Unless you were born with impossibly perfect hair and live in a climate that isn't too dry or too humid, then you know that the struggle to find the easiest way to get soft curls to last is indeed real. Whether you were born with stick straight hair and have always wanted it to be curly or your locks are already bouncy but need to be tamed, it can become quite frustrating to create and maintain a hairstyle you really like.
I'll be the first to admit that if my tresses are refusing to cooperate, I immediately throw them up in a messy bun. But thankfully, it looks like there are more options on the horizon than just yelling at my frizz and eventually succumbing to the beanie of shame. If you thought loose, beachy curls were only for people with stylists, expensive products, or ample time on their hands, you better think again.
Although having your own personal team of stylists would be nice, it's even nicer to discover that something you thought was previously impossible is suddenly within grasp. Fortunately, celebrity hairstylists and hair experts from around the fashion world have found some surprisingly easy ways to get soft curls to last.
1. Avoid Conditioner
If your curls look great for the first hour, but begin to droop and fall after a bit, your moisturizing routine may be to blame. Hairstylist Adir Abergel told Allure, "Most women over-condition their hair, and the hair is too slippery to hold a curl." So go easy on your conditioner when you're curling your tresses.
2. Get Dirty
In an effort to get perfect ringlets, you may think you need to start with a clean slate. As it turns out, squeaky fresh locks are counterproductive. Celebrity hairstylist George Papanikolas told Elle that, "curling irons work best on 'dirty,' second-day hair." Try washing and blow-drying before bed for better results in the a.m.
3. Twist & Twirl
Black-ish star, Yara Shahidi, told Essence that the best tip she has for getting and keeping soft ringlets in natural hair is to do twist outs the day before for long-lasting loose curls.
4. Sleep Smart
Do you ever achieve the perfect spirals only to have them fall flat after a solid night's sleep? Before you pull a Dracula and try to rest without your head touching the pillow, consider this tip. Cynthia Alvarez, a celebrity hairstylist and Dove curl expert, told Glamour that both natural hair and tresses that have been styled into curls can be preserved by using a lightweight curl mousse and then putting it up in a loose topknot before bed.
5. Decide Which Tool To Use
Not all styling tools are created equally. Just because the curling iron you picked up promises amazing results on the package doesn't necessarily mean it's the right one for you. "The hair tool you choose makes a difference," Hair expert Alli Webb told InStyle. "For shoulder-length hair and shorter, use a one-inch iron. For longer hair, go to a 1.25-inch barrel.”
6. Heat Up A Headband
You've probably seen the look at music festivals where tresses are twisted around a headband for an effortless style. Did you know that you can modify the method to give you soft curls, too? The beauty experts at Marie Claire introduced the world to SoCal Curls' heated headbands to achieve loose, long-lasting waves. Who doesn't love a good curling iron alternative?
7. Take Time To Let Curls Rest
As much as my inner lazy girl wants to just style and go, taking a few extra moments can really extend the life of curled tresses. But how long is long enough to let freshly-styled hair chill? Stylist Francis Catanese told Refinery29 t,o "let your hair cool for at least 25 minutes. The longer you let it cool, the longer the curl will last.” It may require a little patience, but the payoff is so worth it.
8. Keep Things Fresh
The key to keeping luscious locks doesn't solely lie in how you style it. The maintenance of the tools you're using play a major role in how well your curls will turn out, too. Amita Moticka, a celebrity and editorial hair stylist, told TotalBeauty, "residue will prevent your curling iron from heating your hair evenly and you'll end up with lackluster curls." So make sure to wipe down your hair tools to avoid build up.
9. Skip Steamy Showers
Hot showers are best left to rom-coms, fantasy sequences, and nighttime television. All that heat just doesn't work for hair that you're trying to keep soft and curly. Style expert Tanesha Awasthi told Today that, "hot water blows up the hair cuticle, which prevents curls from forming into their natural shape, so always rinse with cold water for a few seconds."
10. Try A Flat Iron In A New Way
If you're like me, you probably thought that flat irons were only for making hair, well, flat. In reality, there are many things you can do with a basic straightener to achieve loose curls that last. The hair gurus at Good Housekeeping recommended this beach waves tutorial from Keratase which puts a spin on how you use your flat iron.
11. Perfect Your Pattern
By now you know that it matters what barrel size your curling iron is, it needs to be clean, and don't overdo it on product. There's just one more element to perfecting lasting curls, and that's how you place your strands on the actual styling tool. "Wrap sections of hair in a figure-eight shape before letting the coils cool and set," hairstylist Dennis Lanni told Marie Claire. "The big figure eight stretches the curl so it doesn't form into a tight ringlet."
12. Give A Little Extra
I always thought that you should curl your hair with the end result in mind, meaning if I wanted a loose wave, I wouldn't leave my strands on the iron for too long. But, as Abergel told Allure you should, "leave the hair a little more curled than you'd prefer it to be . . . any curl will fall slightly, so it's better to have slightly tighter curls than you normally would and let them loosen with gravity."
13. Preserve With A Pineapple
Regardless of if you have natural hair or you don't want to waste all the time and effort you put into your curls, there's a genius hack to help those waves last. YouTube beauty and style vlogger, Styles By Fash, showed how the Pineapple Method preserves her soft curls throughout the day, while showering, and overnight.