How To Make Your Semi-Shit, Half Curly / Half Wavy Hair Actually Work For Once

I used to have perfect curls as a kid. Fucking PERFECT, you know? Like ringlets, with volume. Fuck growing up, because for some reason I now have the weirdest, semi-shit hair that I’ve basically tamed into submission using a hair straightener since I was 15.

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All that heat and general ripping through my strands eventually resulted in some seriously broken, crapola ends that even my hairdresser has given up on. I can’t grow my hair, I spend copious amounts of every morning trying to make it look less dead, etc etc I hate it.

I’m also about to embark on a 3 month Aussie road trip that will mean a lot of camp sites and absolutely zero power outlets, so I figured for the sake of my sanity and my strands I should probably learn how to make this mop look somewhat presentable without styling tools, you know?


Here’s me with my new natural styles:

Yeah look it’s not perfect. But it’s working. It’s good – I’m getting some strong daily compliments ok? It’s a vibe. And I’m going to tell you how to do it for yourself.


Be prepared that you’re gonna have to wash (well, at least wet) your hair every goddamn day – sometimes twice – if you want great natural curls/waves. Every time I bloody lie on my hair, it goes fucked. Your hair will look best when it dries naturally/you use a diffuser (I’ll get to this in a sec) while you’re not, well, lying down.

I tried ‘plopping’ by the way. This is where you fold your curls up into a scarf and sleep on it. Didn’t work for my curls, likely because they’re not super springy. If you *must* tie your curls and waves up, I suggest using a coil tie like these Lady Jayne Style Guards, which don’t pull on your curls too hard – if you tie them gently and don’t leave it in for hours, you don’t really ruin the style. Another op is a silk scrunchie like these Slip ones. I have a few and they also don’t pull on the curl, as long as you tie it loosely.

That being said, given you’re not spending hours drying and straightening your hair it’s not a huge task to rinse it once a day, sometimes twice. A hot tip from me – invest in one of those fast-dry hair towels. They actually work, and it means you go from wet to slightly damp, ready-for-style-products hair in a few minutes. I used this Aquis one from Mecca, and it’s my new favourite thing I swear.


This was tricky. I tried a lot of different products, a new one each day in fact, to determine what would work for my hair. Turns out mousse is the answer – not the awful, crunchy kind (they’re actually rarely like that anymore) but the ones that add volume and hold for your curls and waves.

See my biggest issue is that half my head goes nice and curly with nothing in it whatsoever, and the other half looks like hot, half-flat shit for some reason. I need something relatively heavy duty to get my strands in order, without added weight.

The two stand-out products I now swear by are evo’s Whip It Good:

And Aveda’s Phomollient:

Both give me airy, voluminous waves and curls without the crunch. I also like to add in a bit of Aveda Texture Tonic for some grit, so through the day I can shake the roots and scrunch the mid-lengths to make it even bigger, you know?

That being said, I’ve found some MVP’s for people with different hair types. If you’ve just got waves and want a little hold and definition, I recommend bumble & bumble Don’t Blow It. It’s a light cream designed to keep frizz at bay, and I reckon folks who need less volume would love it.

bumble & bumble have another amazing product called Brilliantine, which is a little thicker than Don’t Blow It and is amazing for boosting curls and waves when your hair is dry – sometimes it can make slept-on bed hair look great again, even!

For anyone with coarse hair, go for these thicker products: Kevin.Murphy Killer Curls was WAY too intense for my hair, but felt like it had the hold and moisture that would be excellent for anyone with coarse, unruly curls. Ditto for TIGI Bed Head Curl Recall

One product I found invaluable for a little extra oomph through the day was Ouai Dry Texture Foam, which you can get at Sephora. It seems terrifying to add foam to dry hair, but it really works to give flexible texture and piece-y separation – no matter what I’m left with after my hair dries, it seems to make that look BETTER, you know? Sexier.


While on the weekends I’ve been letting my hair air dry, and once I head off on my road trip that’ll be an everyday occurrence. But for work, I’ve been using a diffuser.

What the fuck is a diffuser, you say? Or do you already know what it is. If you do, congrats. If you don’t – it’s basically that weird conical attachment you got with your hairdryer. it clips onto the nozzle to dispense the hot air in a less intense way, so curls dry quickly but with their natural spiral as opposed to a frizzy blown-out mess.

I SWEAR by my Dyson hairdryer. YES, I didn’t pay for it. YES, they’re really expensive. But I am honestly telling you it’s amazing to dry your hair as flat as possible (it’s got a styling nozzle that you send down the hair shaft to flatten it, for less straightening time – yay) as well as drying curly hair with the diffuser. IDK, it just seems to dry my hair quickly, ok? And I hate waiting.

But most hairdryers will come with the diffuser attachment, and most will work well. Basically you dry upwards, letting your hair fall into the diffuser so it’s scrunching as you go. You can also use the poky stick bits to add volume at the roots.


Look, the best thing I’ve found using my mousse/diffusing combo is that the final textured look kind of works with a little puffiness and frizz. You can rake your fingers through curls like that, and not freak out if they get a bit floofy, you know? So my take is – yes to brushing, if you want a really soft finish with a little frizz.

At the very least, what I’ve found is you get a perfect, undone finish if you rake through the curls a little once they’re dry. Sometimes I add too much product and get a few crunchy ones, or the top goes a little flat, and in those cases I’ve found a bit of finger-shaking and so on gets me the look I was going for.

Oof! That was a long one. Hope I’ve helped you out with your own endeavours toward making shit hair look good without the straightener.