How to Turn Straight Hair Curly

As an elder millennial who survived body perms of the late '80s and early '90s, I feel that it is my duty and obligation to pass on the knowledge, secrets, tips, and tricks obtained.

For most people, creating curly or wavy hair can be achieved without enduring the smell and experience of a tightly rolled perm. If you don't know the feeling of ice-cold perm activator trickling on your scalp as it is being squirted on your head, consider yourself lucky.

During this time, big hair was all of the rage. My mother teased my hair and sprayed it to heights unimaginable, as I wore big, poufy, frilly dresses with a bow the size Texas on the top of my head.

I flipped through old yearbooks recently, and sadly, I noticed I kept this permed look until 6th grade. Thank heavens, the “Rachel” haircut of 1995 became popular and put an end to the perms.

But little did I know at the time, the secret to curly hair was not in the perm. Curly and wavy hair can be achieved with the right styling products, a can-do attitude, and a handy attachment known as a diffuser.

Can a Diffuser Make Straight Hair Wavy?

For those who are not familiar with this vintage yet fabulous tool, a diffuser is an attachment for your hairdryer that disperses air within a 6 to 8-inch radius. You can easily find them anywhere online.

A diffuser allows you to add curls or waves to your hair without subjecting it to high heat or the punishment of a perm.


How Can Straight Hair Get Waves?

With the right products and enough time, you can make your hair do almost anything you want.

For girls with hair straight hair, if you want to achieve curls or at least some waves and volume, check out this method.
My hair before:

straight hair

How to Achieve Curly Hair When Your Hair is Straight:

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair like normal.
  2. Add Daily Dose Leave-In Conditioner.
  3. Let your hair air dry for a few minutes. (If you try to do this with a soaking wet head, it takes forever).
  4. Decide what type of curl you want. For loose beachy waves, spray hair with a sea salt spray. If you have thick hair with absolutely no natural curl, you will want to use a mousse or hair gel.

*For curls that last all day, it does not matter what brand of hair gel you choose, just go with one that has a maximum hold.

wavy hair

  1. This is where the magic happens. When you are applying the salt spray, mousse, or gel, flip your head over. As you apply the product, work with sections of the hair. Start with the ends and gently place it in the palm of your hands and scrunch it.
  2. Before you flip your head back up, spray it all over with a firm hold spritz. It's important to use a spritz and not a hair spray as you continue to scrunch.
  3. If you can handle your head being flipped over for this length of time, begin drying your hair with the lowest possible settings heat and airspeed settings. Most hair dryers these days allow you to control the heat and the speed of the air. If you use the high settings, it dries your hair quicker, but you are subjecting it to higher temperatures when you don't have to.

A Few Tips When Using a Diffuser to Make Your Hair Curly or Wavy

As you are drying your hair, make sure to use a combination of drying techniques. One is to apply the same method, similar to applying styling products. The other method that I like to use is to place sections of the hair on the diffuser like it is my hand, and lift the dryer towards my head.

why hair 2

They key is to keep your head flipped over as much as possible. This will help achieve volume at the roots, so your hair isn't curly at the end and flat on your head.

I live where it is very humid, and to prove how well this method works, the picture of the final result is from 16 hours later after drying it.

final wavy look

I slept on this hair the night before. Plus, I worked all day long, and it still held up that afternoon without losing any curl.  If you want to get a couple of days out of your curls, use a spray bottle filled with water. Mist your hair and spray with more spritz. Then use the diffuser again to lock back in the curl.


Author: Jessica Biggs

Jessica is a wife, mother, teacher, writer, and marketer. Like a moth to a flame, she is drawn to all things pretty, sparkly, and shiny and believes there is no such thing as natural beauty. When she is not working, in her spare time she dreams of the day where all she has to do is lay on a beach somewhere and endless frozen concoctions with little pink umbrellas are served to her on a silver platter. Until then, she will just settle for summers in the backyard. You can follow her on twitter @jessbiggs11 or Facebook @jessicadillardbiggs

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