Having the hardest time curling your short or shorter hair with a flat iron?
Watched a ton of Youtube vids on how to flat iron curl it that didn’t help a bit and were more a total waste of time?
Tired of feeling totally clueless and frustrated with your lack of short hair styling success? So much so you want to chuck the straightener across the room already!
Geez, what are you doing wrong?
Who can’t relate?
Who hasn’t had trouble mastering a new styling skill?
Yet once you learn a few simple tricks and watch the RIGHT video or two you’ll be able to curl up your short strands like a pro with ease. Pinky promise!
One or both of the videos below will get you up to speed and fast. Leaving you with a head full of loose undone curls.
Plus there’s over 20 tips that can insure you get your short strands curled and keep them curled. How’s that?
Quick Section Navigation
- VIDEO: Curling Short Hair With A Flat Iron And Wand!
- 15 Flat Iron Tips And Tricks For Curling Short Hair
- Tips For How To Get Curls To Last
- VIDEO: How To Flat Iron Curl Short Hair
So let’s fire up the first video!
Curling Short Hair With A Flat Iron And Wand!
The nifty thing about this video is she did half her hair with a straightener and the other half with curling wand.
Not sure about you but I always appreciate side by side comparisons. Especially on the same head.
Obviously you’ll want to see the technique in action. But for the Cliff Notes version here’s the four main steps involved.
Step 1) Always, always, always run heat protectant through your hair first. Didn’t want to disappoint and neglect to mention that little fine point. (If you want our take on that topic check out the guide we wrote about using protectants.) But the hair you save may be your own.
Step 2) Select a section of hair maybe about an inch wide.
Hot Tip: Quickly run your straightener over the hair to smooth it out before the main event. Doing a pass like this first gives you prettier curls.
Step 3) Clamp the iron on the hair pretty close to your scalp then flip or twist both the tool and the hair backwards.
How much you flip determines the type of curl you’re going for.
- Partial flipping gives you looser curls.
- Total flipping results in ringlets.
Step 4) Then just glide the straightener down the strand.
Viola! Instant curls.
Now for the pesky short stuff in the back towards the bottom most you can hope for is a bit of a bend. Not enough length to really grab on to, know what I mean?
Meanwhile back at the front around your face, she likes to start curling mid strand. The idea is to create a loose flowing curls look.
Once you get to psn 5:25 the flat iron portion of the video is done. If you have no interest in wanding you can move on. There’s nothing left to see regarding your flat iron.
But if you are curious about curling with a wand she takes you step by step through what she does with that hot styling tool.
Hot Tip: It’s a good idea to practice the twisting, flipping, turning thing a few times with a cold flat iron. That can help you get the hang of it without subjecting your hair to unnecessary heat exposure.
Unexpected Bonus: Day one curls will relax overnight letting many get a second day out of their styling efforts.
And if you can’t get the hang of the wrapping or twisting don’t despair. There’s another video that eliminates that completely.
I didn’t lead with that for a reason. We often fail to appreciate the simple fix without first seeing the alternative.
15 Flat Iron Tips And Tricks For Curling Short Hair
Anyone who uses a flat iron to curl their short hair is bound to find something useful listed here.
Tip #1: Match the amount of hair you work with to the desired outcome. By that I mean sliding bigger sections of hair across the plates means less curl and more wavy. Conversely taking smaller sections means more curl and less of a wavy outcome.
Tip #2: Along the same lines how fast your run your hair between the flat iron’s plates determines the amount of heat exposure. More heat exposure (within reason) equals more curl. Less means more waviness.
Tip #3: The direction of the curl, away or towards your face, is determined by how you twist, flip, rotate, or turn the iron.
Some prefer to alternate the going towards and away with each section curled. Knowing that mimicks naturally curly hair which doesn’t follow any script.
Others just throw in a few of opposing direction curls.
If you twist, flip, rotate or turn the tool 180 degrees, you’ll create a more wanton curl.
Also some prefer to curl the strands nearest their face away to open up their face.
Tip #4: Make sure you start curling near the roots. For sure no lower than mid strand. This will insure you have a curled strand rather than just curled ends.
Tip #5: Don’t expect to master this after one try. Like anything worthwhile it takes practice. You only get good at something by starting out being bad at it.
Hey! Don’t roll your eyes at this idea. It’s true.
Tip #6: Use your favorite moderate hold hair spray. After spritzing it in then run your fingers through your curls to insure even distribution.
Tip #7: For extra volume without teasing lift your hair at the roots and spray away with a volumizing hair spray. This will add a bit of volume that lasts. A popular volumizing hairspray for lift and hold is Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play (Amazon link).
If you don’t like that maybe a texturizing hair spray is more to your liking. Something light and airy like OUAI Texturizing Hair Spray (pricey but popular) gives you hold and weightless volume at the roots. Vital if you’re working with fine thin hair.
Tip #8: It’s never a bad idea to give your freshly minted curl a little extra twist or a quick finger curl right after it clears the flat iron to encourage staying power.
