Get Merida’s Fiery and Curly Red Hair | Disney Princess Hairstyles

July 02, 2013

Since we have been creating content for Disney Style during the past 18 months now, I am often asked which of all the Disney princesses I most closely relate.

It really isn’t a hard question anymore, after Brave came out in theaters last year!

I do not have red curly hair like Merida does, however, like her, I do have an independent and driven personality with a very laser-like focus.  I guess you would have to be to manage the daily schedules of an eight-person household!

Merida's Hair | No-Heat Straw Curls | Disney Hairstyles

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Just this past May, Merida was coronated as the newest member in the Disney Princess family, and I was invited to attend.  To help celebrate this occasion, my girls and I decided to show you how to replicate Merida’s spiral curls using an easy straw no-heat curling method.  It really is a beautiful hairstyle!

This no-heat curling technique is similar to that of “rag curls” or “paper bag curls” that many of our grandmothers used on our moms when they were little.

The idea is to take small sections of slightly-damp hair, wrap/roll them tightly with a straw, and then tie the straw into a first-stage of a knot.  The straws actually hold up fairly well.

No-Heat Straw Curls

{I purchased a box of flexible, accordion drinking straws from Wal-Mart for only a couple of dollars.  I use these straws, because the flexible bend actually makes it easier to tie the straws into the hair.}

You can sleep on the straws for next-day curls by tying a silk scarf around the head, or simply wear the straws around for a few hours.  You can also simply use a hair dryer, like I did, to have the curls dry in only 10-15 minutes.

When you untie the straws, you will see beautiful corkscrew curls {like  old telephone cords} in the hair.  You can then separate the curls to your liking, and style the hair as desired for an everyday look.

No-Heat Straw Curls

To get Merida’s fiery red color, we used a mix of orange and red temporary “spray-in” hair color, which you can find in small cans at your local beauty supply or party supply store.  This sprays in and washes out easily.  {Be sure to use an old bath towel to drape over the shoulders to prevent  wet spray getting on the clothing.}  Once the spray dries, it holds up pretty well all day.

Merida Curls {No-Heat} from Brave

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Merida's Hair | No-Heat Straw Curls | Disney Hairstyles

Merida's Hair | No-Heat Straw Curls | Disney Hairstyles

Items Needed: Brush, rat-tail comb, spray bottle, bandana, and approx. 40 plastic drinking straws. Optional: 1-2 cans of orange and red temporary spray-in hair color and an old bath towel.

Time Requirement: 20-30 minutes to tie the straws. 5-10 minutes to remove the straws and style hair.

Skill Level: Medium

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Begin with washed and dry hair.
  2. Separate off the top ¾ of hair, and secure on top of the head with an elastic…
  3. On the bottom section, take a small 1 inch section and spritz with water once or twice… just enough to dampen the strand. {If you drench it with water, the knots will not dry and the curls will not set.}
  4. Holding the straw where it bends, begin to wrap the hair around and around the straw away from the face. Keep the hair tight and close together on the straw…
  5. When you run out of hair to wind, and while holding the hair end against the straw, take both ends of straw and tie them like you would tie the beginning  step of a shoelace. When secure, let go and move on to the next strand…
  6. Continue Steps 3-5 until the entire bottom row of hair is finished.
  7. Now release the next layer of hair and repeat the same steps….
  8. Continue winding and knotting until all the hair is done. {When I was doing the top layer of hair, I parted the hair to one side and curled it all away from the face.}
  9. If you are going to sleep with straws in overnight, tie in a silk scarf or a bandana to help the straws remain in place. You can also let the straws sit in the hair for a few hours before removing, or even sit under a hair dryer for 10-15 minutes to set the curls.
  10. To remove the straws, simply untie them and let hair fall off straw.You will have amazing corkscrew curls that will loosen into soft curls over time.
  11. Separate the curls to your liking and style as desired. {Be careful to not brush out the curls!}

Please feel free to leave me a comment below letting us know what you think!  As always, if you loved this hairstyle, please feel free to share it!

Happy Hairdoing!

