How to Curl Your Hair With and Without Heat


Beachy waves, tight curls or loose curls, curly hair can surely amp up your look for any occasion. But not everyone is blessed with those natural ringlets. Nonetheless, this should not stop you from adding oomph to your style.

You can certainly morph your poker straight hair into curly locks for a day or two. If you are ready to up your styling game, here are several ways to curl your hair – with or without heat.

before and after using curling iron

Contents

With Heat

Curling irons or flat irons can give you really neat curls and make them last longer. However, be mindful of the frequency of using such heated tools, as they tend to take away the moisture from your hair and make it brittle over time. Since every hair texture responds differently to different temperatures, opt for styling tools with temperature control.

Also, you should always use a heat protectant to create a buffer between your hair and the styling tool to prevent damage.

Method 1: Use a Curling Wand

before after using curling wand

Not everyone is fond of Disney princess curls. Hence, curling wands are the most sought-after styling tool these days to get natural waves rather than well-defined ringlets.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use curling wand to curl hair

  • Curling wand
  • Tail comb
  • Styling spray
  • Partition clips

Step 1. Partition your hair into multiple sections

partition your hair into multiple sections

  • Plug in the curling wand and allow it to heat up.
  • Brush your hair to remove any tangles.
  • Partition your hair using a tail comb and secure each section with a clip.

Step 2. Curl small sections with the wand and apply a styling spray

curl small sections with curling wand

  • Hold the wand in an inverted position and wrap a 1-inch wide section of your hair around its barrel.
  • Wait 5 to 7 seconds, then release the curl.
  • Repeat the process for all sections of your hair.
  • Use a styling spray on the curls to make them last throughout the day.

final curl hair with curling wand

Method 2: Use a Curling Iron

before and after using curling iron

If you want more polished and bouncy curls, you can opt for a curling iron instead of a curling wand. It has a clamp attached to the barrel that holds the locks in place while you curl them.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use curling iron to curl hair

  • Curling iron
  • Clips
  • Styling spray
  • Tail comb

Step 1. Partition your hair into three sections

partition your hair

  • Use a tail comb to partition your hair into three sections.
  • Tie up the crown section into a bun.
  • Separate the lower section into two halves and secure one section in place using a clip.

Step 2. Curl small sections with the curling iron

curl small sections of hair with curling iron

  • Use narrow sections to create tight curls and wide sections for loose curls.
  • Hold a section of your hair between the iron and the open clamp. Keep it 1 inch away from the roots to avoid damaging the roots with the heat.
  • Wrap your hair around the barrel of the curling iron. Do not overlap the hair, as this will reduce the effect of the heat.
  • Put the clamp down and wait a few seconds, then release the curl from the barrel. Hold the curl for another 2 seconds in your hand until the hair cools off.
  • Repeat the process for the other two partitions until you’ve curled all your hair.

Step 3. Apply a styling spray and open the curls with your fingers

apply a styling spray and opne the curls with fingers

  • Apply a styling spray to the curls to make them last longer.
  • Open the curls with your fingers to add more volume.

final curl hair with curling iron

Method 3: Use a Straightener

before and after using straightener

You can also use a straightener to create curls. You can either wrap your hair around the flat iron as shown in Step 2(A) or add the use of a pencil for tighter curls as shown in Step 2(B) .

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use straightener to curl hair

  • Straightener
  • Clips
  • Tail comb
  • Pencil (for tighter curls)

Step 1. Partition your hair into multiple sections

partition hair in multiple sections

  • Brush your hair to remove any tangles.
  • Partition your hair into multiple sections using a tail comb and secure each section with a clip.

Step 2(A). Use the twist technique to create ribbon curls

curl hair with twist technique

  • Take a 1½-inch wide section of your hair and clamp it in the iron, halfway down the length of your hair.
  • Lift the loose end and wrap it over the flat iron to make a loop.
  • Hold the loose end tightly and twist the iron backwards toward your scalp. You can twist it twice to get tighter curls.
  • Slowly work your way down the length of your hair.

Step 2(B). Use the pencil technique for tighter curls

curl hair with pencil technique

  • Wrap a small section of your hair tightly around a pencil.
  • Press the hair-wrapped pencil with your flat iron, covering the entire length of the pencil.
  • Continue to press for a few seconds, then release the hair.
  • Repeat for the remaining sections of your hair, then open the curls with your fingers.

final curl hair with straightener

Without Heat

If you are wary of using heat frequently on your delicate mane, there is nothing to fret. You can still curl your hair without applying heat. All you need to do is … sleep on it!

Method 1: Braiding Overnight

before and after braiding overnight

It couldn’t get easier than this. You can wake up to beautiful crumpled hair by simply braiding it and leaving it overnight.

Step 1. Partition your hair into two sections

partition your hair

  • Brush your hair to remove any tangles.
  • Partition your hair into two sections using a tail comb and secure one section with a clip.

Step 2. Dampen your hair and make multiple braids

make multiple braids

  • Spray water on your dry hair to dampen it.
  • Starting with one partition, divide your hair into multiple sections. You can make more braids for tight curls or just two for loose curls.
  • Starting near the crown, braid each section tightly and secure the end with a band.
  • Spray more water on your hair as needed while you work through all the braiding.
  • Leave the braids in to dry overnight.

