How to Make Pin-Straight Hair Hold a Curl, Once and For All

Four experts weigh in.

Curling Hair
Photo: Getty Images

It's important to celebrate the uniqueness of every hair type, but every once in a while it's fun to switch things up. Those with curly hair may want to rock a blow out, while those with straight may want voluminous curls at times. However, a pretty universal problem for people with pin-straight hair is that their hair won't actually hold the style — despite the use of a curling wand and hairspray.

But thankfully, there can be a way around it.

Here, we asked four hair experts to break down why pin-straight hair can be difficult to style, along with tips on how to curl your hair so your look holds.

Below, see what they had to say.

What Is Pin-Straight Hair?

First, let's make sure we all begin with the same definition to set expectations and lay the ground work. "Type 1A hair is very straight and fine, with no hint of wave or curl. As it is so straight, when the natural oils travel to the ends, it tends to cause it to look like oily hair," says Jennifer Korab, a New Jersey-based celebrity hairstylist. "It is the rarest hair type and is common among women of Asian descent."

However, it is not just this demographic that genetically inherits pin-straight hair. Jessica Page, a Utah-based licensed hairstylist and founder of Blondies & Co., says that women with thin, medium, thick, or coarse hair can all have pin-straight strands.

VIDEO: Expert-Approved Tips to Make Your Ponytail Look Fuller and More Voluminous

How to Get Pin-Straight Hair to Hold a Curl:

Now, let's get to the good part.

  1. Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. Bouncy hair starts in the shower, so instead of opting for a moisturizing formula, use a shampoo that gives your hair volume. "The heavier the hair strand is, the less likely it is to hold a curl," explains Michelle Cleveland, a New Jersey-based hairstylist. Then, use a tiny bit amount of volumizing conditioner — but skip this step if your hair is extra-fine.
  2. Apply a volumizing mousse to damp hair. Page explains that this will give the curls extra hold.
  3. Apply a heat protectant. Hey, damaged and brittle hair will not help your curls in the long run.
  4. Blow dry your hair. "This seems obvious, but a lot of people fall short of a completely dry head of hair and jump into a curl set while there's still moisture in the hair — this will definitely cause your curls to fall," says Cleveland.
  5. Spritz a lightweight hairspray. Cleveland claims this is the magic trick: "It will create a proper foundation for the curls to hold at least five to 10 hours."
  6. Pick the right hot tool for your hair length. 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 Alli Webb, founder of Drybar. "For longer hair, go to a 1.25-inch barrel."
  7. Curl your hair. There are many methods to do this — choose whichever you like!
  8. OPTIONAL: Pin your curls. This is Korab's hot tip, as she says pinning the curls while they're still hot will help set the curls as they cool. Regardless of whether or not you pin them, she suggests spritzing your freshly-done curls with hairsprays to freeze the curl in place.
  9. Finger-tousle your curls. Once the hair has cooled down, break up any bits that look too curly for a more natural-looking curl.
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