Curling hair. Ugh!
There are so many products, methods, and tools you can use to curl your naturally straight or fine hair.
You’ve probably tried them all only to discover they share one ginormous shortcoming.
While many claim to produce curls that last longer — they seldom do.
Leaving you with curls that eventually fall flat.
You’re lucky sometimes if they make it into the afternoon.
Often they don’t.
Okay so how do you know what truly works to produce long lasting curls?
What about just knowing how to curl straight fine hair – period?
And I can hear you muttering over there, “Pfffft, good luck with that. My hair won’t hold a curl”. Never has never will. Which would put you in the camp desperate to know how to make hair hold curl longer.
Okay got it. You’re a skeptic but only because of all the bad advice you’ve been given.
Look, I know it’s not exactly easy to curl normally textured hair much less stick straight, fine tresses.
So we thought it would be fun to give you a Top 10 list of things to try ordering them from least to most promising after eliminating the crazy stuff.
To get you that we burned the midnight oil and have gone through lists and lists of so called sure ways to make curls last all day.
The idea was to look for the secrets and tips for flawless, long lasting curls that showed up again and again which suggests they just might work. All to give you a fighting chance with this curls that last thing?
The number one best idea was actually a rather surprising tool. It’s not what you might think (spoiler alert it doesn’t involve firing up a curling iron).
But if you don’t want to wade through the other nine that might could help, just jump to number 10 down below. It’s truly a game changer and may be the only tip you’ll need in your curly hair journey. That and the one right before it.
So let’s start with the could work ideas to end up with the ones that should work.
NUMBER 10: Heavier Equals Harder
Yeah this one is not all that universal but it could apply to some. Plus we have to start somewhere to build to the big finish down below.
If you are walking around with long, straight, thick hair with a blunt
cut odds are it won’t hold a curl too well.
Simply put it is too heavy.
The best, okay only, fix would be layers. Which may or may not work for you.
But it’s a start since thick blunt cuts don’t readily lend themselves to curly styles.
NUMBER 9: Damaged Goods
If your hair has a history of curls falling flat maybe it’s because it’s what you’d call damaged goods?
Yeah, lack luster, dry, brittle, frayed, frizzy hair that has been processed within an inch of its life is nowhere near ideal curling material.
Even knowing every curling trick in the book can’t compensate for working with hair that’s a wreck.
Fact is tresses in distress won’t hold any style nearly as well as hydrated, lush strands will.
So don’t even think about resolving your “why won’t my hair hold a curl anymore” question until your mangled mane has been rebuilt, repaired and replenished.
NUMBER 8: Prepped and Primed
If you’re tired of curls falling before you get to work maybe it’s because you’re failing to prep and prime them for success.
One reason your hair is reluctant to hold a curl may come down to this as freshly washed hair, being squeaky clean and all, is not the ideal foundation to build curls from.
Priming could be nothing more than working with second day hair.
Priming could be applying a texturizing or thickening product to create a base more receptive to curling.
Priming could be unleashing a curling cream, spray wax, or curl setting spray – any of which might turn out to be perfect prepping products.
Speaking of which
NUMBER 7: Play Dirty
The ideal hair for curling is hair that is somewhat dirty. Otherwise known as second day hair and it is a great place to start.
If not second day hair at least hair that was washed last night and slept on.
Everyone knows unwashed hair holds style best. Much better than freshly laundered locks.
That’s because the buildup of a day’s worth of natural oils not to mention styling products adds some badly needed texture and grit. Meaning it won’t be nearly as slippery as just cleansed hair so is apt to result in curls that stay.
Now if things seem to be on the too oily side clean them up with a good dry shampoo applied liberally to your scalp.
So yeah for best results you want to play dirty here.
But what if you just shampooed?
NUMBER 6: Say “Yes” to Volumizing Products
If your silky smooth hair is the least bit curl resistant then guess what girlfriend? That just means if you want curls that last you aren’t a wash, style and go type of girl. Cause that’s not gonna work for you.
Actually when it comes to maintaining curls it all comes down to the preparation – which was hinted at earlier.
