13 Curly Hair Transformations You Have to See to Believe
If you need any more proof that taking some time to look after your curls properly is worth it, take a look at these incredible transformations. Warning: you may get curl envy!
1. Charlette aka @naturally_charlette
Charlette’s bubbly personality is reflected in her incredible hair. This is the story of her journey to a huge transformation:
I think so many curly hair stories start with damaged hair. I had relaxed hair for many years. I made the decision to cut down on relaxing my hair as I didn’t want to be relaxing my hair into old age. From January 2018 I allowed my new growth to grow out. I tried to manage the two textures with heat. This stressed both textures and broke off my relaxed hair.
I big-chopped the remaining relaxed and heat-damaged hair in November 2018. At the start of my journey I put a lot of importance on products but the biggest realisation for me was how much technique matters. I don’t over manipulate my hair and typically stick to wash and go, twists and twists out which suits me as I’m a lazy natural throughout the week.
I only wash and style my hair once a week and I don’t touch it or do anything else until the next wash day. I don’t try every new thing that comes out. I stick to what tools work in my hair. I always work in section when washing or styling my hair and am very gentle. Simplicity is best.
2. Owen aka @owen_janes
Owen has been flying the flag for long-haired curly lads for a few years now and it’s garnered him a huge online following. His transformation from short crop to Viking mane is incredible:
In my twenties I had a buzzcut and had no idea I had curly hair. In 2013, I started growing my hair out and my curls appeared! While my hair was long though, I didn’t think I needed to use any products in my hair and I was also shampooing and conditioning every week.
In the last twelve months, you can really see the difference in my hair. Now I know what styling products to use and I’ve learned I can go an extremely long time (up to eight weeks) without having to shampoo or condition my hair. I just dampen it in my morning shower, scrunch the water in, get out of the shower, scrunch in a product – usually gel - and leave to air dry. Once it’s dry, I scrunch out the crunch.
3. Marisa aka @marisacurls
Anyone versed in the Instagram curly world will recognise the giant of curly knowhow that is Marisa. Her curl transformation has been incredible:
For me the main keys to changing my hair were firstly learning about styling techniques like squish to condish, how to diffuse properly and how to apply styling products. And secondly giving up the hair dye! My hair was super damaged from lightening it for almost 20 years and growing it out completely transformed my hair.
4. Shosh aka @welshiecurlgirl
Another curly Instagram star with a huge following due to her detailed curl knowledge, Shosh’s transformation has to be seen to be believed:
The key to transforming my hair? Embracing it as it is and not trying to it into something it isn't. My hair is very fine, naturally super soft and wavy curly. Working WITH these things, instead of trying to force my hair to be super-duper curly and voluminous really allowed me to get the best out of my own hair. I used to hate it. Now, it's one of my favourite features.
5. Vesna aka @vesna_goldencurls
Vesna’s blonde bombshell curls have undergone a radical change over the last couple of years:
Beginning a curly care routine has been a crazy rollercoaster ride: so many failed experiments; protein overloads; moisture overloads; product build ups; unicorn cuts gone wrong. But: I REGRET NOTHING! I would do it all over again, knowing how much the health of my hair improved nevertheless.
My words of advice:
- Don't get discouraged through the transitioning phase in the first few months
- You will never get the same result twice!
- Don't compare to anyone
- Your curl pattern will change as your hair becomes healthier, but be realistic. If you're naturally wavy for example, you will never get coils naturally and vice versa.
- Learn your porosity, density and pattern. It will massively help in choosing the right products for you
- Modify the rules of CGM if you want. A litlle sulfates or silicones every now and then won't reset all the progress you've done so far
6. Saroja aka @curly_saroja
While Saroja’s hair was already lovely, her more recent bouncing ringlets are gorgeous to behold. Here’s how she coaxed them into their current beautiful state:
The biggest differentiating factors for me when improving my curls were definitely a good haircut; I went from long layers to rounded layers which gave me more volume. I am also a fan of brush styling which gives me these rounded clumps. I also found working out a protein/ moisture balance made a huge difference to my curls. I learned from this that my curls prefer more protein than moisture!
7. Kelly aka @2bornot2bwaves
Kelly’s fiery-red waves are to die for and here’s how she achieved them:
I never knew I had curly potential. My journey to healthy wavy curls has been a long one, but so worth it. My before photo is from 3 months into my journey - there were absolutely no curls or clumps, but my hair felt much healthier, so I kept going.
Some of the things that helped on my journey were finding my ideal protein and moisture levels (turns out, my hair loves tons of protein), learning how to brush style, clarifying and cleansing often, understanding my hair type (it's denser and coarser than it looks), and mostly importantly, setting realistic expectations for my hair. I didn't get here overnight, but with the support of my Insta curlfriends, my hair is finally living its best life!
8. Lisa aka @curlszen
Embracing her natural curls and has been an integral part of Lisa’s journey of self-love. Here she describes how she recaptured her beautiful coils:
I was always a curly girl but during my pregnancy and subsequent transition to a single parent, I did not have time or energy to care for myself. My self-worth and mental health was very low. I think I just gave up on me. I neglected my hair and it grew long and tangled.
As my mental health and energy improved, I decided to commit to doing one thing for me. That was my hair. I slowly started a routine (CGM) and it became a haven and place of accountability to myself.
Two years later came another big life transition to a new country where I built a new life alone with my son. I needed to become strong and superhuman. I cut off all my hair as a way to harness my inner power. I needed focus and hard work to stabilise my life. It worked.
Caring for my hair taught me to put myself first and learn a very deep inner love. Almost three years later, my passion for curls and the online curl community has opened a world I never imagined. As a result, I’m currently training to become a curly hair stylist.
My transition was not about learning curl care. It was learning selfcare. Three things I did to transition to my current curls.
