Hair Tutorial: 5-Minute Overnight Headband Curls

By Anne-Michelle

As a mother of four children, ages five months to 11 years, I thrive on being busy. I work full time, work out four days a week, work in my children’s classrooms each week, make homemade goods that cater to my son’s numerous food allergies, host an allergy-free food blog called The Allergy-Free Project, recently began venturing into the world of capsule wardrobes for my athletic tween daughter and husband, and teach early morning barre and interval fitness classes in my “spare time.” While this schedule may sound overwhelming to some, it makes me super excited when I am able to accomplish all of this each and every day.

It may surprise you that among all of the activities that I thrive on pursuing, fashion is the last thing on my list of priorities. Did you see the activities above? None of them included shopping, getting ready, or a capsule wardrobe for myself. I admit that I live in my Lululemon clothing, my hair is usually tied back in a ponytail, and even my very low key makeup doesn’t get put on very often.

A few years ago, when I was growing out my beloved ombre after it had pretty much fried my hair, I heard about overnight headband curls. The first day I tried it, I received several comments at church about how great my hair looked. I told the ladies what I had done, and they were shocked something so simple could produce such flawless locks. I was thrilled this may just be the look for me! Two days later, I wrapped my hair the night before I taught a 6am fitness class, and clients were dying to know what time I had to wake up in the morning to get my hair looking so “done!” I even had the shirt #iwokeuplikethis made to reiterate that I really did wake up like that! I even got to the point where I refused to use heated styling products of any kind and instead would shower and air dry my hair the night before I had to go somewhere, just so I could do my overnight curls instead of a blow dryer, hot rollers, and a curling iron!

I have mentioned my headband curls to people for years, but I never gave too many details because I wanted to keep it my little secret…until now! For the first time, I have documented exactly how to get my tousled, luscious locks both with a step-by-step photo tutorial and time lapse video.The notes at the end of this post include several tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way. Be sure to comment below, so I can help answer questions to help you get the perfect results.

Happy looping, twisting, and twirling!

xoxo, Anne-Michelle

5-Minute Overnight Headband Curls, a Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial

headband (I used this one in the video: Under Armour Headbands 6-Pack)
bobby pins

Step 1: Start with dry hair.
Step 2: Brush your hair, and identify your natural part.
Step 3: Place the headband, and smooth out your hair.
Step 4: Loop a section of hair around the headband.
Step 5: Pull the loop over the top and through the bottom. Repeat.
Step 6: Continue looping the last strand, and secure with a bobby pin.
Step 7: Repeat on the second side.
Step 8: Ensure that all hair looped, and curls are even.
Step 9: Go to bed! Forget about the curls, and sleep as usual.
Step 10: Wake up! Admire your messy ‘do.
Step 11: Remove the bobby pins, and slowly release the curls.
Step 12: Finger comb your hair, and spray to set!

Voila! 5-Minute Overnight Headband Curls

5-Minute Overnight Headband Curls, a Time Lapse Video Tutorial

Tips, Tricks & Troubleshooting

  • Always start with bone-dry hair. Do not dampen it. In this video, I started with clean hair that had been air dried all day — no heating products were used. I have gone without washing my hair for up to seven days just by wrapping my hair in a headband at night an using dry shampoo to balance any oiliness.
  • Brush out your hair well! When you release your locks from the headband the following morning, you will only be finger combing it, so you want to get as many knots out as you can the night before. I have had my hair styled and curled, then brush it out and wrap it in the headband, and the curls come out even better as time goes on.
  • Find a headband that is secure, but not so tight that it will leave a mark on your forehead. You don’t want to spend the entire day waiting for a mark to go away! That will definitely detract from your locks! In this video, I used the Under Armour 6-pack of headbands for less than $8.
  • Practice makes perfect. Try out this hair style when you don’t have anywhere to go, so you can remember what worked and what didn’t. If you don’t love the look when you wake up, ask yourself these questions: Did I smooth it out enough before I  started looping? How large were the sections of hair that I looped? (Maybe next time try 1″ sections, 2″ sections, etc.) Were the curls even around my face?  Did I only finger comb it, or did I use a brush?
  • As you wrap your hair around the headband, make sure the headband continues to lay flat on your head with the stickier side remaining down. Don’t let it get wrapped up and curled with the hair because it will not curl evenly.
  • The messier your hair is as you sleep, the better it looks when you wake up. This is meant to be a carefree look, so try different styles — part it on the opposite side you normally would for more body, try not to secure it with bobby pins at night to see how the ends turn out in the morning, try larger loops around your face and smaller loops in the back, or vice versa.
  • Do you have layers? If so, I recommend twisting and pinning two to four curls around your face and/or crown of your head before putting the headband on, especially if the pieces fall out of the headband as you begin wrapping them.
  • The more often you use the headband, the more your hair will become “trained” and it may not take to the curls anymore. Don’t let this happen! Maybe your headband is too stretched out — try a new one! Maybe it’s a chance for a new haircut, more layers, a new hair color, or a new way of twisting to keep your hair on its toes.

Be sure to visit The Allergy-Free Project for Part II of 5-Minute Overnight Headband Curls where I will show you how to go from overnight headband curls to sweaty workout hair, and back to your overnight curls without washing your hair!


Anne-Michelle is a health-conscious mama of four from Northern California living a lifestyle that focuses on allergy-free eating, healthy foods, safe beauty and household products, and capsule wardrobes.