Our appearance is the first form of communication that we send to people that we meet. Within the first five seconds, that person who notices you will have already made some general assumptions about your personality based upon how you look. Obviously, your hygiene reveals a wealth of information about who you are and what your personality might be. Hygiene can reveal a person’s social attractiveness, laziness, intelligence, social class, education, level self-acceptance, culture, and organization.
A lack of proper hygiene can tell you that a person:
Is lazy. They don’t want to make the effort to clean themselves up and look presentable to everyone else and this reflects on their willingness to make other aspects of their life presentable as well, including their work-ethic.
Might be very poor. Be careful with this one as there are cultures out there that this does not apply to and you will have to weigh the other person’s cultural background into consideration. Speaking from experience in an American setting however, people growing up in poverty are usually not taught the basics of personal hygiene.
Might be mentally ill. A lack of proper hygiene is common among those who are depressed as they no longer have the willpower, nor the desire to look presentable. Those with other chronic forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia, certain phobias, or Alzheimer’s disease might also have poor hygiene as they might not be able to grasp the concept of proper hygiene.
Might be abusing alcohol or drugs. Those people who regularly abuse alcohol or drugs will often have muddled complexions and a disheveled appearance. Often these same people suffer from depression.
Might be suffering from a medical problem. People who have suffered a traumatic injury, or who are suffering from some kind of medical problem which limits their mobility might have a lack of proper hygiene.
Might be socially inept. Someone who walks around in public with a lack of proper hygiene might have a low level of social intelligence. They live in their own world and can’t relate well with others or have no care about how others perceive them. These types are usually social misfits.
Might be self-centered. A person who neither cares about the effect their lack of hygiene has on the people around them nor cares about how others perceive them to be indicates a very stubborn and self-centered personality. They do what they want, when they want, and how they want, regardless of what other people say.
Top-to-Bottom Hygiene Assessment
When you are assessing a person, scan them from top to bottom and take pay special attention to their hygiene when doing this.
Hair/Scalp. Our hair is the primary feature on our body that we can directly change to project our own personality out into the world for other to see. That is why the military shaves the heads of its recruits so that they lose their sense of individuality and instead see themselves as the same. Is their hair groomed? Is the hair clean or greasy and unwashed? Dirty hair usually indicates that the person does not shower.
Face. The hygiene of the face should be weighed more heavily for females as they place a high level of importance on their face. If it’s a male, how maintained is their facial hair? Makeup or no makeup for females? How clean are their teeth? Do they have any dirty or stained teeth? Do they have any missing teeth/broken teeth? Does she trim her eyebrows? Does their face look like they wash it often? Do they have overgrown nose hairs? Do they clean the junk from their eyes and nose?
Weight. Weight tells us a lot about the person’s care for person appearance, level of fitness, eating habits, and level of self-esteem. There are very few people out there who wake up every morning excited that they are bulging at the belly. The real question is why they are not doing something about it.
Breath. Does their breath stink? This can be a sign that they do not brush their teeth often, have poor eating habits, suffering from stress, or have a medical problem.
Clothing. What we wear is another strong indicator of individual personality. Is their clothing dirty? Does their clothing smell? What condition is the clothing that they are wearing–fashion trends aside?
Body Odor. Do they have body odor? If so, then it probably means that they shower infrequently and do not use deodorant. Beware of cultural differences where it is acceptable to have strong body odor.
Hands. Are their hands dirty? If so, then why are they dirty? Did they just do some work, or do they lack the concern for washing their hands?
Fingernails. Are their fingernails trimmed and maintained? How dirty are their fingernails? Fingernail maintenance tells a lot about the person’s attention to detail.
Identifying Consistency Patterns
It’s important to note that any one indicator of improper hygiene in and of itself should not speak for the personality of the person as a whole. A person who you meet who has dirty hands, but appears neat in every other way, might have a logical reason for having dirty hands. Perhaps he works as a mechanic. When looking for a lack of hygiene, you want to look for multiple indications of a lack of hygiene, which is called consistency.