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Have You Hugged a Curly Haired Girl Today?

Oh Dove, you’ve gone and done it again. Your creative team has whipped up another heart-warming, tear-jerking commercial to help make all of us ladies feel beautiful (or at least feel guilty about not feeling beautiful.)

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the recap: The ad starts with a collection of adorable little girls with curly hair discussing how much they dislike having curly hair. We then move into a musical montage of gorgeous, curly haired moms accompanied by their curly-haired daughters, spinning in the streets to a catchy tune. The grand finale is the little girls walking into a room for a surprising ‘eyes covered’ reveal where their mom are dancing to a curly haired band playing a song repeating the lyrics, “We all love our curls, we all love our hair…Oh I love it, love it!”

The final takeaway is very moving:


Great message. I’m all for anything that helps boost the confidence of our young girls.


I had a lot of friends share the commercial online with comments about how sweet it is, (sidenote: they all have straight hair.) I on the other hand, (a curly girl) walked away from it thinking, “Two minutes ago my only problem was having bad hair, now I have bad hair and I’m a bad parent for thinking that I have bad hair.”

I think that I speak for many of my curly haired friends out there when I say that we too would be spinning in the streets singing “we all love our curls” if our hair looked even remotely close to the perfectly coiffed girls and ladies in that commercial. And honestly, I think that the look of surprise in those girls’ eyes after the big reveal at the end is “Holy sh*t mom, your curly hair does look awesome! – You should totally have that stylist come every morning and spend two hours straightening your hair and then putting rollers in it so your curls look like that instead of your normal frizzy mess!”

Sure, there are some moms out there who do have curls that are worth singing in the streets about even without the assistance of professional stylists, (I’m looking at you Katie and Bekah). But then there are the rest of us: the ones who love curly hair, just not our own. It’s especially hard for those of us in the ‘part curly/part straight/part wavy’ category: The Strurlvy girls. Our hair can’t decide what the hell it’s doing on a day to day basis, so we have to make the call, and often that call is for killing our curls for 3 primary reasons:

  1. No matter how many Dove products you use, ‘styling’ curly hair is a pain in the ass. Anyone with curly hair will tell you that the Golden Rule of curly hair is that once you wash it, you’re not supposed to mess with it. You can’t towel dry it, comb it, brush it or even touch it while you let it air dry.  What curly hair styling lacks in terms of ‘interaction’ time, it makes up for in excessive drying time. It’s kind of like the slow cooker of hair – Super convenient if you don’t want to make a fuss and have 6 hours until you have to be ready, but if you only have 20 minutes, you’re going to pan-fry that sucker.
  2. Laziness: Sure, straightening your hair involves 20 minutes of arm-cramping, hair-sizzling work, but once it’s done, you can eek at least 2-3 days out of that hairdo. Morning drop off with slept-on straightened hair = a quick run through with my fingers. Morning school drop off with slept-on curly hair = a spray bottle, two barrettes and a hat.
  3. Perhaps I would be “7 times more likely to love my curls if the people around me did”….but they don’t. Even when properly tended to for its delicate drying phase, my Strurlvy hair only has about a 50/50 chance of looking good (damn Austin humidity.) 9 out of 10 times that I receive a compliment about my hair is when I’ve straightened it. (Sorry, Dove – the ‘people around me’ are not making it easy to love my curls.)

This third point was dramatically illustrated last week. In the middle of straightening my hair my blowdryer died in a spectacular display of green lightening and smoke.   I posted this picture to Facebook highlighting my interesting half and half hairdo.

I received dozens of comments echoing my own thoughts of “how on earth can I straighten the other side before I have to pick up my son from school?”

I only received one comment suggesting that I should do away with the straightened half and go for all curly. (Technically two, but the second was from my mom, who is tremendously curl biased.)

Which brings me back to my Catholic guilt over this new Dove commercial.

My 9 year old daughter doesn’t currently have curly hair but the minute that puberty hits she will. I’m sure her curls will be adorable and I’ll be just like my mom who has spent a lifetime telling me how much she loves my curls, twirling them around her fingers whenever my back is turned to her. Despite her efforts, she still hasn’t convinced me to love my curls and like every girl and woman out there, I’m sure my daughter will spend her life pining for hair that is exactly the opposite of whatever hair she has.

