How to Pin Curl Short Hair

by Denise Stern ; Updated July 18, 2017

Pin curling short hair is a easy and inexpensive way to create a riot of curls. Used by women for generations, the technique was extremely popular in the 1940s and '50s and can be used on medium-length hair as well, though effects will vary according to hair length, thickness and texture. Several methods of pin curling can give you curls in a few hours or overnight. Flat pin curls are popular and easiest to achieve, and require a minimum of supplies and time.

Create a part in your hair at the top using the rat-tail end of a comb. Section and separate the hair from the forehead to the nape of the neck into 1-inch sections, or smaller sections for very tight curls. Comb each section of hair until smooth.

Spray a 1-inch section of hair with hairspray or use a spritzer bottle filled with water. You can experiment with both to see which works best.

Grasp a section of hair; hold it flat against your scalp with the fingers of one hand, and then curl the hair into a pinwheel around the finger holding the base of the curl with the fingers of the other hand. Form a complete circle or two, depending on length of your hair. Holding the curl down against your head, pin it into place using a bobby pin or clip over the center of the curl.

Make sure the ends of the hair are inside the curl to prevent stray or frizzy ends.

Repeat the process on each 1-inch section of hair, from the forehead to the nape. Then, dividing hair into strips on either side of the center strip, complete the process, working from each side and from the forehead or sides of the head to your scalp. Blow dry or allow your hair to air dry. Remove the pins or clips and gently brush or shake out the curls.


  • Leave the pin curls in overnight for longer lasting curls.

Photo Credits

  • Kayla Dexter/Demand Media

About the Author

Denise Stern is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for more than seven years. Stern regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites and has an associate and specialized business degree in health information management and technology.