How to Pin Curl Long Hair

This tutorial is long and meandering, but I pinky-swear promise that figuring out how to pin curl long hair is not difficult. Once you get used to doing it, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to curl and less than 10 minutes to style once the curls are dry.

The whole idea behind pin curling is that the curls can be brushed out into smooth waves that frame the face. With long hair, the curls no longer frame the face, but instead are brushed into gentle waves.

Finally, the thing to remember about pin curls is that the way I curl my hair may end up being very different from the way you like to curl yours. How I curl my hair may look kinda crappy on your head. I recommend trying pin curling several times, curling and styling the hair in different ways, you find what suits you.

Just like rag curling, this is a wet-set. Do this at night and sleep on the curls, or pin it in the morning and take them out at night. If your hair starts to get too dry while you’re curling it, wet it back down again to make it more manageable.

To pin curl your hair, you will need:
– Damp hair
Setting lotion or other styling product (optional)
– A comb
– Bobby pins or double prong clips (I prefer the clips)
– A scarf (optional)

First, brush your hair to remove tangles. If your hair doesn’t like to hold a curl, apply setting lotion or whatever product you like. Make sure the hair isn’t too wet, or the curls won’t dry. Part your hair wherever you prefer.

I like to start with the sides of my head. The photo below illustrates how I curl the sides – 2 rows of 2 curls for a total of 4 curls on each side of my head. The circles represent the curls.


Start with the sides, top row, first curl. Take a section of hair about 1 inch by 2 inches. Wrap the ends around 2 or 3 fingers. Then remove your fingers from the curl, keeping the curl intact. Roll the curl all the way up to your scalp. Secure it with 2 bobby pins crossed in an X shape or with an alligator clip. If your hair is quite long, the curls will be large and may be difficult to secure to your head. Use additional clips or pins as necessary.



Repeat with the first curl, bottom row.


Then finish the remaining curls.

I do one large curl on the top of my head.

Then I curl the other side of my head just like the first side.


The back of my head ends up being a free-for-all. I fit the curls in wherever I can.



To protect the curls I like to tie a scarf around my head.

So. Keep the curls in for 8-12 hours. I like to do this at night, sleep on the curls, and take them out in the morning.

Remove all the bobby pins or clips. There’s no elegant way to do this, just get in there and go nuts.


Next, get thee a brush and ATTACK! Well, okay, don’t attack your head. Bad advice. Take one curl at a time and gently brush it in the direction you want it to go. The hair will hold this shape once its been brushed. I wanted the hair to curl towards my face, so I brushed it in that direction.


The difference between the two sides – the side I brushed is soft and wavy, the unbrushed side is still tightly curled.


Brush out each curl. If you’re brushing them all the same direction, then you can brush whole sections of hair at a time instead of each individual curl. Note – some people prefer to use a round brush for this. I kid you not, the one time I tried that, I got the brush stuck in my hair. So yeah. I prefer a paddle brush.

When you’re all done, it will look something like this. Ignore the flyaways. Ahem.


Give it a try!


10 thoughts on “How to Pin Curl Long Hair

  1. I just discovered your site and it's amazing. I've always wanted to find easy ways and instructions to create perfect curls. And just so you know I'm a 11 year old girl who is curling iron-less.

  2. You must be the classiest lady ever. This is great.Also, I too have a dislike (fear) of round brushes. Getting that thing stuck in my hair, and then unstuck, was one of the worst experiences ever.

  3. Love the hair, I will have to try this! I usually go for a french braid in damp hair with loads of coconut oil, but curls might look nicer sometimes.Also, from certain angles, you look so much like me with my glasses on that it's slightly terrifying. When I saw your first photo I had to do a double take…

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