8 Struggles That Only Curly-Haired People Understand

Ah, the joys and pains of curly hair. Sure, it comes into fashion every now and then, and suddenly everyone loves it, but those of us with natural curls have to learn how to deal with it every day. (Pro tip: If you're ever feeling down, watch Sense and Sensibility, and let Kate Winslet's hair-and-bonnet stylings fix everything). And, though we proudly soldier on, sometimes, it feels like those with straight strands just don't seem to understand our realities. Learning to deal with the ill-informed masses is part of our membership in this exclusive club. Ahead, eight annoying things that we all experience — go ahead and roll your eyes along with the rest of us.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Those embarrassing middle school photos.
Yes, everyone has them, but for curly-haired people, they're usually much more upsetting. Particularly for those who grew up in the age of Xtina and Britney, straight hair was the only way to go, and almost all of us succumbed to the pressures at one point. Chances are you straightened (with a flat iron at home or chemically at the salon), and chances are you didn't know what you were doing. Even if you regularly wear your hair straight as an adult, there was something about either the techniques of the time or your own inability to properly style your mop that, back then, made it look like you hastily glued some dry, crusty, old hay to your scalp and then, for some reason, decided to crimp certain sections in the back. Sooo cute!
Being told what's right for your hair by people who have no idea about anything, ever.
This is something anyone of any hair type can suffer from, but it's particularly egregious for the curly among us because people tend to lump "curly hair" into one large group — when in reality there are about a billion kinds of curl patterns, and they all react differently to various routines, products, and weather situations. Suggesting that curly-haired women all need to do X thing, or use X miracle product, is just as ridiculous as suggesting that Solange Knowles and Elle Fanning should be following the exact same set of beauty rules. 
The assumption that frizz is a disgusting sin that must be atoned for.
Has it ever occurred to you that frizz might be exactly what I'm going for? Have you ever seen this amazing model's beautiful radiance? 
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Regular, tearful battles with your hair brush.
First of all, actual and aspiring hairstylists of the world, stop having conniptions over the fact that some curly-haired people use hair brushes (and please refer to the second entry on this list). It's happening, and you need to deal with it and move on. Now, to the point: Having curly hair — but not desiring dreadlocks — means you're gonna have to get some kind of detangling utensil through there from time to time, and it's going to hurt, and you're going to cry and break things. Studies (read: imaginary research that I just conducted in my head based on personal experience) say that you absorb more brush bristles into your scalp every morning than spiders you ingest nightly. 
Having to try that much harder to look "put-together."
Most unfortunately, people tend to associate super-shiny (and, often, super-straight or perfectly curled with an iron) hair with glamour and getting dolled up. Never mind the fact that a lot of curly-haired folk can air-dry their ways to incredible, envy-inducing manes; mothers in particular have a tendency to exclaim that your natural hair looks messy or unkempt, even when you've spent plenty of time arranging it into a carefully crafted look.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Celebrities jumping on the curly-hair bandwagon when they clearly shouldn't.
Look, I don't know what Taylor Swift's actual, natural, no-blow hair looks like. Probably, soft, amazing, and great. But, let's be clear on one thing: This is not "curly hair." This is hair that, however it started out, has been styled and sprayed, extensively. There are some early photos of her that I can get behind, but most of the time, I just can't identify, and thus I get even more upset when the woman handing out samples at Costco tells me that I "look exactly like Taylor Swift, except with less money and talent." (True story.) Oh, and don't even get me started on Monica's "humidity hair" on Friends. That doesn't happen to people whose hair normally looks like Courteney Cox's. That's ridiculous. Also, really, really don't get me started on Emma Watson's beautiful, but completely inaccurate attempt at Hermione hair. 
People acting like it is some kind of tragedy when you straighten your hair.
Why is it that nobody sees it as a repression of the true self when straight-haired people pull out a curling wand, but for some reason, a curly-haired person showing up with straight hair is met with sad looks and cries of, "Oh, but your natural hair is so pretty!" Yes, we've all felt a fair amount of pressure to adhere to the straight-haired standard, but that doesn't mean we can't grow out of it and straighten our hair because we feel like it, without it being some sad statement on how the devastating oppression has forced us to conform against our will. 
Unintentional '80s look.
You're decked out in an awesome outfit, your makeup is on-point, and your hair is voluminous, powerful, and ready to turn heads. Then, all of a sudden, the question enters your mind: Wait, do I look like a member of Whitesnake? It's all downhill from there. 

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