Re-create the curls of 1940s pin-ups with the same pin-curl method they used.

How to Get Bouncy Curls Without Heat or Curlers

by Grace Riley

Although heated hair techniques are tried and true curl creators, achieving bouncy tresses without heat is entirely possible. In fact, you can create a mane of spiraled locks without even using curlers. With the right products and crafty finger work, you can fashion a mass of ringlets that rival Shirley Temple’s golden coif.

Blot your wet hair with a towel to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Your hair should be damp but not dripping wet.

Apply a styling product such as a volumizing spray or mousse to your hair according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If desired, use a hair styling spray intended to help create waves or curls.

Comb or brush your hair to remove any tangles. Part your hair to the desired side.

Separate a 1-inch wide section of hair along the front of your hairline. You may want to comb or brush through the section to smooth it after you've separated it from the rest of your hair. Hold the section in your dominant hand.

Place the index finger of your empty hand on your scalp next to the separated section of hair.

Using your dominant hand, wrap the hair around your index finger beginning with the hair closest to your roots. Once you've finished the first few wraparounds, use your fingertips to shape the diameter of the loop, and hold it against your scalp. To create a medium-sized spiral form a loop that is the diameter of a quarter. Continue wrapping until the entire section is in a stacked coil.

Holding the completed coil against your scalp, slide a bobby pin into the flattened coil of hair to secure it in place. The entire coil should be in the bobby pin. Continue pressing the hair against your scalp even after the pin is secure.

Slide a second bobby pin into the coil in the direction opposite of the first pin so that the two pins make an X-shape. The hair should be secure enough that you no longer need to hold it in place with your hand.

Repeat this process around your head until you have coiled and pinned all of your hair.

Sleep on this arrangement, or allow it to air-dry for at least eight hours.

Once the hair is dry remove the pins, and let the dry curls fall naturally. Apply a smoothing cream or hair lotion to the curls to define their appearance.

Items you will need

  • Towel
  • Volumizing spray, mousse or styling spray
  • Comb or hairbrush
  • Bobby pins
  • Smoothing cream or hair lotion


  • Avoid brushing the curls, as doing so causes them to frizz and lose their definition.
  • The trick is to start with wet hair so it dries and sets the curls, which is as effective as heat-setting curls.

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

  • Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images