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Hair Curling Tips and Tricks You Wish Your Mom Had Taught You

I used to cut my son's hair and wanted to share what I've learned.

Battling your hair?  Check out these hair curling tips that will have you looking fantastic in no time.

Battling your hair? Check out these hair curling tips that will have you looking fantastic in no time.

If you find curling your hair to be a frustrating and disappointing task, these hair curling tips are sure to make it easier and give you superior results. There are many different types and lengths of hair, necessitating different methods and tools to get the job done.

Basic Tips

  • When curling your hair, go with what it naturally wants to do. In other words, don't blow dry it straight or Heaven forbid straighten it before you curl it. Use whatever natural wave you have to enhance your curls.
  • Healthy hair will look better no matter what style you opt for. Make sure to condition your hair regularly, use a clarifying shampoo to reduce build-up, and always heat protect your hair before using hot tools. Consider using one of the new "non-shampoo" products on the market, like Wen, they really are much gentler on your hair.
  • Do your best to avoid using heat each and every time you curl. It's just too damaging to be done on a regular basis. Use pin curls, velcro rollers, or bendy foam rollers. Heck, you can even use the old sock method once in a while! Bottom line: Damaged hair won't look good, curly or not.
  • Completely section off your hair for optimal results. Don't just go willy nilly grabbing pieces from all over your head! Be organized. Divide your hair into quadrants: the front, back, and two sides. Further, divide those quadrants into the bottoms (underneath part) and tops. I normally start with the underneath because you don't want to be digging around and disturbing your top curls to locate the underneath strands. Sectioning off your hair this way is one of the most important steps to take when curling your hair. The outcome is tidier, you're less likely to miss strands and you get the best access to your hair all the way up to the root.
  • Always use a heat protector on your hair before using hot curling methods. You may also lightly spritz your hair with a quality hair spray before curling to help it set.

Getting Curls to Stay!

If you have hair that's reluctant to hold the curl, there are some tricks to make your locks stay put.

The Pantyhose Trick

I learned this first method from my mother years ago, and it's still one I use today. Take an old pair of pantyhose and cut out the legs. You will basically have a pantyhose cap left, like the one you'd use if you were to put on a wig. After you curl your hair, carefully put your curls in the cap while the hair is still warm. This will prevent gravity from pulling out the curls and will set them surprisingly well. This method works wonders if you've used hot rollers. Let the hair cool, then take off the cap! I usually keep my cap on for a while, it's a great way to keep your hair out of your face while you put on your makeup. You can also sleep with the cap on if you roll your hair the night before.

The Hair Pin Trick

This requires more work than the above, but it's still relatively quick and easy. After you've made each curl, pin them up with hairpins and allow the curls to cool. Make sure to roll the curl in the direction it's already going. Use the criss-cross method of securing the pins. That is after you use the first pin to secure the curl, take another pin and place it at an angle to make an "X" with the two pins.

Tips for Curling Short Hair

Use a Hair Dryer and a Thermal Brush

Women with short hair will be amazed by what they can do with a curling iron and a round thermal brush. Slowly dry your hair as it's wound around the brush and you can get some pretty impressive curls. Go from the roots to the ends. Just be careful not to hold the blow dryer too close to your hair. Not only can it damage your hair, but it can also burn out the heating elements in the dryer. Yes, I know this from experience...

Use a Curling Iron

If your hair is resistant to curl, you may have to use a curling iron. The trick here is to find the right size barrel for your hair. If it's short, you will obviously need a fairly small barrel. But, larger barrels can also give your hair a lot of volume. You may need to experiment with different barrels to see which size you prefer.

If you still have trouble getting the curl to stay, use a mousse or gel before curling... along with your heat protector, of course.

Hot Rollers

You will need to find rollers small enough to wrap around your hair one time. Make sure your hair is completely dry before adding hot rollers! Many people curl their hair while it's still damp and this is very damaging... not to mention NOT the best method for getting the curls to stay. Heat and wet hair do not mix... Make sure the rollers are cool before removing them.

Make Pin Curls

One word of caution here is that you may need the patience of a saint to get the job done. If you have thick hair you're in for quite a task. If however, you have thin hair, it's doable.

Tips for Curling Long Hair

One of the best methods for guaranteeing gorgeous hair is perfecting the art of curling hair with a flat iron. I've yet to find a better way to curl hair and actually have it stay.

Use Flexi Rods/Bendi Rollers

You can get either loose, flowing curls with these or tight, springy ones depending upon a few things. The less hair you take and the more tension you use when rolling the hair, the tighter the curls will be. The longer you keep them in, the curlier they'll be too. And, they come in different diameters, so the larger the diameter, the looser the curl will be. Once I used my pantyhose cap and slept with them in and was pretty surprised how curly my hair was the next morning. I had to work to get the curls to settle down. So, I can't say I recommend this overnight method, an hour seems to work well. Alternatively, you can roll them and blow-dry the curls to set them more quickly. Of course, this defeats the "no heat" purpose.

