Natural, Loose Curls

We've seen them before: those glamorous Hollywood curls that show up everywhere, from red carpet events to those "candid" shots of the Kardashians everywhere they go.  Today I am going to show you how to easily create loose, natural-looking curls that are perfect for a night out with friends or just to spice up your hair during the work week. Curling your hair is easy - it just takes practice!  For those of you who don't often use a curling iron, the hardest part is learning which angle to place the tool as you wrap strands of hair around it.  Hopefully these pictures will show you that once you get the angles down, creating this look is a cinch.

What You'll Need:

  • Hair Clip(s) - usually I use a large clip like the one in the photo, and a slightly smaller one to keep the strands I've already curled separate from the hair that is still straight.
  • A curling iron - here I am using a 1.5" barrel from Conair.  This particular curling iron does have its own clamp, but I prefer not to use the clamp and instead keep the hair wrapped around the iron with my fingers - hence the need for the black heat-protectant glove.
  • A brush
  • Hair product:  I swear by Moroccan Oil (it makes your hair so silky!), Nexxus Split End Styling Treatment, and hairspray.

Step 1.  Product

Apply product. I start with a tiny, dime-sized amount of the Moroccan Oil, and apply to my hair starting from the tips and working the product into the rest of my hair.  Don't apply too much around your scalp - it can make your hair look oily.

Next I pump about a quarter-sized amount of styling mousse into my palm and distribute evenly throughout my hair.  The easiest way to do this is to flip your hair up-side down and apply starting from the tips up.  You can get creative with what styling mousse you use - I like the Nexxus split-end treatment because my hair is longer and it protects the ends from fraying while I curl.  I also really like Tres Semmé heat protectant spray, so that is a good option as well.

Step 2. Section Hair

Section your hair by drawing a line across the back of your head with your fingers, starting right above your ears.  Secure the rest of your hair on top of your head with a clip.

Step 3. Curl!

Start by taking a piece of hair from the bottom section and separating it from the rest.  Generally, the tightness of your curls will depend on two things:  the size of each strand you curl and the circumference of the curling iron.  For looser curls, you may want to take slightly more hair than what I have in the picture.  The length of time you leave each strand wrapped around the barrel of the curling iron will also affect how curly your hair turns out, so keep that in mind too.

This next step is likely the hardest part.  To create natural looking curls you want to hold the curling iron and wrap your hair away from your face.  To do this, I take the curling iron in the hand opposite from the side of my head that I am curling.  In this example, I am curling the left side of my hair, so I am holding the curling iron in my right hand.  Reach the curling iron over to the left side pointing down, as I have in the photo.  Use your left hand to wrap the strand around the curling iron, remembering to wrap the hair away from your face.

Generally I hold each strand around the curling iron for 12-15 seconds, but your time may vary based on how tight you want  the curls and how thick your hair is.  For thinner hair I would suggest about 5-8 seconds.  When you are done, carefully unwind the hair from the curling iron.

Step 4. Repeat

Repeat Step 3 around the entire first section of hair.  To make it easy, I typically split my hair into two sections: a right section and a left section.  I curl all of the hair on my left using my right hand to hold the curling iron, and then switch and curl all of the hair on my right side using my left hand, always remembering to wrap the hair away from my face as I go.  When you are finished with the whole section, use a small amount of hair spray on the ends to make sure the curls hold.  Then use your smaller clip to gather all of the curls before taking a second section of straight hair from the clip on top of your head.

Again, separate your hair into a right and left section and continue to curl.  Typically I split my hair into three complete sections to curl:  the bottom section, which you see in the photo above, the middle section, which you see in the photo below, and then the top section, which is still in a little bun on the top of my head in the below photo.  For the top most section, arrange your hair the way you normally wear it - i.e. if you have a middle part, part your hair down the middle, if you have a side part, part your hair on the side.  Continue curling away from your face until all the hair is curled.

Step 5. Spray and Go!

You're done!  After you have curled all of your hair, feel free to spray it again lightly with hairspray to ensure that the curls will hold.  I don't like to spray my hair too much though, because it tends to tangle more easily when it is loaded up with spray.  Also, this hair style is really perfect if you are prone to playing with your hair throughout the night (as I am), because it only makes the curls look more natural.