Beauty Basics Hair Hair Tutorials Tips & Tricks Tutorials

Curl Problems

Ever watch a youtube hair tutorial, imitate her procedure exactly, look in the mirror and think..
“Hey, that doesn’t look like hers at all!”?
I have.

I know that some girls have magical hair that will pretty much swirl to perfection with ease.
If you are one of those, congrats, you don’t know how lucky you are!
If you are not…read on!
The problem is when you see a girl sit down at her youtube vanity and curl away you are missing all kinds of information.
Information she (me included) may not even think applies to this hair styling session.

Which is often the most important of all.
So I have decided to compile a list (I’m a compulsive list maker.) of the possible curl killers you may be encountering.
All of which have killed my own curls at one time or another and took me years of relentlessness to master.

Start here: (if the answer is yes skip to the next)

1. Do you have layers? 
Layers are a crucial part of curly hair. Without layers your hair is very heavy at the ends, which pulls on your girl and kills your volume.
Layers also help your curl fall pretty and keep you from getting a triangular effect (where all the curl is at the bottom)
If my curls start flopping my first thought is “when was my last haircut?”

2. Are you curling small enough pieces?
If your hair is more resistant you may need to take smaller pieces than you think. Experiment with the size of the lock to find your sweet spot!

 3. Does your curling iron get hot enough?
I use Hot Tools and put it at the hottest setting or my hair won’t even consider curling.
I’m talking 425 degrees! (which is why I have to wear it for days to rationalize the damage!)

4. Are you using the right size iron?
What my sister can do with a 1 1/2″ curling iron, I need a 1″ for.
Her hair curls much easier than mine. So experiment with size, if the biggie ain’t cuttin’ it go smaller. Or vise versa.

5. Does your hair have build up on it?
I have talked about this before. If your hair gets brittle and heavy and won’t hold girl, there is likely a build up of product.
Wash if with a clarifying shampoo like this one (or some of my readers suggested Dawn Dish soap & baking soda read my thread for more ideas)

6. Are you using the right products?
Mousse is a huge help for hair that won’t curl. Scrunge this into damp tresses.
Try a styling cream like this one if you can’t get your it to hold but don’t want that crunchy gel feel.
& Use a flexible hairspray on your whole head before you curl.

7. Have you tried different techniques?
Among my hair tutorials are pinned curls, twirl curls, wrap curls and more..
If one type won’t work for you, try another!

8. Are you bored of talking about curls yet?
Me too!

Hope this helps, Let me know if you have some success!

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  • Reply
    Shannon waite
    November 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

    You should just move to the Seattle area so you can do my hair and makeup for me…we would totally be the best of friends;)

    • Reply
      November 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      i second that:) im in seattle and love this blog!

      • Reply
        August 27, 2014 at 7:45 pm

        I third it:) I’m in gig harbor WA and just found this blog. Definitely a new favorite of mine.

  • Reply
    Katie Frazier
    November 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for this post!! Im curling my sister’s super long hair tonight so this post was just in time!:)
    She does have layers ( Thank the Lord ). But she can’t get It to hold curl very well. going to try the hair spray before I curl each strand. Thanks again! Love your Blog!!!

    • Reply
      November 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      I just wanted to add one thing to the hint list that might help you tonight…
      I have very long hair that is not layered. The two things I have to do in order to get a curl to stay are: 1.) have “dirty” hair (a day or two since a wash and has product in it already) and 2.) my most recent discovery is when you are done curling, spray all the curls and let them rest as long as you can before shaking, combing, brushing (whatever you’re going to do) them out. The longest I’ve waited was an hour and the curl was magnificent and lasted two days (it might have lasted longer but it needed to be washed).

      • Reply
        November 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        This is what I do too! Letting your hair totally cool down helps lock in the curl. It’s fantastic. And if you tease your hair, wait for the hairspray to dry before you smooth it or anything. It lays so much better!

      • Reply
        November 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

        I am the opposite – my hair doesn’t keep curl if it’s dirty. My curls are the best on freshly washed and dried hair. If I let it air dry, it won’t cooperate for me.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Hi Cara,
    What is your absolute favorite residue build up shampoo?


    • Reply
      November 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Okay, Kinda random but do you pronounce your name like you spell it? My name is spelled Megan but pronounced Meegan not “maygan” anyway I’ve never heard of anyone else having my name and thought what a small world. Sorry for the comment jack was just excited to know I’m not the only one:)

      • Reply
        November 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm

        Yes I pronounce it with the long E sound. Nice to meet another Meeeeeeeegan lol

  • Reply
    November 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I’m following your blog all the way from Sweden and I just got to say that you really seam genuine and nice and you always write your blog with à sence of humour. Thank’s for à fantastic blog and keep up the good work!


