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The Ultimate Guide to Safely Curling Hair Without Damage

For many centuries women with stick straight locks have looked enviously upon their curly-haired counterparts and have literally tormented their own tresses in an effort to emulate those lucky enough to have a head full of luscious flowing waves or romantic spiraling curls.
Even within the last century the use of everything from curling irons heated on wood-burning stoves, to permanents employing the use of caustic hair-destroying chemicals, to hot rollers that resemble medieval torture devices, very little consideration of resulting damage to our tresses has come into play when women have endeavored to force their hair to do something that, for many of us with long straight tresses, it most decidedly does not want to do.

In more recent years we have fortunately learned a lot about taking care of our hair, and those of us who treasure our long locks work hard to keep them in great condition by avoiding the use of harmful products or devices that cause damage, usually sacrificing the indulgence of doing anything at all.
Unfortunately, for many women of today who work hard to accomplish all that comes their way each week, time has become a precious commodity making it especially unfortunate that the quickest ways to produce curls tend to be extremely destructive to our hair; however, if you have an occasion worthy of indulging yourself a bit at the price of a little of your time, there are several ways to wave or curl your hair effectively, and more importantly, safely... with absolutely beautiful results.

I've written these steps from the perspective of and with the long straight-haired woman in mind, but your hair doesn't have to be long nor even straight to benefit from giving these hair setting steps, with very few tweaks, a try.
All the products I recommend in this article are either items that I have used and liked myself, or come very highly recommended by other "Rapunzels." Unfortunately for us all, the product that works for every type of hair has yet to be invented, so it's important that you experiment and find the products that work best for you. Even though I can certainly relate to how tempting it can be to stay with some products you've used for years (with me that's definitely my life-long addiction to Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner, which had me at its absolutely heavenly scent and I've used on and off for more than three decades), new advances in hair products are happening at a lightening fast pace, so don't be afraid to try something new (my most recent lucky find is the fabulous hair care line from JustNatural, highly recommended if you're looking for organic products that work exactly as promised without silicone!)

There are a few things you will find useful to have on hand before you set your hair, including a good hair styling lotion, or gel if you want more defined curls (check out our Hair Care Recipes Cookbook to find out how to make your own organic version), a spray bottle, a wide-toothed comb (I love that Mebco comb, it's the only one I've used on my own hair for more than 15 years and it's extremely affordable!), a rat-tail comb, a great boar bristle brush (paddle brushes are best for straight hair), hair-safe hair clips and a really good flexible hair spray.
Curled Hair
Hair Can be Curled Without Heat!
Source: Graeme Weatherston, freedigitalphotos.net
Unless you are really good at working with your hair without seeing what you're doing or have another set of eyes and hands to help you, you will likely need a second mirror that will allow you to see the back of your head, preferably one you don't have to hold so both hands remain free. For those who are short on time or have especially thick hair, a bonnet hair dryer will help tremendously (and this is one of the few times I will ever suggest using even the gentle heat of a bonnet dryer on your hair, but if you can avoid heat of any kind, do it). One timely advantage of an old-fashioned bonnet dryer is that it leaves your hands free to check your morning email on your phone while it locks in your curls!

It helps to have an extra set of willing hands to set your hair for you but if you don't, it won't take much practice to do any of these sets yourself. I have to admit I usually make my hubby put my rag curls in my hair, but I do this mostly because it irks him rather than out of any particular need on my part. If I have to put up with his long hair in the shower drain because he refuses to brush it first, then as I see it, he owes me. Equality in long hair maintenance, that's all I ask.

Once you have attained a glorious head of curls, be sure to check out the LongLocks HairStyles Gallery for illustrations and detailed instructions for many different hair styles that will take on a whole new look with curled locks. And of course, don't forget to treat yourself to your own one-of-a-kind pair of LongLocks HairSticks to properly show off your glorious mane!

Before You Begin Setting Your Hair

Wash and condition your hair, comb it out with the wide-toothed comb and allow it to air dry until it is just damp. If your hair is especially hard to curl or doesn't hold curls well, you may want to use a good quality curl enhancing shampoo and/or a bodifying conditioner to effectively stack the deck in your favor beforehand.

Rag Curls - For the Ultimate Head of Curls

Rag curls, the original "spiral curl" and my favorite way to curl my own very long, very straight hair, give you lots of styling options and all the options are wrapped exactly the same way.
Rag Curled Hair
Rag Curls Create a
Head Full of Curls

Source: Stock Images, freedigitalphotos.net
Rag curls are easy and quick to set but because you set your hair damp and wrap it in fabric, it can take quite a while before your hair will be dry enough to remove the cloth that forms the curl. Drying time will be especially affected by how many curls you make (the fewer the curls, the longer the drying time) and the fabric you use (be sure your cloth is lightweight and will wick moisture). The best thing about rag curls is that the resulting curl is consistent from top to bottom, something that cannot be achieved when long hair is wrapped on a curler and the curler becomes thicker as you continue to wrap more hair around it.

In addition to the items listed above, you will need some long, soft, thin, absorbant cloth strips. I have found that extra-wide flannel makes the best strips for making rag curls. Don't use a thick fabric (like towels) to make your strips. If you have a stash of old nylons laying around you've been meaning to do something crafty with, they also work very well.
Cut one strip about 3" wide and at least twice the length of your hair. Put your hair in one curl before you cut the rest of the strips, then adjust the length and width as necessary in relation to the thickness of your fabric and how much extra fabric you end up with. You want to aim for the fabric to be about 1/2" to 3/4" (15mm or so) in diameter when it's bunched up with hair wrapped around it. You can adjust this to your preference, think of it as the width of your "roller."

How many strips you need will depend on how thick your hair is and how curly you want it to be. The less hair in each curl, the curlier the results and the quicker it will dry. For a head full of soft waves, I put all my fine but moderately thick hair in just two curls. Four makes it relatively curly, eight can create an explosion even a Lady Marmalade-tressed Christina Aguilera would be jealous of (but without any resemblance to an exploded Brillo pad).

The instructions below are for four curls, you will have to adjust the way the hair is sectioned if you want more or fewer curls. As with most how-tos, it would be best to read through the steps, including the tips, at least once before you begin.

1. Comb your hair just before you begin, and then starting at your hairline, part your hair down the middle and then all the way down the back of your head. Clip one side out of your way with a large clip.

2. Using the tail of your rat-tail comb, section the loose half of your hair horizontally into two, starting at the part at the center of the back of your head and working toward your face, level with just above your ear. If you find that the top and bottom sections are distinctly different in thickness, you can adjust the height of the horizontal part to make them more even. Once you are satisfied they are comparable in thickness, clip the top section out of your way.
3. Comb the loose section of hair until it is entirely free of knots, and then use either the rat-tail comb or boar bristle brush to make it completely smooth (because a fine-toothed comb or brush can pull and snap tangles in wet or damp hair, it is very important that there are absolutely no knots, not even tiny ones, in your hair before you smooth it). The smoother your hair when you roll it, the easier it will be to remove the rags and the less likely you'll have any frizziness in your curls.

4. Spray the sectioned hair lightly with the hair styling lotion being careful not to soak the hair, and thoroughly comb it through.

5. Pick up one strip of cloth and grab it about six inches from the end and line that spot up with the top of the sectioned hair, gathering both the hair and the fabric in one hand. You should now be holding a ponytail with a long piece of fabric hanging with it, and a 6" length of fabric flopped over the top of your hand. Try to center the ponytail between your ear and the part at the back, and try to keep it as close to the horizontal part as possible. Run the comb through your hair again if you need to, and can do it without catching the rag.

