Emily has it in Paris. So does her frenemy Camille, and her boss, Sylvie. Carrie has it in And Just Like That – as does Lisa, who has replaced Samantha as Sex and the City’s fourth Beatle. Moira and Alexis both had it in Schitt’s Creek, and it was on every other lounger in White Lotus.
Every woman on television right now has the exact same hair: straight from the crown to the top of the cheekbone, and then wavy to the ends. It has been around for a while, this hair – Laura Dern had it in Big Little Lies, and Sandra Oh flirted with it on Killing Eve. But after a month of the in-depth sofa-based research otherwise known as Dry January, I can confirm that it has reached a new level of ubiquity.
It does not feel likely that And Just Like That – Sex and the City’s midlife sequel – will be remembered as a high water mark of popular culture, but the capitulation of Carrie to mermaid waves represents the moment when this hairstyle became the shampoo-and-set of the 21st century. The bubble curls of the original Carrie Bradshaw were an iconic look in their own right – but they could not survive the reboot.
This is not just a telly thing, this hair. It is very much the go-to look for public-facing real-life glamour. It works for day or night, whether you are going to a nice restaurant or giving a Ted Talk.
Everyone has this hair (me included, see?), which is weird, because actually no one has this hair. There is no hair type that is naturally straight at the top and bendy at the bottom. Sure, if you have slightly wavy and preternaturally well-behaved hair and you tie it in a bun and then let it down a couple of hours later, you might, once in a blue moon, get this perfect combination of hair that drapes elegantly from your parting, then springs into bouncy, face-flattering width at the exact right point. But you can bet your bottom dollar that this would happen when you had just got home and changed into your pyjamas, or moments before you got drenched in a rainstorm, not the night you were going to a party.
You won’t get it naturally, but you can make it happen quite easily. The key to the look is its relatability. Barrel tongs and straighteners are part of everyday life for many of us, me included, so if you can wind a clump of hair around a metal stick (like spaghetti on a fork) and count to 10, you can pull off a school-gate-passable version of this Netflix glamour in the time it takes to listen to the news headlines.
And because your loops of hair are marshalled into biggish chunks, they tend to behave themselves. This is another reason why this is television hair: high fashion has tended to prefer the kind of poker-straight hair that requires a full-time team of stylists on alert for gaps and strays, but straight-to-wavy can bounce through several takes and keep looking presentable.
The lacquered ringlets which were once shiny bullets in the weaponised femininity of The Apprentice and Fox News have evolved into this shape, somehow more low-key and more sophisticated. Hairdresser George Northwood, godfather of the coolest hair, has been perfecting this look on Alexa Chung and a million Alexa-wannabes for years.
See also Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman on Strictly, Michaela Coel in pastel pink on I May Destroy You, and Jemima Kirke in the latest series of Sex Education. What you see on screen isn’t real life. But this hair has a storyline all of its own.