How to Create Soft Retro Curls (Without a Curling Iron!)

Learn how you can create this almost heatless vintage style. 

how to create soft retro curls tutorial

Hair Types

If you’re anything like us, you’re down to try just about any hair hack out there. Hair hacks are especially handy when we want a particular hairstyle but don’t have all of the right tools at hand to achieve it. Sometimes you just don’t have time or money to get the tools you need. Case in point: This soft retro curls hairstyle. The perfect vintage hairdo for work or even for a special event that can be created without the use of a very important styling tool.

To recreate this look at home, many people think that you need a curling iron. In fact, you don’t. During the ’60s, women also substituted curling hair tools like rollers or curling irons for techniques like pin curls. Read on to learn how you can try this easy hair hack to create this glamorous style at home.

Tutorial: Create Soft Retro Curls with the Pin Curl Technique


Start with clean hair.

Wash hair with a formula that helps to keep frizz at bay. We like the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo and Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Conditioner, a duo that works to help make your hair smooth and manageable.

soft retro curls hair down

Apply heat protectant before blowdrying.

Before drying your hair straight with a blowdryer, use a heat protectant, like TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Sprayto safeguard your strands.

soft retro curls: heat protectant for styling

Blow-dry your hair.

Use your blowdryer to straighten and dry your hair in preparation for creating your soft retro curls.

soft retro curls tutorial: blowdry hair

Section your hair.

Immediately after blowdrying your hair, divide your hair into two sections and use a clip to secure. After this, move on to the next step to begin your pin curling process.

soft retro curls: section hair

Add pin curls.

Beginning at the back, start creating flat pin curls and secure with a hair pin. Ideally, your hair still should be a bit warm from the blowdrying process. The warmth will help your curls to set as it begins to cool.

soft retro curls: create pin curls

Pin curl entire head.

Once you’re finished with pin curling your back section, move on to the front. Your hair should look like the above.

soft retro curls: pin curl


After allowing your pin curls to set, whether it be 30 minutes or overnight, release and finger-comb. Be sure to finger comb gently so you’re not creating tangles or disturbing your soft retro curls.

soft retro curls: finger comb

Set your curls.

To finish your look, set your curls with a hairspray. We like using the TRESemmé Tres TWO Extra Hold Hairspray since it provides  a strong hold and a touchable feel. You want your curls to have movement without the crunchy-feeling.

soft retro curls: hair spray

Final style.

There you have it! Soft retro curls without the use of a curling iron. Wasn’t that so easy?

how to create soft retro curls tutorial

Want to try your hand at more tutorials? Learn how you can create this ’60s updo style in two totally different ways. 

Sign up to our newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks from the experts at All Things Hair.


All Things Hair on Instagram