Step 3. Open the braids and loosen the curls as desired

pren the braids

  • Open each braid carefully to release the curls.
  • You can loosen the curls with your fingers or a comb.
  • You can also use hair spray to make the curls last through the day.

final curl hair with braiding

Method 2: Use Socks

before and after using socks

If you want loose curls but don’t want to bother with a curler, just grab two pair of socks.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use socks to curl hair

  • Socks
  • Clips
  • Tail comb

Step 1. Dampen your hair and partition it into two sections

partition your hair

  • Use a spray bottle to dampen your hair.
  • Partition the hair into two sections using a tail comb and secure one section with a clip.

Step 2. Roll small sections up in a sock

roll small section in a sock

  • Roll a 1½-inch section of your hair around a clean sock.
  • Tie the sock in a knot to hold the hair in place.
  • Repeat the process for the other sections until all your hair is rolled up.
  • Now, go and get a good night’s sleep.

Step 3. Untie the socks in the morning & open the curls

untie the socks

  • One by one, untie all the socks.
  • Run your fingers through the curls to open them up and add volume.

final curl hair with socks

Method 3: Use Bobby Pins

before and after using bobby pins

Bobby pins are the most essential tools in hair styling. They can also be used to create curls by making small loops and securing them on your head overnight.  

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use bobby pins to curl hair

  • Bobby pins
  • Tail comb
  • Clips

Step 1. Partition your hair into multiple sections

partition your hair

  • Brush your hair to remove any tangles.
  • Partition your hair using a tail comb and secure each section with a clip.

Step 2. Twirl up small sections of hair and secure them with bobby pins

twirl small sections of hair and secure with bobby pins

  • Dampen your hair with some water.
  • Coil a 1-inch wide section of hair around your finger, all the way up to the root.
  • Neatly secure the curl in place with a bobby pin.
  • Continue the process until you’ve finished all the sections of your hair.
  • You can either wait for a couple of hours or leave them in overnight.

Step 3. Remove the bobby pins and loosen the curls with your fingers

remove the bobby pins

  • Carefully remove the bobby pins from each curl.
  • You can either leave them as is or run your fingers through the curls to open them up.

final curl hair with bobby pins

Method 4: Use a Headband

before and after using headband

It couldn’t get simpler than this! Just fasten a headband over your crown area and wake up to beautiful curls.

Step 1. Secure a headband over your head & wind your hair around it

secure headband on crown and twist a strand

  • Dampen your hair and use a comb to detangle it.
  • Place a headband horizontally around your crown area.
  • Take a small section of the hair and twist it till the end.

coil strands around the headband

  • Coil the twisted strand around the band.Continue to do so for the rest of your hair.
  • You can also secure the loops using bobby pins.
  • You can either wait for a couple of hours or leave it overnight.

Step 2. Un-loop the coils and open the curls with your fingers

unloop the coils

  • One by one, un-loop the coils and remove the headband.
  • Open up the curls by running your fingers through your hair.

final curl hair with headband

Method 5: Use Rollers and/or Flexi Rods

before and after using curler and flexi rods

Using plastic rollers (shown in Step 2) is an old-school way of achieving Victorian locks. Flexi rods (shown in Step 3) are essentially a modern twist on traditional rollers. Neither require heat and you can just put them in and continue with your daily chores, while your hair sets into beautiful curls.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use curlers or flexi rods to curl hair

  • Plastic rollers
  • Flexi rods
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Tail comb
  • Clips

Step 1. Partition your hair into multiple sections

partition your hair

  • Brush your hair to remove any tangles.
  • Partition your hair into two sections using a tail comb and secure one section with a clip.

Step 2. Roll up your hair on the rollers

roll hair on the rollers

  • Spray some water on a 1-inch wide section of hair to dampen it.
  • Place a plastic roller at the end of the section of hair and roll it up close to the scalp.
  • Secure the roller with its cover to hold it in place.
  • Continue rolling up the other sections of hair.
  • Leave the rollers in for 4 to 5 hours.

Step 3. Loop sections of hair around the flexi rods

loop hair around the flexi rods

  • Dampen a 1-inch wide section of hair with water.
  • Coil the section around the flexi rod.
  • Secure the rods in your hair by bending and twisting them.
  • Let your hair set for 5 to 7 hours.

Step 4. Unravel your hair from the rollers and/or flexi rods

unravel the hair

  • Remove the cover of the rollers and unravel your hair slowly. Do not rush to pull the rollers out or you may end up with tangled hair.
  • If using flexi rods, uncoil the rods and release the curls.
  • Run your fingers through your hair to loosen the curls.

final curl hair with rollers and flexi rods

Tips

  • When using a curling iron or wand, curl the right side clockwise and the left side counterclockwise to open up your look.
  • If using a curling iron with temperature control, maintain 320°F (160°C) for fine hair and 430°F (220°C) for thicker hair.
  • If you regularly use a blow dryer to dry your hair, keep it on a cool setting.
  • De-tangle your hair before using any styling tools to prevent split ends or breakage.

Summary of How to Curl Your Hair With and Without Heat

how to curl your hair summary

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