How To Do Straw Curls: A Beginner’s Complete Guide

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Have you ever wondered how a simple, humble material like straw could hold the key to unlocking the secrets of captivating, bouncy curls?

Beyond the realm of conventional hairstyling, straw curls offer a journey that intertwines resourcefulness and self-expression.

a little girl wearing moss green colored longsleeves shirt is holding her curls happily while looking up

In this article, we’ll delve into the art of achieving perfect straw curls and empowering you to make your hairstyle stun and dazzle.

Say goodbye to damaging heat styling and hello to a method that celebrates your hair’s inner beauty, leaving you with playful, bouncy curls that stand the test of time.

Together, let’s unravel the magic of staw curls, where elegance meets sustainability and creativity knows no limits!

What Are Straw Curls?

The term “straw curls” refers to curls created using a heatless and damage-free curling technique, which involves using actual drinking straws to curl the hair. 

The process is simple. Wrap small sections of damp hair around the straws and secure the ends using a small tie or bobby pins. 

After securing all the straws into place, leave your locks to air-dry. Once your hair has sufficiently dried, you can remove the straws to reveal stunning curls! 

Straw Curls vs. Traditional Curling Techniques

The key difference between doing straw curls and traditional curling methods lies in the use of heat. 

Traditional curling methods, such as using curling irons or hot rollers, rely on applying direct heat to the hair to reshape its structure temporarily and thus create curls.

While traditional methods can produce quick results, the high temperatures can also potentially damage the hair over time, leading to dryness, breakage, and loss of natural shine.

Creating straw curls stand in stark contrast to these techniques. 

Because it requires no heat and uses straws to create beautifully curled tresses, this method is much gentler. It also preserves the hair’s natural moisture and prevents unnecessary damage.

Straw Curls: Benefits and Drawbacks

Interested to try straw curls? Before giving them a go, learn more about their ups and downs to help you make an informed decision!

Here are some things that you need to consider.


  • Heat-free — One of the significant advantages of curling your hair with straws is that this is a heat-free styling method. 

    By eliminating the need for heat, the hair is protected from potential damage caused by high temperatures, preserving its integrity, preventing split ends and breakage, and promoting healthier and stronger locks in the long run.
  • Versatile — Doing straw curls offers a more versatile approach to styling; you can even achieve different straw curl styles! 

    The size and texture of the curls can be customized based on the thickness of the straws used in the wrapping technique, allowing for greater creativity and experimentation.
  • Sustainable and cost-effective — Achieving straw curls is an eco-friendly styling choice because this hairstyle requires minimal resources that can be reused numerous times. 

    By using biodegradable straws, this method reduces waste and promotes sustainable hairstyling practices. 
  • Non-damaging to hair extensions — Straw curls are an excellent option for those with hair extensions or weaves

    Since this hairstyle is not created with heat, which can potentially damage synthetic or human hair extensions, it’s a safe and effective choice for achieving curls while keeping extensions in optimal condition.
  • Safe for damaged or fragile hair — Using straws to curl hair can also be ideal for individuals with damaged or fragile locks that can’t withstand the stress of heat styling. 

    Since creating straw curls does not involve high temperatures, they provide a safer alternative for those looking to style their hair while promoting hair health and recovery.
  • Beneficial for reducing frizz — Heat-styling tools can curl your hair, but they can also strip it of moisture, making it dry and frizzy.  

    On the flip side, curling with straws doesn’t require heat, which means it can help prevent dryness and allow you to achieve smooth, frizz-free curls instead. 
  • Suitable for all hair types and ages — Straw curls are suitable for all hair types and lengths, making them a versatile option for people of all ages, including children and older adults. 

    The gentle nature of the technique makes it a viable choice for individuals with sensitive scalps or delicate hair.
A young woman with curly hair and a hat posing on a yellow background.


  • Time-consuming — Doing straw curls involves wrapping small sections of damp hair around individual straws. 

    This process can be time-consuming, especially for individuals with long or thick hair. 

    Also, the hair needs to air-dry completely before removing the straws, which further adds to the overall styling time.
  • Inconvenient — Setting straw curls typically requires leaving the straws in place for an extended period — often overnight — to ensure that the curls are set properly. 

    This can be inconvenient for those who prefer quicker hairstyling methods or have busy schedules.
  • Difficult for beginners — Achieving the perfect straw curls may require some practice and experimentation, especially for those new to this styling technique. 

    It may take time to master the wrapping technique and understand how different hair types respond to straw curls.
  • Uncomfortable to sleep in — For some people, sleeping with straws in their hair overnight can be uncomfortable or disruptive to their sleep. 

    The rigidity of the straws and the pressure they exert on the scalp may also make it difficult for some to find a comfortable sleeping position.
  • Unsuitable for certain hair lengths — Straw curls work best on mid-length to long hair. 

