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How to Curl Curly Hair | Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re wondering how to curl curly hair, you’re not alone. Every day, thousands of people search for how to do just that. And you’re in luck — we’ll show you the steps to take and the best products to use.


If you’re blessed with naturally curly hair, you know how amazing it is to have constant volume and luxurious locks.

If you want to amp up that blessing even more, you can always add some additional curls to your hair by taking a few simple steps. Beautiful ringlets and curls are well within your reach. 

How to Curl Curly Hair in 6 Steps

Woman showing us how to curl curly hair

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Take these six steps, and you’ll have beautiful, bouncing, well-defined curls in absolutely no time. Of course, since everyone’s hair is different, you might find that one or two suit your needs more than others. Experiment with different techniques to find the one that works for you.

The Short Answer

With a bit of prep work and some care, your hair can look glamorous and effortless. Follow these easy steps to have healthy, beautiful hair:

  1. Understand Your Curls
  2. Wash and Condition Your Hair
  3. Use a Cream
  4. Start Creating New Curls
  5. Tackle Humidity
  6. Blow Dry Properly

The Long Answer

You can add a lot of extra oomph to your already curly hair by adding in some extra curls. The key is to work with your hair’s natural texture and understand its needs.

Everyone’s curls are different, so use products that add moisture and enhance your natural curl texture. Make sure that your hair is clean and well-maintained before trying to add additional curls.

Depending on the texture and quality of your hair, you might want to regularly apply masks or treatments to keep your hair as healthy as possible.

If you have any questions about what’s best for you, talk to your stylist. The next step is protecting your curls. Humidity is the enemy of every great hairstyle, and it’s particularly detrimental for curly hair.

So ensure that you shield your curls against humidity by using an oil or cream to lock in moisture. Although it’s a good idea to let your beautiful curls air dry, you can blow dry them using a diffuser.

Then, create new curls with a curling iron or even a small flat iron, working section by section. Of course, it’s always essential to use a heat-protectant spray before using any hot tools on your hair.

Curling Curly Hair Step-by-Step

Follow these steps, banish frizz from your life forever, and get the beautiful curls you have always wanted.

1. Understand Your Curls

Everyone’s curls are different, so it’s important to understand what makes yours unique. Curls come in all shapes, sizes, and textures, and some are more prone to frizz than others. The key to getting and maintaining beautiful locks is understanding what your hair needs.

The first and most crucial step in obtaining and maintaining a great head of hair is understanding what your curls need. Make sure that your locks are fully conditioned, moisturized, and oiled before you begin using any hot tools.

Then, let your curls dry naturally before creating additional waves and curls unless you’re in a real-time crunch. That will cut back on damage and give you a much better result. 

2. Wash and Condition Your Hair

Always start with fresh, clean hair. Curly hair tends to dry out reasonably quickly, and lack of moisture can make your curls look lifeless or frizzy.

Make sure that you give your hair plenty of love by washing it gently with a good shampoo and conditioning it thoroughly. If your hair is super dry, you can use a leave-in conditioner or mask to really get some additional moisture into your locks. 

3. Use a Cream

Since all curls are different, the cream that works best for you might not be appropriate for everyone, and vice versa. Work with the texture of your hair and find a cream that’s not too light or heavy.

You don’t want your curls to feel crunchy or coated in product. Instead, the cream should go on lightly and just add a little bit of structure to your existing hair.

4. Start Creating New Curls

You need to start creating new curls and defining your existing ones for those gorgeous ringlets or spirals. Once your hair is prepared, healthy, and ready to go, it’s time to grab your curling iron and get to work.

Gently section your hair and focus on one curl at a time. Although this process is a little bit time-consuming, the result will be totally worth it. 

5. Tackle Humidity

Although humidity can wreak havoc on any type of hair, it’s especially detrimental to curly hair. If you want to have curls that look fabulous all day long, you’ll need to deal with humidity head-on.

Fortunately, there are plenty of products out there that allow you to protect your curls from the elements. Humidity is the reason that your curls frizz. Essentially, your hair pulls in moisture from the air, and the cuticles swell, leaving you with an unkempt look.

To ensure that your hair has all of the moisture that it needs, oil your curls and perform regular hair maintenance. If it’s very humid outside, you should put a little extra oil or leave-in conditioner into your hair to keep humidity at bay.