Yet too many who mindlessly pile on products in a big way after curling cheerfully ignore using them beforehand. What’s up with that?
Clue. The goal is NOT stiff and crunchy curls. Yet that’s what an onslaught of products post curling can get you.
Besides does any of that suggest touchable to you?
Instead you want to build in the texture to work with from the get go. Especially if you’ve got freshly shampooed hair to style. (And you did shampoo with a nice light volumizing shampoo, didn’t you?)
Oh and for sure you don’t want to even think about plugging in any hot styling tool without applying some sort of heat protecting product.
We both know that over time the heat will do unspeakable damage to those strands of yours.
Okay so one product on the list of “best products to hold curls in straight hair” to consider would be volumising mousse.
Anyone who’s after hair that holds a curl simply must work some of that through their tresses before the hair styling starts.
Using just the right amount will give you better curl definition without weighing down or greasing up your hair. Making it much more likely the curl will stay longer.
How much is right?
If you think you’re overdoing it you’re probably using just about the right amount. Depending on how long your hair is, a baseball sized mound or two, is how much you want to infuse slightly damp hair from the roots to the ends with.
Why is mousse a winner? Allure magazine says “Mousse has alcohol in it, just as hair spray does. The alcohol helps remove as much moisture as possible, which enhances the hair’s grit and hold.”
Taken alone none of this is all that earthshaking I know. But take the time to properly prep you hair and you’ll greatly enhance its ability to hold the style.
NUMBER 5: Hairspray Smarts
The next most often mentioned tip to make your curls last all day is to not skimp on the hairspray.
But how you use it may not be exactly the way you might think.
Because were I to ask, “Know the best time to use your hair spray?”, what would you answer?
Probably at the end. When all the curling is done. You know, to lock the curls in place.
Turns out there’s actually two times to turn to your hair spray. (And make that brushable spray, please!) Once to prep the hair to be curled. And then again to help lock in the curl once finished.
Celebrity stylist Charles Baker Strahan observed that if you have stubbornly straight strands then you totally must try spritzing each section of hair to be curled with hair spray before applying the heat. That alone can add badly needed support when it comes to holding the shape.
Then once you are done curling your entire head of hair, finish things off by lightly misting your curls with a flexible hold hairspray. Use just enough to make your strands stay without feeling stiff. That courtesy of the Lauren Conrad blog.
That double dose will help those with hard to curl hair keep the style looking polished and vibrant all day.
But wait! There may be a better alternative to hairspray.
NUMBER 4: Try Texturizing Spray Instead
Yeah what if you’re one of those seeking to learn how to make curls last longer without hairspray?
Got you covered. Your next move instead would be to do this. Help those lovely curls with a generous amount of texturizing spray applied root to tip.
You may find texturizing spray gives you a non sticky level of amazing hold and volume.
Any of the popular volumizing sprays from the likes of Oribe, Big Sexy Hair or Garnier should work just fine for you. They all add volume while locking in the style.
Oh and in case you’re wondering these are superior to hair spray because as pointed out by allure.com “The polymers of hair spray tend to be too heavy for a finished curl and actually create weight, making them droop.”
So you may find that adding texture to your delicate curls like this will take your hair to a whole ‘nother level.
NUMBER 3: Just Say No To Conditioner
This one is a biggie.
Fact is most of us over condition our hair to begin with. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing you know.
Besides conditioner just weighs down your hair anyway which makes it a lot harder to stay curly.
So skip conditioning on the day you want to create cute curliness.
If you can’t skip it altogether, then go very very easy when squeezing the bottle. Half your normal dosage at most if you want any hope of turning stick straight tresses into luscious curls. Focusing the product on the ends if anywhere.
Or just use a light weight formulation to make your hair easier to style. Saving the deep hydration treatments for another day.
Why not give this one a shot? You may get noticeably bouncier hair with longer lasting curls if you do.
NUMBER 2: Coiled for Cool Down
Admittedly you may know this one already.
It’s suggested over and over and over again.
But because of that it just had to make the list as the second best idea for those who may not be clued in quite yet.
