For me, having naturally straight hair has been a gift in certain situations, like getting caught in the rain, and having to pay my electric bill (no flat irons plugged in for me). But I think my fellow straight-haired girls would agree that we would consider giving all of that up just to have a few days a year with a head full of curls that actually hold. So, in order to finally achieve the waves I’ve only dreamed of, I enlisted the guidance of Tim Rogers, Creative Director of Living Proof, and Alli Webb, founder of Drybar.
Step 1: Create a base with the right product
A commonly held belief is that curls hold better in dirty hair because the product build-up creates grip in the strands, helping the style to last. But the same effect can be created in clean hair by adding the right product.
Webb suggests starting with a volumizing mousse or spray applied to wet strands. Once hair is freshly blown out, add a "considerable amount" of texturizing spray, like Triple Sec ($26, drybar.com), from root to tip.
Or, to save time in the morning, Rogers says you can wash hair at night with a lightweight shampoo and conditioner, use a texturizing product, and braid damp hair to wake up to a “crimped effect.”
Step 2: Choose the right heat tool
The hair tool you choose makes a difference in your style’s success. “For shoulder-length hair and shorter, use a one-inch iron,” says Webb. “For longer hair, go to a 1.25-inch barrel.” A smaller barrel helps create a tighter curl that will stand the test of time. And, of course, don’t forget to use a heat protectant product, like Living Proof Restore ($26, livingproof.com), “to guard against damage," says Rogers.
Step 3: Spray, then cool
As a straight-hair veteran, I know the crunchy feeling of too much product all too well. So, any instruction to spray the heck out of my hair makes me worry about an unnatural finish. But if the goal is hold, spray I must. “Hairspray after every curl and don’t touch any of the curls until the entire head is complete,” says Webb. “You want the hot curls to cool and set.” Then, hairspray hands and finger-tousle to loosen up anything looking a little too Shirley Temple.