  • Ella

    Aww! So cute! You looked crazy with your hair red and fiery at the start and all of a sudden you turned natural. I have tried method 4 s or 5 s with some Youtube person and my short hair turned out wavy, but kinky in the middle and it looks terrible. I only just got my hair chopped on Saturday, for Tresses for Princesses, and I am trying some new style.these are so cute! Must try em tonight!

  • Sophia

    Do you start putting the straws in directly after a shower, or do you wait for it to dry a little bit?

    • mrshairdo

      You want the hair damp, but not dripping wet. Otherwise, the all curls may not set evenly. Does that make sense? xoxo

  • Beth

    I just did this for my daughter’s hair for Crazy Hair Day at school. Everyone LOVED it! It was so cute!

    I also imagine it would be great for a Fancy Nancy costume. If only I could figure out how to get it to stick up more for that one!

  • http://Idon'thaveone Demlinton

    Gotta try this

  • Selena

    I love this hairstyle! I would also just like to say that you I have done this hairstyles with only 10 straws and it turned out just like this! (trust me i have long hair) I just separated them and then voila! I have this hairstyle!

  • Jaws

    I’ve seen these tutorials before, but they don’t truly mimic Merida’s hair. It’s largely because the Merida character has naturally curly hair and people try to resemble the look with curling irons, combs, chemical products, etc. This causes the person (including the example shown here) to have relatively flat, non-frizzy, symmetrical curls while Merida’s are anything but. Merida’s curls are natural with each being a different shape. This could theoretically be mimicked but most don’t truly copy the look. If your hair isn’t naturally like Merida’s truly resembling it is a monstrous task.

    • May

      It is obviously not going to match a cartoon character’s hair. It is just a fun little hairstyle for girls to feel like Merida.

  • eleanor

    wow just amazing i did it a few times and i look like her as i have ginger hair!

  • Hima

    Hello Mindy, thanks for sharing wonderful hairstyles,we absolutely love this site …tried this hairstyle on my daughter for her 7th birthday party…came out beautifully and hairstyle was a big hit.

  • Eli

    I tried these curls out and they came out perfectly but my her is shoulder length and the curls made my hair look like it was chin length, is that okay?

    • Eli

      I meant to say my hair not my her.

      • haley

        Yes, when hair is curled, it appears to be shorts because it’s wrapped up. Since these are pretty tight, corkscrew curls, they’ll “shorten” then hair even more (: It’s the same effect when someone with hair naturally like this straightens it and it “grows” super long.

  • Sophie

    Can you do this with wet hair and sleep with it in?

    • Ned

      It won’t dry all the way and then you will not have curls.

  • Emily

    Cute! I love the idea of the starws!

  • Hannah

    I love this hairstyle!! I did it on my cousin and is worked!!
    Love the website! Keep up the hairstyles!!

  • Emily

    Doing a “River Song” Cosplay (from Doctor Who), and can’t wait to try this :)

    • Melissa Jensen

      I am doing a River Song cosplay too! Super excited to try this! 😀

  • Kristin

    My daughter is going as Fancy Nancy for Halloween this year and this is perfect for that too! I thought about buying one of the Merida wigs at Target to use, but I didn’t think she would keep it on for very long (she’s almost 5). I’m so glad I found this. Thanks!

  • Christine

    This looks amazing! I was looking up how to create an “Annie” look without a wig, and I think these ideas will help us as well. Thanks.

    • pamela

      if you want a good Annie look, use pipe cleaners instead of straws.

      • haley

        never even thought about using pipe cleaners! and they’d be easy to twist up. Great idea!

  • Rachel

    I have shorter hair, but I have always wanted curls like this! Does anyone know roughly how many inches shorter your hair is after using this method? Thanks!

  • http://Cutegirlshairstyles HannahGrace

    Hi Mindy! I was wondering how many straws you used

  • Liz

    Did you spray all orange then red or you just used the orange color?

    • mrshairdo

      Hi Liz… we used both red and orange, just for undertone purposes. xoxo

  • Isabel

    Hey Mindy,
    I have really curly hair and on top of that it is really dark. I absolutely love your website but most of the hairstyles are for straight hair. I can use some but certain ones I ADORE I just can’t do. :( I was wondering if you have any hairstyles for curly hair in stock? Thank u soo much for the awesome videos!