6. Using your free hand, begin wrapping your hair around the longer length of cloth in close, neat coils. Be careful, the first few times you do this the natural tendency is to wrap the cloth around the hair instead of the hair around the cloth, which will give you a nicely wrapped perfectly flat section of hair... exactly the opposite of what you want. Try to keep the coils close together and neat, and feel free to twist the lock of hair as you coil it, if your dexterity allows for it. Stop coiling and run a quick comb through the length of hair if it begins to get messy. When you reach the end, you shouldn't see much if any cloth where you see hair, you should essentially have a length of cloth encased in a tube of coiled hair, with a long tail of cloth sticking out the end of the coiled tube.

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7. When you reach the end of your hair, flatten out the strip of cloth and wrap the width around the bottom 1.5" or so of coiled hair in preparation of working your way back up the coil. You are now going to do the opposite of what you did when you coiled your hair. Starting back in the other direction, this time start wrapping the length of fabric around the hair, making sure you start wrapping on top of the fabric you wrapped around the end to ensure the whole thing stays tightly closed (see the notes below for a tip if you can't manage this part). Continue wrapping your curl in the fabric, trying to keep the fabric as smooth as possible and the overlap as minimal as possible to enable quicker drying. Wrap the entire curl until you reach the top again and both ends of the fabric are at the top. You should no longer be able to see any of the hair coiled around the rag, it should be completely covered by the strip of fabric.

8. Grasp both ends of the fabric and tie them in a tight, single knot. Flannel will easily hold a single knot but if you're unsure if the fabric you used will stay tied, you can add a second knot if you like; however, keep in mind that this will make your curls bulkier if you plan to sleep on them. You should now have a goofy tube hanging from your head with what looks like a big floppy bow on top.

9. Remove the clip holding the top section of hair on the same side of your head and smooth the hair. This time you want your gathered lock of fabric and hair to be as close to your center part as possible, again being centered between your face and the part at the back of your head. Repeat everything from step 4 until you look exactly twice as goofy as you did when you finished the first curl.

10. Repeat everything on the other side of your head unless you have some whacky, half-curled-head hairstyle in mind. If you do, please don't tell anyone where you learned to do that. You will now have four tubes and floppy bows hanging from your head. Resist the overpowering urge to put on anything that resembles a housecoat and going grocery shopping. Those women you see shuffling down aisle 6 in bedroom slippers have some serious issues.

11. This is where the patience comes into play. Hair that has been tightly coiled and wrapped in fabric does not dry quickly. I always do this at least 24 hours before I have to start getting ready to go to the event important enough for me to actually curl my hair, and I prefer a good 36 hours but rarely am I that proactive. The way around this is to sit under a bonnet dryer while you do your nails and catch up with the latest episode of your favorite VH1 reality show that you'd rather die than let anyone know you have scheduled as a DVR series recording.

12. Once you are sure your hair is thoroughly dry it's time to unveil your masterpiece. Untie the fabric and gently unwind the cloth until you reach the end of the curl. Now, if you've done a nice, neat wrap, you should be able to gently grasp the top of the curl and pull the cloth straight down and out through the length of the curl, leaving you with one big, fat spiral. If you try to do this and meet resistance, then it would be best to gently unwind your curl from around the cloth until you can pull the fabric down and out without pulling hair out with it. Repeat the process for each curl, giving yourself kudos for each one you did neatly enough to undo without unwinding hair. You should now bear a remarkable resemblance to a Shirly Temple stand-in reject.

13. Assuming this look wasn't your plan, the look you do want will determine what you do next. Want a head full of spiral curls? Use your fingers to gently divide each curl into separate spirals. Want a head full of gorgeous messy curls? Bend over at your waist and finger comb your hair until you have the look and fullness you want. Want Hollywood glamour? Gently brush out your curls with a boar bristle brush until you achieve that Breck Girl look (yeah, I'm so old... still cool, but old).

14 Give your curls a quick spray of good flexible hairspray to lock them in and maintain natural movement... don't use a serious "hard set" super hold spray or your hair will move like it's all one piece! This is never a good look.

Useful Tips:

If you can't get the end of your curl to stay tightly wrapped in the fabric, you can wrap a hair safe ponytail holderaround the end after you fold the width of cloth around it and before you start wrapping back up and around the length of your curl. Make sure the ponytail holder isn't going to come off before you take it off because if it does, the whole shebang is likely to come undone. Better to master the tight end-wrap with a little bit of practice.

The width of the fabric strip will determine the tightness of your curl. Try cutting your strips in different widths and experiment with different sized curls.

In order to end up with the smoothest, long-lasting curl and avoid frizziness, your hair has to be damp when you wrap it in the rag curl. If the section of hair you are working with begins to dry, mist it lightly with your styling lotion, being careful not to make it too wet.

If you find that your hair is still damp when you unwrap it, don't remove the strip of fabric. If the curl is really damp or seems that it is about to uncoil from the fabric, wrap it back up again. If you think the curl will stay in place without being rewrapped, unwrap all your curls and without removing the cloth, set your butt back under your bonnet dryer for a little while. In an emergency you can alternately use a blow dryer set on nothing higher than "warm" to finish drying each unwrapped curl, and give each a cold shot of air to set them in place. Make absolutely sure your hair is completely cool before you slide the fabric out.

Depending on the fabric you use, you'll want at least an extra 4" at each end of your cloth strips so you can easily tie your knot. Don't cut your strips shorter than this or you'll have trouble making your knot and increase the chance it will come undone.

Go green! Use an old flannel sheet that is no longer in service to make the strips for your rag curls!

Sock Curls - For Luxurious Hair Safe Curls

Sock curls are very easy to do, create beautiful soft curls, and are relatively easy to sleep on as long as you don't use very thick socks to set your hair.

Unlike rag curls, sock curls are made very similarly to how you use rollers, but are much safer for your hair than rollers. Like rag curls, you don't want your hair too wet when you roll it or it will take forever to dry, especially if you have a lot of it. When making sock curls, expect the curl to be tighter at the ends than at top.
In addition to the items listed above, you will need all those socks that don't have mates but you refuse to throw away because you know they're probably under the bed in your dog's Prized Stash of Forbidden Items, along with a deli bag that once held a pound of pricey prosciutto you were sure you left sitting at the grocery register, the heel from a pair of Louboutins you've yet to discover are missing one, and one half of a red crayon she's waiting for just the right time to polish off, specifically when she feels the need for the excessive amount of loving she knows will come her way after scaring you to death when said red crayon comes out the other end. I digress.

You don't want to use big, fat, comfy cotton socks that are so thick you can't get your shoes on over them, better to use something similar to the dainty, thin ankle socks that were hot in the 80s when worn with stiletto pumps and you didn't care about the questionable implications of the "little girl look" (that's making a comeback but still seems just incredibly wrong on so many levels).

You can do this method of curling after making a part in your hair and working down your head from the part as I explain in my steps below, or by the traditional (more difficult) method of rolling the top and center back first, followed by rolling the sides.

1. Comb your hair thoroughly just before you begin and part your hair wherever you prefer.

2. Starting on the side of your head on which your part sits lowest, use the tail of your rat-tail comb to divide a section of hair vertically from the part to your nape, 2 or 3" (depending on the thickness of your hair) back from your face. Clip the unsectioned hair out of your way.

3. Using the tail of your comb, divide a section about 2" down from the part by dragging it from the vertical section part you just made, toward your face.

4. Use your wide-toothed comb on the divided section of hair until it is entirely free of knots, and then use either the rat-tail comb or boar bristle brush to make it completely smooth.

5. Spray the sectioned hair lightly with the hair styling lotion and comb it through the lock of hair. Don't make your hair soaking wet, else like rag curls, it will take forever to dry.

6. Decision time! Are you an "under" or an "over?" If you want your hair to curl under, lay the ends of your hair over the center of your sock. If you prefer it to flip up, lay the sock over the ends of your hair.

7. Use your forefinger to curl and hold the ends of the sectioned hair around the sock and start rolling in the desired direction (under or over).

