How to Make Your Curls Last All Day Without Hair Spray

Updated 07/06/19
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I've never been much of a hair person. Growing up, my mom always put me in cute little braids and ringlet curls that I'd usually fight her over, so she eventually gave up and passed the torch (er, hairbrush) on to me. From then on, I wore one of three styles: messy bun, half ponytail, or down and straight. By college, there was a lot of bad boxed dye and scrunched hair (read: brassy and brittle), so I eventually accepted that I'd always have mediocre hair. Fast-forward to a few years, some YouTube tutorials, and an upgrade in curling irons later, and I finally started liking my mane. I was pretty good at curling my friends' hair and mine, but I'd always follow it up with a ton of hair spray to make it last the whole night (i.e., crunchy and crispy).

Then, one day, my usual method of hair curling as I knew it changed forever. I eagerly watched on my computer screen as one of my favorite vloggers was curling her hair, but instead of starting from the ends and rolling up as I typically did, she began in the middle. The result? Perfectly wavy curls that I needed to re-create immediately. With the firm belief that knowing how to curl your hair properly is a skill every woman should have, I'm sharing my newly acquired technique. Want to learn how to curl your hair and make it last?

Take a look at the method in GIF form:

how to curl your hair
Jenna Peffley

Granted, this look is more for loose beachy curls instead of tight ringlets, so if a bouncier curl is what you're looking to achieve, a wrapping method around a smaller barrel would serve you better. However, if you're like me and enjoy a more undone look, I highly recommend this method.

See below for a step-by-step explanation!

Jenna Peffley

Step 1

First, start by taking a small section of your hair, clamping the iron in the middle of the section. (If the section is on your left side, place the clamp on top. If it's on your right side, place the clamp on the bottom.)

Jenna Peffley

Step 2

Next, turn the curling iron away from your face, leaving some hair sticking out at the end.

Jenna Peffley

Step 3

After holding for about five to seven seconds, press on the clamp with one hand, hold the end of the hair section with the other hand, and slowly slide your curling iron down to the end of the section.

Jenna Peffley

Step 4

Then, wrap the curling iron away from your face again and bring it up toward the roots.

If your hair is longer, you may want to do the hold-release-slide-wrap method twice, so instead of bringing the iron all the way to the ends, just slide down a few inches, repeat the wrap, and pull through the end to release.

Jenna Peffley

Step 5

Once you've wrapped up to the roots, hold for a few seconds, bring the curling iron down vertically, and release the hair to reveal your curly wave (as I like to call it). You can also curl your hair in sections if you have a lot of hair, but especially when I'm pressed for time in the mornings, I've found that I can knock it all out in about eight minutes by just doing it all in one fell swoop. The Hot Tools Helix curling iron I'm using here has been discontinued (I'll be devastated when it finally kicks the bucket), so I recommend using a similar iron—the Hot Tools Ceramic Curling Iron ($55).

You can change the direction of the curl as you make your way around your head (this helps the curls to look more natural), or you can have all of them face the same direction on either side.

After doing my hair like this, my look will last all day long without a spritz of hair spray. If I revert back to my old curling ways, it won't make it past 3 p.m. (truly). If you have stick-straight hair, a hair spray–free world may not be on your horizon, but I've tested this method on so many different hair types and can say that it's lasted through nights of dancing, long events, and everything in between for them all.

There! Mastering how to curl your hair wasn't so bad, was it? Try my technique out and share your results below!

This post was originally published on February 24, 2016.

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