Skip to Content

Straw Curls: How to Curl Your Hair with Straws (and Rubber Bands)

Cute biracial curly-haired girl with spiral curls taking a selfie while sitting in an outdoor bar on a sunny summer day.

If you want bouncy, defined curls, go to your kitchen and grab some plastic straws! Most people have no idea that you can curl your hair with regular old drinking straws.

Yet, those who try a straw set become believers instantly. Whether you are trying to perfect your straw set technique or you’re new to straw curls, this is the article for you.

We will take you through the step-by-step process of how to curl your hair with straws.

How to Curl Your Hair With Straws and Rubber Bands (Optional)

An attractive biracial girl with natural curls takes a photo with her iPhone while sitting at an outdoor bar on a sunny summer day wearing an orange shirt and blue jean shorts.

Achieving a perfect straw set is possible with a little bit of guidance and step-by-step instructions. In the following sections, we’ll teach you exactly how to do an excellent straw set.

Gather Your Supplies

If you attempt to do a straw set without the right supplies, you’re starting on the wrong foot. Be prepared by gathering all of the supplies you’ll need, including: 

  • Straws: Regular drinking straws will do just fine.
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Pick
  • Styler: Two great styling gels are Eco Styler gel and Deva Curl Styling Cream
  • Bobby pins 
  • A blow dryer or hooded dryer (optional)
  • Rubber bands (optional)
  • Silk or satin scarf/bonnet (optional)
  • Hair oil of your choice
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Moisturizer
  • Scissors
  • Brush: A Denman Brush will get your curls perfectly detangled. 

Prep Your Straws

A dazzling young curly hair Brazilian female with tight ringlets admiring her hairstyle enjoying the sun while sitting in a cafe outdoors with her laptop and the glass of orange drink.

Now that you’ve got all of your supplies, it’s time to prepare your straws for styling. Cut each straw so that it matches your hair’s length.

You can try wrapping your hair around a straw to estimate how short you need to cut them. 

If you have very long hair, you may not need to cut your straws. 

Wash, Condition, and Moisturize Your Hair

Before curling your hair with straws, prepare your natural hair by washing and conditioning it. In the following sections, we will give you helpful tips and instructions for properly prepping your natural hair. 

Wash Your Hair

African-American female with naturally curly heatless curls carrying an Android cellphone on a summer city street typing a message while standing outdoors near a glass wall.

We recommend washing your hair with a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo. This will ensure that your hair is hydrated, which will make the style look better in the end.

Stay far away from sulfate-laden shampoos that zap all the moisture from your hair.

Condition Your Hair 

We recommend that you use a hydrating conditioner that will leave your hair supple and elastic. 

Since you will be wrapping your hair around straws, the elasticity of your hair is important. Stiff, dry hair will not take to the shape of the straws well. 

If your hair is extremely dry, you may need to use a deep conditioner to bring your hair back to life. A deep conditioner will impart heavy-duty moisture to your strands in preparation for styling.

Your hair should be adequately moisturized before styling because you won’t be able to put water on your hair after doing your straw curls (unless you want the curls to revert). 

Moisturize Your Hair

A young cheerful flirtatious curly-haired biracial female with flexi rods standing outdoors is leaning against the stone column while typing a message using the smartphone.

After you’re done washing your hair, please don’t allow your hair to air dry. Instead, go right into the moisturizing step.

Use your favorite moisturizing cream or butter. If you’re an oil lover, break out your favorite essential oil

Whichever moisturizer you decide to use, beware of applying too much, as this could weigh your straw curls down. 

Begin the Styling Process for Your Straw Set

A thoughtful dazzling young biracial female leaning against the mirror wall outdoors.

Once your hair is washed, dried, and moisturized, it’s time to begin styling. Take the following steps to achieve the perfect straw set.

Section your hair

To make the styling process as painless as possible, part your hair into at least four sections. Use your fingers or a comb to do the parting.

If your hair is extremely thick, you may want to create more sections. The point of this step is to make the styling process easy for you.

Braid your hair or use a rubber band to hold each of the sections in place.

