perceptions of curly hair....

(91 Posts)
beatrixpotterspencil Sat 01-Aug-20 18:17:38

I was a child in the 80's with curly white hair, I hated it, everyone else loved it. I was singled out because of it and always told it was special, enviable, etc. I never liked it myself and thought people were mad!
Hair stylists encouraged me never to colour or straighten it as people would pay a fortune for what I had naturally.

This lasted up until my mid twenties, so into the 2000's. And then suddenly the compliments vanished and people even occasionally told me they had sympathy for me having to suffer curly hair! grin
Hair stylists in the past 10 years have even said my hair is 'problem' hair.
Such a turnaround!
This went hand in hand with straighteners and ghd's exploding on the market.

So I guess I lived through a fashion change, a massive alteration to the perception of curly hair. I have always semi straightened mine and never liked the curls from being a little kid, so none of the fads really affected how I wore it, but I did notice how deeply and suddenly the rejection of curls came about.

So, all the way to the present day, I still see people trying to avoid wearing their curls. It is often seen as 'unprofessional' or untidy, and people say they don't feel groomed or well put together with their curls.

Strangely, nobody said that back in the 80's or 90's.

do you believe fashion dictates this, and our perceptions of what is well groomed?
Will curls have their day again, and flat straight hair become the 'ungroomed' look?
Having lived through these changes of perception and noticed how others react to my hair, it is quite interesting.

I take the middle ground, I prefer it wavy, haha!

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beatrixpotterspencil Sat 01-Aug-20 18:17:53

gosh, sorry, that is mad long!

OP’s posts: |
Chochito Sat 01-Aug-20 18:19:41

I've got straight hair, I think curls are amazing and look wonderful. Agree that we see curly hair quite rarely.

BeginningBridge Sat 01-Aug-20 19:31:41

I have naturally very curly hair. It is too curly to successfully straighten ( even when my hairdresser straightens it,it is back to curly within about 2 hours!).

I do feel as if I have 'messy' hair but there really is nothing I can do about it. I am envious of people with straight neat hair.

purpledagger Sat 01-Aug-20 19:48:04

I'm a curly girl and proud. I've always just seen my curls as part of me. I like that I can easily straighten my hair.

I think curl will slowly come back, not necessarily as a fashion, but because women of colour (I am one) are rejecting the notion that straight, sleek hair is the only acceptable look.

Fidgety31 Sat 01-Aug-20 20:03:42

I have naturally wavy hair that curls in places so it’s neither straight nor curly .
I think it looks messy and dirty even though I wash it everyday .
I would love to have straight hair . It looks so much neater and cleaner .

beatrixpotterspencil Sat 01-Aug-20 21:04:11

a lot of people say they don't think curls will be fashionable again, but they were pretty much the cherished 'thing' for the past 100 years really. Apart from maybe the 1920's?

I do think it is all subject to fashion and that our perceptions of it are largely created by that, even if we think we are individual and not easily led, it gets through somehow, as culture just does....

I love afro hair, it sits in a very different way to my own curly hair, it always makes my jaw drop when I see someone letting it flow free!

younger girls seem more easy going about wearing hair naturally curly, wavy, etc. Not as taken by the poker straight look recently. Ive seen quite a few teens with long frizzy hair, no product, they don't give a damn and its great.
I would love to see a celebration of that hair type again, because frizz is not a 'problem' it is normal for many many people. They loved that shit in the 70's, both men and women!

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beatrixpotterspencil Sat 01-Aug-20 21:06:35


I have naturally wavy hair that curls in places so it’s neither straight nor curly .
I think it looks messy and dirty even though I wash it everyday .
I would love to have straight hair . It looks so much neater and cleaner .

I do know what you mean, but I think it's weird. I have thought this of myself in the past and it's so so wrong.
if perceptions of curly hair are 'dirty', 'messy', etc, what the heck message does this send to women of colour?

it's such an odd thing, and why didnt people see curly hair as dirty in the 80's? Neither rich, royal or poor thought that at all back then!

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Bluntness100 Sat 01-Aug-20 21:09:41

I have naturally wavey hair and curl it, and I’m quite senior at work. My daughter has very curly hair, as in ringlets, and is a trainee lawyer, she wears it curly and long, and only straightens it sometimes for nights out.

vengeancer Sat 01-Aug-20 21:11:46

very curly (not afro) and love it. I have been told so many times to straighten it for job interviews and to look professional. I never do. I don't go to hairdressers either (most are hopeless with curls). I have never straightened my hair and always looked after my curls. it is part of me. I do t care what people think or work thinks and it has never really been an issue for me. I don't care if curls are in fashion or not but they seem to be much more in now than a decade ago which is brill.

SunnySomer Sat 01-Aug-20 21:14:55

My wavy hair (which I straightened for about 15 years) has suddenly gone Properly curly since I stopped colouring it. My instinct was to think it was messy, but actually it’s in fabulous condition, feels soft to the touch and looks - well, natural. In the 80s everybody (girls AND boys) was busy perming their hair, so I think it really is just a fashion thing

OneMoreForExtra Sat 01-Aug-20 21:16:48

I have curly hair. People often complement me on it. But interestingly I never look that good with it natural. The hair looks good as a standalone feature, but i look frumpy, heavier and less professional with it. Straighten, style or put it up, and its goodbye all the ooh gorgeous curls comments, and hello have you lost weight / you were very professional etc. So I think there's a reason for the curl turnaround...

beatrixpotterspencil Sat 01-Aug-20 21:21:59

I must admit I do prefer some movement to hair.
whilst naturally straight hair is beautiful, straightened curls never look like natural straight hair.

what I do is wash mine, let it curl and dry.
then I very very gently run a straightening brush through it, like the way I'd use a real hairbrush for about 30 seconds.
and then leave it.
it waves beautifully, and feels thicker/longer.

when I used ghds it looked thinner and broke off at ends.

in my experience, if you get frizz after washing/brushing, it does die down after a few hours.

