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Crimping Your Hair

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 23 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
Traditional Crimping Crimping Hair

Crimping is a fashion that comes and goes, but it's also an easy way to give straight hair more vitality and a great way to try out a new look. You can adjust it to produce tight kinks or long, loose waves, and when you're bored of it, you can simply wash it out. Why not give it a try and see if it works for you?

Traditional Crimping

If you've ever braided your hair, you'll have noticed that it leaves behind waves afterwards. Traditional crimping is based on this principle, and on the fact that the longer the braids stay in, the longer the waves last.

Crimping your hair using the traditional method can take a long time, but is kind to your hair. Many people find that they enjoy the braided look before enjoying the crimped hair itself. The technique involves making lots of little braids. You can adjust the number depending on the degree of effect you're looking for - fewer braids will mean a softer wave. Bear in mind that crimped styles soften anyway over time.

When braiding your hair to create a crimped look, remember that the braids should go right up to the crown of your head, otherwise you'll be left with straight hair that suddenly changes. Some people find ways to make this look work for them, but it's hard to get it even.

In order to make the effects of traditional crimping last,. you need to leave the braids in for twelve to twenty four hours - in general, you'll need longer if you have finer hair. The best way to do it is to make the braids just before you go to bead, though if you're using a lot of them you should bear in mind that they could take over an hour to put in.

Crimping with Irons

A more convenient way to crimp hair in the modern age is to use hot crimping irons. These can be bought separately or as reverse plates on the back of straighteners - not many people need both, but a multi-tool iron can be useful if you're sharing with family or friends.

Crimping hair with irons is much quicker but does present a risk of heat damage to the hair. Try crimping the very ends of your hair first - that way if you leave the crimpers on for too long it will be less of a problem. Every individual's hair is different so you will need to experiment to see how long yours needs - the average is about thirty seconds pressed between the plates. If you have long hair, of course, it can still take quite a while to do all of it.

Because some hairsprays react badly to heat, it's a good idea not to spray your hair until the crimping is finished. First make sure that you've managed to do it evenly and don't have any straight strands hiding underneath the rest.

Caring for Crimped Hair

If you're crimping your hair regularly you will find that the process can leave it bruised, so you should use a conditioner that protects the hair shaft. Crimping with irons can dry out the hair. Don't over condition, though, or your crimps won't last as long. For the same reason, recently dyed hair can be more difficult to crimp.

Because crimped hair straightens out very quickly when it gets wet, it's a good idea to carry an umbrella or hat with you when you go out. A hat is better because it can protect your hair from both rain and general atmospheric dampness. Water repellent hairspray or mousse can help but will often make your hair look dry and rigid, diminishing the bounce that crimping can provide.

Though it can take a bit of practice to do well, crimping is one of the simplest ways to dramatically change your look, and a great way to start figuring out if a more permanent change of style might suit you.

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