How to curl hair with bobby pins

This Pin-Curls Hair Tutorial Will Give You Bouncy Waves Without a Curling Iron

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  • Pin curls are a way to achieve beautiful curls without the extra effort or heat damage.
  • To get overnight curls, you only need a couple of items.
  • The hack may seem intimidating, but all you need are hair balm, bobby pins, and a blowdryer to do pin curls.

While curling irons may be deemed essential styling tools by some, there is something to be said for being able to travel light. Plus, hot tool in general aren’t always the most user-friendly. For many, successfully executing a curly hairstyle isn’t always worth the extra effort (or heat damage, for that matter). That’s why pin curls are such a great styling technique to learn.

This overnight curls hack may seem intimidating, but all you need to pull it off is a bit of hair balm or blow-dry cream for hold, bobby pins, and a blowdryer — though, air-drying can work just as good, as long as you have enough time.

Depending on your hair type, you can use some variation on bobby pins, which are perfect for thin, short hair, or alligator hair clips, which work great if you have thick, long hair because they’re a little more heavy duty. Depending on what size pinwheel curls you’re hoping to achieve, you can adjust them by changing how many fingers you use to roll your curls into place. The more fingers you use, the bigger the curl.

Professional hairstylist Gina Schiappacasse of Hairstory, a NYC-based salon, broke down a step-by-step tutorial for overnight pin curls ahead. The result: those effortless, bouncy, loose curls you crave sans a curling iron.

Love curls but hate hot rollers and curling irons? Check out this easy DIY pin curls tutorial!

Pin Curls

I was always jealous of my mom’s curly hair, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been curling mine and fooling nearly everyone I know that I have naturally curly hair. I remember using those pink sponge curlers and rolling up my hair in socks when I was little. I’ve used curling irons, flat irons, and hot rollers, and still, I’ve found that my favorite curls come from making pin curls with bobby pins.

This method uses practically zero hair product or heat, which makes it perfectly healthy for your hair. No blowdryer necessary. You can set up your hair at night, get a good night’s sleep, and have instant ringlets in the morning on your rush out the door. Most of all, I love how long the curls last. With heat products, I can count on everything falling loose by the afternoon, but these pin curls can last days and days for me. I’m going to show you exactly how to do them.

How to do Pin Curls

Very wet hair isn’t going to work well. Slightly damp hair works best. This is especially true if your hair is only going to be pinned up for a couple of hours. Divide each section of hair. Grab a strand small enough for a bobby pin or pin curl clip to handle, and twirl around two fingers, making sure to tuck in the loose end well.

Fasten the curl in place with a single bobby pin or clip, (if you’re using bobby pins, you can criss-cross with another to make it more secure). I pin a row down the center of my head, then continue on the sides. You can achieve excellent lift at the roots with your hair drying this way.

Keep pinning until everything is up and let it dry for a couple of hours, or let it hold overnight! I have a sensitive scalp, and I can still sleep on these unnoticed. I think the key is avoiding crisscrossing bobby pins, or even pinning more curls on the side if you sleep on your back, or pinning more curls towards the back if you sleep on your side.

Styling Products

Hairspray is optional. I usually spritz a little on just before taking the pins out. Unpin from the bottom and reshape the curls with your fingers if needed. Correct any ends that come out a little wonky with a curling iron. No need to brush!

And you’ve got bouncy waves! You could leave your ringlets as is and really spray them down, or loosen them up a little with your fingers, but don’t let them frizz.

I usually pin half of it back to keep curls out of my face and reshape frizzy curls with my fingers. Enjoy those waves!

There’s no denying that curled hair is absolutely stunning. If you don’t want to use heat tools on your strands, however, you may be wondering how you can achieve defined, heat-free curls. Enter pin curls. This popular curling method has been around for quite some time—your mom and grandma likely rocked pin curls hairstyles back in the day! Even better, you can do pin curls on short hair and long hair. Below, find a step-by-step tutorial on how to do pin curls to get bouncy, beautiful spirals.


As with most heat-free hairstyles, how you prep your strands can make all the difference. When washing your hair, look for a formula that will help keep frizz at bay, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz-Defy Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz-Defy Conditioner.