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Elouera Sat 01-Aug-20 21:23:02

There is a big difference between smooth, even curls or waves as opposed to a frizzy, wavy mess! In my teens, my hair changed to lovely, even curls, then in my 20's the curl seemed to drop and went wavy, without having the nice curls! It does seem more people want smooth, straigh hair rather than curls nowadays.

What do you mean by white hair as a child? Albino white, or do you mean blonde? Is it still the same colour?

CremeEggThief Sat 01-Aug-20 21:23:35

I am proud of my curly hair. My sister has recently started wearing her hair curly again after years of straightening, and it looks so much better, in my opinion.

It makes me feel sad for people who post online in very disparaging terms about their own curly hair. They should be proud that they don't look like everyone else and embrace their curls, instead of trying to make it 'behave'!
Sometimes, the undertone feels to me that they are also criticising others with curly hair, and think that anyone who has curls feels as if they're 'a mess' or 'a clown' or 'lazy' or 'unprofessional', etc., and if you don't feel that way about your own curly hair, you should. Maybe it's just my perception, but that's how it makes me feel. For example, I don't think my aunts were happy with their curly hair and spent a lot of time and effort trying to unsuccessfully tame it (pre hair straighteners), and then they didn't understand why I didn't feel the same about mine, and were borderline rude to me about my hair at times.

museumum Sat 01-Aug-20 21:24:04

I’ve curly hair and I noticed hairdressers stopped trying to straighten it about five years ago. Waves are ‘in” as far as I can tell.

Floisme Sat 01-Aug-20 21:26:49

Yes it's fashion and of course curls will be back. My hairdresser's doing perms again.

donttouchmyhair Sat 01-Aug-20 21:31:37

I got complimented on my curly hair several times a day and see so many women wearing their hair natural these days so I don't agree it's not fashionable.

Pretty disgusted at the comments saying curly hair is messy and dirty even after being washed hmm

vanillandhoney Sat 01-Aug-20 21:41:55

I have curly ringlets. Always have done. But I'm also cursed with fine, frizzy hair so I can't just let it dry and leave it be - it needs product in it daily to stay looking neat and tidy, and if it's windy it just looks like a birds nest blush

I used to straighten the life out of it but have now embraced my curls!

FMLFML Sat 01-Aug-20 22:03:33

I have curly hair. It is my pride and joy. The thing that everyone comments on. It makes me different.
I was a teenager in the 00s when everyone had poker straight hair. Once when I was 8 my mum took me to an English hairdressers and I told them not to brush my hair. They didn't listen to me and the brush got stuck in my hair, snapped in half and had to be cut out. I didn't cut my hair for almost 9 years after that.
At school the girls just wanted to straighten my hair all the time.
The problem is that hairdressers don't know how to cut and treat curly hair and therefore they want to change it to something they can control.
It's only in recent years that a variety of textured hair products have been available. That models in magazines and online shops have natural hair. There's an H&M model with gorgeous curly hair. It's about time.

Rodders92 Sat 01-Aug-20 22:04:55

I have fine but curly hair and now never straighten it. There seem to be a lot more people embracing curls these days and think we are moving past curl hair not looking professional

WotsitWiggle Sat 01-Aug-20 22:15:27

I have naturally curly hair. I rarely straighten it. It can look a bit unkempt - if it's windy outside, colleagues with straight hair can just run a brush through it but all i can do is pat it with my hands!

I've noticed in lockdown that a few of my colleagues do have naturally wavy / curly hair as they stopped straightening it. Now we can leave the house, they've gone back to the ghds.

I've started CG method, and noticed my curls starting to form like they used to in my teens, rather than the frizz I've put up with in my 40s. I agree most hairdressers haven't a clue though.

FeedMeWell Sat 01-Aug-20 22:40:35

I’ve got very curly hair. I found the 80s and 90s worst for being teased about it and being told it was unprofessional. The last five years or so have been great for easily available products and general acceptance of curly hair.

Hereforadvice1000 Sat 01-Aug-20 22:55:26

Not read the full thread yet but I will always remember a teacher saying to me in school that I would need to sort my curly hair out before I ever went for a job interview as looked unprofessional. Dickhead.

I used to get so scared of showing my natural curls, I'd straighten them everyday. Now I don't care, I love my curly hair even if I do occasionally straighten it still. I've learnt that this is my natural hair and I should love it.

Jellycatspyjamas Sat 01-Aug-20 23:28:46

I have very curly hair - Ive never had someone describe it or me as looking unprofessional, and I’d tell them to kiss off if they did.

I always wear my hair curly, it doesn’t straighten easily and curls quickly thereafter - I do always avoid hairdressers who ask if they can dry it straight, sure sign they don’t know what they’re doing with curly hair.

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