How to Curl Hair Extensions With Or Without Heat

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Experimenting with lots of different styles while wearing hair extensions is always a fun idea. And curling is one of the most common styles that you can easily do at home. 

A beautiful woman with her eyes closed and long blonde wavy hair on a light gray background

Beautiful curls can add a whole new look to hair extensions, and it’s easy to achieve them with the right products.

Don’t know how to curl hair extensions by yourself yet? We’re here to help!

In this article, we’ll show you how to curl hair extensions with or without heat.

This may sound a little daunting to first timers like yourself, but best believe that you can do it on your own in no time!

Care Tips Before Curling Your Hair Extensions

No one wants to ruin their beautiful substitute hair just because they want to style them, right?

To avoid damaging your hair, you need to follow these care tips by heart:

Consider the Type of Extensions

There are two types of extensions: human hair and synthetic hair extensions.

Before styling your extensions, the first order of business is to determine which type you have. Distinguishing one from the other will help dictate your styling technique. 

Here is a quick table to help you differentiate real human hair extensions from synthetic ones:

Real Human HairSynthetic Hair
MaterialManufactured from virgin, real or processed human hairManufactured from nylon, acrylic, or polyester
TextureUltra-silky, moisturized, and softMay be silky and smooth depending on the quality
StylingCan be washed, dyed, and styled using heat styling tools; can be transformed into a variety of hairstylesCan be washed, dyed, and styled with synthetic hair-friendly products
LifespanVery durable — can last for up to 12 monthsDurability depends on styling habits
WeightWeighs heavier; ideal for thick hairWeighs lighter; ideal for thin hair
BudgetExpensiveTypically affordable

Keep in Mind How Your Extensions Are Installed

Generally, there are two classifications on how to install hair extensions. You either install them temporarily or semi-permanently. 

Semi-permanent extensions such as keratin fusions, sew-ins, tape-ins, or micro-ring extensions are designed to remain attached to your natural hair for four to six months with proper maintenance. 

Since you cannot take them off, you will need to curl them as you would your natural hair strands. 

Meanwhile, temporary extensions like clip-ins and halo hair extensions are easily installed and removed because they only provide quick, short-term solutions to your hair woes. 

Apply a Heat Protectant

Over the years, hot styling tools are among the worst culprits when it comes to ruining hair extensions.

And since we are talking about getting hair extension curls, it would be a mortal sin not to remind you about applying heat protectants first before curling your hair. 

Hair extensions are only a substitute for natural hairs that naturally grow out from the roots. This means extensions cannot repair themselves and don’t benefit from natural oils, making them prone to drying out or being damaged. 

Determine the Optimal Heat Setting

As a golden rule, you should never set your hot curling tool above 350°F. 

If you’re using human hair extensions, follow this rule religiously.

If you’re using heat-friendly synthetic extensions, make sure you set the temperature of your curling wand to 250°F to 350°F. Exceeding these temperatures can make synthetic hair fibers melt, so be extra careful. 

You can also consult the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your extensions to determine the ideal heat setting.

How to Curl Hair Extensions With Curling Wands

Curling hair extensions can be easily done with a hot curling wand

Besides being affordable, they also ensure a quick and easy curling process and produce  incredible results. 

A woman is getting her hair curled in a salon.

If you are on a quest to master the art of curling hair extensions, follow these steps:

Step 1: Detangle Extensions From the Ends Up

Hair extensions tend to get tangled up easily, so it’s important to detangle them before getting them all curled up.

For temporary hair extensions, remove them from your hair first. Hold the weft and gently brush it with a wide-tooth detangler or paddle brush such as the Lily England Detangling Brush and Wide Tooth Comb Set

Start brushing from the ends and work your way upward. 

For semi-permanent extensions, since you can’t take them off, hold the section of the hair extension you want to brush between your index and middle fingers. This way, less pressure is applied when you’re brushing them. 

Start detangling from the ends and gently brush upward until you approach the roots. Go through different sections of your hair extensions gently and thoroughly.

