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You don't have to use a strand frying curling iron to get your straight mane all twisty. Heck, you don't even need rollers. If you want to get seriously DIY, use paper towels to curl your straight hair. This trick is traditionally called rag rolling, and it'll curl up your locks gently, without any crazy hot metal or ceramic. It's also a totally handy, curl-enhancing scheme to use in a pinch when you don't have your usual tools with you.
Use durable, absorbent paper towels. Since the paper towels are gonna get wet and twisted, they need to be able to hold up and take the stress. Super flimsy paper towels that fall apart at the first hint of moisture just won't do the trick, so make sure those suckers are tough enough.
Rip off a sheet, and get to work making strips. Start by folding a 1-inch-wide crease at the longest edge, then fold it over again one or two more times. Cut or rip off the remaining part of the paper towel so you're left with a folded strip of paper towel that's an inch wide. Then do it again. Keep making more folded strips until you have enough to curl your whole head of hair. How many do you need? That depends on how thick your mane is. Aim to make around 10 to 12 strips, more or less.
Wash your strands, then give them a little wind from a hair dryer to partially dry them. You don't want sopping wet hair; it'll be too much for the paper towels to handle, and it would take too long to dry anyway. Dry those locks until they're about halfway dry, but still nice and damp, then work in some curl cream.
Grab a lock of hair about one to three inches thick. If you want smaller, tighter curls, use less hair at a time. For fatter waves, grab a larger chunk of hair. Then wrap your hair around the strip of paper towel and roll it on up, just like it's a regular old hair roller. When you get to the top, very gently tie up the ends of the paper towel to secure it. Be careful not to tug too hard when you tie those ends, or you might rip the towel. Wait, don't stop now! You've gotta keep on, using more strips to roll up every last strand.
Let your locks dry around the rolled up paper towels. Ideally, you should blast your head with a hot dryer; it'll help lock the curls into your straight hair and give your style more staying power. If you don't want to subject your mane to another round of drying, then just wait it out and let your locks dry naturally.
Undo your 'do once it's totally dry by untying the towel strips and unraveling your brand new curls. Break up your waves a bit with your fingers, and give your look a spritz with some finishing hair spray to keep it set.
If you don't have paper towels, you can use any old fabric to do this same trick. Cut up an old T-shirt, or use an old bath towel, whatever you have lying around.
Even durable paper towels are pretty delicate creatures, so be gentle to your head while your curls are still setting.