How to Give Yourself Big-Ass Curls in 20 Minutes

Do you remember that fateful day in July when Haley was acting like a drill sergeant and effectively demanded that five Man Repeller volunteers try out celebrity hairstyles they have heretofore been too afraid to try? I, for one, opted for the very dramatic, very slicked back ponytail. It made me feel like my dad circa 1988 and really accentuated the Jew in my nose if you know what I am saying. Haley tried something similar, and so did Amelia, come to think of it, but no one saw such sweet aesthetic victory the way that our very own Harling “Big Pants” Ross did.

She tried a huge, brushed-out-curls style, which made her look like a g-dang manic pixie dream girl from the 1970s or something. No one could get over it! And by no one, I mean me, which is why I dutifully enlisted the help of friend and ally Paul Fox of Paul Fox Salon to recreate the same hairstyle on me.

I masqueraded the motivation as a plea to service the community: “It will be very helpful for those who want to learn more about how to style their heads silly!” The truth is, though, I’m a hairstyle thief. Considering the range of emotions I have weathered in relation to it (first hating it, then cutting it, then growing it, then loving it,) I feel not at all bad about it. I’d say more, but what’s the point? Details are in the slideshow above, although the fast track is in the before-and-after side-by-side photos as captured riiiiight below.

Wait! Actually, here is a stack of all the products Fox used in my hair to help me get the lewk. If you have straight hair, before you apply product #1 (Oribe’s Matte Waves), you should braid your hair and sleep in the braids.

Okay! I think covers all of it. Bye now.

Hair by Paul Fox of Paul Fox Salon. Photos by Edith Young. 

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  • Jennifer

    Looks great Leandra!

  • Leliforever

    I like the before AND the after.
    And I really love your skin…

  • TheRanta

    Those super-curly curls look amazing! You should cultivate that shizz.

  • Anja

    step 5!! step 5!!!!!

  • Hayley

    Looks amazing!

  • WHY? Why did you let me do this a day too early:

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  • Ashley

    ugh but how do I get this look without the texture spray! I don’t neeeed texture. Can I just skip it? HALP

  • Lola

    Leandra, your hair looks amazing in step 5!! I also gave up straightening my hair in my twenties, now in my mid thirties, I love my messy waves. I have tried so many products, but my favorite is bumble and bumble hair undressing creme, it’s not even meant for curly hair, but I just add it to my hair after the shower and air dry, it gives great texture to my waves and has a matte finish, which I surprisingly love. I love reading about your hair journey.

  • If I’m braiding my stick straight hair to get kink then wetting it to then blow dry it, the kink will disappear!

    • Basil

      Yes – that’s what I’m wondering too. Maybe there’s no hope for the straight of hair?

      • Emmie

        i think that’s gotta be it

  • me

    Thanks for the step by step demo – wow !

    Wouldve loved to have seen more photos of Paul blowdrying/styling the front of your hair: that’s the part I always struggle with. Would love some pro tips from Paul : )

  • SpiritAndCourage

    Do not understand how you get from step 5 to step 7 without ruining the curls and ending up a fluffy poodle.
    — from a part-time fluffy poodle

  • My hair is naturally pic 7. My goal for the day is that it stays as calms as step 0. 😅😅

  • ReadER451

    HELLLLOOOoooo Nurse! Lookin great, Leandra!

  • marina

    Leandra, I would love to know your hair-drying routine! My hair would look exactly like yours in step 5 if I used a diffuser, but I don’t and I prefer it a bit straighter too, so I usually just hate it the day I wash it (I put some product and let it air dry), then apply a bit of coconut oil when it’s dry and hope it will look good later/the day after.

    I don’t have a habit of blow drying it straight (and to do it well and sleek I think I’d have to go to a salon), but I have an under used blow dryer at home and I really really love the way you wear it wavy, it’s so loose and cool. I’d really like to learn a few tricks on achieving that look 🙂

  • Megan

    It looks good at the end but STEP 5 is INCREDIBLE. Also, this is my favourite website, thank you Leandra et al for all the great content!

  • stephanie

    really confused how step 8 flows into step 9 but it looks GREAT

    • pamb

      You need to be a professional hair stylist to go from 8 to 9, lol

    • Jeanie

      I think he blowdried the top parts straight.

  • Jenna Frances Nimar

    What’s Paul’s brush of choice? It looks like some flat boar head dream!

  • Bo

    I would have freaked out with deLIGHT over step 5

    • Charlie

      Me too! Step 5 is stunnning!

  • Curly hair has been the bane of my existence since self awareness set in. I spend at least the amount of time you spent to get curls to not look like the photo for step 5. For those who care, here’s my post on the subject.

    • Pterodactyl111

      I have curly hair and I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to try to fight the natural texture every day. Let it air dry one day and see what happens. I also stopped using shampoo and products with silicones, which helped immensely with the frizz. I wash my hair everyday, but I use conditioner not shampoo. It’s called the curly girl method.

      • Michelle

        I started the curly girl method too, just 1 week ago and the difference in my hair is incredible to me. I have thick very wavy hair and have battled frizz since I was in my teens. I’ve been straightening it for the last 20 years to deal with the frizz. 1 week of no silicone hair products or sulphates, and my hair is curlier, shiny and frizz free. Who knew it was the products drying our hair out??!

        • Pterodactyl111

          I know, right????

      • Thanks for the tip, I really should try it but the truth is though I like curly hair on others I just don’t like it on me. Anyway should really take a Saturday in solitude and give it a shot!

    • Jeanie

      I love curls. In your post you have three photos of you with enviable hair, so I have no idea what you’re talking about. I think there was unfair stigma against curls back in the day, but modern style is all about diversity. Curls are amazing and I’m envious.

      • Hi Jeanie, The photos I posted were on good hair days, throw a little humidity into the mix and I’m cooked. But thanks for the compliment and you’re right, I should get over my own self imposed stigma!

        • Jeanie

          We all have bad hair days though, haha. I have straight hair, and I am not excused from bad hair days either. Lets just measure our hair based on their best days 😀

  • starryhye

    Leandra!!!! I love this babelicious hair on you!

  • C. Killion

    But I kinda liked picture #7 hair, looks great! Despite what your face is saying, the hair looks good.

  • Fayla Garcia

    #5 gives me life. Beautiful locks my dear.

  • Steffie Neve

    Really cool hair! And a funny read aswell 🙂 I just came across this site, and I’m in love!

  • omg looks AMAZING

  • Alessia

    you look so prettyyyyyy

  • tinygoldenpins

    #5 is my favorite!!!! So cute! Does the finished photo hair really need that much work? It looks a lot like your “before” look with the bit of swoop at the top. Could you just….finger comb your hair over or is that presuming a bit too much?

  • I definitely get stuck at Step 5! My hair is wavy and can be particularly frizzy around my face. It’s also fine, which means if I’m not careful with air-drying I can look like I have a frothy halo around my face. I’ve never been happy with my hair after a diffuser, and all I think of is disaster when I see one. The defuser that came with my Dyson blowdryer is literally still in the box somewhere…

  • kforkarli

    WOAH! That is A+ hair. So gorgeous!