Curling Hair After Shower: How To Curl Clean Hair

By: | Last Updated: May 29, 2020

You’ve probably heard that curls hold better on un-washed ‘second day’ hair. But what if you just washed your hair and totally forgot that you’re curling it?

Or perhaps you can’t stand NOT washing your hair. I get the feeling of ‘dirty’ hair if you don’t wash it. 

Whatever the reason is, don’t worry! You can still curl freshly showered hair. Curling hair after shower shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve got tips and tricks to help you pull it off.

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How to Make Curls Hold in Clean Hair 

Generally clean hair doesn’t have enough grit to hold curls when compared to unwashed hair but by using certain products (hair spray, hair mousse and texturizers), you can have beautiful curly hair.

All you have to do is follow certain process. You have to play around with hair products to get the perfect texture that will give you those perfect curls.

But first, a note…

Thin fine hair is notorious for NOT holding curls, not any other hairstyle for that matter. I’d really recommend NOT washing your hair before curling if you’ve got fine hair. But you can still try the steps below and see if they work for you.

1. Skip the conditioner.

What happens if you wash your hair everyday – Curling Diva

Generally, it is advisable to not wash your hair a day or two before curling but if you must wash your hair, make sure you don’t use conditioner.

It weighs hair down and make it slippery. You can use shampoo, but go easy on it.

2. Apply Some Hair Mousse

Apply a generous amount of mousse to your hair before drying it to make it more gritty and give it some volume. This will help to give your hair a better hold on the curls and make your curls last longer.

3. Use Heat Protectants 

heat protection spray – Curling Diva

Along with the hair mousse, also apply heat protectants or use natural oils that have the same effect.

Heat protectants will protect your hair from getting damaged by the heat from curling tools. Use natural oils as heat protectant (which you can make on your own) or you can buy this argan oil based heat protectant.

4. Hair Spray

Apply hairspray before, during and after curling to make your hair get a better hold. This will make your curls last longer. 

Skip this one if you’ve already added mousse and feel like it’s enough to hold the curls.

Make sure to choose a lightweight hairspray like the Chi Enviro Natural Hold Hair Spray.

5. Blow-dry Your Hair

After applying hair mousse, hair protectants and hair spray, dry your hair thoroughly before you start curling. Using a curling iron on damp hair is not good.

Not drying your hair thoroughly can cause it to sizzle and this could lead to hair damage.

You can skip this step if you’re using a wet set, like steam hot rollers. 

6. Use the Right Curling Tools

Make sure your curling tools are quality products. Go for those that are coated with tourmaline or ceramic. They protect your hair from heat damage and ensures even distribution of heat to avoid hotspots that’ll burn your hair.

Low quality curling tools can damage your hair. Check out our ultimate guide to curling irons.

7. Use the Right Barrel Size

beautiful girl curling her long hair

A lot of people believe that the bigger the barrel size, the better the result. This is a common misconception and it isn’t true. 

Instead, the bigger the barrel size, the looser the curls. 

So, use smaller barrel sizes instead. This will help make your curls tighter and last longer.

8. Use the Right Amount of Heat for Your Hair Type

heat protectant for curling iron – Curling Diva

The amount of heat should be just enough. Using anything lower won’t give you tight curls. If your hair is processed, dial down on the heat but if it is not, you can increase the heat. 

You should also make sure the curling iron or curling wand doesn’t stay in your hair for longer than ten seconds unless your hair is very resistant to forming curls.

9. Let The Curls Cool down

Hold the curls in place with bobby pins or clips till they cool down before you let them down. This will make your curls last longer.

10. Keep Your Hands Away From Your Curls

It’s tempting to put your hands right into your curls but don’t do that. Instead, toss your head backwards and shake your hair. 

You could also apply some hairspray to your brush and gently brush it out.

11. Finish With A Texturizing Spray


Apply texturizers to your hair when you are done to make it look better. It also makes the curls stay longer. 

It also adds volume to your hair and also give it a more lustrous look. Use this instead of hairspray.

I recommend this especially for those with fine hair, as it gets weighed down easily if you use hairspray.

12. Divide Your Hair Into Sections

Section your hair to make it easier to work on them. That way, you’ll be able to cover more areas and avoid missing any spots.

13. Have a Style in Mind

Know the exact style you want to make before you start. That way, you’ll be able to come up with a plan and know exactly what you need to do.

14. Clean Your Tools

Make sure you clean your tools regularly. Hair products accumulate on this hot tools and overtime, they could burn and damage hair.


I’ve shared my tips and tricks above but if you still have questions, I got some answers below.

Do I wash my hair before curling it?

easiest curling iron to use – Curling Diva

Generally, hair that hasn’t been washed for a day or two hold curls better. The oil produced by your scalp will give your curls a better hold. 

If you have to wash your hair, you can still have beautiful curly hair as long as you use the right products and follow the right steps. 

These hair products will give your hair the needed grit.

Is It Easier to Curl Clean or Dirty Hair?

Unwashed hair is easier to curl because the oils produced by your scalp will help to hold the curls. Other than that, the steps for curling both washed and unwashed hair are almost the same. 

Clean or freshly washed hair can hold curls well as long as you use the right products.

Best curling wand for fine hair – Curling Diva

Should You Curl Your Hair Wet or Dry?

Make sure your hair is completely dry before applying heat. If your hair is not completely dry, your hair could sizzle or burn. This could lead to hair damage. 

Dry hair is undeniably the best for curling hair. If you are in a hurry, you can use a hair dryer to quickly dry your hair.

Is It Better to Curl Second Day Hair?

This is generally the best option. Second day hair has a better hold and this will make your curls last longer. It is also better because you won’t have to use so much hair products to achieve the desired texture. 

If you are concerned about oil buildup, you can use dry shampoo.

Final Thoughts..

I hope these tips will help you curl your hair better and make it last longer. If there’s anything I missed or perhaps you have another personal tip you can share, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d greatly appreciate it. Happy curling!

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