Hair Rules Our Southern Mothers Taught Us That We Still Follow

Think twice before leaving the house with wet hair.

Mother Doing Child's Hair

Getty Images/Martin Mills / Contributor

It’s always been a joke that people end up like their mothers, but for many Southern women, there is no higher compliment. Whether through teaching us how to make favorite family recipes or showing us how to take on life with confidence and savvy, we are influenced by those who raise us, and that also goes for things as fanciful and fun as our hair. 

On the mane front, Southern women have been known for big hair, lots of hair spray, and constantly defying the hot, humid environment around them. Just like Dolly, our mothers often stay true to their style, no matter how much time passes. Unsurprisingly, some of their tips, lessons, and secrets stick with us and stand up to the test of new trends and decades passed. 

These are the favorite things that our Southern mothers taught us about hair, according to Southern Living editors. Hint: Think twice before leaving the house with wet hair

Embrace your natural texture, and you'll thank yourself later.

"I am forever thankful that my mom deterred me from following the crowd and getting highlights or dyeing my entire head of hair from a box when I was younger. At almost 28, I have never colored my hair and couldn’t be happier that I’ve saved my hair’s texture (and my bank account!) from dye for this long." —Associate Social Media Editor Mary Shannon Wells

"I spent all of middle school and high school waking up early to religiously straighten my hair—much to my mom's (who has naturally straight hair) dismay. Now that I've grown up and embraced my curls, I regret the damage and realize that Mama knew best." —Travel & Culture Editor Tara Massouleh McCay

You can outsmart frizz, at least a little bit.

"Similar to never leaving the house without lipstick, my mom always thought it was important to never leave the house without spritzing some hairspray on your flyaways. She also always has a miniature of her go-to brand in her purse, just in case!" —Digital Editor Jenna Sims

"I have always been a part of the frizzy-hair club, and for whatever reason, a silk pillowcase helps tame my fly-aways. My mom gave me my first one for Valentine's Day a few years ago, and I am a forever fan! It's one of the kindest things I have done for my hair." —Editorial Fellow Mary Alice Russell

There's no shame in the styling game, even in public.

"There’s no such thing as owning too many claw clips. Keep one in the car to pull off a last-ditch, Hail Mary volume boost on the way to wherever you’re headed. Just don’t forget to take it out when you arrive." —Homes and Features Editor Betsy Cribb

"My grandmother never left the house with a miniature hair spray and teasing comb in her purse, so that she could always touch up wherever she went, even if it was the bathroom at the Cracker Barrel." —Associate Digital Editor Kaitlyn Yarborough

Nothing beats old-school hair rollers.

"My mom is big on volume. She always used hot rollers, and now I do too. If I want soft curls, I use big fat rollers. I'm not coordinated enough for curling irons!" —Senior News Editor Rebecca Angel Baer

"Lib Olson is a big believer in 'turning your ends under,' and she swears by velcro rollers." —Assistant General Manager Anna Price Olson

When you find your soulmate stylist, stay loyal.

"My mom taught me that if you find someone you trust with your hair, be loyal! I'm from a small town, and she never hesitated to drive my sisters and I 30 minutes each way to see Emily for haircuts, highlights, prom up-dos, you name it. Even now that we've grown up and moved away, she's still been known to squeeze us in for an emergency appointment when we're home." —Assistant General Manager Anna Price Olson

"My mother used to drive three hours just to get her hair color done in Atlanta, because she swore no one else could touch her hair than her beloved stylist there. She continued to do it for years until that stylist moved out of state." —Associate Digital Editor Kaitlyn Yarborough

For goodness' sake, don't leave the house with wet hair.

“My mom and grandmother would always tell me I was going to catch a cold if I left the house with wet hair—even though we lived in Mobile, Alabama, where the chances of that based on temperature are highly unlikely.” —Associate Social Media Editor Mary Shannon Hodes.

“I was not allowed to go to bed with wet hair, let alone go outside with it like that. If my hair somehow did end up being wet before church (Lord help me) or school, it would end up in a very tight bun to ensure no one knew it was wet.” —Editorial Fellow Mary Alice Russell

The main takeaway: Southern women have their own set of rules, but the rules can certainly be broken. As long as you remember to take off your hot rollers before walking into the party.

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