Hair Part Theory Original Paper (1999)

The Hair Part Theory: Summary

What Is Your Hair Part Saying About You?

The Effects of Hair Parting on Social Appraisal and Personal Development

By Catherine Walter and John Walter

HairPartTheory(c)2001TMCInc PDF version – Complete data included:

Surprisingly, a hair part has a crucial impact on interpersonal relationships by affecting immediate character appraisal, perceived personality traits, self-perception and self-development!

The Hair Part Theory was developed by a brother-sister team trained, respectively, in nuclear physics and cultural anthropology. Their revolutionary theory is now being made available to the general public, so that all individuals can have more control over automatic and mostly unconscious assessments made of their personalities by others. John and Catherine Walter also produce the True Mirror®, a mirror that does not reverse the viewer’s image and which therefore allows an accurate self-assessment.

A left hair part draws unconscious attention to the activities that are controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, i.e. activities traditionally attributed to masculinity. A right hair part draws unconscious attention to the activities that are controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, i.e. activities traditionally attributed to femininity.

A man who parts his hair on the right, and who is striving for positive assessment in a traditionally male role is at risk for having difficulties in interpersonal relationships, since he is sending a mixed, subconscious message by emphasizing the activities of the brain traditionally attributed to femininity.

A woman who parts her hair on the left, and who is striving for positive assessment in a traditionally male role (for example, in business or politics) will be taken more seriously than a woman with a right part, who is emphasizing mental processes that are traditionally attributed to femininity.

Use the links below to access the full theory paper, as well as an analysis of
United States Presidents, Vice Presidents, state Governors (in office 9/98), and
the Senators and Representatives of the 105th Congress according to their hair part
choice, with an emphasis on those who part their hair on the right.
Additionally, a list of famous men who wear a right part is included,
since these men illustrate some of the surprising ways that a right hair
part affects personality and perception of personality.

PDF version – Complete data

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Hair Part Theory – John Walter video

Attached is a video made by John Walter to illustrate his understanding of the Hair Part theory as well as the True Mirror that shows exactly what the side hair part looks like

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American Newspaper Editors Hair Parts 1885

Saw this interesting and illustrative picture on Wikipedia of the top newspaper editors in 1885, and the way their hair parts break down is pretty startling – mainly because I was under the impression that the side hair part was not as prevalent back then.  But maybe among the 4th estate, which drives the public opinion and conversation did indeed have the side hair part bias way back then:

Here are the numbers as best i can discern from the photo (click for full resolution)


Left part 13/19 (68%)

Right Part  3/19 (16%)

Center/Bald 3/19 (15%)


A fuller study is needed to examine many old pictures to see how these statistics compare to a more general sampling of the population.

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Bruce Willis’ smirk deconstructed to illustrate the True Mirror experience

12x12TrueMirrorBlackRe: True Mirrors

The companion story about the Hair Part Theory is how 3 years after discovering the effects of hair parting in my own experience, I had another epiphany in front of the mirror – I saw myself for real in two mirrors at right angles – which makes a true reflection mirror (now sold as a True Mirror).  It was an amazing experience because I finally connected to myself, spot on, eye to eye contact, and I felt really good about who i was seeing.  I was alive, happy, and genuine!

In the following years, I started producing the True Mirror and also developed a theory about why it is so different.  Basically the idea is that our left and right sides of our faces are different, and convey different information, because our brains are different left and right.    I believe there is clear correlations in your left and right sides of the face with what is going on inside.  This is also the basis for the Hair Part Theory having its effects in biasing one over the other.

The point of this post is that when you flip your face in a mirror, the message of your face doesn’t match what is real anymore, and you quickly tend to become expressionless and more self-critical and doubting.  However, in a True Mirror, your face matches what is real, so if you are feeling good, you see it confirmed.  If you are feeling bad, its easy to get compassion and empathy from yourself, because you see what is going on internally.

Bruce Willis smirk reversed

Note: Download this and show full screen to see the effects

The attached photo of Bruce Willis easily demonstrates the power of flipping your image in a mirror to change the essential nature of your expression.  I have taken his classic smirk and deconstructed the left and right sides, then flipped it and deconstructed again.  Before his smirk is fairly humorous and makes you feel good, flipped his smirk is very sarcastic and you feel he is challenging you.

Now when we look at the reversed picture, it doesn’t change while we look at it.  However, in a mirror, our face changes immediately in response to what we are seeing, which is why we usually don’t smile back at ourselves for more than a few seconds – smiles in particular just don’t look right backwards, and we don’t smile.   In a true image mirror they do.  (try this at home –  hold two mirrors at right angles and look into the angle  and try a real smile…can you see the sparkle in your eyes?  now look in the flat mirror and see how it just fades and you start staring.

