The ‘little scarecrow’ with untameable hair

The ‘little scarecrow’ with an untameable mane: Youngster with uncombable hair syndrome is often asked if she got her fingers stuck in a socket

  • Holly Wright is affectionately called a scarecrow due to the rare condition
  • It is thought to have 100 sufferers worldwide and affected Albert Einstein
  • The youngster’s thick, wiry frizz attracts attention wherever she goes
  • Cruel strangers ask her mother Emma, 37, if she bothered to brush her hair 
  • Emma worries Holly will be teased and hopes she embraces her uniqueness 
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A mother affectionately calls her daughter ‘a little scarecrow’ due to the youngster having a condition that makes her hair impossible to tame. 

Holly Wright, four, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, has uncombable hair syndrome, which is thought to affect only 100 people worldwide and counts Albert Einstein as a sufferer.

The youngster’s thick, wiry frizz attracts attention wherever she goes, with some cruel strangers asking her mother Emma, 37, if she bothers to brush her daughter’s hair or if she stuck her fingers in a socket.

Although Holly’s condition has slightly tamed as she has gotten older, maintaining her tresses is still a daily struggle that requires multiple hair products.

Emma, a social worker, worries about her daughter being teased for her hair at school and hopes Holly will embrace her uniqueness.

The mother-of-three said:  I’ll hope she’ll love it for being beautiful and different. She’s a Leo star sign, so I think of it as her little mane.’

Holly Wright is known as ‘a little scarecrow’ due to her hair being impossible to tame

She is thought to have uncombable hair syndrome, which affects 100 people worldwide

Her mother Emma (pictured), 37, hopes Holly will embrace her uniqueness 

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Uncombable hair syndrome is a rare inherited disorder that causes locks to stand up from the roots and not be flattened.

Such hair is usually silvery-blond or straw colored.

The hair usually appears between three and 12 months of age.

In rare cases, the syndrome has occurred alongside bone and eye abnormalities.

The syndrome usually resolves or improves at the onset of puberty.

It may be more manageable through applying conditioners and using soft brushes. 

Source: Genetic and rare diseases information center 

‘It sticks out at every angle’      

Holly was born with dark hair, which fell out as she grew to be replaced with wiry frizz. 

Emma, who also has two-year-old twins Daniel and Charlie, who do not have the condition, said: ‘It was like duck fluff. It stuck out at every angle.’

She assumed her daughter’s hair simply had a different texture to the rest of the family’s and joined some Facebook groups for advice on how to care for unruly curls.

One post was by an individual with uncombable hair syndrome, which made Emma wonder if Holly may have the same condition.

Emma said: ‘I researched it and, when I saw the pictures, I literally thought it was Holly. I thought someone had nicked her photo. 

‘It’s uncanny how similar the children with the condition look.

‘They all have the same white blonde colour locks, but also all seem to have similar features and be quite petite.

‘If they all lived in the same town, people would wonder what was going on.’

Already convinced of Holly’s condition and not wanting to bother her doctor, Emma decided not to seek an official diagnosis, which usually involves genetically testing a strand of hair.

The youngster’s thick, wiry frizz attracts attention wherever she goes

Cruel strangers ask Holly’s mother if she even bothered to brush her daughter’s hair

Others ask Emma if Holly has stuck her fingers in a socket, but she thinks her hair is beautiful 

Holly has not officially been diagnosed but has an uncanny resemblance to other sufferers 

‘Kids can be mean’

Over time, Holly’s hair grew wilder, which attracts attention from strangers.

Emma said: ‘Everyone always wants to touch it. Whenever I’d take her to soft play, I’d look over and there’d be a little crowd of toddlers, all stroking her. 

‘I did worry about her starting school, as I know kids can be mean, but we’ve had no negativity from her classmates.

‘In fact, it’s other adults who make thoughtless comments. A few times people have asked if I’ve even bothered to brush Holly’s hair, or say she looks like she’s had her finger in a plug socket.

‘It’s hard to know what to say. They obviously don’t know about uncombable hair syndrome, so I always just reply, “well I think her hair is beautiful”.’

People want to touch Holly’s hair wherever she goes, with toddlers stroking it at soft play 

Although Emma worries other children can be mean, adults tend to be the ones to comment

To try and tame Holly’s hair, Emma squirts it with water and applies beard oil after every wash

Holly’s twin brothers Daniel and Charlie (now two) do not have the condition

‘She looks like a little scarecrow’ 

Looking back, Emma wonders if her own father, Peter Wilson, had the same syndrome, saying: ‘I have a picture of him when he’s younger where his hair looks a similar texture to Holly’s. 

‘It’s funny, it looks very coarse, but it’s actually soft and fluffy to touch.

‘If you look up close, every single strand is crimped. Sometimes people think I’ve styled her hair that way, but I obviously haven’t.’

Although Holly’s hair has calmed down slightly over the years, it still requires a lot of day-to-day maintenance.

Emma said: ‘We do our best to tame it. I squirt it with water, tie it back when she goes to school and apply beard oil whenever I wash it, as it’s more moisturising.

‘Left natural, though, like when she first wakes up, it’s untameable. She looks like a little scarecrow.’

Due to it being prone to breakage, Emma tries to limit the amount of products Holly’s hair is exposed to and only washes it twice a week with very gentle shampoo.

She said: ‘It breaks very easily and falls out. If she’s rolling around, or scrapping with her brothers, a load of it will come away. It doesn’t hurt her, though. It’s just where the hair is so fine.’ 

As a newborn, Holly’s hair was dark but fell out to be replaced with wiry frizzy locks 

Emma’s father Peter Wilson (pictured) may have had the condition due to his hair’s texture

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