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6 Ways to Give Your Short Hair Long-lasting Curls

Plus some heatless options to protect your short strands.
julio 27, 2022

Whether they’re in the form of beach waves or bouncy ringlets, curls are the perfect hairstyle for any occasion. If you’re working with short hair, you may think that gorgeous, curly strands are out of reach but that’s simply not the case. The key to learning how to curl short hair is finding the right technique and tools for your hair type — and when it comes to curling hair, the options are plentiful. Below, we’re giving you the scoop on how to curl short hair with a flat iron and curling iron, plus heatless curl techniques you can get your short strands curly with different options.

How Long Do Curls Last on Short Hair?

There is no right answer to this question because it largely depends on your hair type. If you have thick, stick straight hair you may have a hard time getting your curls to last whereas damaged strands can get their curls to last for days. Curls on hair with some texture and hold have a much better chance of lasting. Whether that’s your current hair type and texture or aided by the products in your routine, it can really make a difference in how long your curls last.

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Why Don’t My Curls Last?

There are many reasons why your hair can’t hold a curl, especially when you have short hair. For starters, you may have too much product in your hair and excess styling products can weigh down your hair and shorten the life of your curls. On the other hand, you may not have enough product in your hair to hold the curls.

When you get your hair professionally done, the curls seem to last forever but when you try to replicate that at home, the curls only last a day. To curl your short hair at home like a professional, the key is to use styling products like hair mousse and hairspray to give your hair hold that will help your curls to last longer. A mousse like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse gives hair volume and extra strong hold, creating the perfect base for a long-lasting style.

If you feel like your strands are too short to curl, using a hair mousse will likely make a huge difference in helping your curls to last. Some other reasons why your short hair may not hold a curl can range from not fully drying your strands, using the wrong size curling iron or not giving your hair time to fully cool and set. See all of our short hair tips and tricks for curling your hair like a pro, below.

How to Curl Short Hair With a Flat Iron

If you like loose curls or beachy waves, curling your strands with a flat iron is a must. It’s no wonder that this multi-functional hot tool has become a beauty staple for all hair types, plus it’s one of the best options for curling shorter strands.

1. Prep Your Strands

Before you reach for any heat-styling tool, you should always protect your dry hair with a heat protectant like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In, which works to calm frizz, seal in shine and provide 450-degree heat damage. Apply one to two pumps to your strands from the ears down.

If you have short, curly tresses and want to rock looser curls like beach waves, make sure to detangle your curly strands and apply heat protectant. The flat iron is the best option for curly strands, you just have to make sure to carefully prep your curly hair before using heat to avoid damage.

2. Create Your Curls

Grab your flat iron — ideally, one that doesn’t have super wide plates and hold the tool downward to clamp the top section of your hair. Twist the flat iron away from your head and hold for a few seconds. Slowly drag the flat iron down toward the ends and release for an instant curl. It’s best to work in small sections. If you find that your curls don’t last, it could be because your sections are too big.

If your curls are too bouncy for your liking, (a common occurrence with short hair) quickly run your flat iron over your curls to make them less bouncy and more like loose waves.

3. Repeat and Set

Repeat this step with each section until you’re finished. Spray your fresh curls with some hairspray like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented to help them last. Give your curls time to cool and set before brushing through them. Just adding this little step to your routine will really help them to last longer.

How to Curl Short Hair With a Curling Iron

The most obvious way to curl your hair, in other words with a curling iron, is all about having the right size barrel. Once you nail that, a curling iron is a great option for creating waves and bouncy curls on short tresses at home.

1.  Choose the Right Size Curling Iron

Curling irons come in various sizes and the right size is key to making sure your curls last. Since you’re working with shorter length, you’ll want to use a smaller curling iron size so your hair can still wrap around the barrel. Opt for a barrel that’s around a three-quarter inch thick so you can curl your hair with ease.

2. Apply Heat Protectant

Heat protectant is a must anytime you use heat on dry or wet strands. If you’re starting with wet hair, opt for the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant before you start blow drying your hair. This seems obvious but make sure your strands are fully dry before you start curling them because curling even slightly damp hair can lead to damage and your curls won’t last. Dry strands can reach for the Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In.

3. Section and Curl Your Hair

Part your hair in a one-inch section and clip the rest out of the way. Lightly clamp the curling iron near the root on your section of hair and slide the curling iron down to the ends and close the clamp completely. Twist the curling iron up toward your roots, making sure to wrap the length around the section and wait a few seconds for your hair to heat. Gently open the clamp to reveal your curl.

Editor’s tip: If you’re looking to curl your super short strands, try wrapping your strands around the barrel instead of clamping and twisting your hair. After a few seconds, unravel your hair and you’ll have playful, loose waves. This method comes in handy for those who prefer loose curls on short hair and all you need to do is curl bigger sections to get the look.

4. Repeat and Set

Follow the previous step until your curls are complete. Once you’re sporting luscious curls, mist a bit of strong-hold spray, like the aforementioned Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented to keep your curls in place. Don’t brush through your curls until they’ve set and are completely cool.

How to Curl Short Hair Overnight

If you’re ready to wake up to a head of gorgeous short curls, then try the overnight route. There are plenty of ways to get heatless curls while you sleep so below, we’re sharing three ways to get overnight, heatless curls.

1. Pin Curls

Pin curls are a favorite because not only do they leave you with seriously stunning curls, but this technique is heatless. To get started, create sections that are about an inch in size on damp hair. Take the end of one of the sections, tuck your hair around one of your fingers, and roll up until you reach the roots, securing the curl with a bobby pin. Continue this process until all of your hair is pinned up. Wrap your hair with a silk scarf and let it dry overnight. In the morning, take out all of the bobby pins and you’re ready to take on your day.

2. Hair Rollers

There’s a good reason why this style is a classic for gorgeous curls. Start by parting your hair into a small section and clipping the rest out of the way. Apply a tiny dollop of curl mousse, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse to your hair, comb through and roll your hair from the ends to the roots with the roller. Secure with a bobby pin and repeat until you have a head full of rollers. Cover your hair with a headscarf and let the style sit overnight. In the morning, pull out your rollers, fluff your hair with a rattail comb and your short curls are good to go. 

3. Mini Buns

If you have wavy hair, embrace your hair’s natural texture with a curl enhancer like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Super Curls Cream Leave-In and some space buns. Mini buns or space buns are one of the easiest ways to get heatless curls as you sleep, plus it’s a great way to train your hair to be curly.

Start with 75 percent damp hair so your hair is dry by the time you wake up. Section your hair into two or four sections based on how tight you want your curls to be. twist each section away from your face and secure it with a hair tie. Repeat this process until every section is twisted into a bun and you’re done. Sleep on your mini buns and when you wake up in the morning, undo them and finger comb your hair to unveil the beachy, finished look.

Next: The 8 Best Pixie Haircuts We’re Double-Tapping On Every Time

Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo credit: iStock

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