- Accepted my texture. It’s a big explosion of curls. For many years I wanted wavy curls and totally smothered my natural curl pattern
- Followed a simple consistent routine that fit in with my life as a mother. I had no time for complicated styling and faffing about. Wash, condition, dry, repeat!
- Centering my routine around hair health. Scalp care, effective products and hydration
9. Klavdija aka @all_aboutcurls
Klavdija’s voluminous curls are awe-inspiring. Here’s how she overcame extensive color damage to return them to their former glory:
I used to have quite beautiful curls, but then after a lot of bleach and colour damage, they turned to a frizzy mess. I lived with my hair in that condition for quite a while and then in 2018 I discovered CGM.
I started with some drug store products and then the big chop followed. When you have so much damage, there is no way you can fix it. My curls slowly started to come back. When I switched my drugstore products for higher quality ones, I noticed the biggest change in my curls.
I had huge struggles along my journey because in Slovenia quality curly products are not available, plus the curly community here is pretty small. Because of my extensive personal experiences on how to take care of curly hair, I created an Instagram profile to help others starting on their journey.
10. Sophie-Marie aka @sophiemariecurly
Sophie-Marie’s corkscrew spirals have garnered her a huge online following. Here’s how she went from frazzled locks to perfect ringlets:
I started the process of embracing my natural curls properly at the beginning of 2020. Previously, I had straightened my curls for as long as I could remember because I didn’t understand them. What did I do to get them back?
- Stopped straightening my hair immediately
- Started deep conditioning treatments
- Cut off about 4 inches of bad damage myself in lockdown
- Nursed the rest of it by washing my hair less, changing to moisturising shampoos and conditioners; at first I followed CGM but after four months, I noticed terrible build up on my scalp and started introducing sulfates which helped clear it up
- Started using UV/heat protectant
- Incorporated leave-in conditioners and or curl creams after washing hair
- Included mousses into my routine for hold
- Learned some cool hairstyles to make me feel more confident during the more awkward stages when I wasn’t comfortable yet
I think the biggest thing for me has been no straightening during the phase of getting optimum hair health and gradually trimming off those ends that are beyond repair
I was very patient - this did NOT happen overnight and I got extremely frustrated in the beginning. I finally love my hair, something I’ve never said ever!
You can learn more about Sophie-Marie’s lockdown transformation and her favorite products here.
11. Lily – aka @curlylily
Lily’s glorious smooth ringlets have undergone a huge change from her earlier, damaged hair. Here’s what was key to her transformation:
- Letting my natural hair color grow out
- Cutting off eight inches of damaged hair
- Stopping straightening my hair daily
- Switching to air drying and diffusing on low heat
- Reading tons of articles
- Watching hours of YouTube videos
- Tracking my progress with pictures and downloading the hair journal app to write my full wash day routine in detail
- Deep conditioning and oil treatments
- Sleep protection
- Lots of patience!
12. Jenni – aka @allamerican_curly
Jenni’s wholesome all-American curls haven’t always been this perfect! Here are some key things that helped transform her hair:
- I stopped using heat styling tools (other than diffusing on low/medium heat)
- I practiced styling techniques I learned from others. There was a lot of trial & error!
- I shifted my mindset from getting my hair as curly as possible to getting it as healthy as possible.
- A learned to have a whole lot of patience; after three months I saw minor improvements, after six months there was significant improvement, after one year, my curls were transformed but I’m still learning!
13. Pamela aka @silverglittercurls
Pamela’s fabulous tornado curls are the envy of many a curly girl. How did she go from her flowing waves to these tumbling spirals?
I feel like the key to transforming my hair was to understand what I was working with. I had no idea my hair was curly! Once I did, curl cream, gel and diffusing became everything to me. These were game changers! Thanks to the amazing curly community I found, I’ve learned so much.
14. Olivia aka @curly_livy
Olivia’s magnificent curls are enough to bring a smile to any curl lover’s face. How did she manage to achieve such and incredible voluminous mane?
I started my curly journey because I was postpartum and getting so much hair loss that I was at my wit’s end. I never had heat damage but I used any products I could get my hands on - usually a lot of gel and I never broke the cast. By learning new styling techniques and learning about ingredients that are better for my hair, it flourished over the last three years.
15. Victoria aka @curlycooper26
Victoria’s bouncy curls look completely different to their former state. Here’s how she managed to coax the best out of them:
I always wanted to have the big juicy ringlets you see online or in magazines. I always thought I was using the best products for my curls; it wasn’t until we hit lockdown and I had time on my hands that I decided to look in to the Curly Girl Method. I haven't looked back! I've been doing CGM just over a year now and my hair is at its healthiest. When I look back at my before photos, I was using good products but I didn't know HOW to use the products. I've learnt so many techniques along this journey to bring out those bouncy curls and most of all I've learned what my hair needs from a wash day and how to care for it properly. It's been the best journey and I'm part of such a wonderful curly community!
16. Ash aka @miss.curlyfit
Ash has managed to maintain her fabulous ringlets whilst also keeping up a fitness regime. Read on to find out how she got her hair into such a healthy state:
I had been playing about with my natural texture a few years but I didn't really embrace it. This was mostly because I was never happy with how it would turn out - I would wear it curly, I'd hate it because it was a mess, people made fun of it so then I'd go back to straightening. I'd do the same thing again a couple of months later and the whole cycle would start again. Then I heard about the Curly Girl Method. That was the big turning point for me. I learnt how to really care for my curls. Six months later, I stumbled upon all these gorgeous curls on Instagram. Cue the curly community! This is where I realized that there wasn't a "One size fits all" method, and that was definitely the biggest turning point for me - with having low porosity, high density hair, it has its own unique needs and so learning from others with similar hair really helped.
This article has been updated with new transformations.