Prev Next

How To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair


by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

How To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical Wedding How To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical Wedding
How To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair | A Practical Wedding

The Info—Stylist: Nichole Kreps of Harper Paige Salon / Photography: Emily Takes Photos / Dress: Joielle

Despite having very short hair, today’s tutorial is the sort of look I would rock every day if I had the time, the patience, and maybe a personal stylist. And while I have none of these things, lucky for us longtime reader Sharon was on hand for our pony farm hair & makeup shoot last spring (you might remember from her wedding grad post or this awesome piece from not too long ago) and not only does she have the patience, at the time, we also had a stylist on hand. What Sharon also has that I don’t have is pin straight hair. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my straight-haired friends, it’s that getting a curl you’ve done yourself to hold for more than ten minutes is an accomplishment of mythical proportions. It’s the unicorn of styling straight hair. So we asked our sylist, Nichole Kreps of Harper Paige Salon, to give us some tips for getting romantic waves to stick on pin-straight hair. And because she loves you, she turned it into an easy half-up half-down look that would be perfect to throw a veil over or work under a floral crown. Yay!

Prepping your hair: Like last time, Nichole suggests starting with what she calls “day old dirty hair” to get the curls to hold better. Of course, if you’re like Sharon and don’t feel like waiting around for your hair to get dirty on its own, Nichole says you can use Oribe Texture Spray and Oribe Après Beach to substitute for actual dirty hair. Once the hair is sufficiently dirtied up, you’re going to want to put most of it aside to allow yourself to work with small sections at a time (this is especially important if your hair is thick. And don’t worry about the curls looking too tight if you do small sections. You’re going to loosen them up later). Finally, Nichole used a little hairspray on each section just before taking the curling iron to it to give it added hold.

Curling: There were a few things I learned from my roommates in college. One was never to drink wine that comes out of a jug. The other was that if you want soft non-beauty-pageant-contestant curls, the secret is to wrap your hair around the barrel of the curling iron instead of using the clamp. Or if you want to avoid the temptation altogether, you can purchase a curling wand that is designed for this very purpose. Once you’ve got that covered, the secret to pulling off the rest of this look is patience and repetition.

So. Take a small section of hair (Nichole used approximately one-to-two inch sections on Sharon), give it a light spray of hairspray, wrap it around the curling iron or wand (holding the very tip of your hair away from the iron for an “undone” look), and keep it there for a few seconds. How long you leave your hair there will depend on how hot your curling iron gets. A hotter iron needs less time. For softer, less structured waves, alternate which direction you curl the hair as you go through each section. If you curl to the left on the first section, curl to the right on the next. And if you forget which way you went last time, don’t worry about it. It’s not an exact science, and the end result you’re going for is not “methodical.” Finally, when you get to the crown of your head, Nichole suggests pulling your hair forward while you’re curling to add extra volume. (I’m a firm believer that the higher the hair, the closer to the International Space Station. Which is, of course, a good thing.)

Finishing The Look: Once you’ve finished curling each section of hair, Nichole recommends spraying again with Oribe Texture Spray and then using your fingers to loosen the waves (and don’t be afraid to rough it up a bit. At this point, you should have enough hairspray and texture spray going on that the curls will still hold). For added volume, you can take this opportunity to tease your hair at the crown a little bit, and then use a comb to smooth it over. Finally, take your curling iron and finish off any curls that need a boost, then either leave your hair down (which I think looked amazing on Sharon) or take a few small pieces from the front and tuck them in at the sides with a bobby pin for a casual half-up half-down ‘do (which is really more of an illusion of half-up half-down). Finish off with hairspray to set the look and voila! Movie star romantic waves all on your own.

And the best part? You can easily transition this look into our loose side bun for later in the night when you want to get your hair off your neck and dance your face off. Or if you’re like me and the last song played at your wedding is “Renegade” by Styx, leave it down for optimum hair metal dance moves. Then rock ‘n roll as you please.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

More in Beauty Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • http://thevanillabride@blogspot.com Sonarisa

    Dirty hair and texture spray really are the most important things with styling. Although my hair is not straight, it is really fine, slippery, and tends to frizz. I could never get a style to stay put until I learned about dirty hair. If you’re worried about oil, you can use dry shampoo or powder on your roots to minimize the oily shine.

    The curls look gorgeous. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • kyley

    I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS. I have the straightest straight hair that ever existed, and between Elisabeth’s post this morning and this? omg, I love you today, apw.

  • http://www.myownbridalshow.com Bonnie Brown

    Great tips and ideas! I was told by my hairstylist to use a hairspray that has a high water content such as Moroccan Oil hairspray. This will not tend to dry out or damage your hair as much as you wrap it around the curling iron. Also, this stuff smells absolutely amazing! I would recommend using a stronger finishing spray after curling is complete.

  • http://brusselsproutblog.blogspot.com Cassandra

    Yesssssss! I am totally bookmarking this page and bringing it up for my trial run with my mother, who will be my stylist– I figure that since she has had years of practice on my hair, who better? lol

    This is exactly the look I’m going for as a base for a slightly more structured half-up/half-down. I ruv you, apw. (For some reason, I’ve always wanted to call the half-up/half-down style the “Andrea”. Anyone else??)

    • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

      My mom always used to call it a Mary-Jane, no idea why!

      • Kat

        My mother always called it a Katie!

        • Amy

          My mom always told me it was called a “Pollyanna”! :)

  • http://www.chanouxstories.com Laura

    This is what I’ve been wanting to know how to do forever. I thought with my super straight hair, I was just kind of out of luck. Thank you!! Sharon, you look amazing!

  • Laura

    I have very fine not-quite-straight-but-not really-wavy-either hair, (but a lot of it!!) and always heard that dirty hair holds curls better. Yeah… not with my hair.

    What DOES work for me is to make sure I “rough dry” my hair. The way it was explained to me was that however you style it first, will be how it stays. So if you dry your hair straight, it’s already stretched out out and won’t curl. To rough dry your hair, you basically dry your hair really haphazardly (with a little product) to make it as frizzy as possible. Well, except for around my bangs. Gotta keep those in line. Then curl.

    Anyway, the rest of the method is the same. Except that I just popped the clamp off my curler instead of trying to wrap over it.

    • Lauren

      I do this too! It sounds like we have similar hair types as well. I brush, then rough dry, then let air dry in a loose bun held together with a clip. When it’s all dried out, shake out and style as needed.

  • http://weddingvictorytour.com Mica

    Thank you, thank you! My hair isn’t just straight, it’s ASIAN STRAIGHT, so it was reassuring to see the style on the lovely Sharon and her lustrous locks! Saving this one, fo’ sho’!

  • flora_poste

    I have tried this on my own and I’ve had professionals attempt it for special occasions a bunch of times, and it just doesn’t work for my hair. Too straight and too thick!

  • Annoymous

    I love the dress!!! I know it says Joielle…but which one is it? The site has a million dresses and i can’t find it :(

  • Kristen

    I don’t have pin-straight hair, but I have thin, frizzy curls that don’t have a lot of definition. Lately, I’ve been achieving a similar look with a very easy trick: letting my hair dry in a twist. Basically, I let my hair air-dry a bit and then twist it into 2-6 sections. The important thing is to let your hair finish drying in the twists. Once they’re dry, I just finger-comb, do a little head flip and voila! It’s a less polished look that’s easy for every day and a good way for curly-haired gals to get the look without the damage that can be caused by every day heat styling.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    All the more reasons to keep working out my upper arms and shoulders. Reaching around to curl that many small sections on my own hair is going to take some muscles. But it would be so worth it.

    I’m definitely familiar with the mythical unicorn of hair styling that is getting my hair to be curled long enough for me to leave the house before it falls.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for this tutorial!! Does anyone have any suggestions for cheaper/drugstore texturing spray?

    • Maddie

      It’s about half as much as the Oribe stuff (though still a little pricey if you’re looking for the sub $10 range), but I used to use Big Sex Hair Flip It Over Texture Spray and I loved it. And since they usually sell it at drugstores, I bet there will be an opportunity to use a CVS coupon on it or something if you want to grab it for less.

  • Elissa

    I have that annoyingly straight curl-unicorn-repelling hair. A coworker who used to be a hair-dresser recently gave me a tip:

    – If you’re using heat to make the curl, keep the hair in the shape until it’s completely cooled, and/or
    – If you’re using wet hair to make the curl, keep the hair in the shape until it’s completely dry

    It’s to do with bonds in the hair that come apart with heat or wetness, and then reform. If the hair’s not completly cooled/dried, the bonds aren’t yet fully reformed in their new shapes.

    I haven’t had a chance yet to try out this theory, but I thought I’d throw it out there for my sisters-in-straight-hair to try. I’m not sure how that works with a curling iron – I was going to try pin-curls.

  • Elissa

    I have that annoyingly straight curl-unicorn-repelling hair. A coworker who used to be a hair-dresser recently gave me a tip:

    – If you’re using heat to make the curl, keep the hair in the shape until it’s completely cooled, and/or
    – If you’re using wet hair to make the curl, keep the hair in the shape until it’s completely dry

    It’s to do with bonds in the hair that come apart with heat or wetness, and then reform. If the hair’s not completely cooled/dried, the bonds aren’t yet fully reformed in their new shapes.

    I haven’t had a chance yet to try out this theory, but I thought I’d throw it out there for my sisters-in-straight-hair to try. I’m not sure how that works with a curling iron – I was going to try pin-curls.

    (Accidentally posted this twice – sorry! Admins feel free to delete one)

  • Pingback: Trendy Thursday: Hair DOs – Cat in a Wedding Dress()

  • Sarah

    THANK YOU for this post! I had to do my own hair for my wedding in the middle of nowhere and these tips saved me! AROUND the barrel! So genius. My hair looked amazing. I can also recommend the corkscrew bobby pin that was a last minute addition for the swept up look. People couldn’t believe I did it myself. Also, really good hair spray is a must.

  • Alina John

    The quality of your blogs and conjointly the articles and price appreciating.

    re spark the romance