Growing up curly in a distinctly straight world is a tough business. With the benefit of hindsight, I can look back on the slagging I got in secondary school with some degree of fondness and a wry smile. “Hiroshima head” was my favourite, inspired of course by the mushroom cloud shape of my head when it was in shadow. “Jimi Hendrix” was another (which was odd because I neither had an afro nor any musical ability worth writing home about).
When I grew tired of trying to straighten the kink out of my hair and moved into the acceptance phase, I was about 17. Yes, it took a while; the previous years had involved straightening irons (not of the GHD variety), sleeping in plaits, cutting my hair super-short (twice) and, with photographic evidence to prove it, pinning strands of hair tightly to my head, hoping that when I unpinned them I would look like California Barbie, all beachy hair and shiny teeth.
Even when I started thinking curly hair was cool, finding inspiration for what to do with it was no mean feat! Can you name five famous women with curly hair? (And not afro hair – which is a very different animal.) If you can, chances are they don’t wear it curly in public much, and definitely get it straightened for the red carpet. But, having spent a long time searching for curlspiration, I’ve done the hard work – so you don’t have to!
Shakira is a curly-haired girl worth getting behind – she really makes it work for her, and it’s never too perfect, which I love! Her hair looks like it’d be soft to the touch, and instead of making her look like a soccer mom (a look I blame on too much mousse and not enough tousling), it makes her look like she’d be great craic altogether. Plus, it’s super sexy!
To get Shakira’s look stylist Christian Shannon’s recommends – Prep the hair with Kerastase Elixir after washing, leaving it to dry naturally. When dry, finish up with one more pump of Kerastase Elixir to tidy it up. This keeps the hair very natural.
My personal jury is out on whether AnnaLynne’s hair is naturally curly, but it would seem like a lot of effort to go to so frequently for a Hollywood starlet. I love how 1980s this picture is, like she could be posing for a hairdressing photoshoot, and again her curls aren’t too “done”. See how they’re all a different curl, some tighter and some looser? That’s one of the headwrecks of having curly hair – you can’t rely on it to be the same day in, day out, and you kind of just have to roll with the punches! I like to think it makes us curly girls very adaptable to change.
To get AnnaLynn’s look stylist Tanya Power’s suggests – Using a wand tong, sporadically pull out pieces and wrap them around the wand. This will give you more depth and definition, giving you a polished look.
Sarah Jessica Parker
If you were born any time before 1990, SJP will be your ultimate curly poster girl. But hers is also a cautionary tale; a quick Google search will show you just how wrong she got her curls before she started getting them right! But this hairstyle is a good example of how long hair can work with curls; sometimes having too much weight in the ends of your hair can really drag your hair down, but her layers are just long enough to keep things bouncy (without going into crazy short spirals) and she somehow makes the straight roots look good. Brava!
To get SJP’s stylist Jennifer Lil Buckley recommends – Prepping the hair with L’Oreal Techni.Art Biro Splendour, use a diffuser through the hair to get the most form your curls. Finish off with a little bit of serum to tame down the hair after styling.