When I would draw pictures of princesses as a little girl, they would all have long blonde hair. Despite the fact that this was the opposite of my own hair, I would never reach for the brown crayon, and I always used straight lines. I made every effort to ensure my princesses had the exact opposite hair to my own. While I wasn’t one of those babies who was born with a lot of hair (you know, the ones who look like they’re wearing wigs), I was blessed/cursed with tight, dark brown curls. As a little girl, it was a nightmare to look after.
There are two distinct traumatic moments when I clearly remember hating those curls: First, the time I had to have a school photo taken and, unlike my twin who had pristine straight hair, my curls were bunched up on my head. I felt like I looked messy and unkempt. Second, when my mum cut my hair. She’d gone to hairdressing classes, but because curly hair is totally different from straight hair, one side ended up longer than the other. Needless to say, these formative experiences didn’t help me come to terms with my natural hair.
When I became a teenager, I eagerly reached for the straighteners and would perfect my blow-dry so that I always had sleek hair. I hated leaving the house without my hair properly poker-straight and some John Frieda serum through the ends (I still love that stuff). But all of a sudden, curly hair became chic. It wasn’t messy; it was tousled. It wasn’t unpolished; it was louche. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and honestly, I think it was thanks to Sex and the City and Carrie Bradshaw embracing her curls. While they were perfect coils, her look opened my eyes to curly hair being stylish.
From then, I started experimenting with leaving my hair to dry naturally, curling it with my Ghd for definition (I still do this) and also adding incredible products such as sea-salt spray. Not only that, I also got better at speaking to my hairdresser about the best way to ensure my natural movement was actually brought out with my hairstyle. These tricks, as well as looking to the A-listers with the best curly hair, have finally helped me accept the hair I was born with—see below for my favourite looks.
Yara Shahidi's curls never fail to impress me. Here, at the MTV Awards 2018, they looked so healthy and well conditioned—both traits that help a curl keep its shape and form.
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Jourdan Dunn’s bouncy glossy curls must be the work of some nifty diffusing—Ghd’s Air Diffuser (£15) has a particularly big head that lets you dry a wide area at once.
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For curls as glossy as Hailee’s, you’ll need to invest in a sturdy hair oil or serum. O&M’s Frizzy Logic Shine Serum (£23) contains olive leaf extract that coats each strand of hair in a layer of gloss without pulling curls out of shape.
There are so many Carrie Bradshaw hairstyles that we’ve loved (that time she cuts all her hair off when she worked for Vogue is incredible), but perhaps this is the best because it’s a classic. A texture spray such as Redken Windblown Dry Finishing Spray (£11) will give curls that mussed-up effect.
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Curly hair comes in many styles and forms, and this look on Billie Piper is fabulous for a night out. It’s easy to recreate even if your hair is straight, just make sure you have a tong like Ghd’s Creative Curl Wand (£100).
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In an interview with Allure, Madekwe revealed she’s “pretty skilled with the flatiron, so I can take my hair from curly to straight if I feel like it, and I hardly ever use a curling iron.” As her hair gets dry, she likes to use Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Oil-in-Cream (£24).
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You can’t talk about curly hair without discussing Julia Roberts. We’ve seen hers in many different types of curls, from the red in Pretty Woman to now, when her locks are blonde and wavy. Ouai’s Wave Spray (£22) is brilliant at re-creating this effect.
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Avid Byrdie readers will know that we’re massive fans of Blake Lively’s hair in general, but when we saw that she stepped out wearing this ’80s look, we wanted to try it immediately. Luckily, we have just the tutorial on how to try this celeb hair trend but arm yourself with a good hold styling product like Percy and Reed Abundantly Bouncy Volumising Mousse (£12) to prep hair first.
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We recently spoke to hairstylist Vernon François about the best ways to style textured and naturally curly hair right now, and he cited Corinne Bailey Rae as someone who has great hair. And we couldn’t agree more. If you have similarly textured hair, twist Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Hair Smoothie (£9) into curls to hydrate the hair.
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This a great example of how to do short hair even when it’s curly. The addition of subtle layers and some great balayage gives the curls added definition. Make sure you have a good hair mist in your kit. Something like Bumble and Bumble’s Curl Pre-Style/Re-Style Primer (£21) will encourage curls to form naturally, too.
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After seeing Audrey Tautou in Amelie, we were pretty obsessed with her hair. Over the years, we’ve seen her embrace her natural curls on the red carpet with an array of different looks, but this one just might be our favourite—a French twist at the back with a few loose strands at the front.
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Yes, you could argue that Emilia Clarke doesn’t exactly have curly hair in this picture, but hear us out. The star clearly has a wave in her hair, which is teased to give a great tousled effect. This super-textured look is best done on curly to wavy hair using Denman’s Dressing Out Brush (£5).
Want more hairspo? Here are 52 short hairstyles that will persuade you into the salon.
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