The Best Products to Make Your Hair Curl

Updated on July 6, 2012

It is a strange world. I spend fifteen to twenty minutes curling my very straight hair, and my curly-girl friend spends the same time straightening hers. This habit seems quite universal-- the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and the hair is always better on the other person's head.

Be that as it may, I'm not about to kiss my curling iron goodbye for any reason, philosophical or otherwise. But with hair like mine that won't voluntarily curl, not for love or money, it takes a little extra of both to coerce it into curliness. Here are some of the best methods I've found to create a curled hairstyle that lasts, even on the most obstinate of hair.

Tres Semme Curl Activator Spray

Specifically designed for setting in heat curls, Tres Semme's Curl Activator Spray is the most effective product I've found for a day to day style that lasts. You can use just a light spray for looser curls, or put it on heavier to get an even better hold.

The best thing about it is that it doesn't make your hair tacky, or even really stiff unless you use a lot. If you make sure to hit it with a blast of hot air pretty quickly after spraying, and at least finger comb your hair to remove any clumps, and then curl away.

It's also very reasonably priced, especially since you don't need to use much, and is available at retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

Suave Aerosol Hairspray

After you've blow-dried your hair, you can pull out the aerosol hairspray and give it a few quick sprays, working it in with your fingers to make sure it get evenly distributed. The idea is simply to give fine hair a bit of texture and coarseness, not to make it sticky which can happen easily. The curls it leaves should be soft, more like waves than actual curls.

Of course, if you need to keep a massive amount of curl you can spray each strand as you curl it. The sizzle of the hot iron on your hair may make you cringe a bit, and for good reason. You don't want to do this often, as it can make you lose a great deal of hair when you brush it out, and overall it's just not healthy for your hair. Also, if you aren't careful you may end up with ringlets like a Southern belle. And those went out of style at least a hundred and fifty years ago.

Any brand of hairspray should work, I just happen to like Suave. The less residue the spray leaves the better, but it's definitely not necessary to but the most expensive brand.

A Good Curling Iron

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you've had yours for a few years and used it consistently, the coil may have lost some of it's heating capabilities. Earlier this year I bought a new curling iron after some hotel monster ate my old one-- it was amazing how much more quickly and effectively it worked. The time I had to leave it in my hair was significantly less and the curls were better.

Remember that the barrel size will determine the kind of curls you get. The larger the barrel the looser the curls, and vice versa. However, if you only have space or finances to get one, I would suggest a smaller barrel, and for larger curls wrap the hair loosely and don't hold it in for very long.

Of course the more you pay the longer said appliance will last, but this is also not something that you have to break the bank over. Just get what you can afford that is useful and efficient.

Hot Rollers

Another no-brainer. Hot rollers. Who'd have thought? But before you get horrifying images of 80s 'do with massive curls, teasing, feathering, and all of the like, curlers can be used differently.

The trick is in learning how to actually use them well. Getting stubborn ends and layers to all wrap around the curler can be frustrating, and failed attempts might give you some frustrating, if not entertaining, results. But if you stick with it, you may really find that there are results that you like. And really, it probably takes less time than using a curling iron on every strand of hair, so it's more efficient than some other methods. Just make sure you don't have to answer the door while the rollers are still cooling.

Volumax Freezing Spray

This is what I call the Big Guns. Naturelle's Volumax Freezing Spray is just that-- absolutely freezing. Perfect for formal updos that you don't want to go anywhere, or the hair worn down that needs to hold shape, and you can be confident that it's going to look marvelous at the end of the evening. I would even recommend it for weddings, proms, and other all-day events where you can't be worrying about your hair.

Do not use this as pre-curling treatment. I don't know, and don't even want to imagine what would happen to your hair if you sprayed this stuff in it before applying heat. I will not be held responsible in a court of law for the results. Also, it's not something that you don't want to use everyday, as it is hard chemicals being applied to your hair and it could be damaging after a while.

Another good reason to save it for special occasions is the price. It's not insanely expensive, but definitely not the cheapest thing on the market either. I paid almost $7.00 for a can at Sally's Beauty Supply, but since I don't use it often it's lasted for quite a while. Overall, it's a great thing to have handy, and I highly recommend it.


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