When it comes to hairstyles and trends that have made a comeback, crimped hair is definitely the biggest surprise of all! A major beauty trend from the 80s and 90s, pop stars and celebrities could not get enough of it this year. And even though it lay pretty low in the 2000s and 2010s, it has made a comeback this decade and 2020 has been declared the year of the crimp! Popularised by African American celebrities and beauty influencers belonging to a number of different ethnicities, crimped hair has found acceptance everywhere.

But what exactly is crimped hair? Crimped hair is created on straight or straightened hair with the help of a crimping tool to create a zig-zag and wavy texture. However, it is different from loose curls or traditional wavy hairstyles in that it is intended to look frizzy and have an ultra-voluminous finish. Without a doubt, crimping is a statement look to create and here’s how you can do it on your own. Plus, some trending hairstyles to wear crimped hair in, we have all the deets right here!


How to crimp hair

How to crimp hair

A step-by-step guide on crimping hair Here is a step-by-step guide on crimping your hair the right way:

Step 1: Wash your hair

Unlike hairstyles like sleek buns or Dutch braids, which look better on day 2 hair, crimping is best done on freshly washed hair. This is done to ensure that no gunk or oil will weigh down the style and keep its voluminous aesthetic intact.

Step 2: Prep your hair

Much like makeup, it is important to prep your hair before treating it. Start off with a heat protectant spray which will prevent damage and reduce blow-drying time. Follow up with a texturising spray or cream to a chunky finish to your mane.

Step 3: Blow-dry it

Crimping best shows up on straightened hair, which is why you can use a blow-dryer and bristle brush to render your tresses straighter than it’s natural texture. Once straight, brush out any knots and tangles to have a completely sleek base to start crimping on.

Step 4: Section your hair

Section your mane into the top and bottom parts first and then grab some lobster clips to further divide them into a left and right side. Depending on the kind of crimp, decide on the thickness of these sections. Wide sections will give you a clean and sleek crimped hairstyle while thinner sections can be further styled to be opened up and look big.

Step 5: Choose your crimping tool

There are a couple of different types of crimpers to choose from. For instance, a zig-zag tool will give you wider crimps that look geometric and modern. On the other hand, traditional crimpers will give you the 80s-inspired kinky crimps. Take your to pick according to the kind of look you want and the natural texture of your hair.

Step 6: Crimp!

Go section by section, sandwiching your hair in-between the crimping rods and holding them down for 5-10 seconds. This duration might vary according to the thickness of your tresses, but make sure you are not pressing down a hot iron for so long that it burns your hair!

Step 7: Add finishing touches

Once you are done crimping all the sections, add some hairspray to hold the hairstyle. You can even smooth out the top with some shine serum to keep the frizzy flyaways at bay. Now that you know how to crimp your hair, here are some hairstyles you can create around the look.


1. Parted down the middle

Parted down the middle

Image courtesy: @sandijarquin

The most common, and modern way of wearing crimped hair is to part it down the middle and leave it loose. This hairstyle allows you to create ultra-glam looks, wear extensions to add additional crimps and have stylish waves cascading down. Make sure to leave the top of your head flat to maintain some balance in the hairdo.


2. Upgraded low ponytails

Upgraded low ponytails

Image courtesy: @ghd_southafrica

Crimped sections can be used to add texture and accents to low ponytail hairstyles; it is easy to do and looks uber chic. This hairstyle can also be worn in a half-up, half-down style, keeping the crimped sections tied and adding some kinks to the lengths of the hair as well.


3. Crimped braids

Crimped braids

Image courtesy: @thefashionspot

What better way to upgrade your daily braid than by adding some crimps in! Since crimped hair is done on perfectly prepped and fresh hair, they make for a fun base to style numerous braids on. All that texture and thick braiding make for a stunning hairstyle indeed!


4. Voluminous high pony

Voluminous high pony

Image courtesy: @beyonceonline

Hey, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, it is good enough for us! The music icon often wears her natural hair in crimped styles and this voluminous high pony is plenty of proof as to why. Gathering all the crimped sections into a pony that sits high on your crown is diva-glam redefined... a look that has been adapted by pop queens like Ariana Grande and Rita Ora.


5. Crimped sections

Crimped sections

Image courtesy: @guy_tang

If you do not wish for a full head of big, crimped sections, just opt for a couple of sections that blend into straighter sections seamlessly. You can also start at the mid-lengths, and not at the top, in order to create a more minimal look. The wavy sections will vary in length and in turn, add more dimension and depth to your mane.


6. A patch of crimp

A patch of crimp

Image courtesy: @dylanbradshawsalon

An even more minimalist crimping style is to just add a patch of crimp somewhere on your mane. This is a very cool way to pay homage to this classic style, while still wearing your hair straight and smooth. You can either add the patch of crimp closer to the roots or on the lengths of your hair. This is an especially flattering style for bobs, lobs or any uniform length cut that ends just at the top of your shoulders.


7. Crimped pigtails

Crimped pigtails

Image courtesy: @limeshairdesign

Combining two trending styles in one, crimped ponytails are a good option for people who do not like a lot of volume on their heads. With the texture and body neatly gathered in cute pigtails, you can be sure to maintain a sleek look at the top at all times. Plus, the hairstyle is absolutely adorable, fun and worthy of admiration all day!


FAQs about crimped hair

FAQs about crimped hair

1) Does crimping damage your hair?

A. Any hairstyle that uses heat is damaging for your hair, including crimping. This is why you need to use a good heat protectant spray to avoid any heat damage done to your hair while crimping. Having said that, the hairstyle itself is pretty naturally wearable, so the damage done in comparison to other heat hairstyles is lesser.

2) Can you brush crimped hair?

A. Since crimped hair is styled in a way that the bundled waves sit closely with each other, brushing the hair will prove counterproductive. Brushing crimped hair will lead to the opening up of the wave pattern, making it bigger and frizzy. So, if you wish to maintain a clean, crimped look, do not brush it. If you hope to make it look more natural and lived-in, you can comb it out with a wide-toothed comb instead.

3) Can you permanently crimp your hair?

A. Yes, crimp perms are done by braiding your hair into small braids with little rubber elastics at the ends, then permed and opened. This makes the crimped look last longer than crimping irons and rods.