Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hair that does itself while you sleep: How to creates curls or waves in your straight hair if you are lazy and/or incompetent (picture heavy post)

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I am the fucking worst at doing my hair. Seriously. I still haven't really mastered ponytails and headbands are way above my skill level. To make matters worse, my hair just does not respond to heat styling at all. It doesn't matter what tools I use, at what settings, with what products - I've tried them all. If I use a curling iron or hot rollers to curl my hair, 10 minutes later it's limp and sad and mostly straight.

Luckily, my hair is so naturally stick-straight that I don't really need to do much to it to look presentable. Usually I just wash it, put a little detangling something-or-other in it when it's wet and comb out the tangles, and then let it air dry. That's about it. Sometimes I brush it after it dries, if I want to get all fancy. You can see how straight it is in some of my previous posts.

But it's nice to have a change sometimes, right? Plus, everyone wants hair that is the opposite of what they have naturally, apparently. So I've finally come up with two ways to get waves and/or curls with minimal effort. I mean really minimal. And by "come up with", I just mean that I tried a bunch of things that other people had been doing since forever, and decided that these were the easiest.

The first, which is the more labor-intensive of the two, will give you fairly subtle waves. Beachy waves, maybe? Is that what it means? For me, it just takes my hair from completely-straight to not-completely-straight.

Start by spreading a little bit of mousse or liquid gel through the lengths of your hair. Then separate your hair into an even number of pieces. For me, since my hair is pretty fine, four is enough. Then twist two pieces separately, and then together, like a rope. They will just sort of naturally coil together, but if they don't stay perfectly twisted, it really doesn't matter. You're going for natural-looking waves. It will be fine. Trust. Secure them at the bottom with a hair tie. Like this:
Or be like me and get to this point and think,
that's cute enough, right? Nap time now?
Do this with all the pairs of segments, and then blow dry them. That's basically it. You can twist them around and move them however you like in order to get them completely dry. Pull the hair tie about an inch lower once the rest is dry, and dry the part that was under it too. Try not to give up before everything is dry or the waves won't stay. I like a little extra volume, so once I finish drying, I take out all the elastics, and then flip my hair upside down and dry the roots (which will still be damp) like that. Then just finger comb your hair, mist it with hairspray, and there you go.

I still think this is too much work, though, honestly. Blow drying? Fuck no. I can think of better things to do with my life. So there's a second, even lazier way to get hair that ranges from wavy to curly. Again, I obviously did not invent these techniques, and I am trying to make it clear that I suck at doing hair - I am just recommending them, because I've found that you get the best results with the least effort even if you are otherwise hopeless, like me.

For this one, you do need to buy something, but it's not expensive: foam curlers. Soft ones that you can sleep on. There are a bunch of different kinds, but I like these best in terms of ease of use and comfort. The simplest way to do it, in my opinion, is to separate the top layers from the bottom layers and clip/tie the top ones on top of your head. Then twist the curlers into the bottom layers, let down the top, and put the curlers in there last. The tighter you roll them, the tighter the curl you will end up with. You can also experiment with how close to the scalp you want to roll them. I like the top of my hair to lay flat and have the waves start around my ears. I also find that rolling the hair under makes them easier to sleep on without coming undone. But the curlers I linked to really stay put well and don't stab me in the skull during the night or anything.  I just twist the ends together sort of like a twist tie. I don't use any product in my hair at this stage. Go to bed looking like this:
"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
- Salvador Dali
My hair air dries pretty quickly, but the stuff around the curlers is sometimes still a little damp in the morning. I recommend unrolling the curlers and then just not touching your hair for however long it takes you to eat breakfast or whatever to allow it to dry a bit more. I sometimes spray a light mist of hairspray on the curls right away, but I don't know if it actually does anything, since I'm going to comb through it anyway. When you first take out the curlers, you're going to think, "Oh shit. I look ridiculous." CALM THE FUCK DOWN. This is normal:
A little boy in a Victorian painting, maybe?
When it's dry and you're ready to style it, just comb your fingers through it. Not too much, just enough to sort of blend the ringlets together. It's going to look shitty again. Like some kind of failed perm. CONTINUE TO STAY CALM. Now grab biggish sections and twirl them together to create softer waves. Twirl twirl twirl. It's fun. I like to use a tiny bit of serum or hair oil that I rub all over the palms of my hands and fingers when I do this. It adds a little extra smoothness and shine. This time I used some Matrix shit, just because I happened to have a little bottle of it that a friend gave me. I'm sure a few drops of olive oil or a smear of coconut oil would work pretty much the same way. That's basically it. Twirl until it looks okay. I tend to finish off by pulling it all lightly to the back in a single handful and twirling it all together. That seems to work nicely. Then I usually clip my bangs to the side, because I don't know what else to do with them when they're wavy. This is my end result:
This style will even get you through a second day, if you want it to. Let me reiterate that heat styling disappears from my hair after 30 minutes, but this shit last for days. Here's how mine looked the next day, after I had brushed it, slept on it, and just put a little dry shampoo at the roots and more oil at the ends:
I don't look as slovenly as I am!
Pretty good, right? I am long-winded, so that might have seemed like a lot of work, but let's review the actual steps: (1) put curlers in wet hair - possibly the most difficult step, but it's really, really not hard and it takes 7 minutes, tops, (2) sleep, (3) take curlers out, and (4) run fingers through hair. That's it. So fucking simple. If I don't totally hate doing it, it must be.

What do you think? Do you use curlers? Do you straighten your curly hair? Say fuck it and just shave it all off?


  1. Totally bookmarked this! Going to try it.

  2. Instead of buying soft curlers, I've always just used rag rollers (just long strips of old fabric really). It works the same way, but is free, and you have a little more end to tie the knot with!

    1. Oh yes, great idea! I remember my mother using those in my hair when I was little, not that you mention it.

  3. I like the red hair firstly. And these are great lazy hair tips. If I still had enough hair to do anything with I'd be all about this. I used to be big on the ol go to bed with wet braided hair, then when dried take out for waves thing. And also rolling my hair in tube socks.

    1. There are so many options, but for some reason sleeping on braids is more uncomfortable for me, and I end up with the top of my hair all messed up in a way that doesn't happen with curlers. Not sure why!


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