I think it is the lighting. It's similar to how your lipstick looks brownish red in the bathroom but when you look in your car mirror, the same lipstick is orange red.
I look similar with both curly and straight hair, but I do know what you're talking about. I hated my short hair at first. I still have short hair (think Felicity or Halle Berry short). I did look different at first because my hair looked and felt like straw. The healthier it becomes, the more my face looks like me again. It's hard at first, especially when you're used to having straight hair, but if your hair looks its best, then you'll look your best.