Speaking of frizz, after hopping out of the shower, it’s a good idea to apply a styling product to keep your strands sleek and tamed. Use a frizz serum, like the L’Oréal Paris EverSleek Frizz Finish Oil-In-Serum, or a hair cream, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Frizz Vanisher Cream. Apply either to damp hair.


Working with damp hair, part your hair how you plan to wear it, whether that’s to one side or down the middle. Use a wide-tooth comb to brush through your strands and ensure there are no knots or tangles.


Starting at your hairline, grab a one-inch section of hair and hold it upward. Then, place one or two fingers—the more fingers you use, the bigger your curls will be—at the end of that section. Roll the hair around your finger(s) until you reach your scalp. Carefully remove your fingers and lay the curl flat against your head.

Editor’s note: If you’re creating pin curls on short hair, you’ll likely need to use the one-finger curl method.


Pin the curl with two bobby pins in a crisscross fashion. Continue to section your hair, roll your curls, and pin until you have a head full of pin curls.


Once your pin curls are in place, waiting is the name of the game. If you have a day of household chores ahead, consider doing your pin curls in the morning and giving them the day to dry before a night out. If you want them for the morning, create your pin curls hairstyle the night before and wrap a silk scarf around your head while you sleep to avoid frizz.


When your hair is dry, unveil your pin curls by carefully removing all of your bobby pins. Make sure to take your time with this as you want your curls to stay tightly coiled for the time being.


After all of your pins are removed, gently shake and comb through your curls with your fingers to help separate them and create a fuller appearance.


Now that you’ve finger-combed your curls, check to see if there are any strands you may have missed when creating your pin curls—or that could simply use a touch-up. Use a small, half-inch curling iron to curl any outlying strands and perfect your look. Then, pump a dime-size amount of hair serum into your hands, rub them together, and work the product throughout your strands for a shiny, frizz-free finish.


You wouldn’t want your flawless pin curls to fall mid-day, would you? To seal in your style, make sure to mist your pin curls hairstyle with the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Weather Control Hairspray.

Next up: Now that you know how to do pin curls for the perfect heat-free ‘do, perhaps you’d like to brush up on other heat-free options. Here’s How to Get the Look of a Blowout Without a Blow Dryer.


Heat styling has revolutionized and sped up the hair-curling process, making glamorous waves and curls possible in 30 minutes or less. However, heat-styling tools, like curling irons and flat irons, can cause serious damage to hair proteins, creating split ends and dull, lifeless tresses. Bobby-pin curls, on the other hand, create those soft glamorous waves without damaging hair proteins. While pin curls are often associated with glamour shots, they also can provide a quick and natural solution for creating soft curls without the damaging heat.

Wash and condition your hair as usual. Towel dry your tresses to remove excess moisture.

Apply a dime-sized amount of curling conditioning cream to the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together to distribute the cream and run your fingers through your damp hair from root to tip.

Separate a two-inch section of hair from near your right temple. Gently comb the section of hair with a fine-toothed comb.

Wrap the ends of the section of hair around a couple of your fingers so that the hair rolls away from your face and underneath your fingers. Roll your hair towards your scalp, making sure to roll the hair under rather than over. Keep wrapping the hair into a jellyroll shape until you reach your scalp.

Lay the rolled hair flat on your scalp and push a bobby pin into the roll, securing the rolled hair to the head. You might have to use two bobby pins to keep the roll in place.

Grab another two-inch section of hair next to the rolled hair you just pinned into place. Repeat the rolling and pinning process. Keep rolling and pinning two-inch sections of damp hair into place until your entire head has been pinned up.

Allow your hair to dry completely. This can take anywhere between one and three hours, depending on the thickness of your hair.

Spritz the rolled curls with a small amount of medium-hold hairspray.

Unpin one curl at a time and gently allow the rolled hair to cascade down. Once you have unpinned all of the curls, place your fingers through your hair at the scalp and carefully shake them back and forth to gently loosen the curls.

Introduction: Pin Curls 101!

Pin curls were the basis of many different classic styles, from the 18th century all the way up to the 1960’s. You can put these in pin curls your hair at night before bed, and in the morning brush it out to Veronica Lake waves, Clara Bow frizz, or a Doris Day flip! Pin curls are a super easy and versatile way to style your hair once you get the technique down.

