When Julia is asked why she doesn't straighten more often, she has plenty of reasons


Most of the curly girls that I know have been asked at one point or another “Why don’t you straighten your hair more often?”

When I’m asked, I generally deflect the question with a smile and a polite “I just prefer my curls.” While “I prefer my curls” is the theme of this column, there are several other reasons I forgo the straightening iron. While no casual inquirer would want me to list them, we’re devoted curly girls here and you'll agree that there are all sorts of reasons why we don’t “straighten our hair more often.”

In contrast to my usual reasons for keeping my curls (mostly centered around self-confidence and self-acceptance), here are some of the other reasons (perhaps a bit shallow, perhaps a bit silly) for shunning the straightening iron.

1. I’d rather sleep in!: When I started writing this column, I was a sophomore in high school and I loved staying up late. Now, I’m a sophomore in college and going to bed at eleven is a luxury, not a pain. Every chance I get to hit the snooze button is appreciated, and if I miraculously find myself with an extra 45 minutes in the morning, I’m going to walk to my favorite dining hall and order an omelet. Standing in front of a mirror with a burning hot object next to my scalp and neck for an hour is not high on the list of pre-class priorities.

2. My curls hide my cowlick: I have this absolutely ridiculous cowlick right in the middle of my forehead, perfectly aligned with my widow’s peak. When my hair is curly, this quirk is fairly well disguised. When I straighten my hair, however, my hair veers up and away from my widow’s peak, making me look like I have an “M” protruding from my forehead. Lovely.

3. My breakage: I’ll admit it. I’ve spent one too many days with my hair in a bun, and I have a bit of breakage to show for it. My curls usually disguise the breakage around the crown of my head. But when my hair is straight, the smallest bit of damage is glaringly obvious. Suddenly, a piece of hair that once demurely curled at my temple sticks straight up like some sort of alien feeler. Not attractive.

4. Who likes the smell of burning hair?: This one goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. The smell of hair being straightened makes me all sorts of unhappy. I feel like it’s olfactory proof that I’m damaging my hair. And I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the steam — or smoke — that rises off the straightener.

5. I refuse to fear the rain: Ithaca, NY is not known for its number of sunny days. Rain, sleet, snow, hail, if it falls from the sky it will hit Ithaca at some point during the month of March. The weather, in addition to being generally damp and gray, is also unpredictable. It’s common to walk into a building in the sunshine and walk out an hour later into a downpour. I refuse to become of those girls cowering under her copy of the campus newspaper because she knows that the rain will destroy her straightening efforts. Although wind will always be my worst weather enemy (it reduces even the most well-styled curls into a head of frizz), I will never fear the rain. The absolute worst thing the rain can do to my curls is make them look a little soggy!

So there you have it, some of the not-so-deep reasons why I “don’t straighten my hair more often.” From my love of the snooze button to my fearless acceptance of Ithaca’s weather, my day just goes smoother when I rock my curls!

Stay Curly,


Curly Teen Scene/Julia Rizzo

I'm a college student in Oregon, and I spent high school dodging the rain, of which we have PLENTY. You'd think this whole state would be flooded by now... I'm really happy I've embraced curly hair. My friends tease me sometimes because I'm constantly keeping an eye out for new products and reading labels and explaining different haircare techniques, and they think I'm out of my mind for putting so much effort into my hair. But really, spending an hour straightening and then stressing out when it isn't perfect weather seems like just as much effort to me...

My boyfriend always ask me to straighten like it takes five minutes. Ugh no! I totally agree with you. I'm a new curly girl and my thick hair stays curly or in braid out/ twist outs.

I completely agree with you! I have always straightened my hair and finally at the age of 23 I have embraced my curls! I get so many compliments on my curly hair and it fits my personality much better than straight hair.I also used to avoid activities and weather that would curl my straightened hair and now I love the rain!

From a Central NY alumni, I agree!! I straightened on campus and I set off the smoke alarm and the fire trucks came to my door... this happened on more than one occassion...

I agree. My hair and I have a much better relationship now that I have stopped trying to make it something it is not. All that damage from relaxers, blow dryers, and hot irons - not to mention the extra expense of more frequent visits to the hair stylist and that ever-present fear that someday the damage would catch up with me. Now that I pamper my curls, they couldn't be happier with me and I couldn't be happier with them.

AMen!! haha. I can remeber in high school (im a freshman in college now) everyday I would straighten my hair or once a week and I wouldn't participate in anything that could turn my hair back to curly, so I avoided sports. It seemed like in high school if you had curly hair you would get teased or maybe you wouldn't but in high school everyone wants to be the same for fear of being teased. In college its totally different. You're free to be yourself. So I can wear my hair curly and no one cares people actually like my hair and compliment me.

I love it! For most of those very same reasons, I am growing the relaxer out ot my hair. I spent years hating my curls. Well, at the tender age of 28 I'm learing to love them.

I totally agree with these. It takes long enough to wash and let our hair dry! Straightening it too? I would have no time at all!

I completely agree with everything you've said. It's strange, I don't feel or look like myself when I straighten my hair - friends and family agree. When I go out, people love to touch my hair or 'boing' my curls - they are simply enthralled by naturally curl hair - but they ALWAYS ask if I straighten it. Over the years I have developed the best response and I ALWAYS use it: "Why would I want to look like every other girl here? You'll walk away tonight and not remember a single person here, but you will *always* remember the girl with the curly red hair". Wear your curls proudly, sisters!