Also, don’t forget to brush your natural hair because we don’t want any tangles to get in the way!

Step 2: Install Extensions

While it is totally okay to curl your temporary extensions separately, installing your hair extensions before curling your hair will ensure all your curls will look even and similar.

To prep temporary extensions for curling, part your natural hair in sections and install as many wefts as you’d like, depending on the volume you want to achieve. 

You can skip this step if you have semi-permanent extensions.

Step 3: Spray a Heat Protectant Onto Your Hair

This will help prevent any damage caused by heat. 

Gently brush your hair after spraying it with heat protectant to help distribute the product evenly throughout the hair and remove tangles. 

Step 4: Separate the Top Section of Your Hair

All you need to do is gather the top part of your hair, then twist it up and secure it with a huge hair clip

This way, you can clearly see the bottom layer of your hair. Curling the bottom section first will give you even, voluminous curls.

Step 5: Start Curling!

Before curling your tresses, make sure your curling wand is heated to the right temperature first. 

Then separate a section of your hair starting from one side. For starters, take at least an inch-wide section of your hair. 

Afterward, while holding the curling wand in one hand, point the curling wand downwards and wrap that section of hair around the barrel with your other hand.

Remember to don’t overlap hair sections on top of each other when wrapping one around the barrel so all the sections are equally heated. Otherwise, you won’t get evenly curled hair. 

Step 6: Hold for a Few Seconds Before Releasing

You need to hold the hair wrapped around the hot barrel using the iron’s built-in clamp for around six to seven seconds before releasing it.

We recommend not leaving your hair wrapped for more than 10 seconds if you’re using the high-heat setting because that will totally damage both your extensions and natural locks.

Gently release your curls to avoid tugging your hair extensions.

Step 7: Curl the Rest of Your Hair

After getting your hair extensions curled on one side, you can repeat steps 5 and 6 for the other side, as well as for the top layer. 

You can also spritz a volumizing hairspray like the KMS Add Volume Volumizing Styling Hair Spray to hold and add more bounce to your curls. 

How to Curl Hair Extensions Without Heat

For girls who are not keen on using heat to curl their hair extensions, don’t pout because there are plenty of ways and means available!

When you opt for the heatless route, the results won’t be as fast as curling your hair with a hot barrel. But the upside is, your hair and extensions won’t be exposed to the damaging effects of using heat.

Here are a few of the fun and great tools you can use to ditch the curling iron while still getting those dream curls:

Curling Headbands

You can try wrapping your hair around a curling headband such as the SWIMEE Heatless Hair Curler Headband, which you can wear overnight, and wake up to glamorous curls that last for days!

This heatless curling tool requires you to part your hair in the middle and wrap the two sections around the band. You need to grab more hair from the bottom section as you go. Then secure each end with a scrunchie. 

You may also check out this video for the process!

Flexible Curling Rods

Another heatless curling tool you can try is called flexible curling rods or flexi rods, which also offer super amazing results!

They are cylindrical in shape, flexible, and rubbery. When using this, make sure your hair is damp or blow-dried but never completely dry because the latter will not take much shape when wrapped around the rod.

To use this, all you need to do is take one section of hair and wrap them around the curling rod starting at the bottom and roll it up toward your scalp. Do be sure to roll the hair tightly around the rod. 

Then when you reach the scalp, bend both ends of each curling rod inwards to keep the hair in place. Leave them on overnight or for several hours to get beautiful curls. 

If you’re interested in using this, check out Tifara Beauty Salon’s Heatless Flexible Hair Rollers Curlers and get defined, tight curls for hair extensions!


You can get smooth and spiral curls even without heat by using curlformers like the Elcoho Styling Kit Magic Hair Curlformers!

All you have to do is take a little section of your damp hair and give it a little twist before pulling it inside the curlformer with a hook that’s packaged with the kit. 

Make sure to wait for a couple of hours before taking them out to get the perfect curls.

Foam Rollers

These heatless curler tools are old but gold! 

