Home Beautygab How To Crimp Hair Without A Crimper

How To Crimp Hair Without A Crimper

by Gabbi

When you think about it, it was really only a matter of time. 

The fashion magazines have made it abundantly clear – the 90’s are back, and they’re back in a big way. I’m not just talking claw clips and Creme Savers, (I know, I can’t believe it either) but all of your favorite hairstyles too! 

Butterfly clips and bandanas aside, the style that brings back the most nostalgia has to be crimped hair. As rocked by 90’s icons like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, this voluminous look is seeing new life through trendsetters like Doja Cat and Kim Kardashian. 

But if you’re like me and you threw your crimper out along with your Backstreet Boys CDs, you may be wondering if you can still join in the resurgence. Well worry not, because you totally can.

So, how do you crimp hair without a crimper? There are 3 different ways you can recreate the beloved crimped hairstyles from the years past: one overnight, one in 10 minutes, and one for someone with a little more time on their hands.

And don’t worry, I’ll throw in some hair hacks to make each method as simple as life in the 90’s was!

Crimp Overnight With No Heat

I know we all shared the same childhood – running around the house, trying to find someone to braid your hair so you could wake up with crimps the next day.

You’ve probably continued doing this method over the years to save yourself some time getting ready in the morning, but I have some tricks to give this classic look a grown-up twist!

The Prep

1. Dampen Hair

If you’re doing this style fresh from the shower, your locks should be about 80% dry before you start braiding. Or, you can spray some water onto completely dry hair to attain the perfect dampness! Your hair is in its most fragile state when it’s wet, so waiting for it to be just right will prevent breakage and split ends.

Starting with damp hair will also ensure that you finish with dry locks. If you go to sleep with sopping wet braids, you’ll wake up with dripping hair and a soaked pillowcase, and, trust me on this one, it’s a disappointing way to start your day.

2. Leave-In Conditioner

This is your secret weapon! Sleeping in braids can leave you with frizzy hair all too easily. So skip the worry and sleep soundly by using a good quality leave-in conditioner. This will ensure your hair stays hydrated throughout the night, and frizzless in the morning.

Style Tip: Don’t overdo this step if your hair is on the finer side! This could weigh your tresses down and leave you with greasy looking locks.

The Method

1. Divide Your Hair

Most people go for one braid on either side of the head, but you can mix it up by parting your hair into more sections. Remember, the more sections you make, the more intense of a crimp you’ll end up with in the morning. 

2. Braid

You can keep it simple by sticking to a standard three-strand-braid, or you can try your hand at a french braid. I personally find that sleeping in a french braid will give you more body at the root of your hair, so I recommend trying out different kinds of braids to see which one works best for you.

3. Sleep

Get your beauty sleep! If you haven’t already, you may want to invest in a silk pillowcase for frizz-free results.

4. Touch-Up

In the morning, gently undo the braids from the bottom-up. And fight the urge to reach for a brush! Instead, flip your head upside-down and shake your hair at the root. This will detangle your hair and give you some extra lift, without ruining the shape of the crimp. Mist with your favorite hairspray, and you’re good to go!

Crimp In Ten Minutes

Here’s one for those of you who aren’t afraid of a little heat! My favorite thing about this method is that it’s also great for everyone who likes to hit the snooze button in the morning (aka all of us). You can catch up on your Z’s, and you won’t have the bedhead to prove it! It’s a win-win, if you ask me. 

The Prep

1. Start With Dry Hair

Unlike the overnight crimped waves, your hair has to be completely dry for this style to work. Wet hair + straightener = big no no!

2. Protectant

Since this style does involve heat, you have to take some extra precaution in keeping your mane safe. Using a heat protectant spray will add a barrier of protection between your strands and the intense heat of your flat iron. This will keep your hair smooth in the short run, and healthier in the long run!

The Method

1. Divide Your Hair

I personally recommend sectioning your hair into smaller parts for this method. The larger the braid, the looser the crimp will be. For my thick maned friends, you may have to do a couple more braids than the average joe, but that’s the price you pay for having such gorgeous locks!