Part Out a Section of Hair

A young African American women with a straw set on type 3c naturally curly hair is having a phone conversation on her iPhone with her boyfriend, smiling while leaning against the wall.

Part out a section of hair with your fingers or a comb. The section should be small to medium-sized, or ½  inch to 1-inch in size. 

If you make the sections too large, especially if you have coarse hair, the finished result may not be smooth. 

Apply Your Styler 

The next step is to apply a styler to the section of hair that you just parted. Apply just enough product to saturate your strands.

Don’t use too much styler, as it can weigh the hair down.

You should also make sure to apply the styler liberally to your ends. This will ensure that your ends come out smooth. 

Once the styler is on your first section of hair, use a Denman brush to remove any tangles.

Install Your Straws

A cheerful young Brazilian female with a medium curly hairstyle is leaning against the wall on a partly dark street corner.

Now, it’s time to install the straws. Follow the steps below to set your hair like a pro: 

  • Wrap the ends of your hair around a straw. Wrap your hair around itself at least two times. This will secure your ends to the straw. If this part is not executed correctly, your hair won’t stay on the straw.
  • Wrap your hair around the straw in a diagonal upward motion until you reach your roots. 
  • Add a bobby pin to secure the straw. Slide it into the top of the straw and clamp it onto your roots. This will ensure that the straw doesn’t unwind. 
  • Repeat this process all over your entire head.

Note: If your hair doesn’t stay on the straw, you can put a bobby pin on the bottom of the straw as well. This will minimize the chance of your hair unwinding.

Dry Your Hair 

A wide-angle shot of a beautiful young African-American female with type 3a curly hair.

Once the straws have been installed, allow your hair to dry. You can use one of several drying methods, including:

  • Air drying your hair. You can allow your hair to dry during the day as it is, or you can put on a silk scarf or bonnet and air dry it overnight. Many people don’t like air drying because this method can take a long time. But the main benefit of air drying is that it doesn’t use heat, so it is not damaging to the hair. 
  • Sitting under a hooded dryer. The alternative to allowing your hair to air dry is sitting under a hooded dryer. If you decide to use a hooded dryer, your hair may be dry within 30 minutes to an hour. If you use this method to dry your hair, try to minimize the dryer’s heat level to reduce the chances of heat damage.
  • Using a blow dryer. We don’t recommend a blow dryer as the first choice to dry your straw set, and this is because the strong air can cause unnecessary frizz. However, if all you have in the house is a blow dryer, you can use it so long as you don’t place the blow dryer too close to your hair.

Check for Dryness and Remove All the Straws

Young African American female with a tighter curl pattern.

When you think your hair is dry, choose random straws and check them for dryness. Your hair needs to be 100% dry for the curls to set successfully.

If your hair is the least bit moist, the curls will not last, and your natural hair texture will begin to come back.

Once you know for sure that your hair is 100% dry, it’s time to remove the straws.

Take the straws out one by one, twisting them back and forth to separate them from your hair and then unwinding them in the direction of the curl. 

To add a little shine to your hair, apply the oil of your choice. Dispense a few drops of the oil into your hands, rub them together, and then apply the oil all over your head.

Separate the Curls

A cheerful young African-American female with the cellphone in her hands is leaning on the wall with a mirror in front which reflects her image.

If you like the results after taking the straws out, you’re done! If you would like a fuller look, you can go one step further and separate the curls. 

Starting at the roots, fully separate each curl and then twirl each new section of hair in the direction of the curl. Take your time, as rushing can create unnecessary frizz. 

For extra volume, you can use a pick to fluff out your roots. Don’t pull the pick through the ends of your hair, as this will make your ends frizzy.

After your super tight curls are all fluffed and separated, you are done!

For a visual demonstration of the straw installation process, watch these in-depth straw curl tutorials by TheChicNatural and Kayley Melissa.

How to Do a Straw Set on Natural Hair

STRAW SET on NATURAL HAIR | Defined, Bouncy Curls!

How to Create Heatless Straw Curls on Straight Hair

Straw Curls - Heatless Faux Curly Hair!

