Mar 1, 2019

Curly Girls

One of my favourite episodes of Sex and the City is the one I think of as the Curly Girl episode. 

Remember when Big was dating (engaged to?) Natasha, the perfect, tall, sleek-haired younger woman. It's a pivotal moment in Carrie's life when it hits her that she and Miss Sleek might both be smart, successful women - but they are not the same species.

For Carrie is a Katie Girl (aka Barb in The Way We Were); fabulous, unique, raw, untamed, wild, unfinished, searching, and not kind of girl who classically ends up with the Bigs (or Hubbells) of the world.  For Katie - and Carrie - are determined to be themselves, to own their quirks, to not conform to current social norms in the face of loving larger than life men.

They are curly girls.

It was no accident that 'Natasha' had dead-straight hair. For straight hair is considered professional, beautiful and aspirational. (Which it is!) I'm just saying, when did it become so that curly hair isn't thought of the same way?

There have been moments when a Curly Girl's curls have made a big impact - Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Keri Russell in Felicity, Debra Messing in Will and Grace, the glorious Bernadette Peters in everything she ever did. Meg Ryan flew the curly flag in a number of films. But over time even they have succumbed to the pressure to defrizz. And Hermione (a total Curly Girl) began the Harry Potter franchise with curly hair only to see it smooth out as the films went on.

When Viola Davis wore her natural hair to the Oscars in 2012, rather than a glossy 'straight' weave,  it made international news.

Chris Rock made a fabulous documentary called Good Hair which talked about the overwhelming number of African American women who chemically straighten or weave their hair. He made it for his daughters in an effort to show them that their natural curly hair was amazing, to be celebrated, and need not be homogenized.

Quoting the New York Times, as recently as February this year, the "the City of New York, through its Commission on Human Rights, officially banned discrimination based on hairstyle." Because before then it was actually ok to have rules and policies against cornrows, Afros, Bantu knots, curls, hair that stood taller against the crown than a certain measurement. I kid you not. 

A great deal of the pull for me regarding this subject, is that I've always identified as a Curly Girl, whether I straightened my hair or not. Off centre, not so neat and tidy, a little rock chic. And as a kid I had wildly curly-hair. It frizzed, it fuzzed, I had no clue how to tame it, but I owned it. It was a big part of who I was.

Though as time went on and kids came along, my hair changed, it spent most days in a messy bun, or was straightened in an effort to at least appear as if I had it all together. My curls made the occasional come back, but by putting them out to pasture meant I lost a little of the Curly Girl part of myself along the way.

And then came the Curly Girl Method movement. And hallelujah!

Those of you with latent waves or under-appreciated curls, read on.  For what I'm about to tell you may well change your life.

For Curls are making a come back. Curly Girls (or wavy woman, frizzy females) are out there, sharing the right combination of products, and methods, to bring out the best in their curls. Products that are sulphate, paraben and silicone-free which stops the coat-then-strip coat-then-strip merry-go-round. Methods in which you learn about trapping moisture, deep conditioning, beer-protein-rinses, squishing, and scrunching.

It can be as fun and full-on as easy and light as you decide for it to be. For someone who's used the exact same (wrong) shampoo and conditioner for 20 years, for me it was time.

I've taken the plunge. I gave away all the smoothing, 3-day straight, silicone de-frizzing gloop filling my bathroom cupboard and bought leave-ins, and curl creams and apple cider vinegar and a bowl with which to saturate my clumps. I no longer use a towel to dry my hair, rather one of my husband's old t-shirts.

And I love it! My curls are back. My hair has NEVER felt better. And my inner Curly Girl is punching the air with glee!

If I'm ever caught glued to Youtube, my kids are all like, "Which Curly Girl are you watching?"  My eight-year-old son wants to start a movement called "Spiky Boy" and he squishes in his conditioner like a pro. And watching Iron Man 2 the other day, he took one look at Black Widow and said, "Mum, she's a Curly Girl!"

Since I'm also a Never Say Never kind of girl, I may straighten my hair again one day. For fun. But for now - I'm out and proud and au naturale!

My name is Ally, and I am a Curly Girl.

How about you?


  1. That is such a good post Ally and I have very straight of hair and always have had never a kink in mine and it is even hard to perm of curl and of course I always wanted curly hair :)

    Have Fun


    1. Straight hair is beautiful too! I think the lesson I've learned is we all need to love whatever hair we have, and learn how to care for it best.

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  3. I was cursed with very fine straight hair my sister had very thick hair when we were young she would set our hair in a pageboy her's would stay in all night mine was out by the time we got to the front door-------LynW

    1. :) Amazing how many different types of hair can be found in one family! Makes it harder to learn what to do with it! Why I'm so glad to have found the Curly Girl community - we share the work :).

  4. Ally, I had disastrous perms when I was younger in an effort to transform my dead straight hair into luxuriant waves. Horrid frizz resulted! Never again.

    1. :) Ah, perms. I had curls for days when I was younger and the day I found a hairdresser who used a straightener on it changed my life. I think we always want what we don't have and as we get older we chillax and become more accepting of ourselves.

  5. I'd kill to be curly, Ally.

    My dead straight hair is certainly neat and tidy but boring. Nothing (except that hideous 80s perm) can change that. I just have to embrace it. Makes getting ready in the morning super easy and I never have a bad hair day (unless they are all just bad, I like to think of them as good) it looks exactly the same everyday.

    So love your curl. Embrace your curl. Be a proud curly girl.

    1. Oh that line "I never have a bad hair day". Sounds like bliss! My hair is NEVER the same not even if follow the exact same routine. Funny how we always envy the hair we don't have :).