How to Make Straight Hair Wavy With & Without Heat | Hairstory

How to Make Straight Hair Wavy With & Without Heat | Hairstory

How to Make Straight Hair Wavy

The grass is always greener, right? Those with straight hair want curls, those with curly hair want straight strands… we want what we haven’t got.

But there’s no reason why straight-haired folks can’t live on both sides of the fence, and here are some ways – both with and without heat – to make some waves.

But first, some preparation: styling products are key to changing the shape of your strands, and that includes those that you use in the shower. If you’re using a conditioner that’s too heavy, your hair is likely to fall flat faster after curling. Choose a light formula, and use it mainly on the typically drier ends. Better yet, try a detergent-free shampoo that does the work of both shampoo and conditioner.

Less-than-clean hair will hold the curled shape better. Clean hair is more slippery and glassy, making it harder to manipulate. In any case, know how to clean a hair brush so that your styling tools don’t gunk up your hair. You want grip, not slip, and your natural oils will act as a styling product of sorts. However, if you’re using a curling iron, you’ll need a good heat-protectant to insulate hair with the added benefit of helping set and hold the shape you give it.

How to Curl Straight Hair With a Curling Iron

The more tightly you curl your hair, the more likely it is to stay curled. Your curls will naturally relax a bit, so choose a curling iron barrel slightly smaller in girth than the curl dimension you’re after. Start by evenly coating damp hair with your protectant, and roughly blowdry. You can lightly run a little more hair product through your strands before you start curling.

It may take more time, but working with smaller sections will better define the curl and allow for even distribution of heat.

Start with your lower layers and gradually work yourself up by section. Twist a group of hair around the curling iron barrel. Remember, if you are wanting a beachy wave, it does not need to be perfectly coiled around the barrel. Keep moving your hair around a bit to avoid clamp marks.

Try not to handle or tug on your curls as they come off the iron. Letting tight curls cool completely is important for getting wavy hair to last all day; so be sure to let them get to room temperature. You can even cup them in your hands for 10 seconds to prevent them from loosening too quickly. Or roll them up and clip them with a pin for a bit until cool.

Once your hair has completely cooled, try applying a light, even layer of hairspray. Then, depending on how loose you want your waves, flip your head upside down and shake your curls out. You can either stop here, gently finger-comb everything to simply blend the texture and stretch the curls out a bit, or go all the way and use a brush for looser waves. If you opt for the latter, make sure you’re familiar with how to clean your hair brush first, because you don’t want dirt or oil from the brush to transfer to your hair.

How to Make Straight Hair Curly Without Heat

Just as there are ways to know how to straighten hair without heat, it’s possible to achieve wavy hair sans curling iron. And if you have hair extensions, you’ll want to rely primarily on these methods, because repeated heat styling can damage them. Find out more about how hair extensions work here.


If you want a wavy hairstyle with minimum effort, braid your hair before going to bed and sleep with braids in. When you wake up, take the braids out and apply a little bit of hair oil to calm any frizz. Just make sure you braid the very tips too or tuck them in so they’ll be wavy as well.


Take a headband that encircles your entire head and your texturizing hair product, such as a sea salt spray. Spritz your hair evenly with the product, and put the headband on your head hippie-style. Twist several sections of hair and weave them around the headband. Spritz again and wait a few hours or overnight until you have completely dry hair. Then, unwrap and fluff with your fingers.


Use your texturizing or holding product as you twist a part of your hair and twirl them into little buns. Pin them up, let dry for at least six hours, and then gently pull them out to achieve a wavy hairstyle. Even when you’re not trying to achieve waves, buns are a classic style for any hair type, even if very fine. Knowing how to do a messy bun with thin hair is an art but with practice, it gets easier!

Pin curls:

Prep your hair as above, and comb sections from roots to ends to ease out tangles. Roll the sections into large pin curls, and secure each with a hair clip or pin, or you can use a rag-rolling technique by attaching small strips of fabric and tying up the curls. Once you have completely dry hair, remove the pins and run your fingers through your hair or use a wide-tooth comb to break the tight curls apart into nice, loose waves.