2. Braid

This time, skip the french braid and stick to a standard braid (or you can even try out a fish tail braid or twist). Keep in mind that the tighter you braid, the more defined your style will end up looking. Make sure to start the plait as close to the root as you can to avoid your crimp starting in the middle of your locks.

3. Flat-Iron

The thicker the braid, the slower you’re going to want to pass through the strands. I suggest running your flat iron through each section a minimum of 2x each. This will make sure you have an even crimp and equal heat distribution throughout the braid. Let your braids cool completely before moving on to the next step!

4. Touch-Up

Gently undo each braid to reveal effortless crimps! Shake your hair out to keep your strands from locking onto one another, and finish off with some hairspray. Simple, right? And you’ve still got time to grab a coffee before work! 

Crimps For The Hair Connoisseur

If you know your way around a styling tool, or if your hands are cramping just thinking about braiding, then read on! Styling your hair using this method can not only give you tight crimps, but also big, beachy waves.

So it’s totally fine if you’re not a fan of a crimp à la Topanga from Boy Meets World, because you’ve got options!

The Prep

1. Dry Shampoo

You’re using heat, so your tresses have to be completely dry. I’ve found that this method could cost you some volume and lift, so give your locks some life by hitting your roots with a bit of dry shampoo for texture. This will keep your hair from looking too sleek. 

2. Heat Protectant

Again, you’ll need a heat protectant to guard your hair from damage. In fact, you should be using a heat protectant any time you style your hair.

The Method

1. Part Off Hair At The Ears

Pull the hair above your ears back into a messy bun. Nothing fancy, you just need a manageable amount of hair to work with! Remember, the thicker your hair, the more sections you may need to tie out of the way.

2. Grab A Section Of Hair

The bigger a section you grab, the bigger the crimp will be, and vice-versa. Make sure your straightener can handle the amount of hair you’re sectioning off! 

3. Clamp Your Straightener At The Root

Make sure your iron isn’t too hot! Around 300°F is a good place to be, but you may need to use more or less depending on your hair type. Aren’t you glad you used heat protectant?

Style Tip: A wide iron will result in beachier looking waves, while a thin iron will give you tight crimps. 

4. Rotate Your Iron 180° Upwards

This is where it may get a little tricky – but bear with me! Turn your iron upwards (a semi-circle’s amount) and gently slide it down your hair about an inch or two (the more you slide, the bigger the crimp will be).

5. Rotate Your Iron 180° Downwards

Do not lift the iron from your hair before finishing the length of the section! Rotate your straightener downwards now, making another semi-circle, and slide it down an equal amount as you did the first time.

6. Repeat

Continue the motion of rotating the flat iron upwards and downwards throughout the length of the hair. You’re basically bending your wrist back and forth down your strands.

When you finish off a section, you should be left with a crimp any hairstylist would be proud of! And if you didn’t, shake it off! Practice makes perfect. 

7. Finish And Touch-Up

When that division of your hair is all styled, let down another section you’ve tied off and repeat the process. Make sure not to touch any of the crimps as they’re cooling down or you may compromise your style!

When your locks are cool to the touch, run your fingers through them, and, of course, add a light misting of hairspray to lock all your hard work into place!

And voila! 3 ways to crimp your hair without a crimper. Now you have everything you need in your hair-styling arsenal to take this 90’s comeback on in style. See you in the mom jeans aisle!

Related Questions

Is there anything I can do to give my crimps more definition?

Absolutely! Regardless of what method you’ve chosen to achieve your new ‘do, you could never go wrong with some texturizing mousse. This will give your locks some grit, and enhance the shape of your waves. 

How long will my crimps last?

The best part about this style is its longevity. At the end of the day, throw your hair into more braids to sleep in. When you wake up, hit your roots with dry shampoo for some body, and your hair will look just as good as it did yesterday- scout’s honor!

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