    Those with very short hair may not be able to wrap their tresses fully around the straws, while those with extremely long hair may find their locks challenging to manage during the styling process.
  • Potential tangling during the wrapping process — Wrapping the hair around the straws can sometimes lead to tangling or knotting, particularly for those with very thick or long hair. 

    Proper sectioning and care are necessary to avoid any entanglement and ensure even and well-formed curls.

Straw Hair Curls 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Perfect Heatless Curls

Want to learn how to do straw curls? 

Here’s an easy step-by-step guide that you can follow!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

The materials you’ll need include the following: 

  • Biodegradable straws for an eco-friendly styling option 
  • Hair ties, hair clips, hair pins, or bobby pins to secure your wrapped hair into place
  • Hair spray or other styling products to set your curls

Step 2: Prepare Your Hair

To create straw curls, first, you must start with clean, dry hair. If your hair is not freshly washed, dampen it slightly with water using the spray bottle.

Step 3: Section Your Hair

Divide your hair into sections, then use hair clips or hair ties to secure each section.

The number of sections will depend on your hair’s volume and length, while the thickness of each section will vary according to your desired results. 

Remember that thinner sections will yield tighter curls, while thicker sections will create looser curls. 

Step 4: Wrap Your Hair Around the Straws

Take one section of your hair and wrap it tightly around the straw, starting from the ends and rolling it up toward the roots. This approach helps to create smoother and more natural-looking curls. 

You may also try to do it the other way, which is wrapping your hair around the straw from the roots down toward the ends. This results in more volume and lift at the scalp area, creating a more voluminous look.

Make sure to keep the hair smooth as you wrap it, carefully watching out for tangles or bumps.

Step 5: Secure the Ends

Once you’re done wrapping, secure the ends of your hair around the straw with a small hair tie or bobby pin.

This will keep the curls in place while it dries.

Step 6: Repeat for All Sections

Continue wrapping each section of hair around the straws until all the sections are wrapped.

Remember to keep the size of the sections consistent for a more uniform look.

Step 7: Allow Your Hair To Dry

Once all the straws are in place, let your hair air-dry completely. 

You can also speed up the drying process by using a hooded dryer or a blow-dryer with a diffuser attachment on a low heat setting. 

Take note that this will involve the use of heat, so if you want to keep the process entirely heatless, go ahead and stick to air-drying your hair. 

Step 8: Remove the Straws

Once your hair is completely dry, carefully remove the straws one by one, unwrapping the hair from each straw gently.

Step 9: Separate the Curls

Use your fingers to separate and fluff the curls, giving them a more natural and voluminous look.

Step 10 (Optional): Add Finishing Touches

If desired, you can apply a gel, light-hold hair spray, or curl-enhancing product to set the curls. Straw curls with gel or any of the mentioned hair products also appear shiny and don’t loosen for a long time.

You may also refer to this video for further guidance:

How To Do Straw Curls on Various Hair Lengths and Types

Straw curls are great for all hair types!

Now that you know how to create straw curls, let’s go over some guides on how to recreate them on different hair lengths and types!

Straw Curls on Short Natural Hair

Wondering how to do straw curls on natural hair that’s a bit shorter?

You may follow the steps detailed in the previous section, but you’ll need to adjust the thickness of the sections and the length of the straws to suit your hair. 

You may divide your hair into smaller sections and use shorter straws to create tighter straw curls on short hair, enhancing the natural texture of your tresses.

Straw Curls on Short Relaxed Hair

If your hair is short and relaxed, you can follow the same steps mentioned in the previous section for short natural hair, specifically using smaller sections and shorter straws for tighter curls. 

Remember to be gentle when handling relaxed hair to prevent any breakage or damage.

Straw Curls on Long Hair

For longer hair, you may need to use longer drinking straws to accommodate the length of your hair. 

Also, see to it that each section is wrapped neatly and securely around the straws to ensure even curling results.

Straw Curls on Straight Hair

It may be a bit trickier to do straw curls on straight hair because this hair type may not be able to hold curls for extended periods. 

But if you want to style your hair for a special occasion without using heat, go for straw curls! 

You can divide your hair into smaller sections to create visibly tight and defined curls and use hair spray to keep your curls intact longer. 

Straw Curls on Coily Hair

As mentioned above, straw curls look wonderful on natural hair. 

This means you can easily create straw curls on 4c hair and other coily hair types like 4a and 4b to showcase your hair’s gorgeous texture and bring out the beauty of its curl pattern. 

To achieve defined straw curls on coily hair, use small sections and medium-sized straws. 

Be patient and take your time to wrap each section neatly for the best results.

Caring for Your Straw Curls: Tips for Long-Lasting Elegance

How long do straw curls last?

On average, straw curls can last anywhere from a few days to about a week or even longer with proper care.

