how to get tight curls naturally

How To Get Tight Curls Naturally Without Using Heat

Do you want to sport a curly hairstyle but afraid of using hot tools? The good news is that heat isn’t the only way to achieve natural-looking curls. There are methods on how to get tight curls naturally that you can try at home without having to use damaging heat on your tresses.

Let’s admit it, all of us have had one of those lazy days when you want to look good but don’t want to spend time styling. You might be running late for work, or you’ve woken up to a massive hangover on a manic Monday morning.

To help you, I’ll share here my styling hacks that don’t involve hot tools in producing curls. See which one you find the easiest:

Method 1: Pin curls

Oh, the ever-classic pin curls. I remember my mom putting these on my hair on the night before my elementary school graduation. My 11-year-old self wasn’t impressed until I woke up to the most stylish curls I’ve ever seen on kids my age.

Using pin curls is the quintessential method in achieving natural tight curls. It’s not just a grandma thing. If you have damaged hair and can’t use any more heat at this time, this is probably your best bet for styling.

Things you need:

  • Hairpins
  • Hair gel or hairspray
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Scarf

How to do it:

Step 1. Comb your hair

Using the wide-toothed comb, remove tangles and knots on your hair. If your hair is still wet or damp from a wash, squeeze it with a towel (never wring it!). Wait for it to be damp before proceeding to the next steps.

Step 2. Starting sectioning

Once your hair is dry or damp, apply some hairspray or hair gel to it. You can also use pomade or other products that will give medium to strong hold.

Next, section your hair into two parts and secure the other half on a bun.

Step 3. Start rolling the hair

Grab an inch thick of hair from the first section and wrap it around your finger. The goal here is to create a loop, so it’s best to use your index finger while preventing the hair from unraveling using your thumb. Make sure that you rolled the hair snugly and in an upward manner.

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Avoid using too much hair on each hair roll because the pin will leave indentations or marks on the curls, which don’t look good.

Step 4. Pin it!

Once you’ve rolled the hair close to your roots, flatten the roll on your scalp, then secure it with a hairpin or two. Make sure that the hairpin is snug and won’t unravel easily even if you shake your head.

Step 5. Do it all over your hair

Roll the remaining portions of each section of your hair until all of it are pinned on your scalp. Once done, wrap your rolled hair with a scarf before you go to bed. Try not to move your head too much as it might unroll some of the hair.

Step 6. Unroll the curls

The next morning, remove all the hairpins and undo the rolls of your hair. Take note that you should only remove the curls once your hair is dry. If your locks are still damp, wait for them to dry first. Never use a blow dryer as it will ruin the curls and cause frizz.

After unrolling the curls, spritz it with hairspray to hold the style. And voila! You have heat-free, natural-looking curls!

Do you need help with the steps? In this video, Jerome Lordet, the style director of Pierre Michel Salon, will walk you through the process:


Method 2: Velcro rollers

If hairpins aren’t doing the trick for you, the next best method is Velcro rollers. These are classic curlers that you can purchase at a very small cost from almost every beauty shop.

Velcro rollers don’t require heat like the hairpin method, but you need ample time to let the hair curl naturally. Just remember that Velcro rollers come in different sizes, so if you want tight curls, opt for smaller ones.

Things you need:

  • Velcro rollers
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Hairspray
  • Towel

How to do it:

Step 1. Wash your hair first

Before curling, it’s best to wash your hair. You should also use a towel to squeeze out the excess moisture. Make sure that your hair is only damp before you proceed to the next steps.

Step 2. Start rolling

Similar to the first method, you need to roll your hair upward. Ensure that the hair is tight and flat on the roller. If there are snags, repeat the process until you reach the scalp. You can use hairpins to secure the roller in place.

If you have thick hair, I suggest working on sections. Also, don’t put large amounts of hair on each roller as it will become bulky, and the roller won’t stay in place. Besides, we’re aiming for tight curls here, so the rolls should be as intricate as possible.

Step 3. Wait for a few hours

Unlike the hairpin method, it’s not possible to sleep on Velcro rollers. I suggest doing this at least seven hours before the scheduled occasion.

While waiting for your hair to dry and curl, you can start applying makeup or doing chores around the house. If you don’t mind going outside with rollers on your head, you can also finish some errands.

Step 4. Seal the look

After a few hours, you can remove the rollers and spray the curls with hairspray. This will seal the curls, though you can also use hair gel even before you roll your hair for a strong hold.

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In this video, Kayley Melissa breaks down the steps of Velcro curling and what you need to know about it:


Method 3: Spoolies

If you don’t like the bulky Velcro curlers, one option you can try is Spoolies. These curlers were first created in the 1950s, and it continues to be a popular choice among women. It looks like the thing that holds the balloon on a balloon stick.