Step 1: Prep & Supplies

  • a TON of duckbill clips. Like 5 times more than you’d think you need. Use these instead of bobby pins– they’ll be more secure and won’t leave crinkles in your curls.
  • a LOT of super hold gel. If your hair feels like a crunchy helmet when you’re done then you’ve used the correct amount of gel.
  • a rat-tail comb to separate the hair.
  • butterfly clips to section the hair.
  • a spray bottle of water is handy to re-wet the hair if it starts to dry while you’re still working.

This process is best on medium-length to long hair, unless you’re some sort of pin curl savant. It’s very difficult to form a curl on short hair.

Start with sopping wet hair. The wetness will help the hair adhere to itself and stay in place without getting frizzy or bumpy.

Work the gel through the hair. Make sure that the entire head is saturated in gel– don’t be stingy! The more gel you use, the smoother your curls will be and the longer they will last.

Step 2: Section the Hair

Begin by using your rat-tail comb to section the hair. The top section will be what is known as a “mohawk part”– the section from your temples back. Twist it up out of the way and secure it with a butterfly clip.

Next, section the hair above the tops of the ears, twist it up, and secure it.

Step 3: Form Your First Pin Curl

Start with a one-inch section of hair.

Comb through it with the comb facing upwards while drawing the hair upwards. This smooths the hair by making sure it is all going in the same direction.

Now, if you’ve started on your left-hand side, place your index and middle fingers together near the middle of the hair shaft. Loop the hair underneath your fingers and wrap it around. If you’ve started on your right-hand side, wrap the hair OVER your fingers. You want the curl always facing away from your face.

Carefully slide your fingers out of the curl you’ve formed. You can use your thumb and forefinger to pinch it together to hold it.

Utilizing the curl shape you’ve already created, roll the curl all the way to the base of the hair shaft.

Make sure that the curl is flat against the head and is rolled away from the direction of the face.

Slide a duckbill clip through the curl to secure it. Slip the bottom through the root of the hair, next to the scalp, to hold it; then clip the top part THROUGH the curl, not across the entire thing.

Step 4: Continue Pin Curling

Continue creating pin curls, using uniform sections of hair in straight rows. Keep the pins all going the same way.

Once you’ve pin curled all of the hair except for the top “mohawk part” section, you can decide where you’d like your hair to part. For a deep side part a la Veronica Lake, roll the pin curls in the mohawk section all the same way (in the direction that you’d like your hair to part). You can also part it in the middle or give yourself a less deep side part, just keep the curls all going away from your face.

Step 5: Dry & Done!

If you’re sleeping in your pin curls, I would recommend tying a scarf all around your head before going to bed to protect the curls (and your pillowcases!). If you have a hood dryer, USE IT! You can sit underneath it until the curls are partially dry, wrap your head, go to bed, and sit underneath it again in the morning before removing the pins to refresh your style, instead of sitting under it until you’re completely dry.

If you have thick hair, you might want to do your pin curls in the morning on a day when you don’t have to leave the house and keep them in until they’re dry the next morning. It usually takes my hair about 2-3 days to dry when I do pin curls, which is why when my hair is long I’ve moved on to the hard set (tutorial up Friday!).

When you remove the pins, start at the bottom and slide them out carefully to avoid catching the hair and messing up your curl pattern. Finger-tousle the curls to relax them slightly before doing any sort of styling.

For springy curls and waves that don’t look like dreadlocks, comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb.

For a 1920’s teased look, comb through your hair with a fine-toothed comb, smoothing down the top and teasing the bottom.

For serious waves and volume that will stay all day, brush through hair with a bristle brush.

If you have long hair, you can finger wave the top and pin curl the bottom.

There are seriously OODLES of styles that you can create with pin curls as the basis. My model had extremely damaged hair and didn’t quite dry all the way overnight so she ended up with the tousled-curl look you see above, but the great thing about that is that even slightly damp, as long as you hairspray it, the shape will hold all day (or until you get it wet). This is GREAT for ethnic hair as well (though I’d recommend checking out a tutorial specifically designed for that hair texture as it does behave differently than my type of hair).

