The Best Products to Make Your Hair Curl

Updated on November 6, 2019
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I like sharing hair secrets and beauty hacks with others online.

It is a strange world. I spend fifteen to twenty minutes curling my very straight hair, and my curly-girl friend spends the same amount of time straightening hers. This dichotomy 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, even for love or money, it takes a little extra effort 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.

What to Use to Get Curls and Keep Them

  • Tresemme Curl Activator Spray
  • Suave Aerosol Hairspray
  • A Good Curling Iron
  • Hot Rollers
  • Volumax Freezing Spray

Tresemme Curl Activator Spray
Tresemme Curl Activator Spray

Tresemme Curl Activator Spray

Specifically designed for setting heat curls, Tresemme'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. Make sure to hit it with a blast of hot air pretty quickly after spraying, finger-comb your hair to remove any clumps, 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
Suave Aerosol Hairspray

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 gets 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 and 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 buy the most expensive brand.

A Good Curling Iron
A Good Curling Iron

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 its 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 amount of time I had to leave it in my hair was significantly shorter 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 the space or finances to get one, I would suggest a smaller barrel. 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 something you can afford that is useful and efficient.

Hot Rollers
Hot Rollers

Hot Rollers

Another no-brainer. Hot rollers. Who'd have thought? But before you get horrifying images of an 80s 'do with massive curls, teasing, feathering, and the like, know that 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 startling but entertaining results. But if you stick with it, you may 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
Volumax Freezing Spray

Volumax Freezing Spray

This is what I call the "big guns." Naturelle's Volumax Freezing Spray is just that—absolutely freezing. It's perfect for formal updos that you don't want to go anywhere or for hair worn down that needs to hold shape. You can be confident that it's still 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 should use every day, as it contains hard chemicals that could be damaging to your hair 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.

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.


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