How can I curl my fine hair? – Ask Hair Romance

We always want what we don’t have. For hair, straighties want curls, and curlies want straight. I love my curls but love straightening them out too.
Hair Romance reader Emily asks –


I have had fine, thin, and straight as a board hair my entire life. Some of the hair styles you show do not work for my hair because there is so little of it. My hair has started getting to the point where I can curl it and it will stay for half a day, but it slowly goes back to being straight.
I have tried everything that might help keep some volume. I use volumizing shampoo and conditioner. I blow dry my hair upside down. I use hair spray ( a lot) when I curl my hair. I have tried many things. The only thing I have not done is extensions and I am not open to that idea at all.
If you could please give some tips and maybe even some hair styles that will suit thin haired people that would be great!
Well Emily, I’m planning some different styles for my upcoming 30 days of Twist & Pin hairstyle challenge that will work for all hair types so stay tuned…

Clive Allwright & Kelly Grant from Our Place Salon
As for curling straight hair, I turned to KMS International Artistic Director, Clive Allwright from Our Place Salon for some expert advice. Clive says –

If you are putting the curl in thermally and mechanically i.e straightening iron, curling irons, hot rollers etc, after you have washed your hair with a volume product like the KMS Add Volume Shampoo you need to use a heat styling product that has hold, as opposed to hairspray. Hairspray can get heavy and sticky and weigh the hair down. 
I recommend using KMS flat out Hot Pressed Spray applied to dry hair before each section is curled, then pin the curled section up to the head to cool. So many people let the section drop too early and hair does not set by heating up, It actually sets from the cool down process.
The cool-down process takes a minimum of 10 minutes per section. Once the hair has cooled down release the sections then loosen them and apply KMS California hairstay Medium Hold Hairspray to hold.
Also, when we are styling and shooting for people with thinner hair, we recommend using a smaller than usual curling iron as it will drop eventually and you are left with the correct curl around an hour later.
Thank you Clive!
How to get longer lasting curls in fine hair
  • Use a volumising shampoo & conditioner
  • Apply a heat styling product first, rather than heavy hairspray
  • Use a smaller curling iron or roller
  • After curling, pin each section to your head and allow curls to cool – at least 10 minutes
  • Once cool, unpin and loosen your curls and use a medium weight hairspray
The trick is definitely how you set the curls and letting them cool in place. This is one of the reason’s I love Cloud Nine’s TheO as it has a heat indicator on each roller to tell you when they are ready to take out.
Even if you’re straightening your hair, a blast of cool air from your Parlux Cool Shot button will set your hair in place.
Do you have fine hair? How do you style it? Do you have any tips for curling fine hair?


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  1. Kimmi - says

    It would seem Emily and I are a bit alike, except my thin hair comes in loads. I have a lot of hair and very little I can do with it.

    The cool down tip is very useful and I think I will need to look into those Cloud Nine curlers!

  2. Katherine says

    I just bought a Jose Eber curling wand, and it works great! It doesn't give you curls like hot rollers would, but it's more for a soft beach wave or spiral curls. I have stick straight hair that will never hold curl, but this thing works! It's magical! I can curl it at night and wake up in the morning with wavy locks. Granted, I will want to touch up a few pieces, but it still looks great. They sell for pretty cheap on Amazon, so I'd buy one!

  3. Lily says

    I have really fine straight hair as well, and a pixie cut. I really want to learn how to curl the top part of my hair. Any tips?

  4. Chris says

    How do you avoid the kinks from the hot roller clips when you use hot rollers on fine hair?. My set has large heated clips rather than the bobby pin type.

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Chris, you can try putting tissue under the clip, this usually works to smooth hair and should minimise any marks.

  5. Sarah says

    Hey! I have super fine, straight hair that you have to spray to death to hold a curl (which also takes about 2 hours to do because the curl never sets). I’m looking into hot rollers. What would be the best for my hair? I’m reading all sorts of reviews and don’t want to waste my money on the wrong product. Thanks!