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Pin curls are one of the best heatless curling methods! Save your hair from all that heat by setting damp hair in pinned coils. The simplicity of this method is fantastic, the only supplies that are needed are a brush, styling product and bobby pins. If you learn a simple way of doing pin curls you’ll have a go-to style for anytime or any place (like when traveling)! We love setting hair in pin curls overnight because it feels like such an easy way to get gorgeous hair. The curls are long-lasting, too! Prep hair with a great hair product that works for your hair type — a curl-sculpting cream or gel, mousse, lotion, leave-in conditioner, hair treatment oil, hair spray, etc. Keep scrolling for instructions and hair styling products we love!

Pin curls flat:

One way to set pin curls is by pinning them flat against the head. Also, experiment with different ways of placing the curls on the head, putting them equally all over the head or locating them near the hairline, for instance.

Pin curls standing upright:

A great way to set pin curls is by using a bobby pin in each curl to keep it upright. When you let the curls out in the morning you’ll see the loveliest waves!

how to create pin curls

Start with freshly washed hair that has been combed through to detangle and is still a little damp. (You can also start with dry hair if you like and it will be dampened slightly by your hair product.)

Make a section of hair that’s about 1-1/2 inches square, start at the front top of hair. Brush through the section and apply a tiny amount of hair styling product to it.

Put two fingers placed next to the roots of the section and use your other hand to wrap the section around the two fingers, until the whole length of the section is looped. (Experiment with wrapping hair toward face or away from face, either works!)

Use a bobby pin to secure the loop in a standing upright coil, or place the bobby pin over it to make it lay flat.

Repeat the steps with sections all over the head.

Sleep on the pinned curls, or keep them in the hair for 5-7 hours until fully dry. Unwind each section and shake out the curls. If you wish, lightly finger comb through them or brush through.

Time it took us: 5 minutes

Works on:
· Medium or long hair
· Sorta dirty hair

Stuff to have handy:
· Bobby pins
· Hairspray

How to get this easy updo for long hair:
Step 1
Brush out a 2-inch-wide bang section and secure back with two bobby pins. Loosen a bit with your fingers by tugging at the hairline.
Step 2
Now you’re left with a section of hair over each ear. Run your index finger from behind your left ear up to the crown of your head. Smooth this section of hair into a low ponytail behind your left ear then twist the pony twice toward the back of your head. Secure the remaining tail with bobby pins, then repeat on the right side. Connect the two twists with a bobby pin.
Step 3
And that leaves the always fashionable “mullet” at the nape of your neck. You can leave it like that. We’re all done.
Step 4
Just kidding. Back to the mullet. Hold your left index and middle finger under the bobby pins in Step 2, and roll a messy 1-inch section of hair up around your fingers to create a coil. Pinch it, slip it off your fingers and secure with a bobby pin. Don’t attach it to the twists in Step 2 or you’ll pull them out. Repeat with remaining hair until it’s all pinned up.
Step 5
Mist with hairspray.

Easy Hairstyles for Long Hair: Knotty and Nice

Time it took us: 5 minutes

Works on:
· Medium to long hair
· Straight or blown-straight hair
· Smooth hair that’s been thoroughly brushed out

Stuff to have on hand
· 2 tiny clear hair elastics
· Hairspray
· Shine-enhancing gloss (spray or serum)

How to get this easy updo for long hair:
Step 1
Part hair in the middle or slightly off center, but it’s important to have a pretty balanced left and right side.
Step 2
Part hair all the way down to the nape of your neck as if you’re making pigtails.
Step 3
Spritz shine spray or run shine serum over the left side of your hair, then secure one elastic about 1-2 inches from the bottom of that section. Repeat on the right side.
Step 4
Take both sections and twist them inward (toward each other) and back.
Step 5
Wrap them around each other until the ponies look like rope. Then tuck the bottom under and secure with several large bobby pins.
Step 6
Spray on a bit of hairspray to smooth down any flyaways.