8. Once you reach the top of the divided section, bring the ends of the sock together on the opposite side of the curl from the direction you rolled. If you rolled under, bring the ends together on the top of the curl. If you rolled over, bring the ends together on the bottom of the curl. Tie the ends of the sock together. If your curl flops down a roll or two after you tied it, you brought the ends together in the wrong direction--simply untie the ends, tighten the curl, and retie the ends on the correct side of the curl.

9. Continue horizontally sectioning and curling your hair down the vertically sectioned column. Once all the hair in the first section is rolled, use your rat-tail comb to vertically divide a new section 2 or 3" behind the first section and repeat the rolling process.

10. Once two sections are done on one side, you'll probably find it easiest to start in the front on the other side, using the same sectioning and rolling techniques.

11. Once two sections are rolled on either side of your face, you will probably be able to do the back in one section, but you can divide it down the middle if you have too much hair left to roll and feel you should do it in two.

12. Once you are sure your hair is thoroughly dry, untie each sock and gently uncurl it, working from the nape of your neck up toward the top of your head.

13. Like with rag curls, the look you want will determine what you do next. Want soft curls? Use your fingers to gently divide each curl into several thinner ones. Want a full head of gorgeous messy curls? Bend over at your waist and finger comb your hair until you have the look and fullness you want. Brushing out your curls with a boar bristle brush will give you the same look as a typical brushed-out rolled set.

14. Once you're happy with your hairstyle, give it a spray of good flexible hairspray to lock in your curls.

Useful Tips:

Not a sock person? Don't despair, socks aren't the only thing you can use to do this type of curl. I've heard of peeps using the same method with strips of paper towels, nylons or paper bags (anything made of Tyvek is especially great for curling your hair this way and it's practically indestructible... not to mention that it's great way to recycle!). You can also cut strips of flannel that are a bit wider and shorter than that you would use for rag curls.

You can do a "rag curl/sock curl" variation of a spiral set if your hair isn't a mile long and your socks aren't too short. Instead of curling your hair up as when using a roller, coil your hair along the center of the sock. Start coiling with the end of your sectioned lock and be sure to wind the first couple coils over the hair ends to hold them securely to the sock. Once the ends are secure you can spin the sock and the sectioned lock as you roll up your hair to create a twist in the lock to make it tight and easier to coil around the sock (and to add a bit more wave). Once you reach your scalp, tie the sock together as you normally would. Though a bit trickier to do, this method will give you a more consistent curl down the length of your hair.

Pin Curls - For a Head Full of Retro, Messy Curls

Pin curls are probably the most popular hair-safe method of curling your hair. This is the easiest way to set your hair but can be fairly time consuming because you have to make a lot of pin curls to end up with a whole head of ringlets. If you're going after a retro curled look, pin curls are definitely the way to go!

Pin curls will dry fairly fast if you make them small enough, and they are very easy to sleep on. They will make messier, tighter curls than a rag set will, and unless you make every one perfectly they tend to be a bit more angular, especially at the ends of your hair. If you make them small you will end up with a head full of ringlets and they will tend to be a bit frizzier than a rag curl will produce; however, if you do all your hair in several larger pin curls, say ten or twelve in hair of average thickness, they will make great waves.
Pin Curls
Pin Curls Create Messy, Angular Curls
Source: Imagery Majestic, freedigitalphotos.net
While there are several ways to coil your hair for pin curls, I have found this method to work best for really long hair. When styling your hair with pin curls, expect the curl to be tighter at the ends than at the top of your hair.

In addition to the items listed above, you will need some small, rubber-tipped bobby pins, count on at least two for each pin curl.
Pin Curls
Pin Curls Create a Retro Hairstyle
Source: George Rosen IV, freedigitalphotos.net
1. Comb your hair just before you begin and then using the tail of your rat-tail comb, divide a section of hair from about the middle of one ear over the top of your head to the other ear (like you are drawing a headband with the tip of the comb), combing the sectioned hair forward over your face. If your hair is of average thickness, you will want each section to be about 1.5" deep. Making them narrower will result in more, tighter curls and wider will result in fewer, looser curls. Clip the unsectioned hair out of your way.
2. Using the tail of your rat-tail comb, make a section about 1.5" wide in the center of your forehead. If your hair is really thick and you can't see what you're doing, feel free to clip the sides of the sectioned hair back using an additional clip on each side.

