This Pin-Curls Hair Tutorial Delivers Bouncy Waves Without a Curling Iron

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While curling irons may be deemed essential styling tools by some, there is something to be said for being able to travel light. Plus, hot tool in general aren't always the most user-friendly. For many, successfully executing a curly hairstyle isn't always worth the extra effort (or heat damage, for that matter). That's why pin curls are such a great styling technique to learn.

This overnight curls hack may seem intimidating, but all you need to pull it off is a bit of hair cream for hold, bobby pins or double prong hair clips, and a good blowdryer — though, air-drying can work just as good, as long as you have enough time.

Depending on your hair type, you can use some variation on bobby pins, which are perfect for thin, short hair, or something like these Hairdressing Double Prong Curl Clips ($6), which work great if you have thick or long hair because they're a little more heavy duty. If you're wondering whether pin curls for Black hair are any different than thinner, more fine hair, the answers depends on the starting state that your hair is in. If your hair is straight, then the method remains the same but if you have natural hair that's coily (think 3 to 4c hair types), then it may be easier to achieve the look using Bantu knots — trial and error is key.

Depending on what size pinwheel curls you're hoping to achieve, you can adjust them by changing how many fingers you use to roll your curls into place. The more fingers you use, the bigger the curl. Professional hairstylist Gina Schiappacasse of Hairstory, a NYC-based salon, broke down a step-by-step tutorial for overnight pin curls ahead. The result: those effortless, bouncy, loose curls you crave sans a curling iron.

How to Do Pin Curls

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Step 1: Start With Damp Hair
Start with damp hair, but make sure it's not too wet. That can cause the style to take too long to dry and the shape of the curls won't hold.

Apply some product, like a frizz cream, onto the ends of your hair to help add hold and smooth out frizz. We like the Living Proof No Frizz Smooth Styling Cream ($42). Focus it from mid-shaft to ends and apply less on the top of your hair at the hairline.

Step 2: Section Your Hair

Part your hair however you usually do — middle or side — and begin to section it off. The sections should be about an inch to an inch-and-a-half big.

Step 3: Begin to Roll Your Hair

Working one section at a time, roll the hair up by wrapping sections around your fingers from end to root. To achieve a looser, bigger curl, use two to three fingers to wrap your hair around. To achieve a smaller curl, use only one finger. Once you have a pinwheel formed, secure it with a bobby pin (or alligator clip, if you have thicker hair) or two.

We recommend starting at the very front of your head and working your way back because it makes the sections easier to see, ensuring you have clean, uniform rolls.

Step 4: Dry Your Hair

Continue this process until all of your hair is pinned up. Once you're finished, air-dry or diffuse your hair with a blowdryer until it feels done. If you'd like, you can wrap your hair in a silk scarf and sleep on it overnight to ensure that it's completely dry and the curls set.

Step 5: Remove the Hair Pins and Smooth Curls

Once dry, gently pull out all the clips. Then, use your fingers to smooth out the curls and run your fingers through your hair to loosen them a little bit.

Step 6: Break Up the Curls
Once all of the pins are removed, it's time to break up the curls. The best way to do this is by placing your hands underneath your hair, just behind your ears, and shaking it out at the root. You disrupt the curl less and the hair falls much more naturally.

Step 7: Brush Out Your Hair

Brush out your hair to make the curls more relaxed and natural-looking using either a wide-tooth comb or your fingers. This also encourages some bounce back, which happens naturally if your hair has fully dried.

Additional reporting by Jessica Harrington

Lauren Levinson was the former director of POPSUGAR Beauty. She is a native New Yorker who loves a good blowout.

Jessica Harrington is the senior beauty editor at POPSUGAR, where she writes about hair, makeup, skin care, piercings, tattoos, and more. As a New York City-based writer and editor with a degree in journalism and over eight years of industry experience, she loves to interview industry experts, keep up with the latest trends, and test new products.