The singer said she "never felt pretty enough" to expose her forehead

By Georgia Slater
Updated May 19, 2020 10:10 AM
Britney Spears Instagram

For Britney Spears, bangs are more than just a hairstyle — they're a confidence booster!

On Monday, the "Toxic" singer explained in a lengthy Instagram post that from the time she was a little girl to now, her bangs have always made her feel better about her appearance.

"I know I need bangs 😜😜 !!!!!" Spears shared. "Who would have thought bangs could make you look waaaaay younger ?!?!"

Growing up, the 38-year-old recalled feeling like "an ugly duckling" and that she "never felt pretty enough" to expose her forehead under her bangs.

"I stopped having bangs in the 3rd grade and I remember like it was yesterday," the singer began. "It was such a big deal to expose my forehead …. only pretty people in the south could do that and I never felt pretty enough to pull it off. All the beauty pageant girls did it but I never felt beauty pageants were my thing … I had bad teeth and felt like an ugly duckling."

Spears remembered going to a modeling agency and being told she "wasn't pretty enough" and decided to go home and try out a new look.

"'Maybe I can be like the older girls and show my forehead,'" she recalled thinking. "I did and it looked sooooo bad but I thought I was gorgeous 🤣 !!!! I think I knew it didn’t look good but I did it because I thought it made me cool .... and I’ve pretty much had it like that ever since !!!!"

The artist continued that "people choose different ways to protect themselves" and for her, that means showing off her bangs.

"When I pull my bangs in front of my head I feel like I’m protected ... almost like I’m in 3rd grade again ⭐️💖🌸 !!!" she wrote.

Spears has been open about her struggles with self-esteem in the past.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Last November, the superstar singer revealed that she deals with a lack of confidence that in turn affects her posture.

“Body language is everything! The way you speak to yourself and carry yourself can effect[sic] your mood …. I have self esteem problems so I slouch,” she wrote on Instagram.

Spears said that she does stretches with her trainer to build up back strength and improve her stance.

“These poses help me everyday become stronger and it’s quite fun doing them … I feel so different everytime I do it, cause I’m not used to the feeling of my back being out!!!!” she said.

The mom of two also shared a video of her practice, starting with an explanation of her movements.

“So basically what I’m going to do today with my gym coach is basically, arch my back,” she said. “And by hanging upside down it opens my back and enables me to breathe better and to open up and to feel better."