beauty

It's the hair trend everyone's raving about - there's no way I'll be trying it.

Kate and Pippa Middleton both have "rich girl hair". Image via Getty.

When it comes to hair this season, fashion magazines and blogs are scrambling to tell us how to achieve “rich girl hair”.  Having shiny, long hair with the barest hint of a wave in it – think Kate Middleton and Lauren Conrad when she was on The Hills – is what “rich girl hair” is all about.

I like the look of “rich girl hair”, but let’s make this clear: I hate the name of it.

Related: “I made my husband vagina art and ended up in hospital.”

Branding glossy, straight manes as “rich girl hair” implies that anyone with hair that doesn’t fit into that category is poor and undesirable. This immediately imbues one particular group of people – the ones with flat, gleaming hair – with privilege and status.

“It’s just a silly name,” you might say.

But it’s beauty terms like this that can unwittingly exclude people, and can cause those who don’t fit the bill to feel as though we cannot be beautiful.

Related: 6 ways you’re ruining your hair colour without even realising.

The term “rich girl hair” represents what beauty writing used to be: a guide on how to look “right” and fit in with a non-diverse society.

Kate and Pippa Middleton both have "rich girl hair". Image via Getty.

Conversely, entire groups and races of people who are have tightly curled hair – beautiful, natural African hair comes to mind – cannot be included in the “rich girl hair” clique.

Related: When your skin is never the right colour: “My skin doesn’t need to be any whiter, thanks.”

I’m all for a catchy names for beauty trends, and I’ve even used the word “rich” to describe eyebrows. Eyebrows are different; they’re small and take up limited real estate on our faces.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hair, on the other hand, can define us, particularly when it comes to cultural identity. Hair can be unruly, unpredictable and entirely individual. The state of our hair can affect our mood - the words “bad hair day” say it all.

Related: 6 definitive rules to looking after your hair.

To label something that covers most of your head as either “rich” or “poor” is similar to labelling the person themselves.

Paris Hilton with her "rich girl hair". (Image via Instagram)

The term “rich girl hair” also implies that, if you’re poor, you are unsightly. This is just so outdated and Oliver Twist-esque. “Please, sir, I want some more… keratin straightening treatments for my hair,” said no street urchin, ever.

I’ve had the privilege of being rich, poor and somewhere in between during my life. I’m a writer, artist, teacher, actress and mum, so go figure.

Related: 6 budget friendly beauty swaps you can make today.

I know for a fact that, during a time of my life when money was limited, my appearance was even more important to me. Looking well-groomed was essential to my self-esteem, particularly if I had a job interview, or if I was applying for a rental property.

Why doesn't Gina Rinehart, Australia's richest person, have "rich girl hair"? (Image via Getty)

For me, the funniest thing is that many truly rich people don’t have so-called “rich girl hair”. Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, is (almost) well-known for her auburn curly hair as she is for her wealth and family disputes.

If the richest girl in Australia doesn’t even have “rich girl hair”, then I think that’s your clearest indication on what to do about ridiculous, status-based hair trends.

Related: The 6 definitive rules of looking after your hair. 

Does the term "rich girl hair" bother you? Do you think "poor girl hair" could ever catch on? Let's talk it out in the comments.