Now the longevity of straw curls can vary depending on several factors, including each individual’s hair type and texture and the steps they follow to maintain their curls.

Here are some tips that you can follow to properly care for your straw curls.

Protect Your Curls While Sleeping

To prevent your straw curls from getting flattened or frizzy while you sleep, consider using a satin or silk pillowcase or wearing a satin or silk scarf or bonnet. 

These materials create less friction than cotton, helping preserve the shape and smoothness of your curls.

If you have long hair, consider using the pineapple method at night to preserve your straw curls. Gather your curls into a loose high ponytail on top of your head before sleeping. 

This technique prevents your curls from getting squished and helps maintain their volume and shape.

Avoid Excessive Manipulation

Straw curls can be delicate, especially if your hair is naturally fine or prone to breakage.

Minimize touching and handling your curls too much, as excessive manipulation can cause frizz and disrupt the curl pattern.

Instead, gently fluff your curls with your fingers or use a wide-tooth comb to separate them if needed.

Moisturize Regularly

Keeping your hair moisturized is crucial for maintaining the health and vibrancy of your straw curls.

Apply a lightweight leave-in conditioner or hair oil to your curls regularly, especially on the ends, to combat dryness and promote shine.

You can also spritz your curls with water or a water-based hair mist throughout the day to refresh and hydrate them.

Use Anti-Frizz Serum or Styling Gel

Humidity and rain can impact your straw curls, causing them to lose their definition.

In humid weather, consider using a lightweight anti-frizz serum or styling gel to help control frizz and maintain your curls’ shape.

Avoid Heat Styling

Since you’ve chosen straw curls to avoid heat styling, refrain from using curling irons or straighteners on your hair.

Applying heat can disrupt the curl pattern of your straw curls and potentially cause damage to your hair.

Protect Your Curls from Pool Water

Chlorinated pool water can be damaging to your straw curls, causing them to dry out and lose their shape. 

Before swimming, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to your curls and wear a swim cap to protect them from exposure to chlorine.

Refresh Your Curls as Needed

Over time, your straw curls may loosen or lose their shape. To revive them, you can rewrap some sections around the straws, focusing on the areas that need extra definition. 

Spritzing your curls with water or a hair mist and gently re-curling them can also help restore their bounce and freshness.

a young girl wearing a plaid longsleeves top is detangling her hair from a straw with both hands while looking happily at the camera

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Need To Leave the Straws In When Creating Straw Curls?

It depends on factors such as what your hair type is, how thick your hair is, and how well it holds curls.

On average, however, it is recommended to leave the straws in your hair until is completely dry. 

In general, leaving straws in for several hours and even overnight is common.

Remember to leave the straws in until your hair is fully dry to allow the curls to form and hold their shape. 

If you remove the straws too soon while your hair is still damp, the curls may not form properly and lose their definition more quickly.

Can You Use Paper Straws To Curl Hair?

Yes, you can use paper straws to curl your hair. Paper straws are a viable option for creating straw curls, similar to using plastic ones. 

The process involves wrapping small sections of damp hair around the paper straws and securing them in place to achieve beautiful, heat-free curls.

However, it’s essential to note that paper straws might be as durable as other materials, so handle them carefully during the styling process to avoid any breakage or bending.

Also, using biodegradable paper straws aligns with eco-conscious hairstyling practices, making them an environmentally friendly choice for achieving stunning, natural-looking curls.

Can You Use Toilet Paper Rolls as Hair Curlers?

While it is technically possible to use toilet paper rolls as hair curlers, they may not be the most practical or effective option for creating curls.

Toilet paper rolls may not hold their hair securely or maintain the desired curl shape as well as straws or dedicated hair curling tools.

Using toilet paper rolls as hair curlers could lead to challenges in wrapping and securing the hair, as they lack the grip and flexibility needed for a smooth curling process.

Additionally, the porous nature of toilet paper rolls may absorb moisture from the hair, potentially resulting in uneven or incomplete drying of the curls.

Go Heat-Free and Eco-Friendly With Straw Curls!

Mastering straw curls as a beginner may seem daunting, but with patience and practice, it becomes an enjoyable journey to getting luscious, bouncy curls.

This cost-effective and heat-free method not only gives your hair a stunning makeover but also protects it from potential damage.

With the right products for your hair type and a little bit of creativity, straw curls can become your go-to style for any occasion. 

Embrace this curl revolution and let your hair shine in its natural glory!

Eager to Know More Curling Tips and Products?

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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

  • Jessica Hoelscher

    With thirteen years in cosmetology, Jessica Hoelscher is a seasoned stylist recognized for her modern techniques. A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School in St. Louis, her expertise has been showcased on Fox Two News and in People Magazine. Self-employed at Salon Lofts, her work has graced TV screens, styling for renowned events and Ole Miss cheerleaders.

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