How to Get Curls Without a Perm

A curling iron can help you get your curl on without getting a perm.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Whether you want Shirley Temple's tight spiral curls or Blake Lively's loose waves, you can get curly tresses without a perm. Perms are loaded with chemicals that strip your hair and force it into submission, damaging delicate follicles and leaving your hair dry and poofy. Skip the harsh perm and raid your bathroom cabinet, sculpting your way to the soft, sexy, ravishing curls of your dreams.


Wash your mop before curling it. Dirty hair resists curling and doesn't hold styling products as well, so scrub up with your fave shampoo and conditioner. Towel-dry and comb to blast away stubborn tangles.


Plug in your favorite curling iron and crank the heat to high. Add a blob of curl enhancing gel to your palms and rub it through still-damp hair, evenly distributing the goop. Lift an inch-wide section from your hair and clamp the curling iron approximately an inch away from your scalp. Pull the iron gently down your hair to the tip and turn the iron over and over to spiral your hair along the tube. Leave the iron on the hair for 30 seconds, and then gently unwind it from your hair. Repeat with your remaining hair to curl your entire head, separating curled strands with your fingers to give hair life and bounce.


Roll unruly hair into submission with a set of hot rollers. Plug the rollers in and allow them to heat to full curling temperature. Remove a roller from the box and unclip the pin before wrapping the bottom inch of your hair around the roller. Roll the curler back toward your scalp and re-fasten the clip once you've reached the top. Curl each bit of hair and leave the rollers to set for at least an hour, or until your mop is completely dry. Unclip each roller and unwind your hair to reveal your curly glory.


Create old-fashioned pin curls. Drench dry locks with water from a spray bottle and divide hair into 1-inch pieces. Twist the first section between your fingers, then wrap the twisted strand into a tiny bun against your scalp. Secure the hair with a pair of crisscrossed bobby pins and move onto the next section. Work your way around your entire head, keeping the sections as uniform as possible for even curls. Wrap your hair with a head scarf to hold the pins in place and leave it on until your hair is bone dry. Pull out the bobby pins and release curly perfection, sans the perm.

Things You'll Need


1.Shampoo and conditioner


5.Curling iron

7.Spray bottle

9.Head scarf


4.Curl enhancing gel

6.Hot rollers

8.Bobby pins


Tips & Tricks


The larger your curling iron or hot rollers are in diameter, the looser your curls will be. For soft, wavy curls, shoot for a diameter of no less than 2 inches. If tight spiral curls are more your thing, reach for styling products smaller than an inch.

You can sleep on both rollers and pin curls if you have an early morning event to attend and you don't want to wake up before the rooster crows. Just secure your mane with a tightly tied scarf and get your beauty sleep.


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