How To Make Your Curls Last Longer

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curled blonde hair

Odds are you’ve tried curling your hair, whether you have naturally curly, straight, or wavy hair. One common problem many people run into is that the curls are flat in a matter of hours, even with hairspray. 

Some wonder if it’s even possible for them to get beautiful, long-lasting curls without damaging their hair with excessive heat and products. Luckily, it is possible to achieve this curly style without ruining your hair in the process. Below, a guide to the best preparation, ways to use heat, and alternate curling methods to achieve curled hair that lasts all day.  

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Before you curl

Some people don’t realize that the best curls come from the best preparation, and these steps are often skipped. But before you jump ahead to curling methods, follow these steps to prep your hair to better style it and have it hold all day. 

  • Improve your hair’s health. Healthier and stronger hair will hold a curl longer. Use the Nutrafol Core Solutions to help your hair grow stronger and be more prepared to style well. 
  • Try skipping conditioner. Conditioner can often make hair too smooth and sleek to hold a style. So if you are having trouble holding curls, try skipping conditioner for that day. You can also try using a lighter conditioner that won’t weigh your hair down.
  • Style second or third day hair. While freshly washed hair feels amazing, it is harder to style and your hair will be flat in hours. Hair actually needs a little grit to hold a style. So if you can, curl your hair on the second or third day after washing. 
  • Add some texture. Just like hair will hold better with a little grit, some added texture will go a long way to keep your hair curled all day. Mousse is one of the easiest ways to add texture. Apply it to your roots and work it down to your ends. Curling spray is another great way to add texture. It’s usually labeled to be for naturally curly hair, it can help hold any type of curl.
  • Blow-dry before. In addition to texture, hair needs added volume to hold styles, so try blow-drying before you curl. Regular blow-drying can add volume, but blow-drying with a diffuser can add even more. 
  • Use heat protectant. This is very important for your hair’s health. But it can also help your hair hold the style. Don’t pick up a curling iron until you have used a heat protectant!
blow dryer diffuser
Use the diffuser attachment on your blow-dryer for longer lasting curls.

How to use a curling iron

You might think that you learned how to use a curling iron years ago. But here are some tips to help your curled hair last longer. 

  • Invest in a quality curling iron. Metal curling irons can damage hair, so it’s important to invest in a curling iron that is coated in ceramic or tourmaline. A lot of high quality curling irons have more options for adjusting the heat settings, so you can curl at a lower temperature.
  • Try not to curl from the ends. The hair that makes first contact with the iron will experience the most heat. Since your ends are already the most at-risk portion of your hair, opt for a curling wand and wrap your curls from the root down. 
  • Skip the clamp. While curling irons come with a clamp, using the clamp can leave dents in your curls. If you don’t have a curling wand, simply leave the clamp closed and wrap hair around the barrel. You will have more control and you can hold the ends of your hair away from direct heat to prevent damage and split ends. 
  • Let the curl cool. Cooling a curl will help it last longer because it allows the cuticle to set the style in place. You can hold the curl in your palm until it cools, or you can pin it to your head and keep curling. Once you’re done, let all the pins down.

How to use a curling wand

When should you use a curling wand instead of a curling iron? Wand curls are looser, beachy waves, and a wand is often a faster styling tool. A curling iron makes curls that are tighter and more polished, but it can often take longer. 

Learning how to use a curling wand to get long-lasting curls is very similar to learning how to use a curling iron. You will want to use a quality wand, curl from the middle of the hair section, and let the curl cool. Since curling wands don’t come with a clamp, there is no chance of a clamp dent in your curls. Here are some additional tips for how to use a curling wand

  • Choose the right barrel size. Using a larger barrel size can cause curls to fall out sooner. To get loose and elegant curls, use a smaller barrel than you might think, and then brush the curls out. 
  • Curl away from your face. This technique will create curls that frame your face. In the back, just alternate directions you curl toward. 
  • Don’t hold your hair on the heat for very long. Believe it or not, 10 seconds might be enough time to damage your hair. Try holding your hair to the barrel for only 2–4 seconds. 

If a curling iron or wand isn’t working for you, try a flat iron. The plates are already ceramic coated, and there isn’t a clamp or barrel to worry about. 

pin curls
Pin curls are a heatless option for long-lasting curls.

How to get curly hair overnight

Some people can curl their hair and skip heat altogether. To get exquisitely curled hair overnight, follow all of the same preparation steps except for applying a heat protectant. Then try these four methods for long lasting overnight curls. 

  • Flexible rod curlers. Gone are the days of having to use round and uncomfortable curlers. To use these, wrap hair around the flexible rods and twist the curler to hold your hair in place. Try spritzing with water and hairspray or curling spray for an extra strong hold. If you want looser curls, tie two rods together to make a larger curler. 
  • Pin curls. Wrap a section of hair around your finger and roll it up toward your head. Use a bobby pin to secure it to your head. Spray with water or curling spray for longer-lasting curls. Leave the pin curls in for a few hours or overnight for ultra long lasting curls. 
  • Bantu knots. Section hair and twist each section from the root to the ends. Then wrap the twist into a coil, and pin it to your head. For most hair types, you only need eight to 10 knots. Again, try spritzing with water or wave spray to help the curls set better. To keep the knots from looking messy, cover them with a headband or silk cap. Untwist in the morning for curled hair with no heat. 
  • Topknot. Tie your hair up in a simple, twisted topknot, or create a couple of topknots for tighter curls. Try getting the knots damp or use a holding spray for longer lasting curls. With topknots, you may have to touch up some curls in the morning with a curling iron or wand. 

In the morning, add a little hairspray or holding spray to make your curls last all day. Remember to apply hairspray from about a 10-inch distance. The goal is to lightly mist your curls, which prevents the hairspray from weighing down your curls. 

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