  • Val T.

    I’m going to practice this on my little girl (Fiona) this weekend. She wants to do a Brave costume for Halloween this year! Thanks for the tutorial.

  • Maria

    Thanks a lot for this creative video! I will surely try this as soon as possible and if I can, I will send a photo of my hair, thanks again!

  • https://www.facebook.com/loveisinthehairLG Laura

    Hi there, love your site! Thanks for all of the wonderful tutorials. My daughter and I have had a lot of fun with them. We plan on doing Merida hair for our upcoming Disney on Ice outing and Ariel hair for Halloween. I saw that you used a spray for the color and that it washes out in the shower. Do you mind sharing what brand you used and where you got it? My daughter has stick straight long blond/brown hair and I don’t want to use anything that would last longer than a couple of days. Thanks for your time, and I can’t wait to see your next post!

  • MG

    It is very humid where I live. Any ideas on how to get the curls to stay in? Last time I tried to do them my hair straightened out.

  • M.G

    I live in Alabama. It is really humid where I live. When I did this style, it straitened out when I went outside. Do you have any ideas that might work to make the curl stay in?

  • http://Cutegirlhairstyles.com Luz

    I found it

  • suchita

    i just loved these curls but the prob is my hair are toooo thick n toooo long i also tried sock curls but it stayed just for 30 minuts :( help!! i want curls :(

  • KJ

    Hi im ten and love your videos and have 2 sisters am obsessed with hair and was wondering, instead of using a hood or waiting for hours can i just use a hairdryer?

  • KB

    i didn’t have any straws so i used a round pencil to do it.
    Your daughter looks awesome..
    But does it have to be a few hours because i have to hold the pencil and i don’t have any hair drying stuff

    • Alicat2911

      You could always clip the pencil into your hair with a butterfly clip or a hair pin.

  • siobhan

    how do u get it to stay in over night bcause you just done it in a hair drying thing xx

  • kelsie

    This is so adorable! I love the curl look! I am not gonna do the color, but I will definitely try the curls! Thanks! I love all your videos…they’re so easy to follow!

  • Jelina

    Its so cute!!!!!! And adorable

    • Jelina

      Um.. do u make more hairstyles like this????? I was woundering if u make could make something out of a butterfly

  • katie

    I love all the styles you do i did this one on my self and everyone loved thanks again for all the styles me and my kids love them

  • Courney

    You should make a video on how to do the headband curls they are hard for me to do maybe if you put up a video on it I can learn how to do it better!!

    • mrshairdo

      Hi Courtney! We do have a tutorial for headband curls here on our website and on our YouTube channel. Feel free to type those terms into the search bar of our website. The tutorial should pop right up! Thanks for posting!

  • Kearis

    I did these on my 6 year old niece when she dressed as Merida for Disneyland and it made her whole Disney trip! She got so many complements and now all she wants to do is watch your videos, so thank you! :)

    • mrshairdo

      Such wonderful feedback, Kearis! That one has become one of my personal favorites as well! xoxo

  • http://www.brazilianhairreviews.com Chantell

    I loved that movie and her hair was beautiful the whole way through. Of course it was a cartoon so that’s to be expected lol!

    Chantell

  • Hanna

    I really want to pin some of these but, I don’t see a pin it button anywhere….?

    • mrshairdo

      You can click the “Pinterest” button on the floating bar on the right side, or you can go to Pinterst and install the “Pin It” plug-in for your browser. Then, all you have to do is click that button in your menu bar to pin a photo from that page. Does that make sense? xoxo

      • Hanna

        Yes it does…thanks! :)

  • Cara

    I saw this movie and it was awesome! Thanks for teaching us how to get her crazy curls!

