Are you the girl who is terrible at curling your hair with an iron?
Does being unable to do anything with your flat, limp, straight locks leave you never feeling pretty?
Or maybe you’re plagued by nagging doubts about how to use this hot styling tool to bring curls to life?
Good news! Getting a billowy cascade of curls or loose, carefree waves has never been easier. Even if you’re a total curing iron noob.
First we’ve got a video that leaves nothing out. It that takes you step by step to bring you up to speed fast on how to use your curling iron. . (And it’s the perfect complement to those found on our other look at how to curl your hair with a curling iron for beginners!)
Then we answer, I don’t know, eight or nine common questions many have that can help you to easily step up your curling iron game.
Quick Section Navigation
- VIDEO: Here’s How to Curl Your Hair Step By Step
- What About Sectioning Hair For Curling?
- Do You Use Texture Spray Or Dry Shampoo Before Or After Curling Your Hair?
- How To Best Hold A Curling Iron
- How Do You Prevent Clamp Marks When Curling Hair?
- Which Direction Do You Curl Hair With Your Curling Iron?
- How Long To Leave Your Hair On A Curling Iron Safely?
- Do You Tease Your Hair Before Or After Curling?
- How To Best Loosen Curls After Curling?
- How Long Do Curling Iron Curls Last?
- How To Make Curling Iron Curls Last Longer
VIDEO: Here’s How to Curl Your Hair Step By Step
Now if you’re a total beginner when it comes to curling irons this may be the video for you.
It takes you through the entire process from how to hold it to how to curl your hair without burning it off.
Best of all this assumes you know nothing about how to use a curling iron.
Plus having a video to watch makes this super easy to pick up a skill like this. You can pause and replay any segment you didn’t quite catch. And before you know it you’ll be a curling iron maven.
But then you already knew that, right?
So why not hit play and get into this one?
In way of overview here’s her approach in a nutshell:
- Apply heat protectant and brush in.
- Roughly section out some hair.
- Open the clamp and slide the iron over the section.
- Close the clamp on the hair near your scalp, twist the iron slightly opening the clamp as you do drawing the hair around the barrel.
- Keep twisting until all the hair in the section is on the iron. Then leave it be for 10 to 12 seconds depending on texture to insure things are heated up sufficiently.
Sounds easy enough.
Still I’d encourage you to please please please watch this if you’re the least bit intimidated by a curling iron. Many are. (And it okay to be anxious if that’s you.)
Knowledge is power. And you’ll be well on your to moving past newbie status after investing the time in that tutorial.
10 More Things to Know About Curling Iron Curls
Now there are many hacks that you can help you get the most out this tool. Or tips to know so you end up with a mane that looks fetching at any length. Let’s cover a few more of them.
Just keep in mind it’s unlikely you’re going to an instant expert. This is important. Be patient with yourself.
This is a skill and skills take practice to master. Which is why it’s always a good idea to try the moves with a cold iron first.
400 degrees is hot.
Going through the motions with a cold iron will kinda help you over that fumbling, awkward “What do I next” phase without heat blazing. And without worrying about some nasty burn on your arm or worse your face.
Only then plug in and see how you do with a hot tool.
Then before you know it curling with a curling iron will be almost second nature to you.
What About Sectioning Hair For Curling?
Okay so what about how to section hair for curling?
When it comes to this you want to find a happy medium. You know not too big but not too little? Because you don’t want to take all day nor do you want so much hair the heat can’t penetrate.
Also don’t worry about your sections being perfect. You don’t want uniformity as some section size randomness is a good thing. Natural curls vary. There is little uniform about them.
The best size for your hair also depends on its thickness and texture. Those with finer strands can get away with dividing hair into slightly bigger sections. Those whose hair is coarser will want to use smaller ones for heat styling.
Another common mistake is to start working from the bottom of your section. As you can see the lowest you want start is mid strand. And then curl up towards your scalp to get the entire length.
Do You Use Texture Spray Or Dry Shampoo Before Or After Curling Your Hair?
Zapping your hair with a bit of product before using a curling iron can definitely help your curls last longer. All the more if your hair tends not to hold curls easily.
In that case it’s smart to prep with dry shampoo, hair spray or a texture spray you know anything that will add a bit of hold to your locks BEFORE CURLING. The product acts like a primer that helps those tresses hold the curl that much better.
The smartest move of all though could be working with day old hair. Why? It offers more grip naturally.
While if you’re wondering “What else should I put on my hair before using a curling iron?” the answer is always heat protectant. It won’t help them stay but as noted above failing to do so can result in unwanted damage and stress distress.
How To Best Hold A Curling Iron
Of all the tips on how to hold a curling iron here’s one of the most important ones for beginners. Hold it like a bicycle handle. Doing so gives you control yet flexibility.
You usually want the clip facing away from your face.
Beyond that it’s all in the angle. For a looser curl you’ll want to hold it vertically. While going horizontal will let you create bouncier tighter curls.
How Do You Prevent Clamp Marks When Curling Hair?
Basically by paying attention and using the right technique.
But that’s often easier said than done.
Which is why many of beginners have a love hate relationship with the clamp thingee.
The big trick is learning how to manipulate it. She makes it look easy in the video but it will take some practice to get the hang of it.
It’s whole purpose in life is to hold your hair in place. All you have to do is wait for the curl to set.
