Dang it! Why won’t my hair hold a curl?!? 7 tips for curling your hair and making it last.

I have the type of hair that if air dried, looks like a rats nest. I don’t have naturally curly or straight hair. I have naturally frizzy, kinked, hot mess hair. It’s been that way my whole life and I’ve had to suffer through a lot of trial and error to figure out how to tame my wild locks. After a long, hard journey, I’m finally at the point now where I don’t take any crap from my hair and it finally knows who’s boss (me, if I’m being unclear). If you have stubborn hair and you’d like to show it who’s boss, keep on reading.
1. Use a heat protecting spray ALWAYS!

Healthy hair looks better. I know, mind blowing stuff here, but stay with me. I can’t recommend that you get a curling iron anywhere near your hair if you don’t first make sure that you are protecting if from heat damage. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a product that is going to perform in this area. One of my favorites is the TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray. This puppy has the most magical sprayer ever! I wish they used type of spray bottle for makeup setting sprays. It’s a super fine mist, it smells really good, it protects your hair from heat and it’s inexpensive.

2. Get a good curling iron and pick the right size for your desired style.

While a $20 drug store curling iron might do the job, I would really recommend investing in a good quality curling iron. It gets the job done faster, you get more heat options, and a good quality iron will last you a really long time (I had a hot tools curling iron that lasted me from the age of 13 to 26 before it died – it was like losing an old friend!). You also need to take into account the size of the barrel and your desired style. The larger the barrel the bigger the curl. I use a 1 ¼ inch extended barrel curling iron. I have long hair so the extra length on the barrel really helps!

3. Use a working spray or dry shampoo before you curl.

If you have silky straight hair (I hate you), you are not going to get far curling freshly washed hair unless you get some texture in there. A lot of folks recommend curling second day hair to get texture, but because I curl my hair daily, I needed to find another way. Adding dry shampoo to your hair is a great way to get some texture in freshly washed hair. The product will give your curls something to grip to. You can also lightly spray your hair with hair spray and brush it out before curling to make sure that your hair understands that once you wrap it around the barrel, it’s going to need to stay put. Don’t add too much hair spray because your hair will steam and sizzle making the end result crunchy curls.

4. Curl your hair starting in the middle of your hair, not at your ends.

This is a big one. If you ignore every other tip (please don’t…especially the heat protecting step!) listen to this one. When I learned how to use a curling iron, I was taught that you clamp the barrel at the end and then roll the iron up the strands to create the curl. That is very wrong for several reasons. Your ends are the driest part of your hair and by beginning at the ends you expose them to heat way longer than necessary. Instead, start your curl in the middle of your hair and rotate the barrel so your ends are curled last and only briefly. This ensures that the part of your hair that needs the most heat to curl (the middle and closer to your roots) gets it, while your ends are just hanging out free and undamaged until the last possible second. If you have long hair, this also solves the issue of not getting a strong curl near your roots. If your hair is piled on the barrel the heat in only reaching what’s touching it. If you start in the middle you are evenly dispersing the heat without leaving part of your hair uncurled.

5. Coil and clip curls after you remove the curling iron and let them cool down.

If you find that your hair looks great right after you curl it, but then falls quickly, this step might just be what you’re missing. After you release your hair from the curling iron, roll it back to the barrel shape and clip it. This causes your hair to retain the curl better because you are holding your intended shape while your hair cools rather than letting gravity steal the curl you just worked so hard to achieve. If you just drop the curl, it loosens as it cools causing you to lose your curl (and likely your cool with it!). It’s the absolute worst to put in all of that effort only to have it last an hour. Make sure you let your hair set like this until it’s completely cooled (at least 10 minutes).

6. Shake out those curls at your roots.

This step is super important (fine, they all are) to make your curl go from ringlets reminiscent of Goldie Locks to natural looking, full, voluminous curls. Use a texturizing spray at the root first. My favorite right now is from Living Proof and it’s their Full Dry Volume Blast (it has the words “volume” and “blast” in the product name so you know they mean business). Don’t panic if you look like a hot mess at this point because it’s part of the process. Now that the texture spray is in, you are ready to shake. Take both hands, form them into claws (bear claws, lion claws, some sort of bird of prey…I’m not being picky here!) put them in your hair at the root and start shaking. The curls should start breaking up and once you remove your fingers you should see a lot more volume at your roots. Next you need to clean up your part: smooth out the top of your hands with your fingers and start shaping the curls that went nuts during the shaking process. Make sure the curls around your face are smoothed out and falling where you want then to before you move on to the next step.

7. Spray like your life depends on it!

Alright, you should look like Victoria Secret model at this point with big, beautiful curls (if not, go back to step one and try again) and you are now ready to lock your style in place. Choosing the right hair spray for the effect you want is important. I want to be able to touch my hair and not accidentally trap small birds in it if they fly too close to me. To achieve this look I use Kenra Professional Volume Spray 25. I really love this stuff because it holds my curl without the crunch (and not a single bird has gotten trapped in my hair since switching to this product). Split your hair down your part line and spray one side at a time. I like to lean to that side, spray up towards the bottom of my hair first, and scrunch after spraying to ensure the product has reached all my curls. After you’ve sprayed both sides make sure to bend the sides together with your fingers.

If you have any tips that work for you or would like to see my hair routine please let me know in the comment section.

All products were purchased with my own money. Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I get a tiny payment if you click through my links. It does not cost you anything, but it does help support this website. Thank you for your support!

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