Easy Hairstyles for Long Hair: Chic Pony

Time it took us: 2 minutes

Works on:
· Medium to long hair
· Straight or wavy
· Unwashed hair (Freshly washed? Add a small amount of styling cream or lotion to reduce flyaways)

Stuff to have handy:
· Styling cream or lotion
· Shine serum
· Small hair elastic
· 2 small bobby pins
· Not-too-stiff finishing hairspray
· Flat, boar-bristle styling brush

How to get this easy updo for long hair:
Step 1
Pull hair back into a low ponytail using a flat boar-bristle brush to create a bump-free finish. Secure with an elastic.
Step 2
Separate out a small strand of hair — roughly the width of a pencil — from the ponytail.
Step 3
Spray that piece well with hairspray then wrap it around the ponytail holder (see inset photo No.2).
Step 4
Bobby-pin the end of the small piece under the tail, and tuck in any loose ends.
Step 5
Lightly mist hairspray over everything and smooth with your hand.

Easy Hairstyles for Long Hair: Bride-y Waves

Time it took us: 5 minutes

Works on:
· Curly or wavy hair, or straight hair that’s been curled with a 1-inch barrel iron

Stuff to have handy:
· Shine serum
· Light-hold hairspray
· 6-10 small bobby pins
· 2 large bobby pins
· Rat-tail comb or pencil

How to get this easy updo for long hair:
Step 1
Start by refining your curls. For straight hair, use the curling iron to add curl. For curly or wavy hair, smooth over hair with shine serum to eliminate frizz.
Step 2
Tease a very small section of hair in the back of your head near the crown. This is the place where you will anchor your bobby pins.
Step 3
Part hair in the center or slightly off center (stylist’s choice).
Step 4
This hairstyle is created using the “pin and drape” method. To do this, loosely take locks of hair and bobby pin them to the section you previously teased. Use small bobby pins, and hide them as well as you can.
Step 5
Once all of your hair is pinned up, slide a pencil or the tail of a rat-tail comb under the section of hair in front of the pins and pull up slightly on it to add volume.
Step 6
Lightly mist hairspray all over.
Step 7
Attach a bobby pin or small clip to your favorite flower/brooch. It should be placed in your hair somewhere in between the back of your ear and the back of your head. Secure with two large bobby pins.
Step 8 (optional)
Loosen up one or two small pieces in front if you want some free-flowing wispy hairs around your face.

Easy Hairstyles for Long Hair: Party Girl Pomp

Time it took us: 5 minutes

Works on:
· Medium to long hair
· Wavy or straight
· Clean or dirty hair

Stuff to have handy:
· Sectioning comb (rat-tail comb)
· Small bobby pins
· Hairspray

How to get this easy updo for long hair:
Step 1
With all hair down, separate out your bang section. The best way to gauge the width of this section is to use your eyebrow arches as a guide.
Step 2
Tease underneath the bang section slightly. (Too much and you’ll see evidence — not a good look.)
Step 3
Smooth out the top layer of that section and pull it back.
Step 4
Twist the section once then secure with 2 large bobby pins.
Step 6
Adjust the bump with your fingers to be sure you’re happy with the height and smoothness. Then spritz with hairspray.

Ladies with long hair, rejoice: Easy updos for long hair do exist, and we’ve found 17 of them. The best part? These cute hairstyles are also quick hairstyles (think: You can do them in under 10 minutes).

Whether you’re doing your long hair for a special occasion like prom, or just need quick hairstyles for busy mornings, we’ve got you covered. There are hairstyles for long hair ranging from glam chignons to trendy pompadours. So instead of wearing your hair down or in a basic ponytail like you always do, try one of these easy updos for long hair.

Agreed that a curling iron gives us amazing curls however, do we ever take a moment to think about the damage it causes our hair?

Truth is we don’t really need a heat to get pretty wavy locks. Luckily, there are a few safe and sound methods to get the same result without causing any damage to your strands.

  1. Headband Technique

This is an easy technique that should be done before bed and by morning you’ll have gorgeous curls.

  • Spritz your hair with water and wear a headband.
  • Divide your hair in 3-4 sections.
  • Twist each section and wrap it around the headband as shown in the image below.
  • Secure the ends with bobby pins and sleep on it.
  • Remove the headband in the morning, spray some texturizing hairspray and you are done.

2. Clipping

This technique may take about 30 to 45 minutes but you’ll get better results if this is done overnight.

    • Again, start with damp hair, section and roll each section on two fingers.

Pin each section on top of the head with hair clips or bobby pins.

This technique involves using fabric cut in small pieces to achieve curls.

