How to Do a Cute Curly Do With Stubborn Straight Hair

Actress Rebecca Romijn sports cute curls at a Prada event.
... Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Stubborn, straight hair strands don't automatically equal a hair-raising experience. With the proper hair treatment, curling iron barrel and rolling technique, you can easily transform your hair from stick straight to a curly coif. The key to getting bouncy curls is knowing how to use your curling iron so that the heat gets as close to the root as possible. When used correctly, a curling iron can turn your headstrong hair into lots of luscious locks.

  • Volumizing shampoo and conditioner
  • Dry shampoo
  • Strong-hold mousse
  • Thermal heat protectant
  • Bristle brush
  • Comb
  • Firm-hold hairspray
  • 1-inch barrel curling iron

1 Prep Your Tresses

2 Place a dollop of volumizing

Place a dollop of volumizing, curl-enhancing shampoo onto your fingertips for straight hair that is generally thin and limp. Massage the shampoo into your hair from the roots to the ends. Rinse well with warm water and follow with a volumizing conditioner. Thicker hair curls better when it's a little gritty. Sprinkle a dry shampoo onto the roots only. This soaks up oil and gives second-day hair a little lift.

3 Apply a strong-hold mousse

Apply a strong-hold mousse into the roots and throughout your tresses if you want a fuller, curly look. Apply it mid-shaft and down to the ends if you want your curls to be a little looser.

4 Spritz a thermal heat protectant from your roots

Spritz a thermal heat protectant from your roots to your ends. This preps the hair so that the heat from your blow-dryer and the curling iron doesn't damage the hair shaft.

5 Flip your head over to dry your hair

Flip your head over to dry your hair. Use your fingertips to tousle your hair while drying. Flip your head upward when it's completely dry. Brush through any tangles starting at the ends and working your way up toward the roots.

6 Get Set to Curl

Section the top portion of your hair from temple to temple. Twirl the hair and fasten with a clip. Take another section from ear to ear, wind the hair up and secure it with another clip. The bottom section remains loose.

Take a 1-inch section of the loose hair near your ear and mist with hairspray. Place the barrel into the hair near the root and wind the curling iron once going away from your face. Hold for about 5 seconds. The rest of the hair section is hanging down while only the hair near the root is getting hot.

Release the clamp a bit and twirl the iron away from your face while grabbing the rest of the section into the barrel. Hold for 10 seconds and release the hair by pumping the barrel. Refrain from unrolling the hair as this will undo the curl. Starting near the roots allows the heat to penetrate closest to the roots where volume is needed.

Continue sectioning, spraying and curling along the the bottom row. Curl away from your face so all curls face the same way for easy styling. Make sure to hold the curling iron in place near the roots for about 5 seconds; twirl the rest of the hair around the iron and hold for 10 seconds.

Take the clip out of the middle section. Section the hair as you did on the bottom into 1-inch sections; spray and curl away from your face from ear to ear. Repeat on the top section from temple to temple.

Refrain from touching your hair. Allow the curls to cool while you put on your makeup or get dressed.

Bend forward and let your hair fall downward. Finger comb your curls gently and lift your head up. The curls should all be organized, flowing away from your face. Make any necessary tweaks to the curls and spray with a firm-hold hairspray.

  • Refrain from ever setting your curling iron above 400 degrees.
  • A dirty curling iron won't work well. Wipe the cool iron clean with a damp cloth after every use.
  • Add cute barrettes, clips, hair bands or other accessories to your curly 'do.
  • This look can also be achieved with a clampless curling iron. Make sure to use the finger glove provided so you don't burn your fingers.
  • A ceramic curling iron is the best choice since it disperses the heat evenly through your hair.

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.