How to Get the Look: Corkscrew Curls


Corkscrew curls don’t often get the attention they deserve. Tighter than a spiral wave, these curls have a well-defined ringlet shape that springs back and lasts for days. Cute and bouncy, they are also called spiral curls, but “corkscrew” perfectly describes their tight coil shape.

Corkscrew curls can be done on all hair lengths and textures, from thin to thick, as long as the hair isn’t super short. It’s essential to use the right hair styling products for your client’s hair type to hold curls in place with separation and definition.

Here are three ways to create corkscrew curls minus the traditional blowout and curling iron. Let your client’s hair type dictate which method is best. We suggest experimenting until you find your favorite technique.

Try Flexi Rods

Swap traditional rollers for flexi rods, which are soft, bendable foam tubes. They stay in place without clips or pins, and are easy to use on all hair types. Since they don’t use heat, they are great for coarse and naturally curly hair that is dry and tends to frizz.

Here’s how: Start with hair that is wet, damp or up to 90 percent dry and then prep with a curl cream, gel or mousse. Section off one-inch pieces and roll the hair up the rod, end to root.

Flexi rods come in different lengths and diameters. If your client’s hair is long and thick, choose a larger rod. Medium to fine hair requires a small, slender rod. A 0.5-inch size is ideal – and don’t wind too much hair around each rod.

Use a heat-protectant spray and then ask your client to sit under the hooded dryer until their hair is completely dry. You can also use a hair dryer, or wait to air dry for a heat-free method. As you take out the rods, style the curls gently with your fingers.

Finger Coils for Textured Hair

If your client has naturally curly, coarse, thick or textured hair, create a corkscrew-like look using finger coils. Start with a moisturizing shampoo and hydrating leave-in conditioner, followed by curl-enhancing cream or gel for extra hold and definition.

While the hair is still wet, separate it into four main sections using alligator clips. Start with a 1-inch section of hair, twirling it around your finger, from roots to ends. You can alternate the twirl direction and continue until all hair is coiled.

It may take some time to finish twirling all your client’s hair, so have a spray bottle on hand to mist dry sections with water. This style can last over a week, so it’s perfect for a long-lasting, low-maintenance look.

Separate and style when the hair is completely dry. You can air dry, use a blow-dryer with a diffuser or a hooded dryer. Try a hydrating spray oil for a shiny finish.

Steam Rollers

Steam rollers can create a variety of waves and curl patterns, and they use non-damaging low-heat. Rollers with a smaller diameter will create corkscrew curls on medium-length hair and are ideal for thinner hair. The larger size rollers will create a similar look, with slightly looser curls on longer hair. They work quickly, sometimes within 20 minutes.

Hold a roller at the end of a section of hair and then roll it up to the scalp. Using this technique will create a tighter curl.

Final Tips

woman with long curly hair

Corkscrew curls are more versatile than you might think when it comes to styling options. After curling your client’s hair, try adding a side part or bangs. A pinned-back style is great for longer locks.

Advise your clients to touch their hair as little as possible to help curls keep their shape longer. Let them know that a silk scarf or cap will protect curls from frizz at night and encourage them to keep the shampoo sessions to two or three times a week.

No matter which curling technique you use, always hold corkscrew curls in place by finishing with hair spray, which is essential in any hairstylist’s kit of hair salon supplies. Try Big SexyHair products for the ultimate in hold and texture for your client’s hair.


Share Your Feedback

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments