,” she said, adding that she supports school hairstyle regulations as they help teach students to be professional and prepare them for future careerwhere they need to be clean, neat and tidy in the workplace.

But the mother is strict about hair dyeing. She said her daughter once asked her if she could have her hair dyed like her South Korean idol’s.

Children are easily influenced by their favorite celebrities. I know that looks very trendy but I was not sure if the style would fit her personality and how other people would react to it. I was afraid she would regret it once it was done. And it’s quite complicated to get it back to the natural color,” Chuleekorn said.

To cater to the daughter’s demand, the mother added that she bought colored clip-in hair extensions for her daughter to wear during the summer.

“My girl felt happy and worn the extensions with confidence,” the mother said.

When it comes to teen hairstyles, parents should make suggestions to enable them to make the right decision and help them choose the styles that may look good on them, she noted.

“As a parent, we should be here to guide but not to control,” Chuleekorn said.  

Narisa B.,48, has also allowed her teenage daughter to choose her own hairstyle.

In my opinion, a hairstyle is a personal choice. We don’t own our child’s body. Choosing how to wear their hair is their right. I believe that teenagers can make decisions for themselves,said Narisa who describes herself as a modern mom.

Being allowed to choose the style they like enables them to build confidence and learn more about themselves, she noted,

It’s just hair. It grows back. There are more important things for schools to worry about. Schools should focus more on how they will give their students a better education,” she said.  

By Veena Thoopkrajae