  • Grace Johnson

    Hi, Mindy! I am such a huge fan! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the simplicity of your videos as I am only 13. I can’t wait to try this hair style for everyday purposes, but I have a question; my hair goes just past my shoulders, about an inch or 2, and my hair holds curl very well so what type of straws should I use to insure I don’t look like Annie? Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance,
    Grace

  • Grace

    Hi, Mindy! I am such a huge fan! I love'(more than I can explain) how easy most of your hairstyles are as I am only 13! I am so excited to try this but I have a question; my hair falls an inch or two past my shoulders so I don’t know what kind of straws I should use? My hair holds curls very well so I don’t want to over do it and have to stay with it for an entire school day. Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance,
    Grace❤

  • Emma

    what happens if you have thick hair also how long does the spray color last because i don’t want to have the hair for three days and then the dye for like a week. although i really like this style it it beautiful yet classic.

    • xpert

      the color washes out in the shower

  • http://www.myhairlosscure.com/ Georgi

    Great ! You have no idea how much happy was my little cousin, when I told her that I finally found how she can make her hair style like her favorite hero from Brave. Thanks for the information!!!

    • mrshairdo

      So cute! Glad she was excited! Be sure to post a photo to our FB page!

  • April

    My name is April and I have a 2 yr old daughter. I was so glad to find ur website! Trying the Merida curls tonite. Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

  • Maria

    Very pretty!!!

    Did you put the color on before or after you curled the hair? If after, didn’t the color wet the hair and release the curl? Could you share a bit more about how you did the color with the curls?

    Thank you!

    • mrshairdo

      We sprayed it in after. No, the spray was not wet enough to strip the curl… and those photos were taken maybe 30 minutes after we put in the color. Hope that helps!

      • Janelle

        I just did a trial run on a section of my daughters long, baby fine blond hair. I may have sectioned it too thin because it was a bit frizzy after I separated the sections…easy fix. But when I sprayed the curl with the color, it got the hair too wet and the hair went back to her natural wave. I purchased the cheap spray from the halloween store. Any pointers?

        • mrshairdo

          Hi Janelle… if the hair is getting wet from the spray, then you are holding it too close. If you watch the video, I hold the spray away from the head. You may want to spray in light layers, waiting a bit between sprays, just so what you applied (more like a color mist) has time to dry. Good luck!

          • Janelle

            Thank you! I will try holding the spray can further away and do it in layers. I’m so exited (maybe moreso than my daughter)lol…looking forward to posting the finished look to your fb page!

  • Elizabeth

    I tried watching the brave video and it said it was unavailable so I tried again and it still wont let me.

  • Danee Carlton

    I’m loving the reference to a telephone cord. First thing my 5 year old said was what’s that? Still crazy fun to do!

  • shivangi

    this the soooo good!
    I’m gonna try the paper bag curls…
    hope its worth it!

  • http://GodGivenBeauty Emilie

    Hi! I have thick hair and it is really hard to get no-heat curls and waves to stay in for very long. I just wondered if you had any suggestions?

  • https://www.facebook.com/BaharHart Bahar

    If you know someone who would want to keep this hair style permanently just apply a perm solution following the directions & then the curls will last six months to a year depending on how they take care of their hair after the perm is complete!!

    • ?? Luz

      What is a perm? Where do u get it??? I always wanted red curly hair!!! ❤❤❤❤

  • Brooklynn

    Wow! This hairstyle looks so fun! Do you have any tips for keeping this do’ soft & frizz-free for people with hair that tends to go frizzy?

    • Alicat2911

      Maybe you could try using gel or pomade on your hair or even straightening your hair somehow before-hand.

  • Kya

    I love this but sometimes I can’t get the twist
    to stay in

  • danielle

    Wow. My two year old says, “awesome.” Can’t wait to try it.

  • http://facebook.com erwin james

    this is great and also this is just cheap way of curling hair

    • mrshairdo

      Yes, and without heat! xoxo

      • Jelina

        I love this website this is so adorable for us

  • moriah blan

    hi I am ten. I love ur website but for the tangled hair style is there anything that we can substitute for straws???

    • mrshairdo

      Yes, you can use strips of fabric to create Rag curls, or strip of paper cut from a paper bag to create Paper Bag Curls. Pin Curls do essentially the same thing but are harder to keep in. Does that help?




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What do you get when you cross 34 yrs of living, 14 yrs of marriage, one HOT husband, five adorable daughters, one handsome son, and tons of great family and friends? Pretty much the sum total of who I am!!



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