What is it already?
Okay here you go. You need to pin your finished curls up so they can properly cool down. This gives the cuticle time to cool and close giving the curl a better chance to set in the shape you seek.
Cooling down allows your strands to reach their full curly potential instead of stretching out under their own weight.
Ask anyone who has mastered the art of making curled pin straight hair stay. If they’re revealing their best stuff this one will likely be mentioned. Just has to be.
So if you’re taking notes, note this one. This is one of the most effective tricks for anyone seeking long lasting curls.
Here’s what to do.
Take any hot, freshly minted curl, stick your index finger inside the coil, push it up into itself and clip that now coiled up curl with an alligator clip. Right there close to your head.
Here’s what that looks like:
If you need be some suggest misting each gorgeous coil with shot of hair spray.
Having set the stage for long lasting curls with that one go to work on the next one.
Why is this scrunching up so important?
Simple. It locks in the shape which results in longer lasting curls.
Ask anyone who knows. It just about guarantees a perfect long lasting curl every time.
I can’t overemphasize how vitally important this clipped up cool down step is.
Otherwise, if you just let the hot curl drop and hang, believe it or not you’ll start to lose it as the weight of the hair will cause it to start to fall out immediately. Which diminishes the likelihood of it lasting anywhere near as long as it would were you to pin it up like this.
Then do as suggested on laurenconrad.com. “Once your entire head is pinned mist it with hairspray. Then, carefully unpin your curls and comb through them with your fingers.”
After that let things be for at least 10 minutes to give the curls all the time they need to take shape and for the hair spray to totally dry.
If you’re in a hurry, blast your pinned up curls with your blow dryer set on cool setting (from a safe distance) to speed up the cool down. Now you know what that cool button is there for.
Then when properly cooled, remove the clips one by one, let your head hang back as you finger style your gorgeous curly mane!
Just don’t get carried away with your finger combing. Even with perfect prep any manufactured curl is going to fall some. So leave your hair slightly more curled than you want knowing it will get to perfect as they loosen up.
NUMBER 1: Flat Irons Rule
Some swear this difference maker is THE most important hack of them all for those seeking curls that last.
You see, while most reach for their trusty curling iron those with curls that last know better.
They reach for their flat iron.
Before we explore why, it bears repeating that before busting out any hot styling tool you want to generously apply a heat protectant to your mane. That way you can sleep at night without worrying about damage you may be doing to your hair.
Okay so that bit of a nag out of the way, opting for a flat iron for better curls is like some deep dark stylist secret.
But it’s totally logical. Scientific even. It all comes down to one thing: heat distribution. Almost sounds sexy, doesn’t it?
Site thefashionsupernova.com explained it this way.
“When using a curling wand, unless you’re a master at it, parts of your hair (normally the ends) will wrap around the rest of your hair, meaning that certain parts will be getting less heat than other areas. This causes your curls to drop in certain areas and then by the end of the day it ends up looking like really bad kinks.
Whereas when using a hair straightener, every single bit of your hair will get the same amount of heat applied to it, all areas, from top to bottom gets an even heat. This results in not only bouncier curls, but curls that will last all day and night.”
Makes sense, no?
Stylecraze.com added more fuel to the fire. Citing two more reasons why flat irons produce superior curls.
First many curling irons are not ceramic plated which exposes your hair to greater risk of damage.
Secondly, they suggest a flat iron with rounded off sides is optimal if you want curls that last for days.
I’d add that if curls are the goal you want a thinner flat iron with rounded edges.
Still some find doing curls with a straightener isn’t exactly eyes-closed easy.
One final bonus tip. Watch where you do your curling.
You’ve likely hung a slightly wrinkled blouse in a steamy bathroom at some point hoping to have the steam relax away the unwanted creases. Think that steam might do the same with your curls?
For that reason you want to do your styling in a cool dry room far removed from your all steamed up bathroom mirror.
Anyway, armed with tricks like these you can convince even the straightest, most stubborn strands to pretend they were born to be curly and stay that way. Happy flat iron curling.