TikTok Brought “Sock Curls” Back — & They Look So Good

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins.
We're not ashamed to admit it: We've spent a lot of time on TikTok during quarantine. Our minds might be numb — but our dance moves, video editing skills, and hair are all the better for it.
As users look to create content with what's available to them at home, there's been a resurgence of at-home beauty hacks circulating on the app — including the age-old technique of using household items, like paper towels and socks, to curl your hair without heat. These methods were popular way before we were all bored on TikTok, but seeing them pop up on our feeds helped remind us of how cool and practical these DIY tricks are — especially when we have more time at home to experiment with them.
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Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan recently took to both TikTok and Instagram to demonstrate the viral "sock curls" look — and her results are seriously impressive. In the clip, Marjan wraps large sections of her damp hair around crew socks, secures them with scrunchies, and lets them dry overnight. When she unravels her hair, she's left with full, voluminous curls that Victoria's Secret models would envy.
"Sock curls are a rendition of rag curls, which have been around for ages," Marjan says to Refinery29. "It's an amazing, heatless way of styling hair overnight with minimal effort using household supplies to create the shape of your curls."
According to Marjan, no hair textures are off-limits when it comes to sock curls. "You can do this on curly hair to help define the shape of the curls," she says. For a larger curl, Marjan suggests grabbing a thicker sock and loosely wrapping your hair around it. "If you want a tighter curl, use thinner socks, or separate your hair into more sections," she adds.
You can see how the method works on natural hair in this YouTube video below by Tropical Tracey, who used socks, leave-in conditioner, and hair gel along her edges to achieve glossy waves.
If you don't have any socks around the house, Marjan says you can also grab a bathrobe tie or a pair of stockings to curl your hair. "A silk scarf or anything similar in size can work," she says.
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To get the look, start with semi-damp, detangled hair and your choice of styling products. "If you are starting on dry hair, mist your strands with a little water before," Marjan suggests. This will help your hair dry in uniform waves. If you have curly hair, you can work your favorite leave-in conditioner or curl cream through your strands before reaching for the socks. Marjan also suggests incorporating a volumizing spray or holding mousse for added definition. Her favorites are Gisou Wave Spray, OUAI Wave Spray, or Tresemme Extra Hold Mousse (Marjan is a representative for Tresemme.)
If your hair is on the shorter side (think: shoulder length or above), Marjan says you can use the same method, but skip curling the bottom layers that are shorter and more difficult to wrap. "Don't worry about doing it on the bottom half of your hair if your hair is short," she says. "The top layer will fall over it and cover any straighter pieces."
Your results should be defined, bouncy curls that will have you ready for your next TikTok beauty move: The Don't Rush Challenge.
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