How to Use Curlformers on Black Hair

Updated 05/13/19
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Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Maybe you've tried magnetic rollers, bendable rollers, hot curlers, sponge rollers, and all the other methods to get that perfect curl in your hair. Now, thankfully, you have yet another option to get the ideal springy curls.

If you're not familiar with Curlformers yet, look through this detailed step-by-step. Not only will you see how to use them, you'll get tips to make the job of putting them in easier, and you'll get to see the spectacular results.

First, let's take a look at some of the different sizes of Curlformers (not shown are Short and Wide and Long and Wide). From left to right, there are two colors in each size:

  • Short and Narrow (blue and green)
  • Long and Extra Wide (yellow and magenta)
  • Long and Narrow (blue and green)
  • Extra Long and Wide (pink and orange)

You can also purchase a Salon Kit which comes with 40 long and wide, six short and wide Curlformers and a hook. Other sizes of Curlformers are sold separately, so you can choose the number and sizes you actually need.

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The Curlformers Hook

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

The hook, which comes both in the Salon Kit and sold separately as well, is made up of two interlocking pieces. They're detachable (as shown) for compact storage. When using them, connect them to make a long hook, which should fit through all of the Curlformers.

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Inserting the Hook

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Each Curlformer has an opening at both ends, allowing you to insert the hook and pull it completely through. Just place the hook end into an opening of the curler (it doesn't matter which) and slide the hook all the way through. If you're having difficulty, squeeze the end of the Curlformer to open it and make hook insertion easier.

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Give Hair a Small Twist

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Isolate the section of hair you're getting ready to place into the Curlformer, and give it a slight twist. This makes it easier to get all of it inside the curler. If your hair is wet or damp, set it. Here, I'm using two to three pumps of ORS Olive Oil Wrap/Set Mousse, ($7,) on each section of hair. Other products to try include Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam, ($11,) or Kera Care Foam-Wrap Set Lotion, ($12.)

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Hook the Hair

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Next, Place the hook beneath the hair section you're getting ready to place inside the Curlformer.

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Begin Pulling Hair Through

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Push the Curlformer close to the scalp and—with the other hand holding the end of the hook coming out of the opposite opening—gently pull the hook holding the hair through the curler.

If it doesn't go smoothly, don't be surprised. It's not always perfect, particularly if some hair escapes from the hook. If you catch or snag, stop, and then push the hook back toward the scalp. Begin again, so you don't pull tangled hair into the curler.

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Pull Hair Completely Through

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Continue pulling the hook end in one smooth motion until the hair section is encased in the Curlformer.

The Curlformer should spring back to its perfect spiral shape once the hook is removed, but if it doesn't, hold the end of the curler nearest to your scalp and run the other hand down the length of it to smooth it straight out. Let it go, and it should bounce right back into shape.

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Repeat Over Entire Head

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Repeat this process over all the hair you want to curl. Although it might seem tedious, once you have the technique on lock, it goes surprisingly quickly. This model's hair was completely curled, with pictures taken, in a total of 45 minutes.

The reason Curlformers come in two different colors for each size is because they twist in opposite directions. If you want your hair to curl away from your face, you need to understand that color matters. To do so, place pink, green and magenta curlers on the left side of the head; blue, yellow and orange curlers go on the right side of the head.

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Removing Curlformers

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

Let your hair dry fully before removing Curlformers. Because their surface is mesh-like, air constantly circulates through, so drying time isn't as long as things like magnetic rollers. To speed things up, you can sit under a hood dryer or use a hand-held dryer over the head. Air drying may take anywhere from two to five hours, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

Once hair is dry, hold hair close to the scalp with one hand and use the other to straighten the Curlformer and slip it off.

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After: Model A

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

This is Model A, whose hair is chemical-free and just past shoulder length, immediately after removing Curlformers. If you want more spiral-type curls, use the smallest section of hair possible. Otherwise, you'll get these tubey, Shirley Temple-like curls.

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After: Model B

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to, Inc.

This is model B immediately after removing Curlformers. This is also chemical-free hair, about mid-back length when stretched.

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Separate Curls for More Volume

If you don't like the candy curls look, you're not stuck with it. Just  carefully pick each curl unit apart into two to four separate sections. Take your time, and don't rake your fingers through these curls if you want to preserve their shape.

Getting curls that last is as simple as that, whether your hair is natural or relaxed. Check out the Curlformers site for more information.

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