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9 Unexpected Ways to Create–and Hold–Curls

Curls are basically like snowflakes – no two are exactly alike. And just like each curl is unique AF, so is creating them. Whether you’re over your curling iron or if you’re longing more natural-looking ringlets, here are outside the box ways to achieve waves.


Image via Sam Villa Youtube

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.

Straw Rollers

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 a hairspray (we like Eufora Elevate Firm Mist: $29) and leave on for at least a half an hour, or you can try sleeping on them.

Bantu Buns

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Bantu knots illustration

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Similarly, you can create min buns throughout the hair – they should essentially look like bantu knots – and then 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 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 create individual mini braids throughout the hair for a natural, touchable, crimped look.


Spirally and ultra colorful, Curlformers: $60.49 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 if-y but it’s done in one swift motion and at least looks easy.


Image via Gamma+ Italia, and StyleCraft

This backstage FW 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 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 who invented the head-turning look.


Texture is back in a major way, and that means crimps are too. To create teeny tiny crimped curls, all you need is the ghd contour professional crimper: $169, which can also be used to pretexture, depending on how big you want to go.

Flatiron (It Isn’t Just for Straight Hair)

If you don’t have a curling iron, you can still create a curl. For curls courtesy of a flatiron, 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 flatiron out quickly and for tighter curls pull the hair out slower. Switch up the pace for believable beach waves.

CHI Air Spin and Curl

This is the ultimate hack for creating curls – literally all you do is place your hair into the Spin and Curl: $99 and it spits out a perfect ringlet. With adjustable heat up times for fine, medium and coarse hair, this is a no-brainer way to gently create waves.

A complete breakdown on how chopsticks = curls lives HERE.

2 minutes

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