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Sarah, I don’t have any hot roller sets but Babyliss and VS Sassoon do some good sets. You can use a curling iron too but you need to clip up each curl and lt them cool in that shape. How your curls cool is more important than how you heat them.

  6. Flo says

    I was so frustrated with my fine thinning hair that I was seriously considering a perm. Past perms were absolute disasters for me. I’m 65 yrs old with thinning hair that has a mind of its own. Trying to get my hair to hold a curl for half a day, much less all day, was absolutely impossible. Then I read this one particular instruction, “After curling, pin each section to your head and allow curls to cool – at least 10 minutes”. When this step was mentioned a second time on a different website I decided to give it a try.

    I am here to tell everyone that this ONE STEP makes all the difference in the world. The first time or two I did this people thought I had visited the beauty shop. People that didn’t know me very well thought I had THICK HAIR. I could only wish!! Since I don’t care for the feel of using hair spray just before curling each section, I just use mousse and let that dry before using the curling iron. Oh, and believe it or not I’ve even TURNED DOWN the heat setting on the curling iron and the curls still last ALL DAY.

    I actually like my hair now!!! Oh, and I want shoulder length hair so bad and I’m beginning to think it might just be doable!!

    • Hair Romance says

      I love that you love your hair Flo! That step of letting your curls cool while they are pinned up really is key. It seems like more work at the time, but it means your hair lasts all day. Thank you so much for leaving a comment x

  7. says

    I also have thin straight hair. My mother used to give me perms when I was a child or put my hair in rollers. I never liked my hair straight. It just doesn’t suit my personality.. First start by getting a great cut. I notice that when my hair was very long it would seem flatter. Curling irons and hot rollers never worked for me. I put rollers in my hair at night to make curly or a braid to make wavy. I use hair gel that says for “hard to hold hair”. I prefer to wash my hair at night. I use gel and put in a french braid in at night or two(one on either side). I take out in the morning and my hair looks naturally wavy or like I have a perm(without the damage). When I want curly I use foam rollers. You can use various sizes for a tighter or looser curl. It generally lasts a couple of days and I tend to wash my hair every other night. I look like I have 3x’s the volume. I am 34 and I have been doing it most of my life. It does take time and getting used to. But if you are dead set on making your straight hair curly or wavy with volume(and without the damage of a perm) it is worth it.

  8. zara says

    I got the cloud nine hot rollers..I put them in as adviced..and open after doesnt curl my hair at all :( I have thick hair..please advice what must I do?? keep for longer in my hair or return the product?? :(
    I got the cloud nine straightner too its amazing :)

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Zara, did you buy them from a salon? I would get them to give you a lesson on how to put them in. Try using smaller sections, or maybe you need more rollers to do all of your hair? You can also spray each section of hair with flexible hairspray before rolling your hair up on each roller. Make sure your hair is cool before taking the rollers out too. Good luck!

  9. Alex says

    What kind of pins do you suggest using to hold up the curls? I am worried bobby pins would leave a crease.

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Alex, Bobby pins work but the flat silver pins (called pin curl pins) are the best. I bought mine from a beauty supply store, try SA HAir & Beauty or Sally Beauty x

  10. Lily says

    Hi, my hair just doesn’t want to hold. I’ve tried almost everything there is! I need help! My hair is blond and very thin but I have a lot of hair???? I’ve tried the tips at the top. Would rollers work? Anything please help!

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Lily, rollers can help as the most important step is to let your hair cool in the curl shape. If you let your hair cool will the curls down it will immediately start to drop. Also don’t use too much product as this can also weigh your hair down. Hope this helps xx

  11. says

    hi, i just want to have a hair that have long lasting curls. How i wish, but after drying, it slowly going crazy. i use sort of conditioners just to make my hair stay into place with that shiny curls. i tried everything! ..not to took bath everyday, eating more protiens, putting deep conditioners. But no positive results :(. I need help, i want to have advice coming from you.. what best conditioner should i use to hold curls on place that can be bought here in philippines?..can vitress help? except for those curling devices i just want to have a naturally beautiful hair.. thank you

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