It’s a phrase Carrie Underwood is all too familiar with: ‘The higher the hair, the closer to God.’
“It makes me laugh, but it really is southern humor,” she tells PEOPLE. “We country folk, we like our big hair. I am certainly no exception.”
Though the singing star is often seen with pretty updos or cute curls, she also enjoys the occasional big (big) hair day. “I just feel like … maybe it makes the rest of me look smaller,” she jokes. “I’m not sure of my reasoning, but that’s the number-one thing I do, when someone fixes my hair, I put my fingers in it and make it look bigger.”
Underwood attributes her love of tall tresses to her native Oklahoma. “I mean for me, it was all about country women,” she says of her childhood style icons. “They like sparkles, they like big hair and they wear big hair. That was gorgeous to me and it still is.”
However, Underwood has modified her loud and proud southern look since landing in the spotlight. “I still feel like the same person, but sometimes I’ll look back at pictures of myself in college or in high school and I’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, what was I thinking?!'” she shares. “But I’m sure 10 to 15 years from now I’ll look back to now and say, ‘Why would I wear that?'”
She does have a stylist to keep her in check, though. “We work together. She wants me to feel awesome and it’s more about not worrying about what other people have to say after the fact,” Underwood explains. “I always feel bad for people in magazines and on TV, where people [criticize] their look a little bit, because they walked out of their house feeling beautiful, and that’s the most important thing. So I really just try to wear what I love — and try not to think about who might or might not like it afterward.” Tell us: Do you like to pump up the volume on your hair? How do you do it?
–Kate Hogan, reporting by Suzanne Zuckerman