Pre-Raphaelite Curls Are The Soft, Elegant Alternative To Trending Edgy Hairstyles

Although short and daring hairstyles have been in demand for the past few years, long curly hair returned triumphantly at the 2022 Met Gala. Celebrities like Sophie Turner, Kaia Gerber, Phoebe Dynevor, and Olivia Rodrigo all styled their mane with volume-filled waves that looked divine. This hairstyle is known as Pre-Raphaelite curls, but is also referred to as mermaid hair. While the theme of the 2022 Met Gala paid homage to the Gilded Age of New York, Pre-Raphaelite curls are a reference to artists known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Founded in 1848, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was inspired by Renaissance paintings. These artists, especially Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted his female subjects in their bedrooms or boudoirs with their long curly hair worn down. This was controversial, as it was not the norm for women to be publicly seen with their hair unbound. As was the custom at the time, their long hair was always in an updo. 

Pre-Raphaelite curls have now come alive on the red carpet. For example, in late 2022, actress Priyanka Chopra wore her hair in Pre-Raphaelite curls at ​​the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia. However, you don't have to be an A-lister to sport this hairstyle. With a few hair tools and some helpful tips, you'll be emulating this look in no time.

Individuals with many different hair types can get Pre-Raphaelite curls

Pre-Raphaelite curls can be described as beach waves with a lot more volume. This ethereal hairstyle might look daunting, but achieving Pre-Raphaelite curls is less elaborate than you might think. Most importantly, you can rock this hairstyle with straight, wavy, or curly hair. To do so, wet your hair and braid it (while still wet) before going to sleep. In the morning, remove your braids and brush your hair out. You can also curl pieces for extra volume. In a TikTok, user @emmisontiktok demonstrates how she braids and brushes out her naturally curly hair to get Pre-Raphaelite curls. 

However, regardless of your hair type, celebrity hairstylist Christian Wood told Net-a-Porter that using a triple-barrel waving iron is a simple way to achieve this look. Wood did Phoebe Dynevor's Pre-Raphaelite curls for the 2022 Met Gala and explained how. He said, "To create Phoebe Dynevor's Met Gala waves, I started at the roots to create a gorgeous lift, then took the iron down to the ends of her hair, clamping each section without overlapping." If you use a waving tool for Pre-Raphaelite curls, Wood recommends you spray your hair with hairspray beforehand.

The look doesn't have to be flawless

One of the best parts about Pre-Raphaelite curls is that it's a long hairstyle that isn't high maintenance. It's supposed to look like you just rolled out of bed or that you took your hair out of an updo. Invisibobble founder Sophie Trelles-Tvede told Yahoo Life UK that she uses the wet braid method to get Pre-Raphaelite curls. She noted, "What I love most is they don't need to be perfect — that is part of why they look so amazing." Trelles-Tvede added ​​that Pre-Raphaelite curls "look great paired with a simple black party outfit." 

If you already have curly hair and want Pre-Raphaelite curls, do your regular hair routine with retaining your hair's natural moisture in mind. When that step is complete, use a waving tool to add more of an oomph factor in the places you think need more volume. Christian Wood continued with his advice to Net-a-Porter, saying, "If you have wavy/curly hair or a bit of frizz around your hairline, you can smooth your hair first with a blow dryer or a straightening iron, but it doesn't need to be super-sleek." 

Have bangs? TikTok user @enchanted_noir demonstrates how she curls them with a straightener to complete her Pre-Raphaelite hairstyle. If you want your curls to look glossy, add hair oil or a shine spray. Although Pre-Raphaelite curls are ideal for long hair, you can add extensions to short hair to emulate the look.