3 Ways to Make the Most of Second-Day Curls

These are some of the hairstyles I like to do that work well with unwashed, slowly flattening curls.
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These are some of the hairstyles I like to do that work well with unwashed, slowly flattening curls.

Some people judge the success of a hairstyling session by the immediate outcome — the ta-da moment when the stylist swivels your chair to face the mirror so you can finally see his/her creation. Although I love seeing my straight hair temporarily transformed into curls, I save my final judgment for later and base it on whether or not my curls can survive more than a day.

Since I have thick, long hair, curls tend to get weighed down very easily. But when a stylist manages to get my curls to remain somewhat defined for a few extra days through some sort of magical prep method, I am extremely pleased, and I avoid washing away the curls as long as possible.

Then the challenge becomes styling my hair as it inevitably gets messier and messier.

If you’re intent on riding your latest curly hairstyle until the last strand becomes flat, here are some of the hairstyles I like to do that work well with unwashed, slowly flattening curls.

What I’m Working With

These curls used to be very defined, I swear.

These curls used to be very defined, I swear.

Boho Front Braids

If for some reason the curls at the front of your face are a mess or your roots are already too greasy from going unwashed, mini French braids in the front sections of your hairline will hide the messy/greasy front curls.

To do this style, I start by creating my hair part. Then I pull back my hair, leaving an inch-thick section on either side of my part to create braids.

I’ve pulled back most of my hair so the only sections that are free are the ones I’m going to be braiding.

I’ve pulled back most of my hair so the only sections that are free are the ones I’m going to be braiding.

Next I simply French braid both sides of my part and secure each braid with an elastic. I usually end the braid right behind my ear and leave it tucked there.

messy curls styles3.jpg

Lastly, I release the hair I pulled back and put it in front of my shoulders. Voila! An easy boho hairstyle with some waves at the bottom.

messy curls braid.jpg

Voluminous Wrapped Bun

If your curls are mostly flat, but all the hairspray and mousse you used has given it a ton of volume, a loose bun will get your hair out of your face but will show off all the volume.

First, I create the loosest half-up bun possible. I do this by gathering my hair into a tight ponytail with one hand, placing two fingers from my other hand at the crown of my head, and then loosely wrapping the ponytail around my fingers. I also flatten the bun as I wind more hair around it so it appears loose. Then I secure the bun with a hair tie that matches my hair color.

messy curls bun.jpg

Next, I take half of the remaining hair in the back and I bring it diagonally across my head and wind it around the bun. I secure it in place with a bobby pin.

messy curls bun1.jpg

I do the same with the other side, and I’m done! Normally my hair would not last a second in a bun held together with bobby pins, but my unwashed hair is more updo-friendly when it has texture.

messy curls bun3.jpg
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Teased Half-Up

If you still have a few waves but the top of your hair is getting greasy and flat, a teased half-up style will show off your waves while giving you extra volume.

I begin by parting my hair. Then I designate sections at the front of my hair, on both sides of the part, that I will be working on/putting up. Here, I have decided to work with the front sections that end right behind my ears. I gather the rest of my hair in a ponytail to keep it out of the way.

I divide the remaining hair that isn’t tied into two sections: the front that I will not be teasing, and the back, which I will be teasing.

Holding the section of hair I’m going to tease.

Holding the section of hair I’m going to tease.

Holding onto the section I will be teasing, I generously spritz hairspray from root to tip.

messy curls halfup1.jpg

Holding the same section still, I take a fine-tooth comb and backcomb it to gently tease some volume in there.

messy curls halfup2.jpg

Afterward, I join the front and back sections together, lightly combing the front section over the back section so everything looks smooth. Then, I clip the hair to the side of my head (an inch or two above my ear) with a bobby pin. 

For extra volume, I push the hair forward toward my face before pinning it so my hair looks puffy.

messy curls halfup4.jpg

I do the same with the other side, and then let the rest of my hair loose.

It’s messy, but I like it.

It’s messy, but I like it.

  • How do you style second-day curls?
  • How do your get your curls to last?