How to crimp hair

Crimped hair from the 80s: how to crimp your hair and the best products to use

Crimping is making waves (no pun intended) on social media. Here, a celebrity hairstylist explains how to achieve the look at home.

Go on social media and your feed is bound to be flooded with retro hairstyles, from curtain bangs to shaggy layers. One other trend getting a lot of love at the moment is crimping, a hairstyle often attributed to dominating the 80s.

The invention of crimping irons were actually inspired by Barbra Streisand in the 70s. Her hairstylist at the time, Geri Cusenza, grew tired of crimping Streisand’s hair with tiny braids when styling the singer for her Butterfly album cover. So, Cusenza asked her brother-in-law, an engineer, to help design a crimping first.

While it’s being heralded as a comeback-trend, hair crimping never really went anywhere, as countless celebrities, particularly Black artists, have crimped their hair over the years, including Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Laverne Cox, Beyoncé Knowles and Nicki Minaj

Even Streisand herself wore the hairstyle numerous times in recent years. Plus, numerous fashion shows have seen models walk down the runway with crimped hair season after season.

But now, the hairstyle is gaining more traction on social media – and it’s about time. The zig-zag effect of crimping adds instant volume to all hair types and textures and, thanks to hair tool innovations, can be easily achieved with crimping irons or wavers.

Here, Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel, runs through what you need to know about hair crimping. Plus, we round up the best products to help you achieve the look.

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What is hair crimping?

“The crimped hair look is an incredibly versatile zig-zag, wavy texture, suitable for all hair types, textures and lengths. Crimping is a session stylist’s secret to creating incredible and purposeful volume and can be anything from a tighter wave through to a loose, soft look.”

What makes crimping so stylish?

“We’ve seen a lot of 60s and 70s styles become popular in haircare, and crimping is just another look adding to that retro feel. The 80s look has had an update and rather than tight waves, we are now beginning to see a movement to more mermaid wave crimping that is looser and softer. This modern crimp look is more deliberate and tighter than beach waves, but just as casual and wearable.”

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How do you prep and finish hair when crimping?

“When creating your crimped hair look, prep is one of the most important things – it’s the foundations to your look.

“Use a product that not only offers heat protection but also aids the look to last. I love the L’Oréal Professionnel’s Blow-dry Fluidifier, £11.95, for this – not only a heat protector, but the product contains proteins that help the hair to mould when applying heat for easy styling and maximum hold.

“Crimping hair can also require a lot of heat so ensure you are maintaining hair health with a weekly mask to keep hair healthy, restored and protected.

“If you have a looser curl pattern, you can create the look by blowing out the hair and applying a heat iron crimper either throughout the hair, or on certain areas to add definition and texture. With this option, again, it’s very important to use a good heat protection on the hair. Another option is to use a wig to create the crimped look to minimise heat used on the hair.

“The modern crimp is an effortless, soft and moveable wave, so ensure you finish with a lightweight hairspray to hold the look in place without weighing it down. I also love this look with some raw texture. Take a texturising powder and scrunch into ends and mid-lengths.”

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