We all love those beautiful, flawless, bouncy curls. But do you know what's even better? Beautiful, flawless, curly hair that lasts all day.
Today we're sharing our favorite tips and tricks with you on how to curl your hair to make it last all day! By the way, all these tips also work for hair extensions as well. You can either watch our tutorial below or keep scrolling down for all of our tips and tricks.
1. Start in the Shower
The perfect curl starts from the very beginning—the shower. Although it is best to curl second or third-day hair (see tip #2), you can take certain measures when you do wash your hair, to ensure that when the time comes, your curls will be beautiful, defined, and last for hours.
Skip the conditioner when washing your hair, as this can sometimes make the hair too soft and slippery, leading to curls falling out faster. The key to curls that last longer is to have enough grit and texture to the hair to hold those curls in place.
2. Don’t wash your hair right before curling it
Having said all of the above, the best hair to start of with is actually second or third-day hair! Although we all love the feeling of fresh, clean hair, curls tend to hold better in dirtier hair. The reason for this is because the natural oils from your scalp give the hair a grittier texture and natural hold without needing hair mousse, so there’s a better chance the curls will last longer. If you’re in between washes and are worried about your hair looking oily, try using some dry shampoo at the roots, to help soak up any extra oil.
3. Prep your hair
As we mentioned earlier, it's important for your hair to have the right texture to be able to hold a curl all day or night, which can be achieved with the right hair products. Before beginning to curl your hair, apply a thickening mousse to your hair. Since hair mousse contains alcohol it will remove some of the moisture from your hair, which further enhances the hair's grit and hold. Although we usually preach using alcohol and sulfate-free hair products, this is one of the few times that using an alcohol-based product is actually recommended! Use a generous amount of hair mousse filling up your whole palm, and work it through your hair from roots to ends.
4. Use the right hair products
This is the most important styling product you can use on your hair before heat styling, which is the number one way that most women damage their hair. You can purchase a heat protectant at any drug store or hair salon, or you can go au-naturale, using certain hair oils as heat protectants. Here are some natural and effective ways to protect your hair from heat styling.
Help your curls! Apply styling products to your hair, which will help hold the curls in place longer. Depending on what works with your hair, apply a tiny bit of mousse prior to drying your hair. Or, spray a bit of hairspray before, during and after curling. This will give your hair a rougher texture which will help prolong the lifespan of your curls. If you’re wondering what hair care products are best for your hair type, check out the rundown on hair care products here. Every girl should know what products are available and what will work best for your hair.
Hint: Don't hold the hairspray too close to your hair as this will make your curls crunchy and heavy. You want to spray a light mist onto it and wait a few moments for it to dry prior to applying heat.
5. Invest in good hot hair tools
You may think that your hair is "stick straight" and that "your curls will fall apart in 20 minutes anyway." Well, you will continue to think that as long as you use cheap, drugstore brand curling irons or curling wands! Only when you switch to better quality, high-end hot tools, will you realize that the problem isn't your hair—it's the curling iron!
High-end curling irons and curling wands are usually coated with tourmaline or ceramic, which are materials proven to cause less damage to your hair than straight metal. Yes, they may be more expensive, however, they are less damaging on your hair, they heat up better (so you will apply heat for a shorter period of time), and good quality curling irons will last you years. Investing in high-quality hot tools is an investment in your hair's health and beauty—who doesn't want that?
We recommend setting your tools at 300F to achieve the optimal curl. If you are curling your hair extensions, be sure to use a lower heat setting of 250 F, as hair extensions are much more fragile than natural hair.
6. Use the right barrel size
Barrel size is super important because the tightness of your curls goes hand in hand with how they will wear and fall throughout the day or night. The common misconception is that a bigger barrel curling wand or curling iron is what will give you those sexy Victoria Secret Curls. We find that most of the time, however, a smaller barrel will do the trick. Depending on your hair type, try using a smaller barrel size that you normally would like 1" or 1.5", and see what difference it can make! Not only will the curls look more defined, but they will also last longer. Sometimes, using a larger barrel simply leads to the curly hair loosening up into waves faster and falling out.
It is also important to differentiate between a curling wand and a curling iron, which will give you different types of curls. A curling iron is usually ideal for those tight princess curls, while a curling wand gives you more freedom to customize the type of curls. Sometimes, all you need is a different technique to achieve larger or smaller curls, using the same curling wand. Need a refresher on how to curl your hair? Here's a great video on five easy ways to curl your hair with the same barrel size.
7. Get Your Curls To Stay: Cool Them Down
One of the most effective tricks on how to get your curls to stay is to let the curl cool down and set before letting it go. Take each fresh curl (still keeping the curl shape) and secure its spiral shape with a clip or a bobby pin. How does this work? Well, as you wrap your hair around the curling iron, heat is transferred onto the hair strands, which is what makes them change their shape. So, once your pinned curl is cooled down, it will allow the hair's cuticle to close and set in place, making the curl last for a much longer period of time. Learn how to do this technique from this video. You can also use the same technique when curling your hair extensions. When unclipping your curls, be sure to let them cool down for a couple of minutes prior to brushing them out. If you break the curls too quickly, they will lose their form in a shorter amount of time.
Hint: Ever wondered what that 'cool' button on your hair dryer was there for? Sure, it's a great way to give yourself a blast of cold air during the summer, but cool air is actually used to set styles. If you don't have the time to wait for 10 – 15 minutes for the curls to set, pin them all to your scalp and use your blow drier to blow cold air on them from a distance.
8. Leave The Curls Tight
Once your curls have cooled down, unclip them, then toss your head back and gently shake the curls out. Rake your fingers through your hair to gently break up the curls, but be sure to leave the curls a little tighter than you actually want them. It is inevitable that your curls will fall out as time goes on, however, leaving them a bit tighter while you're getting ready will ensure that the curls last longer than they would have. The bonus here is that once you've reached your final destination, the curls will likely have relaxed just enough.
9. Finish with Texturizing spray
Since texturizing spray is lighter on your hair than hairspray and you don’t have to use a ton of product for its effectiveness, it will actually weigh your hair down less and allow the curls stay bouncy for longer. Texturizing spray is great because it adds volume and can also act similarly to a dry shampoo by neutralizing the oils in your hair. You can still use hairspray before or throughout the curling process, but finishing with a texturizing spray will help hold the curls in place without dragging them down too much. It will give your hair more body and texture, making your hair look fuller overall.
10. Your hair still doesn't curl?
Well, this is a sign that your hair is screaming SOS. Overly damaged hair (including split ends) doesn't curl and doesn't hold style well. It's time to give your hair some love and get a trim! Or, prevent split ends altogether by following our guidlines here. Remember, regular trims actually lead to faster hair growth, so don't be afraid of a few snips! As an alternative, we recommend to deep condition your hair with a hair mask, which is a great short-term solution to dry, damaged hair. These hair masks can be made with a few simple kitchen ingredients and lead to softer, healthier, shinier hair—the perfect base for curling.
If you're already doing all of the above but are struggling with curling your hair, we've got you covered. Learn how to curl your hair in five minutes here, three ways to get big, sexy curls here, how to get perfect, tight curls here, and how to get voluminous curls that yes, last all day, here.