3. Fabric Curls

  • Start by sectioning your hair and wrap each section on a fabric
  • Roll the section on the fabric gradually moving up and tie the ends.
  • Leave it overnight
  • Untie in the morning to reveal pretty curls.

4. Pin Curls

This one’s pretty straight forward. Simply roll thin sections of hair and bobby pin them. Leave it overnight and unpin in the morning.

Never underestimate the power of the classic bobby pin! This tiny hair accessory from your local drugstore may seem unassuming, but it’s making a major comeback. Bobby pins and hair clips have always been a retro favorite and are now making regular appearances on red carpet events, tv shows in fashion magazines, just like hair extensions.

While perusing the hair aisle at your local pharmacy or beauty store, it’s important to know which pins to use for your specific hair type and the style you want to achieve. Choose a pin that matches your hair color to discreetly hold your hair in place or experiment with brighter colors and metallics for a bold look, as shown in the following video.

Do you wear hair clips or bobby pins as fashion accessories? What are your favorite ways to wear bobby pins? Let us know in the comments below.

Did you know there’s a correct and incorrect way to wear a bobby pin? Instead of sliding the bobby pin with the wavy side up, flip the bobby pin over and apply it wavy side down. The ridged grooves will hold on to the hair better, with a polished, flat surface on top.

For these hairstyles with bobby pins, Lara uses metallic and embellished bobby pins. The idea is for them to stand out and work as a hair accessory, rather than simply hide and hold hair in place. If you don’t have similar bobby pins available, no problem! Clip a few pins to a piece of paper, then take your favorite metallic or colored nail polish and paint the bobby pin. You can even DIY a few pearls or embellishments onto the bobby pin to take your look to the next level.

First, apply your Luxy Hair extensions and curl them

Lara wears the Seamless Ombre Blonde Luxy Hair extensions in this video. Start by popping in your Luxy Hair extensions curling them with a wand to add loose waves. Use a larger barrel curling wand, about 1 1/2″ to get those looser looking waves. Wrap each section around the wand and only hold for a few seconds before letting go—this will result in natural, light waves. Be sure to use a heat protectant before curling your natural hair as well as your extensions, and to use a maximum heat setting of 250F.

Hairstyle 1: Stacked and edgy

Step 1

Begin by parting your hair down the middle. You can do a casual finger part for a more natural line or use a fine tooth comb for a clean and straight center part.

Step 2

Smooth out your hair with a hairbrush, then add in several bobby pins starting close to your temple and working your way down. Leave about half an inch of space in between each clip so that your hair is exposed.

This is a great look for when you want to leave your hair down but also add an edgy flair to your look.

As much as your curling iron is your low key BFF (whose isn’t?), there is something to be said for low heat styling. That’s why pin curls are such a fantastic solution – all you really need is bobby pins and a bit of hair balm to create hold.

Although this technique may seem intimidating at first, it’s really pretty simple. Start with clean damp hair, but make sure to thoroughly towel dry so it’s not too wet or the style won’t dry properly.

Setting your hair with a styling cream is a great aid to smooth the hair and add hold. Rub cream between your hand to a thin layer for even application. Begin distributing the product all over your head, focusing on midshaft to ends and less on the top of your hair and hairline.

If you’re using clip in hair extensions to create length and volume, make sure to have them installed prior to beginning the curling process. Wet them slightly for damp effect so texture is even throughout the hair.

Part your hair and begin sectioning off about an inch or so of hair, one section at a time, as you take hair from ends and roll up to the roots, making sure to firmly secure with a bobby pin or two. It’s usually easier to start at the top of your head and in the front, then work your way towards the back and bottom. Doing so will make it more uniform and clean.

Continue this process until all of your hair has been pinned up. Air-dry or diffuse hair until it feels thoroughly dry and cool to the touch. Some opt to use a silk scarf wrapped around the head and sleeping on it overnight to ensure that it’s completely dry but it depends on your time constraints.

Once dry, pull out all the pins. You can use your fingers or a wide tooth comb to smooth out the curls, but placing your hands underneath your hair and shaking it out at the root usually works best, allowing the hair to fall more naturally. Then use the wide tooth comb to softly sculpt your hair into your desired shape without overstretching the curl. This also allows for some bounce back when hair has fully dried. Finish the look with a styling product like the Bellami 3 way hairspray for an amazing style that lasts all day long.