How To: Romantic Curls On Very Straight Hair

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.


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