More info at

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Esquire write-up on Hair Part Theory

From the April 2015 Esquire:


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New Geico Commercial

The right hair part on men is often used in advertisements to reinforce a negative impression of the man in question. The latest is the Geico Commercial:
From the website, this description: A father and son are hanging out, the son playing video games, the father using his tablet. “Huh, 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” The son replies “Everybody knows that.” The dad says “Well, did you know that Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker?” We cut to Pinocchio giving a motivational speech to a group of people. “I look around this room, and I see nothing but untapped potential.” Pinocchio points to a man in the crowd “You have potential!” Pinocchio’s nose starts to grow because he’s lying. “You have… oh boy.” The man he pointed to lowers his head, now depressed that he knows he has no potential.
So how is it that he can just point to this guy in the crowd and everyone knows he is lying when he says he has potential? How bout that right hair part. Check it out backwards – see how the guy’s image looks backwards – its not so immediately obvious that he wouldn’t have potential

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Hair Parts of the British Prime Ministers

David Cameron switched his hair part some time back. BBC ran a story about it that included the Hair Part Theory:


The other Prime Ministers seemed to have stayed the same throughout their careers:  Heres a few others:

Margaret Thatcher: left Part

Baroness Thatcher death

John Major: Right Part


Posted in Politicians | 2 Comments

Hair Parts in Glamour Magazine

A recent article in Glamour magazine entitled “All Signs Point to the Fact That THIS Is How You Need to Be Wearing Your Hair” makes the case that the strong side hair part is “in” like never before.

It always surprises me that most people equate symmetry with beauty, but then we love to be purposely asymmetric when it comes to hair. Usually its a great accent, and on a beautiful woman, she can usually wear her hair lots of ways and she still looks good. But the biggest issue is that there’s a signal that gets sent out with the side hair part that people should be aware of…and that signal may not be the one you think you are sending out.

I was also surprised that all of the hair parts on the models were left parts, which emphasizes the more masculine side of us – the rational, assertive, stronger and less emotional. It is a look that still works for women, especially when they are pretty models, but no one tells them that this signalling is happening. So readers may choose their hair parts based on the models in the picture, and then present the world with a look that is usually harsher and less feminine than they might like.

The point is, side part if you like, but know that there’s some messaging going on that you should be aware of. And the mirror will lie to you, telling you that you are projecting the exact opposite! Which is where the True Mirror comes in!

By the way, women tend to change hair parts much more frequently than men. I would suggest the following experiment – for a business meeting, part on the left, but when its time for that hot date, part it on the right. See how easy both situations can become to get the outcome you want!

To see this for yourself, first look at the models in the original article. then look at the same pictures shown below, where i have simulated each model with a right hair part by flipping the image…can you see that each one is a little softer, less challenging, more feminine?

Regular vs Reversed pictures below:

This is the image as it appears in the magazine












This is the reversed image, simulating what they would look like with right parts

This is the original image with a left part


This is the reversed image, simulating what she would look like with a right part


This is the same image with a right part

This is the original image

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New Hair Parting Survey

radiolabRadioLab just re-aired the great episode about Symmetry which included the Hair Part Theory and the True Mirror (, and also just put out great new survey up about hair parts. Take the survey, and also read the comments!

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Tide and Dad Star “The Princess Dress”

One of the most useful uses of the Hair Part Theory is to both create commercials and/or explain their effectivness. The latest one is the charming Dad explaining about how is daughter will not wear anything other than her Princess Dress, even though it will get stained and dirty.

It’s a classic “new man” commercial, where the Dad is the one being the caretaker, nurturer and laundry do-er. So in the 30 seconds it takes to establish both the premise and message, they use a handsome right hair parting man to show an empathetic, kind, understanding (and domesticated) man.  The right part makes it easy for the judgement to be quickly made by the viewer that it makes sense.

Now, look how he looks flipped, with a left hair part…not so sensitive, wouldn’t you say? tidecommercial_rev

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Lincoln – right or left?

One of the surprising elements of the feature about the Hair Part Theory done on the NPR Radiolab show (, was that a big picture of Lincoln was shown to the live audience and then flipped to show him with a right hair part. There was a collective gasp from the audience because it was so different! On their website, you can try the flip by clicking on the Lincoln picture.   To put the gasp in context, the live show actually pushed it onto a 20 foot high screen, which really made an impact.

Turns out, when we were first researching whether Lincoln parted on the right or left, the data  can be very confusing. The original photographic record was done with daguerreotypes, which print a reversed image by default. History books will tend to flip it back, just to get the image right. The clue as to which is correct is that Lincoln had a little bump on his right cheek, and this certifies that he wore his hair parted on the left.

However, one of the most popular pictures of Lincoln appears on the 5 dollar bill, which as you can see below, shows Lincoln with a right part.  This was a true image, as you can see by the bump on his right cheek.  Turns out, the day of that picture turned to an engraving, the stylist put his hair on the other side for some reason


Here is a picture of the real Lincoln actually – its quite different, and your initial assessment of his character and strength are modified as well.


Check this out: his punk looking Lincoln with no hair part – can you imagine?

lincoln_no part

Here is the story from Time magazine:

Also, here are the same images flipped:  Check your initial assessment of his character and strength and likability with the hair on the opposite side.  also, notice that with a no hair part, the difference isn’t so strong, as well as your assesment




lincoln_no part_rev

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