How to Curl Relaxed Hair

If you've chosen to relax the naturally curly patterns of your hair, you will find that there are many styling options that are available for you to choose from. Naturally, wearing your hair in a straight style is one of the reasons that prompted you to relax your hair in the first place, but that doesn't mean that you can't wear your hair curly from time to time. Curls can be worn soft and loose or tight and defined; any of which can easily be accomplished on relaxed hair regardless of your experience styling it. Because of the fragile nature of relaxed hair, however, the main point of consideration when curling your hair is to choose a method that achieves the curls that you want without damaging your hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Setting lotion
  • Spray bottle
  • Rat-tail comb
  • Magnetic hair rollers
  • Roller clips


    • 1

      Start with clean hair. Before trying to curl your hair, use a moisturizing shampoo to thoroughly wash away any dirt or styling products that could potentially weigh relaxed hair down and prevent it from curling properly. Shampoo and rinse twice using warm water before applying a moisturizing conditioner. Comb the conditioner through your hair and wait a minimum of five minutes before rinsing with cool water.

    • 2

      Prepare your setting lotion. There are two types of setting lotion that you can use to set your relaxed hair and create curls that hold: concentrated and ready-to-use. If you are using a ready-to-use solution, you can spray it onto your hair directly with no mixing involved. For concentrated setting lotions, prepare the solution by mixing with water according to the specific brands directions for the level of hold that you desire. When mixing your setting solution, use a spray bottle for easy application.

    • 3

      Part your hair. Spray your hair with the setting lotion and comb it through with a wide-toothed comb to work out any tangles. Starting at the bottom back of your head, part out a section of hair that is slightly shorter in width than the width of your hair roller. The thickness of your section will vary depending on what type of curl you are trying to achieve. For example, using a large roller on a thick section of hair will create looser curls, while using small rollers on a thinner section of hair will create a tighter curl.

    • 4

      Place the roller underneath the section of hair, so ends of your hair are smooth against the roller. Because relaxed hair still has a certain amount of texture you will need to pull your hair taunt to remove any waves and to ultimately create a smooth curl. Begin to roll your hair onto the roller, while maintaining tension as you go, until you reach your scalp. Secure the roller using the metal duckbill clip or a metal roller clip. Continue parting and rolling up the center of your head until you have created a row of hair in curlers that resembles a Mohawk from front to back. Curl the sides of your hair, starting from the bottom and working your way up to the center Mohawk of rollers. Continue rolling your hair until your entire head of hair has been placed in curlers.

    • 5

      Turn on your hooded hair dryer to a medium high setting. Sit under the dryer for approximately one hour. Test your hair for dryness by slightly unwinding one of the rollers. If the section feels damp, sit under the dryer for another half an hour before retesting; if the section feels dry, unwind it completely to check that it is dry at the ends. If it is wet, sit under the dryer for another 20 to 30 minutes and retest.

    • 6

      Allow your hair to cool down before unwinding your rollers. For better control, begin at the back of your head and work your way up when freeing your curls. Gently separate your curls with your fingers or with the tail of your rat-tail comb. To maintain your curls, tie a scarf around your curls or put on a satin sleeping cap before going to bed at night. If properly maintained curls should last from three to five days.

Tips & Warnings

  • The number of magnetic rollers that you'll need will depend on how thick your sections are. The thicker the sections the fewer rollers you will need; for thinner sections more rollers will be required.
  • If your hair is uneven in length, use end papers, folded over the ends of your hair to make rolling your sections easier.
  • Keep a water bottle on hand to keep your hair moist while you are rolling it.
  • Failure to fully dry relaxed hair will result in puffy curls that are frizzy when separated.
  • Not following the instructions on how to prepare your setting lotion can result in curls that are either to soft or too hard when dried.
  • Overly saturating your hair with water will increase your time under the dryer. Mist only enough to keep the hair from drying out before you can curl it.
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  • Photo Credit Rollers image by bnstrong from

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