How to Get Stubborn Hair to Hold a Curl—and Make it Last

Tips for day-long bouncy, wavy hair

By Diana Nguyen Jun 24, 2015 1:17 AMTags
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It's a worldwide concern. Many of us don't want to talk about it. Some even secretly envy those who aren't afflicted with this condition. Yes, friends, we're talking about hair that doesn't hold a curl.

We know…first-world problems. Still, there's a good chunk of the population that, despite their efforts, will never know the beautiful benefits of day-long bouncy curls or waves…until now, that is.

Whether your hair is damaged or you're endowed with slick-straight strands, here's how to get some shape that'll last.

Coarse correction: "For those with super-healthy hair, especially those with straight hair, the reason for curling trouble is because the hair is too smooth," said celebrity hairstylist Marc Mena. However, using products like texturizing spray will help build grip. 

The dirty truth: To avoid the silky smooth hair that is often disagreeable to curls, you may want to skip the deep conditioner treatment. In fact, you may even want to curl your hair with day-old hair. Just combat any oily strands with dry shampoo, which will help create that much-needed texture. 

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Spray zone: To get curls worthy of Blake Lively or Selena Gomez, "it's important to use a non-aerosol extra-hold spray prior to curling hair," Marc suggested. "The non-aerosol spray is a wet spray, which allows the product to seep into the hair and locks in the curl to create an extra hold." Once the curls are set, finish it off with more extra-hold hairspray.

Repetition compulsion: Another method is to rough-dry (blow-dry using just your hands) your hair, apply mousse and repeat about two or three more times, advised Hollywood hair guru Laini Reeves. This process thickens the hair, so it will curl as if you had naturally thick hair.

Hold it: Hair holds the shape in which it cools down, so after you release a hair piece from the curling iron, gently hold the curled section in the palm of your hand close to the roots for a few minutes, Laini said. Women in the ‘20s and ‘30s would often pin curls to their heads, sleep in them and awake with beautiful old Hollywood waves.

Avoid exhaustion: Sometimes your hair, fine or thick, won't hold a curl because it's been worked to the root. Skip the full-on blowout action, or pulling your hair too taut, so that your hair's natural texture remains intact.