Curls are basically like snowflakes—no two are exactly alike. And just like each curl is unique, so is creating them. Whether you’re over your curling iron or if you’re longing for more natural-looking ringlets, we’ve got you covered. Read on for some unexpected techniques you can use to create curls and ensure they keep their hold in your strands!
No matter how you create your curl, and especially if you decide to heat style, pretexturing is a must for a lasting style—especially for girls with very soft or straight hair. Pretexture subtly changes the texture of your hair to support the curls. “Sometimes with really soft hair, it’s nice to touch but it doesn’t hold texture very well,” says Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa.
In order to pretexture, Andrew uses a flatiron to create a light imprint through the strands by repetitively clamping the hair, as though he were crimping it. “It works much better if you create tiny sections,” suggests Andrew, who stresses that this can be tedious but it pays off.
Note that you don’t need super high heat to pretexture. Andrew doesn’t go over 392 degrees, especially because higher temps can destroy hair color. After the texture is finished, there’s more bulk, making it the perfect canvas for your new curls.
Whether you want to go heatless or are on a budget, this is a classic way to create a curl. Simply divide your mane into medium-sized sections (they can be thinner but you don’t want them to be too thick) wrapping each around a straw (or bendable craft stick), and knotting securely. Once the whole head is up, mist lightly with hairspray and leave on for at least half an hour, or you can try sleeping on them.
Similarly, you can create min buns throughout the hair. They should essentially look like Bantu knots. Secure these in place with mini clips. If your hair is wet, you want to make sure that your hair is totally dry before taking out the curls so that they stay in place.
Braids for Days
Pretty much any way you braid your hair will give you curls or waves the next morning. A popular route (you probably did this as a kid) is creating two French braids or cornrow braids for tighter curls or creating individual mini braids throughout the hair for a natural, touchable, crimped look.
Spirally and ultra colorful, Curlformers are a fun and heatless way of creating curls, if only for the before pic on IG. Thread the Curlformer through a hook that comes in the pack, take a section of damp, freshly washed hair and slide the Curlformer on the hair. It sounds a little iffy but it’s done in one swift motion.
This backstage Fashion Week hack is for anyone who’s willing to put in the work for editorial curls. For major texture micro-curls, wrap dry hair around a chopstick or pencil and press in between your flatiron plates. “By using wooden chopsticks and wrapping the hair around it (and using the flat iron), you are creating a very unique texture. By opening the spring-like curls, you get a very unique look that you cannot achieve with a curling iron,” says stylist Jorge Luis for Gamma+ Italia and StyleCraft.
Texture is back in a major way, and that means crimps are too. To create teeny tiny crimped curls, all you need is a professional crimper of your choice, which can also be used to pretexture, depending on how big you want to go.
If you don’t have a curling iron, you can still create a curl. For curls, courtesy of a flat iron, twist a section of the hair around your straightener at a 180-degree angle and pull the iron down the length of the section. For loose waves, pull the flat iron out quickly and for tighter curls pull the hair out slower. Switch up the pace for believable beach waves.
A complete breakdown on how chopsticks = curls lives HERE.