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How to Make Your Hair Hold a Curl Once and for All

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So, you just spent an hour curling every hair on your head and it didn’t even last long enough to get a photo. Ahh! Before you go tossing your curling iron in the trash and relegating your strands to your flatiron forever, take a deep breath and try, try again with these five tips.

The Best Volumizing Shampoos That Will Revive Even the Limpest Strands


Ulta

Prep Strands Properly

Part of the reason why your curls never hold, is that your hair is too silky (lucky, lucky). Give your curls some grip from the get-go with mousse and a heat protectant before blow-drying.

Shop the products: Tresemme hair mousse ($6); Eva NYC primer ($12); Big Sexy Hair volumizing mousse ($19); Bumble and Bumble heat/ UV protective primer ($28)

Ulta

Use An Evenly Heated Tool

While the size of the curling iron you use is important (a smaller barrel makes curls last longer), heat capacity also matters. You want to make sure you’re using a tool with ceramic plates and an adjustable digital temperature to ensure even heat distribution. If you have thicker hair, you can get away with using a higher heat setting. But if your hair is fine to medium, stick with a temperature below 365 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent damaging the follicle.

Shop the products: Drybar 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron ($145); T3 SinglePass Curl ($160); Beachwaver Pro ($199); ghd ($199)

Ulta

Use Clips

If you follow the first few tips and still need more assurance, try clipping each individual curl while it cools. After you curl a strand, recoil it back up toward your head with your fingers and slip a clip through the center, securing it near your scalp. Once your hair has cooled, release all the clips—voilà!—each coil will have more structure.

Shop the products: Kitsch ($6); Drybar ($16); Lime Crime ($16)

Ulta

Set It

It’s temping to rake your fingers through your Shirley Temple-esque curls immediately after finishing the process, but setting them properly will ensure they stay intact all day. Spritz a paddle brush with hairspray and pass it through your curls to smooth, set and break them up at the same time. If you want extra reassurance, finish with some more hairspray (just be sure to hold the bottle ten inches away from your hair to avoid using too much product and weighing curls down). 

Shop the products: Kenra Professional ($18); DevaCurl ($25); Living Proof ($26)