6. Blow Dry Properly

Although ideally, you will want to let your curls air dry, you can still blow dry them if you’re running out of time. The trick is to be very careful and always use a diffuser not to damage or frizz your curls.

Diffusers let you address each area of your head with precision and can help you achieve volume without disturbing your natural curls. Make sure that your hair dryer isn’t too hot.

Heat can definitely suck the moisture from your hair and damage your curls even more. Instead, use cool or medium heat to dry your hair, and constantly move the hairdryer around, so one area doesn’t get too overwhelmed.

You should also keep your hair dryer at least six inches from the hair itself. Then, you’ll be able to dry your hair thoroughly without scorching it or risking getting it tangled in the hairdryer.

Read Next: What Is a Hair Diffuser?

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman using a diffuser to show us how to curl curly hair

Progressman/Shutterstock

These frequently asked questions and answers will help you maximize your curls and get a polished and red-carpet-ready look.

You can also talk to your stylist for additional tips and tricks. In addition, they can give you good advice about what products you should use for your particular hair texture and curl pattern. 

Should I Go Long or Short for Easy Style?

Shorter curls are definitely easier to maintain, and you can opt for a wash-and-go style or a more defined look.

On the other hand, longer curls or ringlets can be very dramatic if they’re well maintained. If you have longer curls, make sure that you’re going in for regular cuts and treatments and moisturizing your hair often.

How Do I Protect My Hair From Bad Weather?

Although bad weather can affect all hair, naturally curly hair is especially prone to frizz and humidity. The best way to protect your locks is to be as proactive as possible. Use creams and oils to tame your hair, and give it the moisture that it needs in advance.

On the other hand, very dry weather can wreak havoc on your curls too. So for drier weather, you’ll need plenty of moisture in your hair to maintain good health and curl shape. 

What’s The Best Way To Dry Curly Hair?

Although air-drying your curls is almost always preferable, you can use a blow dryer as well as long as you are careful. Ensure that you’re using a diffuser attachment, keep the dryer at a medium or low temperature, and keep it at least six inches away from your head.

Move the dryer around often as well. Moving it will limit the amount of exposure each curl gets and prevent you from over-drying your hair. 

What Is The Best Product To Use?

Everyones’ curls are different, so there is no one best universal product to use. Instead, figure out what works best with your curls. You can always talk to your stylist about the look that you’re hoping to achieve or use trial and error to find the best products for you.

Curls need moisture and are often drier than other hair types, so adding in a regular deep conditioning treatment is a great way to keep them healthy. Additionally, you can add in a bonding treatment, like Olaplex, to repair broken or porous hair.

Hair oils are also an excellent bet. They add shine and moisture to your curls. Finally, if you’re working with any hot tools, like curling irons or hair dryers, make sure to apply a heat protectant spray. 

How Can I Work With My Style of Curly Hair?

There are several different types of curly hair. Understanding your style will allow you to create beautiful, bouncy curls with ease. A few factors will influence what types of products you need and how you can protect your hair.

The first one is porosity. Porosity refers to how quickly your hair can absorb and lose product or elements from the atmosphere. The more porous your hair is, the more likely it will frizz, so you will need to use additional protective products on humid days. 

You should also understand your curl pattern, what size curls you naturally have, and how they fall. This information will allow you to add additional curls that look natural.   

Helping Your Curly Hair Look Its Best

Curly hair tends to get much more tangled than straighter hair, so it’s important to be gentle with it, especially when your hair is wet. Never brush wet hair, as running a rough brush through your locks can damage them.

Instead, tackle your curls with a wide-toothed comb. Be careful and take your time. Curly hair is more fragile than straighter hair, especially when it’s wet. You can also upgrade your bedding. Silk or satin pillowcases are less likely to snarl curl hair.

If you really want to preserve your curls, consider sleeping in a scarf. Pile your curls carefully on the top of your head, then wrap your hair in a scarf. This will help minimize the amount of damage that you do at night.

So How Do You Curl Curly Hair?

Curling curly hair is easy if you take steps to ensure that your curls are protected every step of the way. One of the keys to having a great head of hair is healthy locks, so shampooing, conditioning, and moisturizing are absolutely critical.

Additionally, you will want to visit your salon for regular cuts and treatments. Once you have this healthy base, you’re ready to add some fabulous additional curls to your look.

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