Sock curls 101: Learn how to master this simple, no-heat technique

Heat-free + fuss-free = our kind of curls...

Sock curls tutorial brunette girl standing in the street



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Lazy girls, rejoice: we’ve found a curl-creating technique that is not only heat-free, it can also be created while you get some shut-eye. Sound too good to be true? It’s time you got acquainted with sock curls. Guaranteed to give you salon-worthy waves with practically zero effort, this method uses a DIY hair donut to give your tresses plenty of tousled texture.

Easy to master for anyone with shoulder-length hair or longer, sock curls take a few hours to develop. We suggest leaving the donut in overnight for maximum impact, or using this technique when you’ve got some extra time to spare. The beauty of this styling method is that it doesn’t require heated styling tools that could damage the hair cuticle, making it a great alternative for anyone wanting to take a break from heated styling.

So, have we convinced you to swap your curling wand for a simple sock? If you’re keen to find out more, follow our step-by-step tutorial below to see just how easy this wave-making method is…

How to create sock curls in 7 easy steps


Cut up a clean, unused sock.

In order to create sock curls, you need to make a DIY hair donut. Do this by cutting the tip of the sock off, so it’s open at the end.

Editor’s tip: Don’t want to use this tutorial as an opportunity to repurpose an old gym sock? Choose a soft, new sock as it will sit in your hair for several hours or overnight in order to form the curls.

Sock curls tutorial brunette girl cutting end off sock

Make your DIY donut.

Turn the sock in on itself to create the shape of a donut. If you’ve chosen a longer sock, your hair donut will be bigger in circumference, giving you looser waves.

For tighter curls, use a shorter sock that will give you a smaller size donut when rolled. The tighter your hair is looped around the sock, the tighter your curls will be.

sock curls tutorial brunette girl with sock bun

Prep your tresses.

Get your hair ready for curls by using a product that will keep the style locked in all day. We suggest taking a small amount of the TRESemmé Make Waves Shape & Memorise Cream and running it through the hair with your fingers.

The memorising formula remembers your waves so if they drop during the day, you can revive them by scrunching sections of the hair in your hands.

How to do sock curls brunette girl using hair styling product

Tie your hair into a ponytail.

Gather all your hair up into a ponytail and tie it with a hairband. Make sure it’s loose enough to be comfortable if you’re going to be keeping your sock bun in all night.

How to create sock curls brunette girl tying hair into a ponytail

Twist the hair into a bun.

Next, pull the end of your ponytail through the sock. From the centre of the donut, fan the hair over the donut, tucking it in underneath and rolling the donut down the length of the ponytail as you go.

Once you reach the base of the ponytail. Keep the hair in place by pinning it.

How to create sock curls brunette girl with ponytail tying bun

Secure your updo.

Make sure you’ve collected all the hair from your ponytail and tucked it into the bun. Then, secure it against your head with bobby pins.

If you’re wearing the style overnight, make sure it’s secured tightly to keep your curls in place.

How to create sock curls brunette girl with bun

Unravel the bun to reveal your curls!

Once you’re happy that you’ve left the hair donut in long enough, unpin and remove it by slowly rolling your hair out.

Finger comb your curls and hold them in place by using the VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. And you’re done! Stand back and admire your easy-peasy sock curls.

Sock curls tutorial brunette girl with curls using hairspray

Curly hair inspiration: 5 looks you can create with sock curls

Mastered sock curls? Use the technique to create one of these Insta-worthy wavy styles

Sock curls tutorial brunette girl with curls on the beach
Texture and curls? Yes, please! Credit:

1. Give your sock curls a textured update

Equally as head-turning at the beach as they are at a black-tie event, messy, bouncy waves will never go out of style.

Once you’ve combed through your sock curls, use a sea salt spray like the TONI&GUY Texturising Sea Salt Spray on the mid-lengths of the hair and roots. This will give your look added texture and a mermaid-worthy, tousled finish. Credit: @kristin_ess

 Sock curls tutorial girl with silver hair half up half down and wavy
Want the best of both worlds? Try a half updo with your waves. Credit:

2. Master half-up, half-down waves

Want to look polished in a flash? Divide your hair horizontally into two sections and pull the top strands into a loose ponytail.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, add a French or fishtail braid halfway down the ponytail and secure with a clear hairband. Alternatively, split the top section in two and twist your hair into a pair retro victory rolls. Easy elegance at its finest. Credit: @hhsimonsen

Sock curls tutorial blonde girl with braid
Release your inner Blair Waldorf with a runway-ready braid. Credit:

3. Try sock curls with a fashion-forward plait

We’re calling it. Braided curls are officially the most red carpet-worthy hairstyle you can master. Perfect for adding an extra dimension to your look, a bold plait will easily take your sock curls from day to night.

Keep the style less festival-ready and more high-fashion by securing the braid with a velvet ribbon or sparkling beret. Very Gossip Girl, trust us.   Credit: @number4haircare

Sock curls tutorial blonde with with messy curly ponytail
Make your waves work at the office and beyond. Credit:

4. Pull your curls into a messy ponytail

Update your waves for work by pulling them into a loose ponytail at the base of your neck. Gently pull out a few small, random sections after the hair is secured to give it a less ‘done’ feel.

Wrap a small section of hair around the hairband to hide it and let the remaining flyaways fall loosely around your face. If the look feels too messy, simply tuck any extra strands behind your ear or pin them under your ponytail. Credit: @hhsimonsen

 Sock curls tutorial messy top knot on red hair
Effortless and elegant in equal measures. We do love a messy topknot. Credit:

5. Rock a tousled topknot with loose waves

Add some height to your look while showing off your sock curls with a tousled topknot. Leave the bottom section of your wavy mane loose and twist a small section from your crown into a bun.

The less precise, the better, so don’t be afraid to attempt this look without a mirror or comb. Use your fingers to tease the hair into your preferred bun size and tie securely with a hairband. Credit: @michelletakeaim



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