3. Comb the loose section of hair until it is entirely free of knots, and then use either the rat-tail comb or boar bristle brush to make it completely smooth. The smoother your hair when you coil it, the less likely you'll have excessive frizziness in your finished curls.

4. Spray the sectioned hair lightly with the hair styling lotion and comb it through the lock of hair. You'll probably find it easier to coil your pin curls if your hair is fairly damp, especially if you are working with different length layers, but don't make it soaking wet.

5. Grasp the lock of hair between your thumb and index finger as close to the end of the lock as possible. Using a twisting motion with your wrist, start wrapping the lock of hair around your index finger, removing your thumb from the process once you have completed a couple loops. Be very careful not to wrap the hair too tightly around your finger or you will destroy the curl when you try to remove it. The easiest way to make a neat, smooth curl is to hold the lock of hair at 90 degrees from your head while you twist it around your finger, but really long-haired girls generally don't have arms that are four feet long (and if you do I want pics, you cool freaky monkey!). So, coil your hair as close to an angle of 90 degrees to your head as you can while remaining at a comfortable level for your arms, until you reach a short enough length that you can pull the lock straight out from your head. Continue the coiling process until your index finger is touching your scalp at the base of the sectioned lock and you can't complete another loop.

6. Making sure the finger with the wrapped hair is pressed securely against your head, use your other hand to slide the coil off your finger and hold the curl flat against your scalp. Use your newly freed hand to secure the curl to your head with at least two bobby pins, forming a cross.

7. Continue coiling 1.5" by 1.5" sections of your hair moving down each side of your face from the first secured curl at the top, until you have completed the section divided from the rest of your hair. Don't forget to coil the last foot or so of each curl holding your sectioned lock at 90 degrees to your head or you will end up with a mess of loops at the base of your curls.

8. Unclip the remaining hair and divide a section of hair 1.5" behind the first sectioned part, this time dragging the rat-tail comb from just behind one ear, over your head, to just behind your other ear. Clip the remaining hair out of your way.

9. Starting at the top of the section right behind your first curl, divide a lock 1.5" wide, twist it into a curl, and secure. Repeat the curling process working down both sides of your head behind the first row of curls, until all the curls in the second row are complete.

10. The rest of the sections can be made running vertically from the last "headband" sectioning part to the nape of your neck. Continue working in 1.5" wide columns around your head until all your hair is pin curled and you have taken on a resemblance to a balding porcupine. If you run out of "head surface area" during the process, you can put curls on top of each other; however, you want to try to do this with curls closer to your nape rather than the top of your head to hide any uncurled length at the roots that may result.

11. Once all your curls are set, add a bobby pin to any curl you feel may not be completely secure.

12. When your hair is completely dry by either the fortune of time or your bonnet hair dryer, remove the pins starting at your nape and working up.

13. With pin curls, the best way by far to style your hair is by separating the curls or finger combing. That's not to say that you can't try combing them out, but it's been my experience that they tend to get frizzy when you do this. Depending on your hair type, your mileage may vary. I suggest the first time you try pin curls that you bend over and finger comb your curls until the desired separation and fullness is reached, and then experiment more with a comb out after your event is over. Be gentle, tangles will be easy to come by!

14. Once you're satisfied with your hair style, give it a spray of good flexible hairspray to lock in your curls.

Useful Tips:

Instead of wrapping your hair around your finger, you can twist the individual locks of hair until they coil in on themselves. Once the coil is as tight and as close to your scalp as you want it, fasten it securely with the bobby pins.

If you are concerned you may lose pins while you sleep, tie a scarf around your head of pin curls after they are completely set but keep in mind that this will slow down drying time.

