How to Keep Curls in All Day

Nicole Kidman's signature red curls shine on the red carpet.
Nicole Kidman's signature red curls shine on the red carpet.

Certain hair textures adamantly refuse to hold curls for more than a few hours. Extra-long strands, thick tresses and fine, feather-light hair have a tendency to ditch the curls halfway through that all-day business conference or wedding reception. Don't settle for limp, lifeless locks -- the right combination of tools and products radically improves your curl longevity for enviable all-day waves.

Hair Prep Academy

Half of the work begins before you even set a curling iron to your locks. Shampoo and condition your mane with volumizing products that won’t weigh your hair down. Avoid deep conditioners or heavy leave-in products.

Towel-dry your hair to remove excess moisture. If you have naturally straight hair apply a small palmful of lightweight curl-activating mousse to your damp strands from roots to tips. If you have naturally textured locks, opt for a gentler, curl-enhancing mousse and a few drops of shine serum. Follow up with a heat-protectant spray on all hair types to avoid frying your tresses and leaving them limp. Allow the protectant to sit on your hair for a minute before using any heat-styling tool.

Tip

  • Thick and fine hair textures alike benefit from curling hair with heated styling tools on the second day after washing. The natural oils in your hair encourage longer curl hold.

Bring on the Heat

Curling irons produce lightning-fast results. Opt for an iron with gold or ceramic plating for gentler, longer-lasting curls; look for a 1-inch barrel for tighter, more resilient curls, especially if you have fine hair. If you are working with wet hair, blow-dry your tresses until they are completely dry. Leftover moisture damages hair in the heat-styling process.

Section off a 2-inch piece of hair and wrap the strands around the barrel from roots to ends. Roll the hair away from your face to open up your features. Hold the very tips of your hair with your fingertips and keep in place for about 10 seconds before releasing.

After it has been released, roll this same hot section of hair into a tidy jellyroll and pin the rolled hair flat onto your head with a bobby pin to cool. The jellyroll ensures the hot curl sets as it cools. Repeat this process with the rest of your tresses and allow all the pinned curls to set for about 5 minutes before gently unfurling each roll.

Tip

  • Avoid brushing or playing with your hair over the course of the day. Also avoid brushing your hair right after you have heat-styled the curls to keep from deflating the volume or shape.

Slow Simmer

Curling irons are fast, but hot rollers create lasting curls with less damage and more volume. Dry your hair thoroughly after washing, conditioning and applying a volumizing mousse and heat-protectant.

Roll 1-inch sections of hair onto the hot roller from the tips until you reach your scalp. Clip the hot roller in place and continue until all of your hair is neatly rolled up onto your head.

Allow the rollers to set for at least 20 minutes but the longer you let the rollers sit the longer your curls will last. You can opt to leave them in until they are cool to the touch. Unroll each hot roller gently and allow your curls to sit unfurled for about 5 minutes before brushing or rearranging.

Nocturnal Waves

The slowest, kindest way to get lasting, luscious curls is without heat -- especially for fine or fragile hair. After you have towel-dried your hair, apply a heat-protectant and blow-dry your locks to remove any excess moisture, leaving your hair just slightly damp. Apply a flexible mousse to your strands and separate a 1- to 2-inch section of hair; roll it from tips to roots around a foam or bendy roller. Clip it into place and roll the rest of your hair in the same manner. If you have thick hair, opt for 1-inch sections; if you have fine hair, go for for 2-inch sections.

Sleep on the rollers overnight or leave them in for at least 8 hours before removing. If they have not completely dried by the time you wake in the morning, blast the rollers with a blow dryer to banish excess moisture before removing the rollers. Gently unfurl each roller and tousle the curls with your fingers to loosen them up. Spritz a lightweight hairspray on your strands for all-day hold.

Tip

  • Follow up any curling routine with a lightweight hairspray that keeps your locks in place without feeling crisp to the touch. Heavy-duty hairsprays -- meant for indestructible ballet buns -- slowly weigh down strands over the course of the day if they are applied too liberally.

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