This article was co-authored by Nick Arrojo. Nick Arrojo is a Master Hair Stylist and the Owner and Founder of Arrojo NYC, an independent hairdressing brand. With over 35 years of experience, he specializes in cutting and styling hair using precision-based hairdressing and educating hair professionals through Arrojo Education. Nick has become a well-known icon in the hair industry with his internationally recognized razor-cutting technique, work with fashion designers, and seven years as TLC’s ‘What Not to Wear’ hairdressing host.
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If your hair is straight and fine, it can be difficult to get it to hold curl. The best way to keep curls in your hair is to start with wet hair and let it dry in curls. If you're short on time, you can start with dry hair and use a curling iron. Either way, help your curls stay intact by using plenty of hairspray.
Starting With Wet Hair
1Wash your hair, but skip the conditioner. Use a curl-enhancing or clarifying shampoo to give your curls a boost. Skip conditioner, which makes it more difficult for your hair to hold curls. Conditioner makes hair smooth and silky, but you want a rougher, drier texture in order to keep curls in your hair.
2Towel dry your hair. Squeeze the excess water from your hair, then pat it dry with a towel. You want your hair to be damp, but not dripping wet. If your hair tends to stay wet for hours, dry it about 50 percent using the low setting on your hair dryer.Advertisement
3Apply curl cream. This product is designed for curly hair, but it helps to define curls you put into straight hair, too. Rub a dime-sized amount between your palms and smooth it through your hair from the roots to the tips.
- If you have long hair, you may need to use slightly more curl cream.
- If you don't have curl cream, use a small amount of mousse, gel, or setting lotion instead. This will help your hair hold curl.
- Avoid using too much product, since it can weigh your hair down and cause curls to fall out.
4Put up your hair in curls. Choose your favorite method to put up your hair in curls without using a curling iron. You can use sponge rollers, hair pins, or even an old t-shirt to roll up your hair in a curled shape. Try one of these easy methods to put your hair up while it's damp:
5Let your hair dry completely. Sleep on your hair or wait several hours to let it dry completely in curls. You can also sit under a hair dryer for 45 minutes if you don't have as much time. The hair will set in a curled shape, and once it's dry it will stay curled for days. Be sure you don't take your hair down too soon, or the curls will fall right out. X Research source
- If you're sleeping on your hair overnight, fasten a satin scarf or a t-shirt around your head so your curls don't get crushed.
6Take your hair down. Carefully unroll each lock of hair and let your curls drop. Use your fingers to separate the curls, but avoid using a comb or brush if you want to keep your curls intact.
7Use firm-hold hairspray. Apply it liberally to your curls to help them stay in place all day long.
Starting With Dry Hair
1Start with day-old hair. Instead of washing your hair the same day you want to curl it, try to wait a day or two before curling your hair. The natural oils in your hair will give it some texture and help the curls stay in place instead of slipping right out. X Research source
2Add a texturizing product. If you have fine, straight hair, adding a product to create more texture will help your curls stay in place. Apply one of the following products to ensure your curls stay as long as possible:
- Hair spray. Lightly mist your hair with the spray. This is the best option if you plan on using a curling iron to curl your hair.
- Curl-enhancing cream. Make sure to use a formula designed for use on dry hair.
- Dry shampoo. Just sprinkle it over your scalp and comb it through your hair to add dry texture.
- Hair gel. Use just enough to add texture; don't use so much your hair feels weighed down.
3Apply a light coating of hairspray. This extra step will add even more texture to your hair to keep your hair in a curled position. Apply it just before you start to curl your hair. Distribute it by combing it through from the roots to the tips.
5Pin your curls as you go. If you're using a curling iron, it can help to pin your curls against your head as you form them. That way they'll cool in a coiled position and stay curly that much longer once you take them down. After creating a curl, coil it against your head and use a hair clip or bobby pin to hold it in place. Take them down once your hair is cool.
6Finger-comb your curls. When your curls have cooled and you've taken them down, use your fingers to style your hair. Avoid using a comb or brush, since this could cause your curls to come undone.
7Finish with hairspray. Use a medium or strong-hold hairspray to hold your style in place for the rest of the day.
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QuestionIf I do not have curl cream, what can I replace it with?Ashley AdamsAshley Adams is a Licensed Cosmetologist and Hair Stylist in Illinois. She completed her Cosmetology education at John Amico School of Hair Design in 2016.
Professional Hair StylistProfessional Hair StylistExpert Answer
QuestionHow do I keep the curls intact while sleeping?Ashley AdamsAshley Adams is a Licensed Cosmetologist and Hair Stylist in Illinois. She completed her Cosmetology education at John Amico School of Hair Design in 2016.
Professional Hair StylistProfessional Hair StylistExpert Answer
QuestionCan body lotions be used instead of curl cream?Community AnswerBody lotions are just for your skin. These products have components that could be bad for the hair, so it's not recommended you put it in your hair.
Mousse also works just as good as curl cream. With this step, you can also skip the hairspray.
Spraying too much hairspray in your hair makes it look artificial, so try not to use too much.
If you brush your hair afterwards it will be frizzy and the curls won’t be so defined. In order to keep the curls intact, just rake your fingers through them and add a light mist of spray.
- Touching your hair a lot or brushing your hair may ruin the curls.
- Sometimes using a curling iron in hair damages it so try to avoid the curling iron and use soft foam curlers.
Things You'll Need
- Curl cream
- Curling iron or soft foam curlers
- Hair clips or bobby pins
About This Article
If you want to keep your hair curly, skip the conditioner when you wash your hair, since conditioner makes it harder for hair to hold curls. Then, pat your hair dry with a towel so it's damp and apply a dime-sized amount of curl cream or gel. Next, use sponge rollers or hairpins to put your hair in curls and let it air dry. Alternatively, if you need to dry your curls quickly, use a hairdryer until your curls feel dry. Finish by unrolling each lock of hair and applying firm-hold hairspray to keep your curls in place. For tips on how to curl your hair if it's already dry, read on!