How to Keep Curls in Hair

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Volume is in. Everyone wants tips on how to keep curls in hair. While curls can look amazing when they’re fresh, they often turn limp before the day is done. Curls with low staying power don’t mean that your hair is “bad” at curling. Most people make common curl mistakes that cause curls to go limp when they could be lasting much longer. The good news is that simple tips for how to keep curls in straight hair can keep curls going well into the next day. Take a look at 10 ways to keep curls going strong.

Don’t Believe the Negative Hype About Hairspray

The truth is that hairspray has had a tainted reputation for far too long. While hairsprays of yesteryear left hair feeling crunchy and weighed down, brands have really stepped up in recent years to create hairspray that’s actually friendly to hair. That means you’re getting hold and volume without the crunch. To get curl longevity using hairspray, make sure you’re applying hairspray before, during, and after you curl your hair. Hairspray actually provides an excellent primer for curls because it creates a gritty texture that allows curls to stick around. Just don’t make the mistake of directly spraying curls at close range. This can create the dreaded “crunching” effect that happens when you soak curls with product. Hold the spray a distance from the head to create a misting effect that causes the product to spray around your head. You should also make sure you’re allowing the hairspray product to sit in your hair for a few minutes before applying any heat. This is the secret to getting oh-so-soft curls that actually stick around.

Be Intentional About Barrel Size

The first step to creating a long-lasting curl is deciding the type of curl you want to create. Smaller barrels produce tight curls. Larger barrels create loose, wavy curls. The temptation when going for a natural, beachy look is to choose the bigger barrel. However, the downside of “big” curls is that they tend to fade faster than tighter curls. In addition to having more definition, tight curls also have a stronger structure that keeps them from unfurling the way big, loose curls do. Going down to a 1.5-in barrel may be the secret to getting your curls to stick around if you’re not having success with your larger barrel.

Go Back to Using a Curl Iron

The obsession with creating natural curls in recent years has caused most people to switch from curling irons to curling wands. Wands are used to create spontaneous, freeform curls. Curling irons create traditional tight curls. For many people, reverting back to a curling iron is the only way to create true curls with staying power.

Stop Brushing Out Your Curls

Don’t brush, tease, and “poof out” your curls once they look exactly how you want them to look. Curls are already on their way to flattening out by the time they look “just right” in front of the mirror. It’s actually wise to create curls that are slightly tighter than you want them to be with the understanding that they are going to loosen up after you’re done styling your hair.

Utilize Cooling

Cooling curls helps to set them in place! There are two ways to cool curls. The first is to use clips to keep your curls in place after you’re done using heat. This technique essentially sculpts your curls to stay in place as the heat from your curling device wears out. Let clipped hair sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Once you unclip your curls, wait a few more minutes before you shake them around. The second way to cool curls to keep them in place is to use a cool setting on your hairdryer. Using the cool setting, go over your entire head with your hairdryer. Just make sure you’re putting some distance between the hairdryer nozzle and your head.

Use a Texturizing Product

Hairspray isn’t the only secret weapon for curls. You can get many of the same benefits offered by hairspray using a high-quality texturizing spray. The benefit of a texturizer over hairspray is that it tends to be much lighter. However, it does a fabulous job of holding curls in place without weighing them down. The other perk of texturizing spray is that it helps to remove excess oils from your hair that will cause curls to lose their volume. Use texturizing spray before, during, and after you curl your hair the same way you would use hairspray.

Protect Your Curls While You Sleep

Nothing kills curls faster than a good night of rest! Unfortunately, the weight of your head against the pillow flattens curls. If you want to save your curls for the next day, there are some ways you can prevent curl flattening while you sleep. Here are simple hacks for how to keep curls in your hair overnight:

  • Buy a Satin Pillowcase: Satin is a preferred option for people with curly hair because it causes less friction than cotton and linen pillowcases. Less friction means your curls aren’t getting battered all night. One bonus of using a satin pillowcase is that it will also help to prevent wrinkles on your face!
  • Tie Your Hair With a Scrunchie: While tying curls back to preserve them may seem counterintuitive, a simple scrunchie that’s loosely secured in your hair can stop you from sleeping on your curls. Simply secure your hair into a scrunchie at the top of your head to keep your head and neck off your curls. This technique is sometimes called the “pineapple” technique due to the fact that your hair will resemble the crown of a pineapple.
  • Wear a Silk or Satin Headscarf: Using either a headscarf or bonnet made from silk or satin can create a buffer between your hair and your pillow that prevents curl-killing friction.

If your curls are feeling soft before bed, you can always add some hairspray or texturizing spray to make them more resilient against the pressure of your head while you sleep. You can also use the same product to touch up curls in the morning. If you’re trying to preserve unnatural curls, the truth is that getting more than two days of curly hair is hard even when you’re using curl-saving overnight techniques.

Start With Dirty Hair

You read that correctly. While your hair doesn’t have to be “dirty” to respond beautifully to curling, it does help if it’s been a few days since your last wash. One of the secrets that celebrities use to get amazing hair on the red carpet is not washing their hair for several days before an event. That’s because dirty hair holds curls better than freshly cleaned hair! If you’re squeamish about skipping washes, another hack is to use dry shampoo on days when you plan to curl your hair. Hair washed with dry shampoo tends to create a grittier base for curls compared to wet-washed hair.

Don’t Handle Your Hair During the Day

Are you in the habit of running your hands through your hair, nervously touching your hair, or fluffing your hair with your fingers throughout the day? Touching your hair frequently flattens curls. Try to keep your hands off your curls as much as possible. If you have long hair, make sure that coats, scarves, shawls, hoodies, backpacks, backs of chairs, and other items aren’t compressing your hair throughout the day. Hats should also be avoided if the goal is to keep your waves going.

Consider Switching to Hot Rollers

Hot rollers are on a hot streak because they work better than curling irons and wands for many people. If your curls refuse to stay, try hot rollers. Hot rollers tend to produce curls with better-staying power because they spend more time “imprinting” a curl into your hair than a curling iron.

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Curls in Hair

Using the 10 tips above, you should be able to extend the life of your curls. Start by simply auditing the type of curling mechanism you’re using. Curling irons, curl wands, and hot rollers can all create different end results. If the method you’re currently using is constantly resulting in unfurled curls, it’s probably time to switch things up. Next, evaluate the curling products you’re using to make sure they’re producing the gritty texture curls need to stay without creating crunchy, crispy hair. Finally, look at how you’re handling curls once they’ve been created. Any habits that cause your curls to be compressed will prematurely flatten and loosen your curls. The bottom line is that using some simple tips can help you to love your curls longer with less work!

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