Mabel's mum Neneh Cherry was "strict" with how she could wear her hair growing up.
The 'Boyfriend' singer - whose father is music producer Cameron McVey - has revealed her parent wanted her kids to "feel naturally beautiful".
However, Mabel loved experimenting with her long locks and getting her cousin, TV presenter Miquita Oliver, to straighten her tresses, which she knew was "quite cheeky" because she wasn't allowed to mess with her hair.
The 25-year-old star told Stylist: "When I was a kid, I always had long, dark, beautiful, crazy hair.
My mum was so adamant that we were going to be proud of our heritage and our culture. She thought that we were miracles and so she wanted me and my siblings to feel naturally beautiful. She would take a lot of time in the mornings doing my hair, making sure she was oiling it properly. Usually, I would leave it in braids Monday to Friday for going to school but I always had a bit of a vision and would make requests. I often asked her for a super sleek long braided ponytail and my mum would always follow through.
I remember my mum being quite strict around what I could do with my hair. My cousin, Miquita [Oliver], was like everything to me growing up; she was doing 'Popworld' at the time and I just thought she was so cool. We lived together and one day when my parents were out, she was like, 'I’m going to straighten your hair'.
She would do my hair and we would talk about life and watch TV. I remember being amazed that having long, chic, shiny, straight hair felt so glamorous. I felt like Beyoncé in 'Crazy in Love'. It would take hours because I had so much hair but also because she would do it perfectly, meticulously straightening each strand. She was the hairdresser and it was always her vision; she’d be like, 'Let’s do it poker straight today' and I’d be like, 'OK'. She used to do it for me every now and again – I guess it was a real bonding experience.
I remember feeling so grown up but also quite cheeky because I knew I wasn’t meant to do that. My mum would come home and say, 'Oh Miquita, she’s a child. Why have you styled her hair like she’s in a music video?'"