How to style short curly hair

Meet Sophie. Sophie is a beautiful new friend of mine with incredible naturally curly hair.

Last week she came over to my place so we could play hair as Sophie told me she never knows what to do with her hair.

The left photo is how Sophie normally wears her hair. A slight side, or centre part and this is how her hair naturally dries. The middle and right styles were easily created with only a couple of bobby pins and I think they make such a difference.

Tips for styling curly hair

Separate curls for a softer finish. Sophie’s hair is very curly. It forms perfect ringlets without any effort. However they do tend to hold together forming large solid curls. Using your fingers to separate the curls really softens the look and helps add more volume at the top.

Play with your part. By moving Sophie’s natural centre part to a deep side part, it immediately creates more volume at the top, which in turn forms a rounder hairstyle which suits curly hair.

Twist and Pin. Curls like Sophie’s will always hold a great shape. You just need to twist them in place and secure with a pin to create the shape you want. Lightly twist sections away from your face and pin the ends back. Cover the pins over with the rest of your hair.

For the first look we used a tail comb to create a deep side part. Then separated some of the curls to soften them. Then we took some curls at the top and pinned them back on the left side. Creating that height on the top balances out Sophie’s curls.

For the second style we continued pinning more hair away from Sophie’s face. Remember to leave some curls loose in front of your ear and break up any large curls to soften the ends.

Add some sparkle

I love to add in a pretty hair clip for some sparkle.

My tip for all accessories is to pin your hair back with bobby pins first, then add the accessory so that it is purely decorative. Generally I don’t like the clips on hair accessories. They aren’t very strong and you end up making a mess and pulling at your hair while you are trying to get the accessory to sit right.

If you pin your hair back first you can create the shape you want, then the accessory can be placed on the finished style. It’s so much easier and you know your hairstyle will stay in place.

Curly hairstyles don’t need to be complicated. Adding an accessory takes it from day to night in a second.

What’s your favourite hair accessory?

Did you like this post?

If so, sign up for free updates from Hair Romance.

I send out new hair tutorials, tips and hairspiration straight to your inbox every Wednesday!


  1. says

    I love this post! I have very curly hair and have a similar problem where they weigh down. My hair is a bit longer than Sophie’s … any tips on getting more volume up top with curly hair that is a few inches past the shoulders?

    • Hair Romance says

      Thanks Molly! The same advice will work with long hair – switch up your part and pin some pieces back at the top. Maybe a few more layers in your hair cut would help too (but depends on your curls). You can also do a little bit of backcombing near your roots. Clip away the top section of your hair, then tease all around it near the roots to create volume. Let down the top section and voila – instant shape!

    • amelia says

      You can also try clipping the roots of your hair when drying. I find aligator style clips work best (and can be icked up relatively cheap) I just grab the top of the curl/wave so it forms a little loop and clip the sections that make up the loop, pulling the root upwards. it helps to take some of the weight of the curls/waves off the roots as they dry so that you get a little extra volume. I also find that if you dry your hair upside down with a diffuser adds root volume (deva curl has come out with their own hair dryer – its a hand shaped diffuser; i find its good for drying my roots/ adding volume and cutting drying time, but i prefer my normal diffuser for my ends and adding more curl) HTH

  2. Linda says

    I’d kill to have curls like that! Mine are more on the loose side and hang out very easily. Pure jealousy!!

    Personally i never use accessories, don’t feel comfortable with it.

  3. Micalah Thayer says

    I have a similar question as Molly’s ^. My cousin has hair with this exact size of curl, but well below her shoulders. Her hair looks great every day, but her sister is getting married in May and I am doing all of the bridesmaids and brides hair. We’ve had one practice round already, but I had a really difficult time finding a good style for hair. Part of it is that we are so used to her wearing it down and wild that it looks weird to have it pulled back in some tight updo or something. Do you have any advice for updo’s or formal looks for curly girls? At this point, we are planning on just doing a bit of a bouffant with the ends down and curly and wild. But she was hoping for other ideas. Another thought I had was doing retro old hollywood waves in her hair (so it’s still curly and “her”, but a little more refined) but I don’t have much experience with curls like hers and don’t want to end up frying it. She also said that people have tried that before by straightening it, then curling it, but the curls fall out and her hair looks frizzy and like a witch. Any tips?

    • Hair Romance says

      You could have a test run of the retro waves to see how that would go, it’s hard to say until you try it. Taylor Swift has worn some great curly upstyles – google her for lots of hairspiration. I’d say a deep side part to keep some volume on the top, then pull her hair into a loose bun, low and to the side. You can gather her hair into a low side ponytail which will help hold the weight of her hair, then loosely pin sections up and around the ponytail holder. Keep a few curls at the front to soften the look. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge