Curling your hair with straws

Table of contents:

Curling your hair with straws
Curling your hair with straws

Curling irons can be difficult to work with and can damage your hair. Hair rollers are a heat-free alternative. Surprisingly, simple drinking straws can be used as hair rollers to effectively style all hair types. Depending on the method used, a 'straw set' can create either tightly twisted curls or a voluminous '80s-style perm.


Method 1 of 3: Preparing your hair

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 1

Step 1. Gather your materials

Before you start your straw set, make sure you have all of your supplies. You need the same things for both methods: drinking straws, bobby pins, scissors and a water spray bottle. You'll also need a wide-toothed comb and a few pins to divide your hair.

  • Cut the bendable part of each straw you plan to use. If your straws are already straight with no bent part, you can use them like this. If you have straight straws, scissors are no longer necessary.
  • If your hair takes a long time to dry, you'll also need a silk headscarf to sleep with.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 2

Step 2. Let your hair dry

Your hair doesn't have to be clean when you style it, but if you do wash it, you should let it dry first. Do not use a hair dryer to avoid heat damage.

  • This method of curling hair can prevent the hair from drying completely. If your hair type retains moisture and is styling your curls, try to get your hair as dry as possible before styling. This is not so important for the voluminous look, as you will remove the straws before your hair is completely dry.
  • If you have natural-textured hair, you don't need to dry it completely before styling. You can start with your straws when your hair is damp or wet if you prefer.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 3

Step 3. Use moisturizing and setting products

This step will make your hair bouncy and last longer, especially if it tends to dry out. First, use a moisturizing product, such as a leave-in conditioner. Combine it with one or more of the setting products below, depending on your hair type.

  • If you have fine hair, use a mousse or spray.
  • If you have medium to thick hair with a natural wave, choose a gel or cream.
  • With relaxed hair, try a trio of leave-in conditioner, wrapping lotion and castor oil.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 4

Step 4. Detangle your hair

Run a wide-toothed comb through your hair to remove knots. Knots ruin the sleek look of curly hair but don't stand out in the messy '80s style. However, messy hair with either method can lead to knots that are even harder to remove.

Step 5. Divide your hair into sections

Separate a 7-8cm mohawk section down the center of your scalp, all the way to the back of your head. This will divide your hair in three, which is generally good for rollers. Comb your hair out and away from your scalp and secure each section with pins. Let go of the first part you plan to style.

How many pieces you want to divide your hair into depends on the length and thickness of your hair as well as how much you like to work with at a time. You can do some more parts if your hair is very thick or long

Method 2 of 3: Giving yourself tight curls

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 6

Step 1. Select and dampen a strand of hair at the back of your head

Using your fingers, separate a small section of your hair at the back from one of your side sections. This way you can work towards your face, increasingly easier. Moisten the strand slightly with the water spray bottle.

  • Remember that the thicker the strand, the bigger each curl will be. Use a lot of hair per roller if you only want a few curls.
  • For thin spirals, use sections that are about 2–3 cm wide. These are later divided into smaller pieces.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 7

Step 2. Roll your hair tightly around a straw

Start with the bottom of your hair and wrap around the end of the first straw. Roll the straw in your hair until the entire strand is coiled or until you run out of space on your straw. Make sure the strand is tight around the straw without pulling your hair so hard that it becomes uncomfortable.

  • For the tightest curls, roll your hair flat around the straw.
  • If you're going for long, thin spirals, twist the strand around the straw. Instead of flattening your hair against the straw, keep the part round.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 8

Step 3. Secure the straw with a pin

Take a pin and secure the strand wrapped around the straw at the roots. Slide the pin over the center of the straw and through the hair where you are securing it. Later on, you may run out of space and may need to tie it to another strand.

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 9

Step 4. Wrap the next strand around a new straw

Secure each strand that is finished with a pin. Go around your head until all your hair is done. Keep the sections at a consistent size and wrapping pattern.

While this method works with curls of different sizes and styles, it's best to keep each strand as even as possible. Multiple types of curls can be used by an experienced stylist to create more adventurous hairstyles, but they are a difficult look to pull off

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 10

Step 5. Leave the straws in your hair until completely dry

Depending on your hair type, this could be from three hours to all night.

  • If you let it dry overnight, wrap your hair in a silk scarf or bath cap.
  • If you take out the straws while your hair is still damp, your hair will look more like a messy 80s perm. While this is also a great look, it's very different from the pipe curls you probably wanted. Don't waste all the time you spent rolling and wait by being too rushed at the end.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 11

Step 6. Carefully remove the straws

Loosen each curl one by one. Start by loosening the pin. Then simply unwrap your hair by rolling the straw in the opposite direction. Depending on your hair type, the strand may unwrap itself by loosening the pin.

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 12

Step 7. Style your hair as desired

After removing the straws, your hair will likely be a single layer with relatively few strands. To give your hair depth and volume, use your fingers to gently divide each large curl into several small curls. Slide your hands under your hair and gently shake the strands to loosen the curls.

  • Remember that the hair texture you start with will affect how your hair looks in the end. However, it is not always possible to predict how this style will look on your hair until you try it.
  • If your hair is naturally straight and doesn't hold its shape well, a little hairspray will help keep your curls looking good for longer. You also have to be careful not to brush out your new curls when you're styling it.

Method 3 of 3: Getting a big 80s style perm

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 13

Step 1. Select and dampen the first strand of hair

Spray some water on the part you want to start with.

  • The smaller the sections, the more volume your hairstyle will have.
  • Keep in mind that this method works best on long, straighter hair that lacks natural volume.
Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 14

Step 2. Wrap your hair around the first straw

Starting at the end, twist your hair around the straw several times until you get to the roots. Keep these loops loose and irregular. However, do not unwrap them so much that the curl comes loose.

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 15

Step 3. Secure the curl

Use a pin to secure the straw and hair to your scalp. Spray a little hairspray on each coiled strand. This will help keep your curls in place once you're done.

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 16

Step 4. Repeat the process until you have all or most of your hair rolled up

Unlike pipe curls, you don't have to make each strand the same size or roll up the same way.

Due to the chaotic and messy nature of this look, it's okay if you miss a few strands and loose hairs

Curl Your Hair with Straws Step 17

Step 5. Remove the straws while your hair is still slightly damp

First, wait about two to three hours for the curls to take effect. Loosen the pins and then separate the strands by hand. Use your fingers to gently fluff out your curls into big hair. Add a little bit of hair oil to soften your hair and make it easier to work with.

Keep in mind that this method intentionally messes up and frizzes hair to create volume. Comb will be difficult. Use your fingers to style your hair before final styling


  • Parting tight curls with your fingers can give you natural-looking voluminous curls depending on your hair type.
  • The tight curl method is a great way to style your hair as you transition from chemically relaxed to natural hair. The curls help blend the two textures as long as your hair grows out. Heat-free methods like the straws are also the safest way to style changing hair without damaging your natural curl pattern.
  • If you want bigger curls or waves in your hair, use thick straws instead of thin ones when doing the pipe curling method.
  • While drinking straws are the cheapest way to achieve this, thin hair rollers are also available. These products promise the same style in a fraction of the drying time.
  • If your hair is straight and you normally wear it loose, remember that it will look much shorter with pipe curls.

Popular by topic