Tip #9: Easy does it. There’s no need to clamp the flat iron plates together hard. You know with all your might like a death grip on your hair?
I mean think about it. Doesn’t that just make it harder to glide your hair though the iron and over the plates?
So ease up. Relax your grip just a little. Leaving the plates open just a crack still means the heat will penetrate your stands to create the curl you seek.
Tip #10: The material the flat iron’s plates are made of matters. Those infused with ceramic and tourmaline actually seal your cuticles. That leaves you with hair that’s noticeably shinier and smoother. And who doesn’t want that?
Solid ceramic plates heat evenly meaning no hot spots that can burn your hair.
Tip #11: When done curling finger rake the resulting curls as much or as little as you like to soften them.
Tip #12: Spray texturizing hair spray at the roots for volume. Then add a light weight hold mist to your curls and scrunch it in to help them stay.
Tip#13: and if that doesn’t help try skipping the conditioner (or any other leave-in product) on days you plan to flat iron.
Tip #14: Try using a flat iron with smaller plates. Like a one incher instead of something bigger. You may find this gives you a tighter curl than a tool with wider plates.
Tip #15: You want to find the right temp that produces the results you want in ONE pass. Running your hair over the plates multiple times risks heat damage regardless if you used heat protectant or not. Yet too many admit to doing this.
Naturally the right temperature varies with the texture of your hair. Fine hair needs the lowest temps to curl while coarse the highest. Everyone’s hair is different so it’s hard to say what YOU will need.
As a starting point set your tool between 300 and 350 degree F. Adjust from there. Basically you want to find the lowest heat setting that works with your tool with your hair.
Tip #16: Make sure your hair care routine includes additional moisture for your ends at least. Heat evaporates moisture. That can leave your ends especially feeling dry looking parched, which can lead to breakage.
How To Get Curls To Last
But what if you do all that only to experience the frustration of the curls not lasting longer than 15 minutes before falling flat?
Obviously there’s no shortage of ideas for what you can do to get curls that last. Here’s a few that I hope serve as more of a reminder rather than come as breaking news.
CURL NOT STAYING TIP#1
The best way to get curls to stay is to work with smaller sections of hair. If you’re not start sectioning STAT!
So the rule is if at first you don’t succeed try working with smaller sections. This is especially important if your hair is thicker. Because the smaller the section the tighter the curl and the longer it will last. No lie.
CURL NOT STAYING TIP#2
If your hair seems to be hairspray resistant and you can’t get curls to stay try this trick to skip that frustration.
After curling, coil each and every curl up and pin it in place with a bobby pin or alligator clip while it’s still warm. This is probably the smartest move you can make.
The idea is to give the curl as long as you can to cool down and set.
So get on with your with routine whether it’s makeup, eating, or whatever. Once your hair has cooled take the pins out and release the curls. But even now don’t finger rake them or do anything to loosen them up for a few more minutes.
This smart move gives the curls more structure which helps them to stick around past dinner. Oh and of course feel free to spritz with light to moderate hold hair spray.
But the big takeaway is the bobby pinning or clipping. Sure it’s a pain. But it can make such a BIG difference.
CURL NOT STAYING TIP#3
See if curling only second or third day hair gives you curls that stay.
CURL NOT STAYING TIP#4
Hairspray before curling. Sounds crazy but this little hack can add texture to your hair that can help the curls last.
CURL NOT STAYING TIP#5
If bobby pinning doesn’t quite do it see if skipping the conditioner on days you plan to flat iron does. So yeah. Avoid conditioner, or in extreme cases any leave in product. That can weigh down your strands and eventually take the curl with them. If your hair can’t live without conditioning see if one of the lightweight choices works for you.
How To Flat Iron Curl Short Hair
Now for some, beginners especially, all the twisting, turning, rotating the iron bit holds them back. Admittedly it can be confusing. (More so if you’re trying to do it while looking at a mirror. hint hint)
Is that you? Then how about a pure genius way to accomplish the same thing as demonstrated in the first video – only twist free. How awesome is that?
Yeah, if you’re rotationally challenged or lack sufficient hand to eye coordination to pull this off this video is for you.
In a nutshell the big reveal is summed up in these five steps.
- Step 1) Open the iron
- Step 2) Wrap the selected strand of hair going away from your face from underneath the iron
- Step 3) Pull the end of the strand in between the plates
- Step 4) Clip or clamp the iron shut
- Step 5) Slide over the plates
You got this right? Just five steps and your all girly flat iron curl appears.
She demonstrates the move it twice. Then encourages you to practice.
And relax. I KNOW she doesn’t have short hair. That doesn’t mean it won’t work on short hair. (Or strands that at least fall the chin level long.)
Don’t believe me? Just past the four minute mark she assures you it will too work with shorter hair.
Or be stubborn and pass on your chance to see if this approach can’t give you your best flat iron curls ever. Obviously it won’t work for everyone. Nothing does. But it just might work for you!
Love tricks like this? Then you’ll want to follow our short hair board for inspo and how to do it hacks just like these.