Straight hair, curly hair…should I care?

September 28, 2017

Hair confession time, mine is secretly very curly. This is something that not a lot of people seem to know about me, including my own father-in-law.

But it’s true; my real hair doppelgängers are Original Orphan Annie and Bonnie Langford, circa the 1980s (we’d make a brilliant girl group).

Curly hair straight hair do i care?

I think growing up you always covet what you can’t have, don’t you? So I always wanted a) straight hair that you could easily crimp, especially using the twirly crimping tool that came with that Barbie (crimped hair! Remember that?!) b) The ubiquitous front quiff all my teenage friends with straight hair had (with hindsight, not such a great look, thanks curls) c) Lovely glossy straight thick hair and a nice straight fringe like little Natalie Portman in Leo.

People would always say my curly hair was beautiful and enviable and I’m sure it was. But while I’d love to say that at some point I embraced my curls, in my mid-20s I saw the light, found GHDs and have never looked back.

And while me – and hopefully everyone – is well past the poker-straight-90s-popstar-Atomic-Kitten phase – thankfully – I’ve straightened my own hair on and off and not worn it properly curly, only vaguely wavy, in a long while. Apart from brief forays on holiday and after having babies. Curls just aren’t me, anymore.

But recently, I’ve really been thinking about straightening my own hair and the impact it might have on my curly haired children.

Mesy hair don't care jumper

When pregnant with both my girls the hair colour thing was big question mark, never the thought of curls. Both were born with poker straight hair and I never really thought about it (and not much about mine either…it’s impossible to care when you’re dry shampooed to the max, pram pushing and toddler hand holding and can no longer whip out the emergency umbrella at the slightest sign of moisture in the air).

But both of mine are now blessed with a halo of beautiful, ‘dragged through a bush’ curls they’ll never let me get a brush near. Obviously, I think it’s beautiful. But recently at the hairdressers, one of them turned to me and said ‘I want straight hair just like yours!’ It stung, a bit – like a hair straightener burn to the ear.

And it’s really made me think. What is it teaching them if on one hand I’m saying that their hair is amazing (which is it) but I’m straightening the same feature out of mine out at the same time?

Is there a straight answer to this? I’m not sure. There’s more to life than hair, I know, but like the hashtag goes…#straighthairdontcare…but should I?

More posts…ten reasons I hate the school run and everything you’ll obsess about in your baby’s first year of school (photos are of a VERY small Eliza at about three, I think? I found them on my phone the other day)


  • Eleanor (TheBristolParent)

    September 28, 2017 at 7:13 am

    As the mum of a curly girl, I was FUMIN’ HUN when I found out her previous nursery had given her toy straighteners to play with in role play. It’s the only thing I’ve ever complained to a nursery about. My argument was, who instigated that role play, because I bet my ass it wasn’t my daughter.

    I don’t have an answer for you about whether you should straighten your hair or not, but I do think that curly hair shouldn’t be something that children feel requires some sort of ‘solution’.

  • Sarah

    September 28, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    As a daughter of a mum with curly hair I used to sleep in those twisty polystyrene things to try and make my fine dull poker straight hair curly. So maybe there’s a wanting to be like mummy thing there too? My daughter was born with beautiful curls that all fell out after I had her hair trimmed and I still feel sad that they are gone…..

    1. gillian

      October 19, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      I remember those! My friend had them and I was very jealous (despite already having curls, obviously). You’re so right about the mummy thing – I idolised everything my mum had and still remember being sad that my feet stopped growing at a smaller size than hers and I couldn’t wear her shoes) x

  • Sarah Rooftops

    September 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve embraced the curls but I still spend a lot of time despairing over frizz etc, and I have to be very careful not to have any of those rants in front of Matilda – I want her to love her gorgeous curly hair!

    On that note: I love, love, love Nelly and Nora… except for the episode in which Nelly gets all stressed because the humidity has made her hair go big. It makes me so angry that CBeebies, of all places, is telling my toddler that curly hair is something she needs to feel self-conscious about. Plus, there’s no way Nelly would care.

    (I have no opinion on what you should do with your own hair, but I do love the colour!)

    1. gillian

      October 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Thank you! And oh man the frizz will always get you no matter what your hair is like. I (we)’ve not seen that episode but that doesn’t sound great does it? Funny as CBeebies is usually so brilliant with everything else… x

  • Katie

    September 28, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I have curly hair and am too lazy to straighten it now (the invention of GHDs did change my life at uni though!) so embrace the curls/use all the clips to vaguely control it into submission. My toddler isn’t showing any signs of curls which makes me a bit sad – although I hated my hair with a passion and had some AWFUL styles growing up including a fringe – what was I/my mum thinking?! – but I reckon as I know how to deal with curls then my daughter would be ok because she wouldn’t have to deal with the disasters I endured. Who knows though, she may still hate them if they ever appear:

    Can’t offer any real advice to you I’m afraid – when I was growing up my mum was perming hers, how fashions have changed!

    1. gillian

      October 19, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      My mum had a perm too (even though she has curly hair!) Funny how quickly things change as everyone I knew had a perm! x

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