6 Tips for Curling Thick Hair You Need to Know

By Leah Williams •  Updated: 05/31/22

By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to give your thick hair the perfect curl minus the threat of heat damage.

For those with thicker hair, prepping your strands is a must before going anywhere near the curling iron.

Well, curling thick hair can be a challenge sometimes as curls tend to fall down due to weight, and with so much hair, curling may take a while too.

However, there are a few tricks that can help you achieve those tight curls without losing patience. In that case, Lucky Curl has compiled 6 tips for curling thick hair. Take notice of each tip to achieve those beautiful and long-lasting curls.

For a start, we suggest you practice with your curling iron in the OFF position. This sounds bonkers but it’s going to help you practice curling techniques without burning your hair or yourself. And when you feel confident, that’s the time to begin curling!

6 Tips on How to Curl Thick Hair

Choose the right barrel size.

If you want to achieve long-lasting curls, you must know the right barrel size for your hair type or base it on the kind of curl that you like to achieve.

For loose curls and beach waves, choose a curling iron that is one to two inches in diameter. If you’re aiming for smaller and tighter curls, go for a .75 diameter curling wand.

Moreover, if you want the curls to last longer, the smaller barrel size is recommended. This is particularly suggested for thicker hair that doesn’t cooperate well in holding curls.

The heat setting matters!

Heat setting matters especially when curling thick hair. Generally speaking, you’re going to need a curling iron with variable heat settings to control the temperature easily.

What temperature should you curl thick hair?

If you’re blessed with naturally curly hair or thicker hair, you can go somewhere between 200 to 300 degrees. On the other hand, for fragile, color-treated, and fine hair, use low heating, which is below 200 degrees to avoid hair damage.

As you go along, take notice of how your hair responds to heat and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Prep your hair.

If you want the curls to stay longer on your thick hair, you must put an effort into prepping your strands before curling.

Unfortunately, shampoo and conditioner can weigh your hair down making it hard to curl. So, it’s best to curl hair on the second or third day after shampooing. It may sound off but dirty hair holds the curl better!

Using the setting spray is another wise idea as it locks in your curls. Of course, be sure to use some heat protection before curling your hair!

Bonus Tip: Use a dry shampoo for greasy hair. 

Try hot rollers.

As curling thick hair can be challenging, another way to do it is to use hot rollers instead of a curling iron.

For this technique, you might need to practice on hot rollers for a bit to achieve the right kind of curl that you want to achieve.

For best results, you should at least let the hot rollers set on your hair for a minimum of ten minutes, or even longer if you’re not in a rush.

Clips are your styling friends!

Clips are useful as it helps the curls hold better. There are plenty of choices for clips – be sure to choose the ones that are capable of holding your thick tresses.

All you have to do is wrap the curl and pin it on top of your head for a few minutes. You’ll notice more volume and structure after you unpin the curl.

It is important you divide your hair neatly before curling to ensure every curl looks great and has a structure!

Hands off!

It’s tempting to run your finger on that voluminous curls. You shouldn’t (at least for a while!) as it ruins the curls that you’ve worked on. It’s also one of the reasons why curls fall off quickly.

What you can do instead is spray the hairbrush and brush your hair slowly after the curls cooled down.

One of the solutions for thick hair that doesn’t hold curls properly is to use a firm-hold hairspray. It certainly has the power to give your curls an extra hold!


Curling irons are great for styling your hair. But not all of them work like how you expect them to be. So, it is important to choose the right flat iron or heating tool to curl your hair.

As a fair warning, thick hair requires more effort especially dry hair. If you want to get the best curling results for thick hair, you should make an effort to prep your hair properly, choose the right curling wand, and learn some curling tips.

For top recommendations on the best curling iron for thick hair, check out our articles!

Leah Williams

Leah Williams is the founder of Lucky Curl and has been in the hair care and styling industry for the last 15 years. Since then, she has developed incredible expertise and a deep understanding of how to treat and style the most difficult hair types and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the readers of Lucky Curl.

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