    • Reply
      November 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Hey, I am following it from Sweden too! (Well I live in the US now, but I am originally from Sweden!) Kul att se en svensk har! 🙂

      Cara, I LOVE LOVE your blog and your tutorials. I would like to hear your thoughts on dying your eyebrows, if you like it, and how to do it yourself vs salon.


  • Reply
    Liz Ford
    November 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for all your posts this month and all others before!! You are such an amazing person and I really loved your post on flaws. I think flaws can be beautiful!! I’ve got alot of the make up and hair products you’ve recommended and that great shirt from nasty gal and I really think your a beautiful person not only on the inside but the out!! Oh and sephora is selling tenderness again 🙂 just ordered it and I love it!!!

    Oceans of love-Liz Ford

  • Reply
    November 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    funny you posted this. I just curled my hair for the first time in years. Know what? I forgot what I had been missing, love it. I’m trying to grow it out a bit and it’s in a super awkward stage. Curls it is for now. Thanks for the tips! xoxo

  • Reply
    November 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Any suggestions for keeping curls separated? No matter how little heat I apply my hair curls so fast and lasts forever. I don’t even need hairspray to keep them from falling out. After letting the curls cool, I shake them out, hairspray then and sometimes even tease. And most of the time, I curl on second day hair so its nice and dirty! No matter what, within an hour the curls have blended back together into one big ugly ringlet. Any recommendations would be appreciated!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Throw some curls in going the opposite direction, that’s what I do:-)

  • Reply
    Emily Goswick
    November 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Cara,

    I love your blog and your new re-design. You are so gorgeous and can tell you’re such a sweetie! Thank you for doing what you do! I love all of your tutorials 🙂


    Would love if you checked out my blog/site (I’m a photographer :))

    The Rancher’s Daughter

  • Reply
    November 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I’m one of those girls who attempts to curl her hair and ends up looking worse than when first started 🙁 I must admit, I’m very lazy and impatient, which probably doesn’t help the cause but your tips are definitely a big help. I’ll have to invest a bit more time and care into my styling routine so to get better results. Thanks Cara, yet another great post from you!! xx

  • Reply
    November 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I have a lot of very fine hair that is super hard to curl. My curls used to look good for about 15 minutes. Within a couple of hours, my hair was pretty much back to straight. I have layers, but can’t try it on dirty hair – my hair gets oily and needs to be washed everyday. But I finally heard of a trick that works for my super curl-resistant hair!
    I watched a video on youtube (can’t remember who made it) and she mentioned that when you’re curling your hair, you need to let the heat of the curling iron actually reach the inner layers of your hair. It the outer cuticle is really flat and smoothed down, it’s harder to curl and curls won’t stay. So if you’re trying to curl hard-to-curl hair, skip (or go really light if you can’t skip) conditioners, serums, etc. The cuticle of the hair won’t be flat and smooth, and you’ll be able to get a lasting curl.
    This is literally the only piece of advice that has worked for getting my curls to stay. The first time I skipped conditioner and curled, my hair was still curly a full day later, which is a total miracle for me! Hopefully it can help someone else too!

    And now I can actually follow your awesome tutorials with success!!

  • Reply
    Caitie Joy
    April 16, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Careful with clarifying shampoos- if you have colour in your hair it will strip the tone.

  • Reply
    Morgan Pedeliski
    October 10, 2013 at 6:53 am

    I have naturally straight long hair and whenever I try to curl it, my hair will stay for about a good 20 minutes then fall straight. I put a whole bunch of hairspray and everything in and it doesn’t work. Ughh help 🙁

  • Reply
    Morgan Pedeliski
    October 10, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Oh and my hair is really thin also…

  • Reply
    Diana in Vegas
    November 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Cara, I can’t seem to find Pureology Nanaoglaze Styling Hair Cream anywhere. The girl at Ulta said they don’t make it anymore and couldn’t suggest a comparable product. It used to retail in stores for less that $15 but to find it on Amazon, it’s over $35! Do you (or anyone) know of an alternative that works as well? Thanks!

    Diana 🙂

  • Reply
    January 11, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I love all the videos and advice, but can you recommend something for us natural curly haired girls for frizzys and dryness? I am using Ever Curl and Diva Curl anything else that I can add would be awesome. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Noel Eloise Svendson
    September 5, 2014 at 6:39 am

    This is so funny! I just realized recently why my hair won’t curl anymore (besides the fact that it is not NEARLY as damaged as it used to be- damaged hair holds a curl better ;). I got it all cut the same length a few months ago and haven’t been able to curl it since. DUH! No layers. I love that you addressed these. Next time I get a cut- I’m adding layers back in!!!!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Oh my gosh I just used the Neutrogena Clarifying shampoo last night and my hair feels SO different. The color even looks lighter – must have been a ton of build-up from all the dry shampoo and deep conditioner I’ve been using. Thanks so much for the suggestion!!!!

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