How to Curl Your Hair so It Lasts for Days

Updated on October 30, 2019
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I'm a freelance hairstylist in Oregon. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I want to help you be a successful cosmetologist!

Learn this no-fail method and keep your curls fabulous for days!
Learn this no-fail method and keep your curls fabulous for days!

Effortless Curls Are Easier Than You Think!

Imagine waking up in the morning and your hair is already done. How much time would you save? What could you accomplish instead of standing in front of the bathroom mirror curling your hair . . . again? What If I told you that you could curl your hair once and it would last for up to five days? Well you can! Read on for the magic method.

What You'll Need

In order to achieve curls that last for days, I recommend gathering these supplies:

  • A curling wand (I use a Paul Mitchell Ion Unclipped wand)
  • Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine Superspray
  • Clips

This method obviously requires you to forgo washing your hair for the days you want it to remain curled, so you'll also need:

  • Your favorite dry shampoo (my all-time fave brand is Hask)
  • A shower cap
  • An Invisibobble or "telephone cord" hair tie


Step 1

Start with freshly washed or second-day hair. If possible, use slightly less conditioner when you wash, as excess conditioner will weigh down your hair and keep the curls from holding as long. Flip your head upside-down and brush in a working spray that is non-aerosol. This is essential to protect your hair from the heat of the iron, help hold the curls in, and guard against humidity.

My favorite working spray is Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine. I used it behind the chair for years for everything from older women's weekly roller sets to wedding updos.

Paul Mitchel Freeze And Shine
Paul Mitchel Freeze And Shine

Step 2

Section your hair into two or three "levels" with the clips depending on how thick your hair is and separate the first section from the lowest level. Use your curling wand to curl the first section. If you curl the hair away from your face you will achieve more of a beach wave look. If you curl the hair in towards your face, you will get a more traditional look, similar to what you'd see on a Victoria's Secret model. Continue curling in the desired direction until you have done your entire head.

Wands vs. Curling Irons

The reason I recommend using a curling wand instead of a curling iron is that a wand exposes less hair to its surface and keeps more of it away from the direct heat. Because a curling iron sandwiches the hair between the barrel and the clip, more than twice as much hair is being exposed, so hair damage is more likely.

My favorite wand is the Paul Mitchell Ion wand pictured below. I purchased one at a hair show years ago and used it behind the chair for years. Because it is made of ceramic, it distributes the heat more evenly and keeps hair shinier.

Paul Mitchell Curling Wand
Paul Mitchell Curling Wand

Step 3

Wait. This is the most important and most overlooked step in achieving long-lasting curls. I found that many of my clients were unaware that letting the hair cool completely allows the cuticle to close back up which helps the curls last. This is a great opportunity to do your makeup.

Oh look. It's Taylor Swift circa 2008.
Oh look. It's Taylor Swift circa 2008.

Step 4

Once your hair has cooled completely, you can brush through it with either a paddle brush or your fingers. If you use your fingers you'll get more of a beauty effect. If you use a brush, you'll get a looser, softer curl that will still last days.

At this point, I do not recommend using more hairspray, as it can cause the curl to crease if you put any pressure on it through sleeping or leaning against the headrest in the car.

After. These curls will last me between 4 and 6 days!
After. These curls will last me between 4 and 6 days!

When You're Ready to Sleep

When you're ready for bed, use an Invisibobble or "Telephone Cord" hair tie to put your hair up in a high pony tail. This particular type of hair tie is essential as it won't leave horizontal creases in your hair while you sleep the way a regular hair tie or scrunchy would.

This is an Invisibobble hair tie. It will keep your hair from creasing.
This is an Invisibobble hair tie. It will keep your hair from creasing.

When You Get Greasy

I recommend waiting a few days before you dry shampoo as natural oils are actually super healthy for your hair. When it is time to do something about your natural oils, I recommend using Hask dry shampoo. It is extremely lightweight and doesn't stand out, even against dark hair. Be sure to dry shampoo at night rather than in the morning, as this will give the dry shampoo more time to absorb the oil and disappear into your hair so that you don't wind up looking "chalky."

Hask Dry Shampoo
Hask Dry Shampoo

Happy Curling!

Have fun! You'll get better at this method with practice. Let me know how it goes in the comments. Happy curling!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • I’ve tried using the phone cord hair ties but I still wake up and my curls are frizzy and it looks like a mess. Do you suggest maybe wearing a shower cap to bed? Or is something else I can put on my head to help my curls stay in place while I’m sleeping? I move around a lot while sleeping so I’m sure that’s why I wake up and my curls don’t last? Any helpful tricks?

    Oh, no! Well, my other go to is the good old scrunchy. I thrash around a lot in my sleep too. If a shower cap works for you, more power to you!


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