They're a great way to reduce the use of heat-damaging curling methods while getting curls that will stay... and stay. They're tricky though, they take practice and patience.

Use a Cinnabon for Loose, Beautiful Curls

This is definitely one of my favorite methods because it's easy (once you get the hang of it) and your hair just looks stunning. First, view the video on the right demonstrating how to Cinnabon your hair. Great, now your hair looks fantastic...go to work, to school with the bun on your head. And, when night falls and you need to look fabulous, carefully take out the bun trying to maintain the curls the updo has created. Voila! You have a fantastic head of curly hair for your night out on the town. Definitely top it off with some hairspray and you'll be good to go.

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Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on April 10, 2012:

Very neat hub! I like that cinnabon video you did, that was useful!

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 07, 2012:

Thanks, Lisa! Hope the tips come in handy...

Lisas-thoughts101 from Northeast Texas on April 07, 2012:

wordscribe, thanks for all the hairtips. I am going to try the hair net and the flexi rods. I am anxious to see my results. Great hub with the videos included. I voted up and awesome!


Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 06, 2012:

Thanks, Lindsay for coming by! The cinnabon is really cool- my daughter's hair is just now long enough and it's a lot of fun. Good luck and happy hair growing!

Lindsay Steele on April 06, 2012:

My hair never holds a curl. I am excited to try these all out! I've spent hours searching the web for ideas, and have never seen the cinnabon before. Can't wait until my hair is long enough to do it!

Natasha from Hawaii on January 15, 2012:

Thanks! I have always wanted curly hair and can never get curls to stay with the traditional blow dry, curling iron, hairspray method.

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 22, 2011:

wavegirl22, do it... NOW. Do not pass go. It's amazing, I'm telling you. My hair looks so much better now. Let me know what you think when you try it! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Happy Holidays!

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 22, 2011:

Thanks, Leanna! I can relate to your friend's plight, it's very frustrating. I hope she finds these techniques useful...

Shari from New York, NY on December 22, 2011:

wordscribe43- amazing beauty tips! I must say I have been dying to try the Wen Hair Products and now that I see you recommend the Wen hair product I am definitely going to try it!

Leanna McCarthy from Vancouver on December 22, 2011:

Nice Hub! I have naturally curly hair and always feel bad when my friend tries to curl hers and it falls flat. Will pass on some of these tips. Thanks : )

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 17, 2011:

Awww.. thanks so much, gorilla24. Congratulations on your new and upcoming career. Best of luck!

gorilla24 on December 17, 2011:

I really enjoyed your hub, Im in hair school right now and you kept me intrigued Thank You!

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 17, 2011:

Have fun, Christine. I can't stop playing with my hair or my kids' hair when I learn a new trick. Enjoy! Thanks for popping by.

Christine P Ann from Australia on December 17, 2011:

really cool! I'm going to go play with my hair now :)

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 15, 2011:

Jillian, thanks for coming by. You definitely should give these a try, you will be pleasantly surprised. Like anything else, mastering the techniques will take just a little bit of practice. Good luck!

JillianHuey from Connecticut on December 15, 2011:

Great hub! My hair is long, fine, and pin straight so I can rarely get it to hold curls. Hot rollers seem to be the only method that works when I use a curling spray gel before rolling and a LOT of hairspray afterwards. I will definitely be trying a few tricks from you.


Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 15, 2011:

Thanks, tarajeuaram. I hope you end up finding the styles nice and easy. Thanks for coming by!

tarajeyaram from Wonderland on December 14, 2011:

Great hub. I am going to try some of these tricks. My hair gets all mess up so I usually do updo for all the occasions. It gets a bit boring. Really nice tips.

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 09, 2011:

Thanks, RedElf. I love the video, too. She's a hoot, but she's got that cinnabon DOWN. Mine is a bit wavy, too... but not a good kind of wavy. It's a messy kind where it's not really wavy enough to let it be, but not straight enough to let it be. Drives me mad!

RedElf from Canada on December 09, 2011:

Love the Cinnabon video. What a personable girl. My hair is naturally wavy and take a curl quickly, Then they all fall out without a generous spraying. Thanks for the tips!

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 09, 2011:

collegatariat, mine is very resistant to curl as well. I must say, curling it with a flat iron is another way to get long-lasting curls. I agree about the pin curls, I just don't always have the patience. Anyway, thanks for popping by and commenting.

collegatariat on December 09, 2011:

Nice hub! I have the kind of hair that doesn't hold curl, no matter what unless it's set in with pin curls-- it takes forever, but it stays! The video had some great dips though to make it work better. Thanks for posting it!

Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on December 08, 2011:

Hi, Lily Rose! I know, every time I wrote the word "cinnabon" I thought of the pastry smell at the mall. You should give it a go on your daughter. It's tricky at first, but I promise... you can do it. It's REALLY cute on kids, just hit it with some hair spray when you're done!

Lily Rose from A Coast on December 07, 2011:

Great tips - I've never seen the cinnabon before (except the kind you eat!) and I like it. I may try it on my daughter's hair just to see if I can do it!

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