Did you know some think a curling iron is superior to a wand because you don’t have to touch the iron ever? The clamp does all the dangerous, close to the heat, work for you. It holds the hair in place while you’re busy styling it.
Remember that you’re going to manipulate the clamp with your index finger and thumb. The video shows how.
Clamp tip: Unless you’re going for beachy waves be sure your ends slip under the clamp. Otherwise they’ll come out straight. And again don’t leave them in for too long.
When you’re are twisting the iron open the clamp ever so slightly so the hair is free to slide around the barrel. It’s always a good idea to keep the barrel moving.
Finally to prevent the dent or crease in your hair that is caused by the clamp, the moment you clamp down on the hair, start twisting the iron so the clamp doesn’t dent the hair. It won’t dent after you start curling because it’s purpose is to keep the hair in place on the heat source.
Which Direction To Curl Hair With Your Curling Iron
In the right hands your iron can create natural looking coils almost effortlessly.
But to get that which direction do you curl your hair with a curling iron? Which one should you?
Should I curl my hair inward or outward?
What about alternating curls vs running them all in the same direction?
Age old questions.
Most typically prefer to curl the hair away from their face to keep the look open and inviting.
Yet don’t do all the curls that way. Otherwise they can clump together.
Once away from the face framing sections alternating curls vs all going in the same direction is the smarter choice.
So to break them up do some towards your face too. Again there is little uniform about natural curls.
Also you’re twirling the iron it in the direction it in the direction you want your hair to curl. Most want to curl away from their face.
How Long To Leave Your Hair On A Curling Iron Safely?
The most basic answer is only as long as it takes to curl the hair so it lasts.
Youtubers offer all sorts suggestions. Some say you are okay going for as long as 20 seconds.
Others say 12 to 15 seconds.
While a few only are willing to offer less than 10.
Fewer still mention one key point. It depends on your hair. How thick. How coarse. And how hot your iron is.
And when it comes to how hot, here’s a quick chart that you might find helpful.
Hot Tip: Consistency matters. It’s something else not often mentioned. Meaning you want to try to keep all sections of hair on the iron more or less the same amount of time. That way all the curls should last more or less the same amount of time. Just a little nugget to stash away for future reference.
Do You Tease Your Hair Before Or After Curling?
Good question. Do you tease your hair before you curl it? Afterwards? Or not at all?
Now some slightly tease the section BEFORE curling for volume.
Others tease the ends AFTER curling to help the staying power of their curls.
Others still gently back comb the underside of their curls for a bigger, sexier, blow out look.
And obviously you can tease around the crown to get some lift on top.
The answer comes down to what you are looking for. And how comfortable you are with a teasing brush.
Teasing vs back combing. Teasing is running the comb or brush up and down through the strand. Back combing is only running the comb or brush down towards the scalp – then taking it out and repeating.
Technically speaking back combing isn’t nearly as damaging.
How To Best Loosen Curls After Curling?
It’s true. For some, the curls off your iron look overly defined. Could be a problem when what you want is more of an effortless, lived in feel to them.
What to do? Three ideas.
You can tug on the ends to relax the curl pattern and elongate the curls a little.
You can rake through the curls with your fingers to loosen them. Or shake them out some?
Or take a brush to them.
You can stop while they’re still curls or loosen things up all the way to waves. Your call.
Either way they’ll look less Shirley Temple and more red carpet glam that doesn’t look like you tried too hard if you do one of the three. Keeping in mind you’re mostly looking to loosen the ends or lower half of the strands.
Then to keep that look, you might want to lift your hair as you spritz with light hold hair spray. Focusing again on the ends. This will help to build in a bit more volume while working to maintain the volume you got from the iron.
How Long Do Curling Iron Curls Last?
For some their curling iron curls don’t last out the day. Others enjoy them for two or three days. What gives?
Here’s the thing. Some textures just embrace the curl and keep it going all day and night. Others, like fine hair are more slippery and so resist curling more than we’d like.
The easiest way to get longer lasting curls here is to crank up the temperature.
Basically the hotter the setting on your iron the longer your curls will hold. In some case maybe two days’ worth of hold without any touch up required. Beyond that they’ll still look good with some TLC.
Just so you know the tradeoff is more heat exposure which can be drying or damaging.
How To Make Curling Iron Curls Last Longer
Nothing worse than creating spiraled glory only to have that cascade of curls fade away well before you’re ready for them to.
If you’re in it for the long haul here’s five quick hitters to try to extend the life of what your curling iron gives you.
Curling second day hair is a 100% natural way to make those curls last. The natural oils give a grittier palate for the iron to work with.
But what if you’re working with freshly shampooed hair? Things like volumizing products or texturizing spray can be used to make up for the grit you washed away. Don’t underestimate what added grit like this can do to help insure the curl doesn’t fall out as fast.
Another trick? Avoid leave in conditioners if staying power is lacking. They can make your strands too slippery which can shorten the life of those curls.
Cool down and pin up. And by that I mean let the hair fall off the iron into your hand curled up. Giving even 5 seconds can help it’s staying power as the curl will have more time to set. Better still if you can clip for them a few minutes to let the curl set.
Go small. You know using a smaller barreled iron means tighter curls for sure. What you may not know it such curls which, even if loosened by finger raking, will hold up better.
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