How to do headband curls (no heat, big bouncy waves)
I first discovered this way to make mid to long hair curly when I stumbled (quite literally, via Stumbleupon) onto the tutorial on Swearing Moms. Having tried all kinds of methods to get my naturally wavy hair to stay in big bouncy curls all day long rather than dropping after a few hours, I have to say this is both the easiest and the best, not to mention the healthiest for the hair. It's also the cheapest - no rollers, no tongs, no 'styling wand', no ghds, no heat whatsoever - all you need is a stretchy headband, a bit of water, some setting lotion, and ten minutes before bed.
My hair is getting on for waist length now, and this curl holds llike no other. The technique works on shorter hair too but do bear in mind the curls around the face flick outwards, 1970s style, so if you have very short layers at the front it may be a bit too Charlie's Angels! My shortest layers are chin-length.
So how do you do it?
Start off with dry, cleanish hair. I usually do this in the evening after washing my hair in the morning. You'll need a stretchy headband of some kind - a plain one is best (mine had a big flower on it that I chopped off).
For extra staying power (and if you have a lot of time to let this set - say overnight or all day) dampen your hair down a little bit. It doesn't need to be much, don't saturate it, just get it a bit wet. As it dries the curl will set in the hair and should ensure it lasts until your next wash.
Part your hair how you want to wear it (centre or just off-centre is best for this technique) and place the band around your head where you want the curls to start. About like this works for me:
Now grab your styling product. I use an old-fashioned settling lotion (like liquid hairspray) as I find it holds well and is easy to apply in exactly the right place, but you could use spray gel or even mousse if you prefer. Separate off a section of hair as wide as you want the curl (I use sections about 1-2 inches wide) and add a little bit of product to the lengths.
Now wrap the piece of hair around the band (this is why it needs to be stretchy, so you can manoeuvre it round the band).
And pull it back down to sit on top of the next bit of hair.
You should have a nice loop around your band like this. You've made your first wave / curl.
Now continue this technique, adding a bit more product and incorporating a new section of hair each time to the hair you've just curled, so you end up making each twist around the band a little bigger - this will make sure your waves are nice and bouncy, and not tiny little tight corkscrews. Keep going all the way round to the back.
Do the same on the other side, and then turn your attention to the centre back. You have have to push up the curls a bit to make room, but you should be able to keep wrapping the last bits of hair up and round if you keep wiggling around, as most will have been incorporated at the sides. If you have very long hair and struggle to fit it all in, you may wish to twist the lengths into a bun and pin it instead, but if you can incorporate it all into the twist, the curls will be neater. That said, a bit of mess is fine - mine usually looks something like this!
Now your set is in place. Spritz it with hairspray for a final bit of hold. You'll now need to try and keep this in as long as possible. Overnight is best (because you have no rollers or pins in, it's comfy to sleep on) but you can also do this in the morning ready for a night out. The 30s look of the set is quite cute as it is - I've happily popped out to buy lunch with my hair up like this and nobody's said a word about my odd hairdo.
Once you're ready to take it out, it's as simple as grabbing hold of the band at your forehead and gently pulling backwards, teasing and loosening the curls as you go to unwind them from the band.
Go very slowly - it may be an idea if you're prone to fluffy hair to put a bit of hair oil or serum on your hands as you go, to keep those curls nice and shiny and smooth. Once you've taken the band out, gently separate the curls with your fingers and apply any shine / smoothing product you desire.
Try to avoid brushing or combing - if you do the curls will become waves, and probably frizzy ones at that. I find this looks the best after it's had about half an hour to settle and soften. That said, I took this 'after' photo at the end of the day, to prove it really does stay curly all day long!
Et voila! Big glamorous curls that look like they took hours to create!