Off with her hair: Intrasexually competitive women advise other women to cut off more hair

Danielle Sulikowski, Melinda Williams, Gautami Nair, Brittany Shepherd, Anne Wilson, Audrey Tran, Danielle Wagstaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Intrasexual competition between women is often covert, and targets rivals' appearance. Here we investigate appearance advice as a vector for female intrasexual competition. Across two studies (N = 192, N = 258) women indicated how much hair they would recommend hypothetical clients have cut off in their hypothetical salon. Clients varied in their facial attractiveness (depicted pictorially), the condition of their hair, and how much hair they wished to have cut off. Participants also provided self-report measures of their own mate value and intrasexual competitiveness. In both studies, participants' intrasexual competitiveness positively predicted how much hair they recommended clients have cut off, especially when the hair was in good condition and the clients
reported wanting as little as possible cut off – circumstances wherein cutting off too much hair is most likely to indicate sabotage. Considering data across both collectively, women tended to recommend cutting the most hair off clients they perceived to be as attractive as themselves. These data suggest that just like mating, intrasexual competition may be assortative with respect to mate value. They also demonstrate that competitive motives can impact female-female interactions even in scenarios which feature no prospective mates, and are nominally unrelated to mate guarding or mating competition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112406
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date13 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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