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How To Style Curly Hair for 100% More Volume

How To Style Curly Hair for 100% More Volume
Carly Jacobs

Well maybe not 100% more volume unless you want to back comb it with a hell of a lot of hairspray but these are my tips for how to style curly hair and get extra volume in hair that’s a bit over it. I’ve been meaning to put this post together for ages but there are several reasons why I haven’t.

1. My hair routine changes all the time so if I write down what I’m doing it’s sure to become redundant almost immediately.

2. People are weird about hair and the last time I wrote about how I changed my hair routine I got a truly bizarre email from some woman in the states who had been following my old routine and was properly pissed off that I didn’t update it with the new one quick enough. Calm down, Anne. I’m just a chick from Australia with curly hair. I’m wholly unqualified to be your hair Messiah and any positive results you garnered from my previous routine were almost certainly coincidental. I heartily recommend you take the following advice with a giant grain of salt… and a tequila shot.

3. This information is only relevant to people with curly hair which probably isn’t most of my readership and I hate boring people with irrelevant stuff. Soz to my straight-haired sisters. Can I interest you in an article about moving house? Productivity? Time and money-saving food hacks? There’s something for everyone here at Smaggle!

How To Style Curly Hair

A few facts to kick things off –

  • I’ve been pregnant/breastfeeding for the last year and a half. I honestly don’t think it’s changed my hair too much. My hair is a separate entity to the rest of me and has changed its mind about what it wants to look like every few months for my whole life. I don’t think pregnancy or breastfeeding has been any different. Same old weird shit in my opinion.
  • I have fine hair – I have lots of it so it gives the illusion that it’s thick but it’s not.
  • My main goal in life is to have the biggest, wildest, most voluminous hair possible which is getting harder as I get older. Don’t get me wrong – I love my hair, it’s great. I’m just super greedy and I want it fabulous and enormous at all times. I had a full-on white girl fro when I was a teenager and it was epic. TBH, the less intense volume and soft/bigger curls I have now was what I wanted in high school… and now all I want is that super tight, sheep’s wool/Brillo pad beast of a mane I had when I was 16. It’s always the way, isn’t it?
  • I’ve dabbled with the Curly Girl Method and was following it fairly closely until my daughter was about 4 months old and I started noticing I was losing hair in the shower. I got permission from Hair Romance (my hair Yoda) to ditch the CG method and use whatever I needed to get my hair to do what I want it to do. I’ll revisit CG again when I’m done breastfeeding but I’m taking a break from it for now.
  • The CG method is where you don’t use silicones, parabens or alcohols on your hair and the theory is that it allows your hair to do what it does naturally (curl) and repair any damage you may have done to your hair. You’re also not supposed to colour or use heat styling tools or blow-dry your hair. Even at the height of being a CG girl, I still coloured my hair (using low ammonia dyes but still not CG friendly) and I always blow dry my hair because if I didn’t, it would NEVER be dry. For real, the Curly Girl method advocates for letting your hair dry naturally and it would take the heat of a thousand suns or a lengthy trip to Mars for my hair to dry naturally in less than 5 days. Not going to happen. My hair hates silicone (makes it limp and squishy) but it LOVES alcohol (makes it big and bouncy) so if you go down the CG path, you don’t have to be stoic about it. I was in the beginning but it can get pretty intense so just do what works for you. Plus a lot of the CG techniques take HOURS and are really labour intensive and I just don’t care enough about my hair to spend 4 hours with it wrapped in a towel every night. Plus the typical CG results are soft, sausage like, overly moisturised ringlets which are not my bag at all. I want Helena Bonham Carter hair, not Shirley Temple.

How To Style Curly Hair

How To Style Curly Hair


I wash once a week (usually on Sundays) but sometimes I stretch it to ten days if my hair is still looking good. My hair has a scale of excellence where it looks better the dirtier it is until it falls off a cliff and then I look disgusting. I usually wash it one day before that happens. I use Nioxin Shampoo (not CG friendly) and give my scalp a good massage and then follow it with Nioxin Conditioner. I use the number 3 combo for light thinning for coloured hair but there are different numbers for different needs. Then I rinse and apply Garnier Hair Food in Papaya while my hair is still quite wet. This is a CG friendly product and it’s excellent. I use it as my leave-in. I ‘squish to condish’ and jump out of the shower.

How To Style Curly Hair


I apply the Nioxin serum to my scalp. The bottle says you’re supposed to use it every day when you wash your hair but I only wash my hair once a week and like hell I’m going to do it every day. I’ll sometimes do a mid-week application of the serum on dry hair when I remember. I use a 20 cent piece size dab of Deva Curl Beautiful Mess (CG friendly) and work it through my hair, concentrating on the roots (that’s where all the sneaky volume hides). Then I squish the product through and pop it in a microfibre towel for about half an hour. My daughter finds this thoroughly amusing. She’ll just stare at me as if saying ‘Mum… You know your hair is gone right?’.


I dry my hair upside down squishing with the microfibre towel as I dry. When it’s about 70% dry I spray my hair with sea salt spray. I sometimes make it myself (which is CG friendly) but when I don’t, I just use whatever I find, hopefully, something low in parabens and silicones but a little alcohol seems to be okay on my hair – I’m currently using Juuce Sea Air Mist which isn’t CG but is sulphate and paraben-free. I just grabbed it at the hairdresser and it’s pretty great. Then I dry my hair almost completely and pop it in a claw clip overnight. I like clips that are flat on the bottom otherwise they dig into your scalp. Also the microfibre towel I use isn’t fancy at all. It’s actually a weird towel thing I found in a bag of microfibre towel scraps we bought.

How To Style Curly Hair

Next day style 

I sleep with my hair in the clip and when I take it out the next day it usually looks okay. When I exercise I put it up in a ponytail with a telephone cord style hair tie. 

If it’s particularly flat in the morning I’ll spritz it with water/leave-in conditioner combo and some sea salt spray and dry it with my Dyson. Takes 2 seconds and gives extra volume.


I just sweat on my hair and then let it dry. I’m a weird unicorn whose hair looks better the dirtier/sweatier it gets. I get rad volume and that proper messy Parisian girl look. I look like rubbish when I walk out of a hairdresser but I look like a freaking supermodel after ten days of camping. It’s a weird gift.

How To Style Curly Hair

Bad hair Days 

I chuck my hair in a hair tie and put on a headscarf and tie it turban style. You look immediately elegant and it’s an excellent way to fake volume.

I don’t do any deep conditioning or weekly intense treatments. Personally, I find overly moisturised and conditioned hair is the enemy of volume.

How To Style Curly Hair

So that’s it! That’s my current hair routine.

How do you style curly hair?

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  1. Lizzie 5 years ago

    Love this! Funny and real. Love your hair. My hair is like a box of chocolates, and these days I find I am going with each day’s surprise. More volume more crazy. Love it. Cheers for your post.

  2. Jane 5 years ago

    I use a cheap conditioner to co-wash botanique and then deva curl squish to condish, wide tooth comb. I leave in Akin then deva curl creme – can also gel over – depending on humidity levels.

    Plop hair using a baby Muslin for 5 and then leave to air dry

    I do think my hair is much curlier than yours, so needs a lot of moisturiser

  3. Llania 5 years ago

    Absolutely love this, been looking for something like this for ages. I only wash my hair once a week also and find my curls look better after the beach or gym! Thanks for writing not many people get curly hair and I’ll be sure to give some of your tips a red hot go!!

  4. Jodie 5 years ago

    I have been considering dying my hair (hello sneaky glitter in my hair!) do you colour at home and if so what brand do you recommend?


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