How Many Straws Do You Need to Curl Your Hair?

The number of straws you need to curl your hair depends on your hair’s thickness and your desired curl size.

Someone who wants tiny straw curls and has thick hair will need more straws than someone who wants medium-sized straw curls and has thin hair. 

As a good rule of thumb, you will need to buy at least 100 straws. You may not need this many straws depending on your hair’s thickness and styling preference, but it’s better to have too many straws than not enough.  

Straw Curls and Your Hair Type

If you’re wondering if straw curls will work with your natural curl pattern, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”.

So long as you follow the above instructions, you can achieve straw curls. Any hair type can be manipulated to take on the shape of a straw. 

Straw Set Maintenance

Charming young curly hair Brazilian woman in a street cafe with the cellphone, netbook, and the glass of orange juice.

Maintaining your straw set is integral to its longevity. In the below sections, we’ll tell you how to make your straw set last. 

Protect Your Hair at Night

To keep your straw curls looking great for days (or weeks), put your hair up in one or more loose ponytails, and then put on your bonnet.

If your bonnet is too small, it can flatten your bouncy curls, ruining your style.

Keep Humidity Away

When you have a straw set, moisture is your enemy. As soon as moisture touches your curls, they will fall, and your hair will revert to its natural state.

Therefore, when you shower, your hair should be covered securely. If you plan to go around water, ensure that it gets nowhere near your hair. 

Apply Oil as Needed

Just because you should avoid water with straw sets, it does not mean that you should neglect your hair’s health.

If your hair or scalp appears dry, feel free to apply oil to your hair. It will not cause your hair to revert. 

Deal with Problem Curls

No matter what you do, some curls won’t survive the tossing and turning you do at night. To deal with those problem curls, spritz a bit of water and apply a touch of styler on any problem curls and wrap them around a straw.

It’s best if you restyle your curls at night, as your hair will need time to dry. When you wake up, take the straw out, separate, and fluff as necessary. 

How Long Do Straw Sets Last?

A relaxed curly mixed female is resting in a street bar with a glass of delicious cocktail next to her on the table.

Depending on how well you care for them, straw sets can last anywhere from a few days to a week (or more).

If you keep your hair away from water and redo some of the curls as they lose their shape, you may be able to get your straw set to last more than a week. 

Pros and Cons of Straw Curls

A laughing young curly haired Brazilian female with the smartphone, notebook and a cocktail in a street bar.

Straw sets produce some of the most beautiful curls, but the style is not perfect. In this section, we will fill you in on the pros and cons of straw curls. 


  • The look. Straw sets create some of the most uniform, bouncy, defined curls. 
  • They are easy to do.  Once you roll up your first few sections of hair, the rest will be a breeze.
  • They are cost-effective. Straw curls don’t require expensive products or tools.
  • They are great for those who are transitioning. For people transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair, straw curls are a great way to blend the two textures, creating one uniform texture. 


  • Straw curls hate water. When you shower, you have to make sure that your curls stay dry; this is easier said than done. 
  • They don’t last long. While many protective styles last for weeks, many have trouble getting their straw curls to last a week. 
  • Shrinkage. You won’t be able to see your hair’s actual length while it is in a straw set. This is a disadvantage for some. 

Straw Curls Dos and Don’ts 

Cute African American woman with perm rods taking a picture with her iPhone while sitting at an outdoor bar on a bright autumn day.

While straw sets are easy to do, there are some pitfalls to avoid. Read the following dos and don’ts to get the most out of your straw set:


  • Do straw curls on clean, moisturized hair.
  • Do cut your straws to match the length of your hair. 
  • Do protect your straw curls at night. 
  • Do buy more straws than you think you need. 


  • Don’t spray water on your straw curls to moisturize them (e.g., with a spray bottle), this will ruin your curls. 
  • Don’t rush when installing the straws. 

Related Articles

Now you know exactly how to do a straw set, and you have helpful information on making your straw set experience a great one. We hope that this article was helpful to you as you seek out information about straw curls.