The good thing about Spoolies is it’s made of hypoallergenic and non-toxic silicone. It’s a good choice for those with sensitive skin and scalp.

Things you need:

  • Spoolies
  • Hairstyling cream
  • Hairspray
  • Comb

How to do it:

Step 1. Comb and apply a styling cream

Before you start using the Spoolies, make sure that your hair is clean and dry. You should also remove tangles after applying a hairstyling cream. This will condition your hair to prevent frizz once you remove the Spoolies.

Step 2. Start spooling

Start by grabbing a small section of your hair then wrapping it in the middle of the spool. It’s best to start wrapping in the middle of the hair length to prevent the Spoolies from slipping out of place.

Aim for a gentle wrap that’s not too tight or too loose. You should also wrap away from your face. Once you’ve wrapped your hair just before your scalp, take the top of the spoolie and fold/bend it down. This will lock the hair in place without the need for hairpins.

Do this on the rest of your hair until you’ve wrapped it all with Spoolies. I suggest leaving this on for at least 30 minutes to see the curls. If you want tighter coils, you can leave them for a few hours.

Step 3. Remove the Spoolies

After the waiting time, simply bend the Spoolies up to release the hair. Your curls should be bouncy and not frizzy. Make sure that you spritz it with hairspray to lock the curls. 

If you’re new to this styling tool, Jessica Greenwood from Spoolies will guide you in this video:


Method 4: Braiding

If you don’t want the hassle of dealing with rollers and pins, the easiest way is just to braid your hair. You can also sleep on it, and the braids can also double as your hairstyle for the day.

There are no special steps needed for braiding, so I’ll no longer break it down for you. If you know basic braids, you’re good to go. Just make each braid smaller if you want tighter curls.

For a nice hold, you can spritz the braid with hairspray after tying it. You should also apply another layer of hairspray once you’re done unraveling the braids.

For the best results, I suggest leaving your braids on overnight. This is the trick if you have silky hair that just won’t curl using the hairpin or roller methods.

Struggling with braids? In this video, Lana Summer shows us how to do the right braid for tight curls:


Method 5: Sock method

Tik Tok gave birth to so many hair trends, but one that really caught my attention is the sock method. It’s a heatless curling method that’s taking Gen Zs by storm.

As it’s called, it involves the use of a sock that you’ll wrap with your hair. Below, I outlined the simple steps and a quick video guide to demonstrate how it’s done.

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Things you need:

  • Long socks
  • Hairspray

How to do it:

Step 1. Get a long sock

For those with long hair, it’s important to use the longest socks you can find in your drawer. Basically, it will be the part where you’ll wrap your hair, so it should be long enough to cover the entire length of your locks.

Step 2. Start wrapping the hair

After combing and removing tangles on your hair, grab two sections of your hair. You can keep the hair section small if you want tight curls.

Next, take the socks and put one end on top of your head. Remember to place it on top of your head and not in the middle of the hair’s length.

Grab the front section of your hair using the hand that’s holding the sock. Using your other hand, grab the second hair section to the opposite side. This way, your two hair sections are intertwined and holding the sock. Remember, the sock shouldn’t move around and must remain straight throughout the wrapping process.

Repeat the wrapping pattern all the way to the end. After that, secure it with an elastic or hair tie. You can make as many sock curls as you want using a sock for each wrap.

Step 3. Let it curl

Many followers of this trend leave the sock curls overnight for tight results. After that, you simply have to remove the hair tie and unravel the wrap of your hair. The result is bouncy curls that you should seal with a hairspray.

In this video, Sara Carrolli shows us the easy steps of how to curl with socks:


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does hair get curlier as you age?

A: Some women report that their hair becomes curlier as they age. This is because of aging’s effect on the hair follicle, which is more prevalent in those with thick locks.

Q: How do I curl my hair without heat in less than 10 minutes?

A: If you’re in a hurry and need a stylish curl, my best recommendation is to use Spoolies. It’s easy to put on and can produce results in 10 minutes. Still, if you want tight curls, you need to leave them on for a few hours.

Q: Why do my hair ends don’t curl?

A: If the tips of your hair aren’t curling no matter what you do, it might be a sign of damage. Straight ends that don’t adhere to curling are a tell-tale sign that your tips are brittle or have split ends. You should consider trimming these portions to solve the problem.

Q: Why do my curls fall out so fast?

A: If you curled your straight hair, expect it to fall out in a few hours. You have gravity to blame here. Still, you can make your curls last long by locking them with hairspray or making them tighter. As much as possible, avoid the use of excessive heat because it will lead to irreversible hair damage later on.

Final words

These methods on how to get tight curls naturally are just some of the effective trends you can try. It also proves that heat styling isn’t the only way to go if you want to spot stylish curls.

Do you have anything to add? Share your thoughts below!

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