I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old-School Trick Would Actually Work

I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old-School Trick Would Actually Work
Photo: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

As much as I love having a flawless mane, styling is not my strong point and styling tools are my kryptonite. I’ve only recently learned how to flatiron my hair to where it looks semi-professional. Curling my hair with any type of hot tool (curling irons, curling wand, etc.) is still something I haven’t mastered even though I’m practice diligently. Wigs are typically my protective style of choice, and though they make styling easier, I’m still tasked with the curling them when the straight look gets stale. 

I often have beauty talk with the women in my family and the conversation usually turns into us sharing some of our struggles and the weird yet useful beauty hacks that we swear by. After sharing my curling challenges, the old school beauty hack I never knew would change my life was proposed as a solution. According to the ladies in my lineage, the microwave (yes, the one you reheat food in) creates bouncy, voluminous curls, similar to ones achieved from an overhead dryer. The key difference is the latter typically takes hours while the microwave can help you achieve the look within minutes.

Though this new (at least to me) hair hack seemed pretty dangerous, out of desperation and a bit of vanity, I decided to give it a try. After all, the worst that could happen is it wouldn’t work or, it would ruin my beautiful wig—both were chances I was willing to take in the name of beauty. Just in case I’ve piqued your interest, here are the steps that I took to curl my hair in the microwave. It’s not as weird as it sounds.

microwave curls 3 I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old School Trick Would Actually Work

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1. Start with freshly washed and air-dried hair.

The last thing you want to do is pop dirty hair extensions into the microwave—I’ve never done it before but, I imagine it would smell really bad.  The type of extensions or wig that you use for this hair hack is totally up to you but, it’s best to use high-quality hair that can endure the heat. My current hair of choice is this Deep Wave Brazilian Hair Wig from Mayvenn Hair. Though the wig has a natural curl/wave pattern, I’m hoping that this hack leaves me with defined, bouncy curls similar to Teyana Taylor circa 2011.

microwave curls 1 I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old School Trick Would Actually Work

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2. Detangle each section and apply a hair styler of your choice.

I prefer to use as little product as possible to avoid weighing down the hair. Also, I only use products that I would use in my natural hair. I detangled my wig with a Tangle Teezer and used the Eden Bodyworks Papaya Castor Foam Conditioner as a styler.  This particular conditioning styler is lightweight, adds shine, and helps reduce frizz, which is vital for achieving picture-perfect curls. Apply enough product to coat the hair without leaving it too damp.

microwave curls 5 I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old School Trick Would Actually Work

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3. Apply the hair rollers to your hair in small, even sections.

You can pretty much use any plastic rollers of your choice. Remember, we’re working with a microwave so unless you have a smart (metal-safe) microwave; you should NOT place metal of any kind into the microwave for any reason.

For my curls, I’m using cold wave/ perms rods which I know from experience can mimic the wand curls that I struggle to achieve. If for some reason you’ve never used rollers before I’d recommend watching a short YouTube tutorial beforehand.

4. Let your hair extensions sit for 10-20 minutes before putting them into the microwave.

Though your hair shouldn’t be super wet from applying the styling products, allowing the hair to air dry before placing in the microwave will ensure that the hair curls. The purpose of this hack, after all, is to curl the hair with the help of the microwave.

Sidebar: If you’re using premade clip-ins or wigs, be sure to remove any metal clips before placing them into the microwave. My wig from Mayvenn hair had two metal combs attached, but it was super simple to cut them off without damaging the wig.

microwave curls 6 I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old School Trick Would Actually Work

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5. Microwave the hair extensions/wig on low power in 30-second increments.

Do not leave your hair in the microwave unattended. Check every 30 seconds, and after about 2 minutes, the hair should feel steamy and soft.

6. Carefully take down the rollers.

You may notice that the hair feels a bit steamy (slightly damp) but don’t be alarmed—by the time you remove the rollers, the hair will feel completely dry. The rollers may be a little warm after microwaving your hair but not scorching hot. Take down the rollers how they fall naturally to avoid making your curls frizzy

microwave curls 2 I Microwaved My Extensions to See If An Old School Trick Would Actually Work

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7. Shake out your curls and slay the day.

Unless you’re looking to achieve a poofy Diana Ross-esque hairstyle, avoid using a comb or brush to separate the curls. At most, separate your curls with your fingers and shake them out.

It took me less than 30 minutes to achieve this hairstyle: 10 minutes to apply the rollers, 15 minutes to air dry and another minute and a half in the microwave.  When I’ve tried curling my hair in the past with a curling wand, it took over an hour and didn’t come out nearly as good. And let me not forget to mention that I’ve burned myself one time too many in the process of attempting to curl my hair.

The best way to describe how I feel about these microwaved curls is shook—I was a little nervous that this experiment of mine would go all the way left. However, I’m happy to report that this has been one of the best hair hacks I’ve tried in a while. I’ll continue learning how to curl my hair with the traditional hot tools that I’ve invested in over the years. I’ll be running to my microwave for voluminous curls until further notice.

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