How To Crimp Hair: Smart Methods Everyone Can Try

Find out how to crimp hair
Photo: Instagram/@salon7_heidi.o

Are you looking for an easy way to add texture and fullness to thick and straight hair? Or maybe you are a fan of curls and waves? Or do you want to try something new? Crimping might be the right option for you.

You don’t need any special hairstylist skills to crimp hair. Besides, you can choose one of many hairstyles, from glam crimps to casual textures. Find out how to crimp hair, and what are different crimping methods.

Do you know you can even crimp hair without any hot tools? Let’s see.

What Is Crimped Hair?

A crimped hairstyle is, simply speaking, adding waves to straight hair. If you want to look at some examples, here is a great collection of crimped hairstyles.

Usually, we do this with the help of special tools, like a crimping iron, a curling iron, or even a straightening iron. You can create a variety of hairstyles, from loose beach waves to glam curls. Choose according to your hair type, the tool, and preferred styling products.

Photo: Instagram/@ecobelleza_samantarapur

Crimped hair became popular in the ’80s and ’90s – watch old videos of Madonna and Britney Spears to get some inspiration. The trend is now back into style with some modifications and in various forms.

In summer, loose crimped waves look gorgeous, creating a relaxed and shiny mood. If you have some hair color accents, like red, blue, or green, crimping will add texture and make these colors stand out even more. You can crimp only a few hair sections as accents contrast to straight hair to add some rock-n-roll vibes to your outfit. Depending on your mood and outfit, you can go with defined curls or loose waves.

There are many tools and styling products to reach any desired effect with little effort.

How to Crimp Your Hair

How To Crimp Hair Without a Crimper

What if you are a big fan of waves and curls, but you do not want to cause damage to your hair daily?

Heat protection is a must if you use hot temperatures for styling. However, even these products do not give you 100% protection, especially if you use iron daily.

Photo: Instagram/@lisa_unthank

If your hair is damaged, dry or fragile, if you do not like hot tools or prefer more natural methods of enhancing your beauty, you can still crimp your hair and enjoy a new style.

Crimp Overnight With No Heat

You can crimp your straight hair with the help of French braids and styling products, so you don’t need to use any heat tools. The process is relatively easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Wash and dry your hair. You can leave it a little wet for better results. 
  2. Divide your hair into sections and apply the styling product of your choice. It can be a hairspray, a styling gel, or creme. Please mind that the size of the kink will be defined by the section width. For smaller kinks, select narrower sections.
  3. French braid each section and make sure the braids are tight. This way, the hair will hold the shape better. You may leave the ends of braids loose if you have long hair. Otherwise, make loops and fix these loops with hair ties. Thus, you will ensure the ends don’t look completely straight compared to the crimped hair.
  4. Leave the braids for the night.
  5. In the morning, loosen each of your braids. Do it slowly. Gently run your fingers through your hair to ensure your kinks keep the shape.
  6. In the end, you can add some volume at the roots with the help of your fingers. Then fix the roots with any styling product, like a volumizing spray.
  7. If you want your waves to be more defined, put a small amount of styling cream or an anti-frizz cream on your hands. Rub them and squeeze your curls slightly to apply the styling product.

Want To Crimp Your Hair in Ten Minutes?

You still have a few options when you need to crimp your hair fast.

The fastest way will be using the curling iron.

  1. Make sure you have wide sections of hair to save you some time. Do not forget to use a heat protectant to keep your hair smooth and healthy.
  2. Grab a section of hair, wrap it around the barrel, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release.
  3. Repeat for every section. Start from underneath sections and move up. 
  4. In the end, run the fingers through your hair to loosen the curls and make your hair look more casual. Here you go!

Hair Crimping Tool Kit

A curling iron, a straightening iron, a crimper – what is the difference and what is better?

You can use any of these tools to create crimps or curls. Yet, all of them are designed differently for different purposes.

Let us see the differences and understand how to use each of them.

What Is a Curling Iron?


A curling iron is designed to make curls or waves, depending upon the hairstyling product and the barrel’s diameter.

Usually, the curling iron is cylindrical, and it has a clip to fix the hair section in place. The barrel can be made of titanium, tourmaline, ceramic or other materials. Each of them has its fans, so please consider your hair type and desired result when selecting the material.

Ceramic irons are recommended for thin hair due to their smooth surface and gentle heating. Such irons cause less hair damage.

Titanium barrels work well for thick and coarse hair due to their heat transfer qualities.

No matter what material you choose, please make sure you never forget to use a thermal protection product in spray, mousse, or oil.

It is quite easy to create lovely curls with the help of the curling iron, no matter if you have a short haircut or long hair. Here are a few simple steps:

  1. To crimp the hair with a curling iron, brush the hair. Apply your heat protection product and section the hair out. 
  2. Fix the end of the section with the help of the clip and wrap your hair around the barrel. 
  3. Wait for 5-10 seconds, then release the hair section. 
  4. You might want to fix the curl with the spray to have more defined curls.
  5. Go through all sections one by one. 
  6. When all sections are done, wait until the hair cools down and loosen the curls with the help of your fingers.

What Is a Crimper?


A crimper, or a crimping iron, is similar to a straightening iron, but it has zigzag-shaped heating plates. The ridges of the heating plates create small waves.

The size and shape of waves depend upon the texture of the tool. There are S-shaped, L-shaped, M-shaped ridges, which allow creating various forms of crimps. 

Some brands have crimping irons with removable panels. These give you a choice between tiny sawtooth waves or loose s-shaped waves for different occasions.

Using the crimper is pretty straightforward:

  1. Brush your hair and make sure it is straight and not tangled up.
  2. Apply heat protection and divide the hair into vertical sections. Section width should be equal to or less than the width of heat plates.
  3. Crimp the section with an iron from the roots to the end. The closer to the roots you start, the more root volume you will have, but please be careful not to burn yourself. 

Which Is Better, a Crimper or a Curling Iron? Why?

A crimper and a curling iron are designed for different hairstyles. You need to choose between the two based on the desired result.

The crimping iron creates small crimps with the help of ribbed plates, and the hair looks wavy, like a saw edge. The curling iron creates curls with the help of a hot barrel, so you end up with smaller or bigger curls.

Both products work fine for short or long hair.

Flat Iron


A flat iron, or a straightener, can also be used to crimp hair. It might seem a bit more tricky to create waves with a flat iron, but the result is worth it. Here is how you are going to do it.

  1. You are going to divide hair into sections.
  2. You start with pulling the section through the iron the usual way. At the place where you want the wave to start, rotate the iron by 180 degrees. Then slowly and smoothly pull down to the end.
  3. Repeat for each section

Please never forget to use heat protection to ensure you don’t damage your hair.

USB Travel Iron

If you are a big fan of crimped hair and want to enjoy waves and curls on vacation or on a business trip, you can take a small portable USB iron.

USB irons are usually designed cordless, with a battery charged through a USB port. Portable irons usually have essential functions, like a few temperature modes. Also, they are smaller, so you can easily take such irons with you almost anywhere.

The Final Word

As you can see, there are many ways to create a crimped hairstyle. The most common way is to take sections of hair and twist them together to form a tight spiral. The tighter the spiral, the more crimped the hair will be.

Different tools are also come in handy. Just be careful not to damage your hair.

We hope you will be happy about your hairstyle statement with whichever option you prefer.

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