Meet the adorable little girl with Uncombable Hair Syndrome

 Photo: Getty Images

There's a reason little Phoebe Braswell is nicknamed "Poppy" after the singing and dancing character from Trolls. The 21-month-old from has Uncombable Hair Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that makes her hair stand on end - just like the popular character.

"I've tried dozens of products in a bid to tame Phoebe's hair, but none have worked so far," her mother, Jamie Braswell, told 

"Every morning she wakes up and it's standing on end. It's like permanent bedhead," the US mum said, adding that even after using hair spray, her little one's hair is "spiky" again within 30 minutes.

Uncombable Hair Syndrome is so rare, it's been documented in just 100 people worldwide, according to a 2016 article published in The American Journal of Human Genetics.  Also known as  "spun glass hair syndrome," or "cheveux incoiffables", it's characterised by "dry, frizzy, spangly, and often fair hair that is resistant to being combed flat".

Last year, a study of eleven children with Uncombable Hair Syndrome found that the condition is caused by mutations in three genes, which are involved in hair shaft formation. While there's no treatment, it does tend to improve with age.

Little Phoebe was only three-months-old when her parents noticed there was something different about their baby's "straw-like" hair.

While their doctor told them to keep their eye out for any changes, having "never seen anything like it", it wasn't until the family spotted a Facebook post about a child with Uncombable Hair Syndrome that Phoebe received her diagnosis.

The condition generally appears between three months and 12 years of age.


While Phoebe is well-known for her "crazy hair", managing hurtful comments from strangers is a daily occurrence.

"Whenever we go out it's not, 'Oh, she is so cute,' it's 'Oh my gracious her hair is crazy. You got ahold of a balloon, didn't you?'" Ms Braswell said.
"We were in the grocery store once and a lady said, 'She is going to hate you when she looks at her baby photos because you let her go out in public like that."

Ms Braswell is often told she should brush her daughter's hair "better" or simply put it up in a pony tail. "But that hurts her," she explained.

Instead, Phoebe always wear a headband to help keep her hair off her face.

"If she didn't have that, people would think I was neglecting her," Ms Braswell said, adding that she absolutely loves her little girl's hair.

"I have never seen anyone with hair like hers. It's beautiful. It makes her unique."

Just months away from turning two, Phoebe is looking forward to having a Trolls-themed birthday party.

"We joke and call her our little Poppy because her hair sticks up just like the dolls," said Ms Braswell.