How to Make Curly Hair Look Elegant

Spoiler alert: it does look elegant, but read on.


This post is not for everyone, it’s for the women who, like me, were shamed into thinking their naturally curly hair was messy, unprofessional, dorky, scruffy, uncool. The women who straightened their curls into non-existence to try to fit into a chic stereotype. I did this for approximately 20 years.

I spent the last 12 months regaining my curls, and when I finally had curls nice enough to not have to straighten my hair, the worst thing happened. I hated my appearance with curly hair. The curls were nice curls, objectively speaking, but I didn’t think they suited me, and I didn’t look elegant or chic. I looked dorky at worst and matronly and frumpy at best. And I briefly went back to straightening, until my husband encouraged me to persevere with the curls.

Still Under-represented

Curly haired girls are flooding my social media feeds at the moment which was a huge part of the encouragement to undertake this journey. However, I never realised that they were always either wearing a towel after a shower or they were a bohemian kind of girl. And I never saw anyone actually dressed in a way that I thought resonated with my personal style. So by trial and error, I realised how and when to wear my hair naturally curly to achieve a look I feel confident in, so here are my tips. I hope something works for you!

Get the right shaped haircut

I got a pretty severe hair cut to cut off all the dead, straight ends and it was necessary, but the completely wrong shape for me. It was too short and too round and I looked like weird, matronly and totally uncool. The roundness of the hair plus the roundness of the cut made my face look more round too and it just wasn’t flattering (centre photo). Work out what face shape you have and try to go with a cut that compliments it. My sharp features are better complimented by either a sharp, blunt cut (see right photo), or length, to compliment the length in my face (left photo). I’m now trying to grow out my hair… or I may cut it blunt again, who knows!

Choose the Right Outfit

After almost giving up on my curly hair for feeling that it doesn’t look good on me, I realised that I don’t have to always wear it curly! This was a game changer. When I wore my more sharp clothes, geometric patters or button down shirts and blazers with my hair curly, I looked wrong, inharmonious. It was just too much of a contrast. So now if I want to dress like that, I’ll pop my hair into a sleek bun most of the time, so I don’t damage it with straighteners, or, sometimes I’ll go right ahead and straighten it (very occasionally).

Curly hair is very feminine and romantic, and looks best when I dress in a way that echoes this. So now if I wear a dress with rounded edges, small and delicate patterns, anything typically feminine, my curly hair looks really elegant because it’s not competing and clashing with the outfit.

Don’t Give up on Your Curls

It’s bizarre to think that something God-given can feel so unfamiliar to us if we’ve been hiding behind the straighteners for too long, but, I promise, it’s worth the effort to bring your curls back if it’s something you want to do. You might feel so wrong wearing your curly hair for a long time, but experiment with your clothes and see if that helps you to feel comfortable.

And remember, the curly hair community has a lot of rules, but you don’t have to stick to any of them! I straighten my hair from time to time – a big “no, no” if you ask many other curly girls. But I don’t like to look exactly the same every day and I’m pretty sure that’s normal. So be kind to yourself, be patient, trial and error, all that good stuff. You are beautiful, and I can’t wait for you to feel confident as your curly haired self!

Til next time,

Nikki x

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