What Does It Mean if Your Hair Falls Out in Your Dream?
5 min read
Last Modified 19 December 2022 First Added 6 October 2021
You’re dining with friends; the conversation and wine are flowing and you’re enjoying their company.
As the evening progresses, you notice that one or two strange looks are being directed at you. This troubles you, but you try to ignore it, feeling the blood rise in your cheeks as the looks are followed by whispers.
Nervously, you run your fingers through your hair – but what should be a comforting gesture chills you as your hand comes away covered in hair. In your lap is more of the same, so much that you must surely be almost completely bald.
With fear and embarrassment coursing through you, you run from the restaurant.
Still, it’s only a dream – right?
In the text of a seminar from Carl Jung, Ernst Falzeder and Tony Woolfson titled Children’s Dreams, Jung outlines the importance of hair from a cultural perspective:
In The Golden Bough, by James George Frazer, we read, among other references, about the significance of hair: the chiefs and magicians of the Masai, the African tribe, were afraid to lose their supernatural powers if they let their beards be cut; in many primitive [sic] cultures, hair and beard are considered “taboo.” In order to become immune to danger, they are not cut at all. The Frankonian kings were not allowed, from childhood on, to cut their hair. Cutting the hair would have meant relinquishing the throne and the power. Hair is regarded as a sign of extraordinary power and magical strength.
In addition to several other examples provided by Jung, there is also the Old Testament tale of Samson that connects hair to virility.
However, as psychology has moved away from traditional male dominated thinking, there has been a shift in thinking regarding hair – not only from a dream analysis perspective, but culturally. While there are, of course, still capitalist forces seeking to profit through fear of hair loss, the death of the combover and the shift in the market for wigs should be enough to convince anyone of the change.
This has allowed dream analysts to look at dreams of hair loss with fresh eyes. While there is still an aspect of ‘virility’ in some interpretations – such as analysis that sees the dream as indicative of a fear of ageing, but in addition to this there are aspects of these dreams that indicate anxiety about a loss of control, about the dreamer’s health and of feeling overwhelmed by stress.
Whether losing clumps of hair without force or pulling your own hair out, there are numerous beliefs on the meanings behind each. Here, we explore some of the most common:
The first take
The second take
As with all dream analysis, the main recommendation must always be self-analysis. As Carl Jung stated of dream archetypes:
[These] are motifs that must be considered in the context of the dream itself, not as self-explanatory ciphers.
Dream analysis that ignores individual experience could be counter-productive – so the dreamer should ensure that they reflect on the dream in the knowledge of past interpretation, but equally relate such texts to their own experience. If you’re not a person that is concerned with ageing, this dream is not necessarily a cry for help from your unconscious telling you that you should be. Equally, if health concerns are not an issue, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to rush to the hospital.
Dreams are a call to self-analysis and the evaluation of our circumstances – think carefully, but don’t dwell, analyse but don’t fixate, and examine what may be causing such unconscious anxiety.
Archetypal dreams – the dreams which appear to cross cultural and historic boundaries – tend to be the inspiration of art rather than appear in them. This is the case with rapid hair loss, which tends to appear in works of fiction in relation to toxicity, poisoning and – in horror films, for example – demonic possession and other spiritual crises. This is indicative of the memetic significance of sudden hair loss to modern society and part of the lingering biases that bald people face. It’s often linked with sickness because of an innate fear of what it could mean for us as individuals, which is why it plays such an outsized role in popular culture.