Curls all over the place

Last week I was sitting merrily discussing world problems with my hairdresser while she snipped away.  Actually, not so much world problems as parental bereavement and our thoughts on careers when we were only sixteen.  My hairdresser and I are of a similar age so we were both remembering our teenage selves through the mists of time.

Inevitably there had to be some hair related discussion too.  This mostly involved the hairdresser hoping I would agree to my hair being styled into curls and me wrinkly my nose at the thought.  We compromised with soft waves.  When I mentioned that I sometimes discover a ringlet lurking in my hair the hairdresser stated matter-of-factedly ‘Your hair has got curlier as you have got older’.  I blithely agreed and carried on chatting about other things.  But wait.  Does hair really get curlier as we age?

Well, yes, probably.  Who knew.  I like this blog about curls. It doesn’t explain why hair might become increasingly curly as we age but nor does it bemoan curliness.

Curls week blog

Time to swim back through time to when I was a child I think.  It seems likely I was around my second birthday in this fairly poor quality photograph but even then my hair was exhibiting a degree of the unruliness it has always aspired to.

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I cannot, alas, claim that my hair has ever been my crowning glory but nor have I ever disliked it.  It is just hair.

In days of yore it even used to be tameable.  I am not sure how old I was in this photograph, although I would guess at around six.  My hair does look impressively sleek though so it really was possible to achieve such a look all those years ago.

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Nowadays there are some bits of my hair that even straighteners fail to control.  Even if the hairdresser tries it.

Apparently hair type genes display something called ‘incomplete dominance’.  I had no idea.  This seems to mean that a curly haired parent and a straight haired parent get children with wavy hair.  If you haven’t heard that before just take a moment to think about it.  I just think it is fantastic.  The curly haired parent has to truly have curly hair rather than waves but it is wonderful all the same.  All this means that two curly haired parents can only have curly haired children and two straight haired parents can only have straight haired children.  If one or both parents have wavy hair then it is more like standard genetics and anything is possible.  Well, admittedly not actually anything, but straight, curly or wavy hair are all possible again.  This is all helps to explain the fabulous mass of curls that two of my cousins possess.

It doesn’t help explain whether everyone’s hair gets waves or curls as we age though.  If we do it would certainly explain the profusion of elderly ladies with spectacularly curly hair.  Alas, I don’t think it does.  I know many older ladies favour a weekly hair appointment to have their hair ‘set’.  I have been trying to work out what sort of age you have to be for this to be part of your weekly routine.  Certainly well above middle age.  My mother doesn’t do it but my grandmother did so the line must be somewhere between their two ages.  I think it is possibly only the norm for women who were already adults in the 1950s so perhaps born in the late 1920s or early 1930s at the absolute latest.  But this is purely based on the fact that 1950s hairstyles seem to have involved a fairly large degree of teasing and tweaking.  I would be enchanted if anyone does know the age range involved and can tell me.  I had no idea I would find myself quite so fascinated by the whole subject.

I still don’t know if everyone’s hair gets a bit more curl as they age although there are certainly celebrities older than me with beautifully groomed straight hair that I can only dream of.

Helen Mirren

Jodie Foster

But actually I don’t dream of it.  I like having hair that waves and occasionally acquires extraordinarily located curls.  It won’t ever look smooth, sleek and immaculate but that doesn’t matter.  I am not sure I will either.

About Susan

I am a middle aged woman wondering where all the normal middle aged people are. I don't want to regain my lost youth but nor am I ready to rush headlong into old age. I realise I am oldish rather than youngish but surely not actually old yet. So this is my chance to muse on my middle aged existence. This will save my teenage children from the horror of me musing on age spots or deteriorating eyesight which is surely a kindness. Now that I have been diagnosed with MND (ALS) this blog will have to change a bit, but I AM still middle aged too.

{6} Thoughts on “Curls all over the place

  1. As I had not been long on the scene at the time that first picture was taken, I am guessing that is not part of my foot beside you? (unless my feet grew at enormous speed in relation to the size of my body and I had a nattier taste in footware then than I ever achieved subsequently).

  2. I didn’t actually notice that foot before but as I have the whole photograph I can confirm that it is yours, and you appear to be wearing white sandals. Possibly not quite a natty footwear look that would really work now you are an adult?

  3. Hmmm … interesting info, thanks. If I have done it once, I feel I may still have the latent flair and élan to carry off such a bold fashion look again 🙂

    • I think as a middle aged man wearing white sandals with an attractive strap across your foot would certainly attract attention. And who can say that it would not be admiration at your bold choice of footwear.

  4. From experience,I think the weekly “hair do” was a fashion thing as in my childhood my mum used to have it “set” every week. She hasn’t done for years now and looks a lot better for it. (She is 70) In elderly care homes some of the 80+ ladies have it set and I think this may be because their hair gets thinner and softer. They also often have difficulty doing their own hair and so a “set” makes it look better for longer.
    Regards getting curlier ” heaven help me”! I am destined to be the mad old woman with the wild hair.

    • That is fantastic. It was bothering me that I just couldn’t find anything to suggest the age of woman who might choose to have her hair set. I had failed to consider that it might have been de rigueur during a particular period but that people who had their hair set at that time may no longer do so. There are certainly elderly ladies who still go out to the hairdresser for a weekly appointment but I think you may be right that it is because it is easier than doing their own hair rather than because they have done so for all of their adult life.

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