Fortunately, in addition to her attempted curl brainwashing, my mom also made it a point to reassure me that everyone has things that they wish they could change about themselves but that there are plenty of good things to love about ourselves and to focus on those instead. That is the message that resonated with me and that I still carry with me today.  That’s the message that I want to instill in my daughter.

Am I damaging my daughter by straightening my curls? I sure hope not. I do think it’s a good sign that she has told me a few times that she hopes that she has hair like mine when she grows up because then she gets to decide every day if she wants to be curly or straight. (She even demonstrated her hair confidence a couple years ago by cutting it all off in a dramatic pixie cut.) Plus, she takes a lot of pride in the things that she already loves about herself: her kindness, her artistic talents and her sense of humor.

So, as much as I love Dove’s efforts to support women and girls of all shapes, sizes and levels of curliness, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.  I’m going to continue smooshing my curls into submission while focusing on the larger message: that when you love yourself, you don’t always have to love your hair.

The Dusty Parachute by Susanne Kerns
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16 thoughts to “Have You Hugged a Curly Haired Girl Today?”

  1. The fact that those of us who have Strurlvy hair are 1 trillion times more likely to experience death by hairdryer or get burned by a flat iron is all the more reason to hug our endangered asses. We live on the edge. Every. Single. Day.

  2. I still kind of love that commercial. And I have straight hair. That used to be wavy. Until I permed it as a teenager. Yeah. That was fun. And then after that it’s been straight. What? I have no idea.

    But I get what you’re saying and love your point. For certain it’s how we feel comfortable with ourselves that matters most. Curly or straight, I think you have cute hair!

  3. I have naturally curly hair. And, I’ve never straightened it. Mainly b/c I was hopelessly inept at wielding a hair dryer back when I had 2 working arms, let alone now when I’m down to one.

    Nobody gets the dread of a hair cut like another curly haired woman. I can count on one hand the number of ‘good’ hair cuts I’ve had in my life. And, considering I’m older than 4, that’s kind of a scary statement.

  4. I gave up straightening my hair years ago. My hair didn’t go curly until I was in college when the spiral perm was popular. Luckily, my curls looked like I had the spiral perm, but with much less control. (My hair did have wave before that, but not curl.) Then, every time my mom saw my hair, she would ask me to brush it because it looked messy. Yep, I got anti-curl bias from my own mother who didn’t understand it and the fact that frizz won’t go away and will always look messy. Interestingly enough, after I had my second child, I lost a good portion of my curls. My hair is more wavy now with the occasional curl. My oldest daughter, who is 3, has lots of curls. All I can hope is that she learns to love her curls and not fight them too much. 😉 Lovely post!

    1. Isn’t it funny how having kids can even change your hair! My big change was when puberty hit. I just happened to get an Ogilvy home perm around the same time and just went on for years thinking that the perm really took! 😉

  5. Oh My! Will you teach my daughter how to style her curly hair? I’m of course envious of you – and that instagram photo made me bust out laughing! Great ad and post!

  6. I haven’t seen that commercial, but every single “curly hair” ad I’ve seen since the beginning of time has made me want to punch someone. No one’s hair looks that good without hours of styling. Thanks for sharing that fact with the world!

    1. I know – I always find it terribly ironic that all of the fashion magazines that have tutorials about how to get an awesome curly look always have straightening your hair as the first step. I did have one beautician do something magical once that made me absolutely love my curls for 1.5 days. The next time I went in to ask what she did she had moved out of the state – now I’ll never know!

  7. My daughter yells at me for giving her curly, ‘poofy’ hair. I tell her all the time that it could be worse, she could be losing it like dad but that is a hard sale.

    I used to want to straighten my hair just to see if I could have long hair like some of the other guys. Don’t know if I really wanted it or just wanted the option.

    Instead I settled for the standard Jewfor until I cut it really short.

  8. I am also a curly haired gal, and though people have always told me they wanted my curly hair, and they’ve payed good money for curly hair, etc., I curse my curly hair for all the reasons you nailed so perfectly above. Occasionally I appreciate it when I have a good hair day, but boy is it a pain in the butt. For the record though, I think you’re rocking both looks. 🙂

    1. I know, I think that hair is the ultimate “grass is always greener” situation. I did almost end up rocking the half and half for pick up that day – Fortunately I remembered that I had given my daughter one of my old travel blowdryers. 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping by to read it and for sharing it on your FB page – I really appreciate it!

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