How to Create Ringlets Without a Curling Iron

Updated April 17, 2017

Spiral ringlets are a beautiful way to create soft, feminine hairstyles. The process also helps to smooth frizzy hair and tame out of control curls. Blow-drying the hair completely and then using a curling iron to create locks is tedious and damaging to hair strands. Here's a method that's gentler on hair and will create perfect ringlets without using the curling iron at all.

Wash and condition hair using a curl enhancing shampoo and conditioner. Wrap hair in a towel for 5 minutes to absorb excess moisture.

Use a soft-tipped paddle-brush or detangling comb on hair, one section at a time, to smooth away any knots or snarls.

Work curl enhancing mousse throughout the entire head of hair. Start with the ends and work in sections, and then comb through from the crown down.

Blow-dry hair for 1 to 2 minutes on a medium setting using a diffuser attachment or self-contained diffuser dryer. Scrunch occasionally with your fingers to encourage curling. Do NOT dry the hair completely. The blow-drying is simply to keep hair from dripping; the hair should still be fairly wet when you start to make the curls.

Start near your face. Take a -inch section of hair, starting at the scalp, and either twist the section around one finger over and over, or use two hands to turn the hair--whichever works best for you. Turn until the entire section is twisted from end to scalp.

Hold the end of the first strand while you twist another. Once you have two twisted strands, use the claw clip to hold them together. If you have layered hair or long fringe, you should use a smaller clip to hold these shorter strands together.

Twist the hair surrounding the face first. Work fast to get all the hair twisted before it dries. Then separate the hair in the back into two sections. Twist 1-inch locks out of each section, starting at the crown and then moving on to lower layers. Use as many clips as necessary to secure the ends.

Leave the hair in clips for 20 to 30 minutes for thick, wavy or curly hair. Finer, straighter hair will need 1 to 2 hours to set the curl.

Remove hair clips and scrunch the ends with your fingers. As the hair air dries, you can keep scrunching to loosen the curls. The more you shake it up, the less defined the ringlets and locks will be.

Style as desired. Pull the sides back with barrettes or clips, or curve fringe and sides back to create a rounded 40s style hairdo. Twisted ringlet locks also add beauty and interest to an updo.


Put on an old cotton or flannel button-down shirt before you start. An oversized, thick shirt can go right over your work clothes. The soft material won't tear at your hair as you work, and will absorb excess moisture from your curls. It also acts as a barrier to prevent water spots or hair product stains on your clothing. Experiment with curl sizes and drying times. Twisting smaller sections of hair will make tighter curls, and leaving twists clipped until completely dry will set in stronger curls. Twisted hair looks pretty even while still drying, so there's no need to stay home all day waiting for your hair to curl. Clip the hair back from your face or use colourful or embellished ponytail holders to hold twists in place. If you have a long commute, you can wear clips in the car, then take them out to release perfect ringlet locks when you arrive at work.

Things You'll Need

  • Curl enhancing shampoo and conditioner
  • Curl enhancing styling mousse
  • Soft-tipped paddle brush or detangler comb
  • Diffuser or blow-dryer with diffuser attachment
  • Claw clips
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About the Author

Valerie David has been a professional writer for over a decade, composing articles for,, IMDB, and her own TV news blog. She has also been published in fiction, with short romantic stories and a manga comic script. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with extensive background as a research librarian.