How do I make my straight hair curly?
January 4, 2014 11:57 PM   Subscribe

For cosplay purposes, I'd like to have my straight, chin length bob converted to messy curls, along the lines of this or this. I've used wigs before now to achieve good results for hair styles that I couldn't achieve with my actual hair, but I'd like a short, messy, curly bob this time around and I'd love to learn how to do this myself.

I'm a complete novice at all things hair: it's only been in the last year or so that I've started using a hair dryer and mousse only arrived in my bathroom in the last two months. My hair is quite fine and very soft, and there is not a huge volume of it. I am happy to cut or grow my hair if I need it to in order to achieve the look I want.

Again, I have no idea what I'm doing, so feel free to suggest videos, hair products, tools, anything that might help! I think it's a really cute look, so there's virtual cookies available if you can suggest a way to make the look doable before work on days where I want to look different, or if there's a way to have curls like this for a longer period.
posted by eloeth-starr to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is actually really easy, assuming you can sleep with your hair tied up. At night, start with damp (not wet) hair. You can just spray it down if you don't want to wash it. Run a little of that mousse you have through it. Then you can either: A. braid your hair into big chunky braids and secure with no pull hair elastics. B. grab chunks and twist your hair until the coils twist up and secure with elastics or bobby pins. Or C. get some strips of flannel or cotton cloth and roll sections of your hair up in them, then tie the fabric to secure your hair. In any of these situations, the sections of hair you twist up one way or another should be subtly different sizes, generally smaller/tighter closer to your face. You should just have to shake it out in the morning. If the curls are too curly rather than messy, just carefully pull them out with your fingers and give your whole head a shot of setting spray.

Tips! The tighter you braid or twist it, the smaller the curl. Dirty hair will hold a style longer. Touching is the enemy of curls that last, hands off. Dry shampoo is your friend, use it at your roots to get the volume for this look.

What you want to google for these methods is rag curls and no heat curls.
posted by stormygrey at 2:12 AM on January 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: First, you definitely want day old hair. Or two day old. Freshly washed hair won't hold the style as well. Then, spray some dry shampoo (I like Batiste) for some texture/ volume on the roots of your hair in several sections and comb it out with a teasing comb. If you're going more for the first look with some frizz, you don't need to comb all the way down to the ends of your hair. This will create a bit of a 'ratted' appearance and add even more texture. Make sure there's no white residue left! If there's any, go over that spot with your comb again. You can also buy colored Batiste if you have very dark or red hair.

Then take a curling iron with a larger barrel (1.5- 2 inches) and curl uneven sections of your hair. Because you want it to be messy, I wouldn't fuss too much about curling your hair in the same direction (away from your face or toward your face)-- alternate/ mix it up. Shake your head a few times or run your fingers lightly through your hair to get the curls to loosen up to your liking, spray with some intense hold hairspray (if your hair is fine and straight, it needs more hold to keep this style) and you should be good to go!
posted by hellomiss at 2:41 AM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: I have straight hair in a chin-length bob, and style it into curls like in your first picture - in fact, a little tighter - every damn day.

And I just use a curling iron like hellomiss says above. I don't even use the dry shampoo first, I just dive in with the curling iron. Although - I do mist it all with a bit of light hairspray after I've curled everything, but before I run my fingers through it all, to set it. So my schtick is:

1. Go at my head with the curling iron.
2. Spritz a bit with light-hold hairspray.
3. Wait about 5 minutes.
4. Muss with fingers or a wide-toothed comb to loosen the tighttighttight nature of the curls.
5. Have a look at everything and touch any bit up that looks like it needs a bit of boost with the curl.
6. Have another look, and spritz again with hairspray.

I am lucky in that my hair does hold a curl pretty well. If you want looser curls like in that first picture, that's fortunate, because that may "stay in" longer. You can use a curling iron with a large barrel, but if all you can find is one with a smaller barrel, you can still use it, just use it on bigger sections of your hair and hold each section for a couple fewer seconds. Using a wide-toothed comb rather than your finger will also loosen up tighter curls.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: Here's a video of how to do rag curls like stormygrey was explaining.
The few days I wear my hair down I either do this or do the sleeping in braids thing. That's going to give you waves as opposed to curls though. Try both to see how your hair falls. Beware, curling will make your hair shorter! With rag curls, before I tame them a bit, my hair that hits armpit length will shorten to above my shoulders...
posted by missriss89 at 8:05 AM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: This thing is truly magical. A woman brought hers into work while we were all getting ready for our office xmas party and everyone who used it ended up with hair like in your pictures in about five minutes, with no preparation or styling products or anything. So - definitely do-able before work in the morning, especially if your hair is already pretty short. If I didn't already have curly hair I'd buy one in a second.

If you or anyone else is outside of the US, they're sold under the brand Babyliss here in the UK.
posted by cilantro at 9:44 AM on January 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you want messy, beachy waves, then finding a sea salt spray and using it on damp hair, while scrunching upwards is the way to go.

I recommend either Not Your Mothers Beach Babe Spray (probably will work best on your thin, fine hair), or (my holy grail) Victoria's Secret Beach Hair Wave Spray.

Plus, here's a tutorial on how to use a flat iron to get nice, loose waves.
posted by gsh at 12:18 PM on January 5, 2014

Response by poster: You've all been really helpful, thanks! I'm looking forward to trying out the various options. I can probably borrow a curling iron and flat iron from someone to have a go, although I might not be able to find the cool curl making machine that cilantro suggested.

missriss89: that video was awesome. In the first two minutes the guy explained why I have (what I call) the halo effect around my face when my hair is pulled back! I had no idea.
posted by eloeth-starr at 1:14 PM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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