Want more defined curls? Try using a lightweight gel in place of styling lotion before coiling your hair into the pin curls.

If you're after a huge mane of uber wavy curls, try doing fewer curls and braiding the sections before pin curling them. Major, wild poof!

Tips for all Types of Curls

If your hair is especially hard to curl or you find it impossible to ever keep a curl in your hair (I am one of these people myself... I feel your pain), layering products throughout the entire curling process is the way to go. When you shampoo your hair, be sure to use a shampoo that is formulated specifically to encourage curl. Don't use a conditioner that makes your hair incredibly soft, a good bodifying conditioner is your best choice.

When preparing to curl, start with a high quality extra hold mousse generously applied to your entire head. Then use the styling lotion as described in the steps above.

When you are ready to remove the set, don't forget that it is absolutely imperative that your hair be completely dry before you unroll it. Mist your hair lightly with a really good flexible hair spray before you unroll your curls and give it a thorough shot of COLD air from either your bonnet dryer or a blow dryer. It's important to keep in mind that when layering products, it's a really good idea to know how the products you plan to use work together and with your particular hair type before you style your hair for a special event.

Once you have your hair styled the way you want it, resist the urge to keep playing with it and give it the final shot of spray. The more you mess with it, the more your curls will loosen!

Be careful of crushing your curls under coats or against car seats.

Do a run through far enough in advance of the big day to give yourself time to experiment more if you have to!

The easiest way to add waves to your hair rather than curls is the good 'ol time-tested way... braids. While making a traditional braid or braided pigtails will give you flat hair on the top of your head that gets wavier toward the ends, using a French braid as your "set" will give you gorgeous waves that are fairly consistent all over your head. Check out our Hair Braiding Basics to learn how to French braid, but keep in mind that a French braid used to set your hair doesn't have to be perfect, or even pretty for that matter, to be extremely effective at making a head full of waves. Simply apply your styling lotion and give it a go. If you do this a few times as a set, before you know it you'll be making French braids pretty enough to wear out and about before taking it down to display your luscious waves. I use this method fairly often myself, love the look both ways!

While humidity tends to make curly hair curlier, it is pretty much instant death to curled straight hair. Fortunately there are several products on the market to help you combat the ravages of high humidity levels.

Curls in straight hair are sure to loosen somewhat throughout the day. If you need your set to last for many hours, make your curls somewhat tighter than you want them to be. While you may start out a tad on the Little Orphan Annie side, the majority of your day will be spent with your hair at the perfect level of curliness.

If you separate your curls or finger comb them, it's a really good idea to thoroughly comb out your hair out at the end of your day, or you're likely to end up with a head full of knots. If this happens to you, check out our Ultimate Guide To Safely Removing Knots From Hair

And because my mamma didn't raise no fools, I know not everyone is going to do the "right thing" and avoid using hot rollers on their hair, no matter how much I warn against it. That being said, please keep in mind that all hot roller sets are definitely not alike, and do yourself and your hair a huge favor and at least buy one that is specifically made to keep your hair as safe as possible, and make sure you stay away from anything with Velcro or any kind of bristles on the rollers!

And finally, if you insist on using hot rollers and blow dryers to curl your hair, or if you are the type who likes to curl your hair often, it's really important to make sure that you keep your hair as healthy and strong as possible to keep damage to a minimum. Make sure you do regular trims or "snip splits" (you'll find a lot more about how and when to do these, plus a whole plethora of great healthy hair tips in our Ultimate Guide to Growing Long Hair), sleep on a satin pillow case to keep friction at a minimum, and make sure you deep condition often with a fabulous deep conditioner that will help counteract any "hair abuse" your hair has suffered.

While having straight hair certainly has its issues, wearing and keeping amazing curls in your long luscious locks doesn't have to be one of them. Play with these methods, tweak them to best work with your own hair, and come up with new variations and methods. It won't be long before you'll easily be sporting a head full of gorgeous, enviable curls whenever the mood strikes!

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