15. May 2023

10 things all girls with curly hair will relate to

Girl with curly hair on a windy day

All girls with curly hair are going to understand these challenges!


1) Your hair dictates your schedule

If you’re the proud owner of a head of curls, you’ll know that you arrange your whole week around it.

Got an interview or exciting date this week? That’s going to be a hairwash day. Sport on two consecutive days? Nope — washing your hair twice in two days is just going to make those curls frizz right out. Better have a rest day and go running the day after.

Remember: the curls control YOU and not the other way around. In fact, sometimes, your hair feels like such a distinct entity that it should have its own passport.

2) Finding the right hairdresser is more challenging an undertaking than a degree in quantum physics

I was in my late 30s before I found the right hairdresser. And, believe me, I went through a lot of disasters to get to this happy place.

I’ve endured haircuts that have made my hair look like a Cocker Spaniel’s ears. Clueless hairdressers have gone and lopped my hair off so short that I had to pin it down for four weeks until gravity could hold those springy locks in check again. I’ve had all manner of oily, sticky products massaged onto my head in the promise that it would “tame the curls” — only to end up looking like I’ve been put through a deep-fat fryer.

I have never liked going to the hairdresser and these endless misadventures made me thoroughly dread the experience. I’d put it off for weeks and weeks — until my hair was about to be deemed a public nuisance.

Then I found M., who understands my hair, knows the cut I like, knows I don’t like any products being splashed on me and gets it right almost every time. No frizz, no fuss.

I even went for some highlights recently. I don’t like strangers touching me, so the fact that I allowed her to mess around with my hair for more than an hour is a testament to how much I like and trust her.

3) The idea of a beach holiday fills you with dread

It’s not just the thought of getting sand in your knickers. Or the horrendous hotel prices in high season. Nope — it’s the humidity. Living in a continental climate can be pretty extreme, but I sure do appreciate the dry air. Going anywhere near the sea transforms smooth curls into a Hagrid-like puffball within a matter of minutes.

4) “Just brush it”, they said

Girls with curly hair know: you have precisely one opportunity to brush/comb your hair and that is right after you wash it. After your hair has dried, you can scrunch it, smooth it, grab it or push it around — but never, ever brush it.

You find yourself looking on in shock and awe at other women whipping a hairbrush out of their handbags to give their manes a quick tidy-up in public. How???? That is an alien, inaccessible world to us curly-haired ladies.

girl trying to brush her long curly hair
Yeah, that’s not going to end well

5) No, girls with curly hair can’t “just tie their hair up”

If you’ve got curly hair like mine, tying your hair up is not something you do for five minutes. It is a complex undertaking that takes consideration, skill and commitment to the project. With my hair, getting an “up ‘do’” right is a dice with disaster: once I’ve pulled my hair around once, the curls are destroyed. It’s literally one strike and you’re out.

And you can forget that move beloved of shampoo adverts where some straight-haired bird comes out of the gym or the office, casually pulling out a hair tie – her glossy hair falling obediently into lush waves around her shoulders.

My hair doesn’t do that. If I pull out a hair elastic, my hair stays right where it is, in ponytail form, suspended.

6) You’ve been told that you should straighten your hair to make a serious impression

Back in the early years of this century (God that makes me sound old…), I was a law student in London starting to apply for jobs at city law firms. We won’t get into what a false turn that was in my life. But while putting together an appropriate outfit for interviews, I vividly remember being advised to straighten my hair. Curly hair, apparently, showed a lack of professionalism and wasn’t very…presentable.

How insulting was that?

My curls are such a huge part of my identity: I never straighten them. The world will just have to take me as it finds me. Whether it’s an interview, a business lunch, or a networking event: my curls are always out in force.

woman in business dress against city background
I’m not straightening my hair for you

7) The film portrayals drive you nuts

Film and TV aren’t exact devoid of curly-haired heroines. Julia Roberts in Pretty WomanSarah Jessica Parker as Carrie in Sex and the CityMerida in Brave. All quite loveable, in their own, special way.

But something irritates me: curly-haired female characters are always a little wild, a little crazy, a bit…out there.

Yep, there’s something about those curls that Hollywood seems to think is abnormal, possibly a bit subversive. The logic is clear: if your hair is hard to handle, then the girl underneath it must be too!

It’s just hair, guys. We Curly Sues just take up a little extra space with ours.

8) It’s pretty useful in crowded places

The good thing about having masses of curly hair is that you stand out. If you’re in a crowded space — a club, a concert hall, a busy station — “just look for the hair” is a genuinely useful and practical instruction to issue when someone is trying to find you. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

9) Your hair is like a follicular Bermuda triangle

Stuff gets lost in my hair. Kirby grips (or Bobby pins as they are called Stateside) are the classic. If I’m pinning my hair up, I have to count the number of items I’m putting in there. Because, when it comes to letting my hair down again, you can be sure I’ll forget one and I’ll either have to manhandle it out in the shower or almost cause myself a brain injury when I lie down to sleep at night.

Spending time out in nature almost always means involuntarily smuggling some souvenir or other back to the city in my locks. Leaves, blossoms, feathers…my hair has harboured it all at some point. I once got the shock of my life while under the shower after a day of hiking: I felt a sizeable lump tangled up in my hair and teased it out. A black beetle about 2cm long fell out into the shower tray – it must have flown into the maelstrom of my hair at some point during the walk and been completely overcome. What a way to go.

10) It gets EVERYWHERE

On my clothes. On the floor in the bathroom. On the floor in the front room. All around my desk. My hair is absolutely everywhere in the flat. Because we have parquet and tiled floors where you can see all the dust and dirt, I sweep regularly and am genuinely surprised just how much hair comes together every single time. How can that much be on the floor, and yet so much still be on my head? Our resident spiders even weave it into their webs – presumably for its excellent fly-catching qualities (see point 9 above). Well, glad it’s working out for you fellas – happy to have been of assistance!


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Photos of the author taken by Christian Wagner

Remaining photo: kiraliffe on Envato Elements