If this is the first time you’ve heard of these, all you need to do to curl your locks is by getting a small section of your damp hair and wrapping them up by rolling the tool toward your scalp. 

Leave the rollers on for about eight hours to get maximum results. If this piqued your interest, you can try the RERYOU Foam Hair Rollers to get beautiful loose curls for hair extensions at home!

Sock Bun

Looking for another method where you can curl your hair extensions the heatless way? Try using a sock bun from Teenitor!

If you opt for this curling tool, you need to tie your dry hair into a high ponytail that sits right on top of your head if you want to have the sock bun on overnight. 

Then divide your ponytail into two sections, and wrap them around the donut-shaped tool. Lastly, tuck the ends underneath the sock bun.

When you wake up, the curls are done and you’re ready to flaunt them all day long!

An infographic featuring how to curl hair extensions such as using curling wands, curling headbands, flexible curling rods, curlformers, foam rollers, and sock bun with their description

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Won’t My Extensions Hold a Curl?

It can be frustrating when you put effort into curling your hair extensions only for them to lose their shape. 

There are a few possibilities as to why your extensions won’t hold a curl. 

The type of extension you use will greatly affect how well it holds a curl. 

Heat-resistant synthetic hair extensions tend to hold curls much better because they are made of acrylic or polyester, which are malleable when they’re in contact with heat. 

In contrast, human hair extensions are more difficult to hold a curl since they are made of natural hair, which may have low porosity (harder to style) or high porosity (prone to damage). 

Human hair also contains natural oils that can weigh down the hair and make holding a curl more challenging. 

Moreover, depending on your curling iron settings, too much heat can damage the structure of both natural human hair and synthetic hair extensions because it burns off the protein bonds. 

To help prevent this from happening, it is important to use a heat protectant spray before styling with a hot curling tool. Following these steps should ensure that your beautiful curls stay in place all day!

Should I Buy Curly Hair Extensions?

If you are on the fence about whether or not to buy curly hair extensions, there are a few things to consider. 

Firstly, measure the length of your current hair and choose an extension that has a similar length. Also look at the color and texture of your own hair to help determine what type of curl pattern looks best for you. 

Hair extensions can add volume, length, and body, which could be advantageous depending on what style you want to achieve.

Curly hair extensions can add definition and movement to your final look that may not have been possible otherwise. 

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to purchase curly hair extensions depends on individual needs and preferences. 

If you do decide to go ahead with buying curly hair extensions, make sure that they’re of high quality to ensure lasting results and less damage to your natural hair.

What Is the Best Way to Curl Hair Extensions?

Curls can add volume and texture to hair extensions for a beautiful look. 

If you ask us, the best way to curl hair extensions is to use a curling iron or wand. 

Start by brushing the extensions gently with a wide-toothed comb to make sure there are no knots or tangles. Then spray on a heat protectant before styling

Begin curling the bottom half of the extension with your curling wand, starting from the tip and working your way up. 

For looser curls, you should wrap thicker strands and hold it for around 10 seconds. For tighter curls, wrap thinner strands and hold them for 20 seconds or more. 

Lastly, finish off with hairspray to keep your curls in place all day long!

Going the Heat-Styled or Heatless Route to Get Curls? All Up to You!

The decision between going for the heat-styled or heatless route when curling hair extensions ultimately depends on your hair type, the quality of your hair extensions, and your personal preference.

A beautiful woman with long curly hair posing on a white background.

Although both routes have their own strengths and weaknesses, make sure to follow our care tips to ensure you get the perfect curls without damaging your natural tresses and extensions.

If you still haven’t made up your mind, you may want to try both methods to see which one works best for you!

Patience is key to finding out which hacks work like magic.

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  • Janille Gultiano

    Jan, a distinguished freelance makeup artist, also boasts a BA in Mass Communication, laying the foundation for her diverse talents. For over four years, she's carved a niche as a captivating content writer, with her articles resonating in various spheres. Beyond writing, her expertise extends to crafting robust Public Relations and Corporate Communications strategies. Each endeavor reflects Jan's unique blend of creativity and precision

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