Curls and Waves are here to stay and there’s no better way to glam up your look than by using a curling iron to style your hair.
For those of us who weren’t blessed with naturally curly locks, mastering the use of a curling iron can be a bit tricky. We’ve taken the guess work out of the equation and curated our favorite tips straight from the professionals to help you improve your curl-game and get glam without the grief!
Between regular color services, haircuts and what feels like a revolving door of hair products, the time and money we spend on our hair can add up! Protecting your investment by using high-quality hot tools can make all the difference – especially when curling your hair. The price tag on that iron in the clearance section may be attractive and will save money up front, but ignoring important features like a ceramic barrel can result in damage to your hair and dull, lifeless locks. The internal heating elements of a curling iron are just as important and bargain barrel curling irons tend to have heaters that are smaller than the plates which can result in cool spots, uneven heat and unpredictable results. Be sure to do your research and invest in a professional-grade curling iron with a ceramic barrel (we love the Platform curling irons).
Using the right product before, during and after curling your hair will make life easier and your style last longer. It’s a win-win. Be sure to use lightweight, layerable porosity-evening primer and mousse or styling cream on damp hair prior to styling and don’t forget a heat-protectant to save hair from unwanted damage (we love the STYLUS Thermal Styling Care as every product has built in heat-protectant). When you pick up each section before curling, mist with a light-hold dry hairspray, comb through, then curl. When all of your hair is curled, lock in your style with a medium-hold hair spray that is humidity-resistant.
Knowing which barrel size to use and why is key. A curling iron that is too large can result in limp, lifeless curls and an iron that is too small can produce Shirley Temple ringlets when you’re going for loose, beachy waves. The ¾” and 1” sizes are perfect for creating natural looking, tighter coils and for touching up naturally curly hair after air-drying or using a dryer and diffuser. The 1 ¼” is the go-to size for achieving structured curls with lots of body or loose, beachy waves by wrapping the hair around a closed barrel – similar to a wand. A curling iron with a larger 1 ½ barrel is great for adding some bend and movement to long hair.
Naturally curly hair comes in all shapes and sizes and knowing which direction to curl the hair and why will ensure a successful end result. Curling face-framing pieces away from the face will open up and highlight your best features. For a more natural look, alternate directions by curling one section back away from your face and the next forward. Repeat until you’ve curled all of your hair. For a classic, Old-Hollywood glam look try curling all of the hair in the same direction. For example, if you start curling hair away from the face on your right, the results will be curls directed towards your face on the left as you work around the head. Set each curl as your work using a single-prong clip and when hair has cooled (20 minutes is a good rule of thumb), remove clips and gently brush out with a wide-tooth comb.
One common mistake when using a curling iron is to place the ends of the hair in the iron and wind up towards the scalp. When used this way, the heat from the iron may not penetrate all of the hair and can cause the ends to have volume and structure while the root and mid-lengths have none. Try placing your iron within the first 2-3 inches of hair near the root and twist the iron while also unwinding as you work. Another way to curl is by holding the iron facing down (handle up), keeping the barrel close and simply wrap hair around the iron, hold for a few seconds and release.
Trust us, perfect curls are worth the wait! Giving hair a few minutes to set and cool is a must for a style that last all night. Touching or brushing hair while it’s warm can cause frizz and will remove the shape you just worked so hard to put into the hair. Once you’ve curled all of your hair and let the curls set, apply a small amount of serum to your hands and fingers and gently rake your fingers through to break up any harsh lines and build additional body and volume.
Caring for your tool properly is definitely important to getting the most longevity from your investment! To clean, we recommend using a non-corrosive and non-hazardous tool cleaning solution (the STYLUS Thermal Tool Care Kit is one of the best) periodically to get rid of any build up from the hair or styling product. To clean, power off and unplug the tool. Remove any hair or loose debris. Lightly spray a brush with nylon bristles with the cleaning solution. Clean your iron while it is slightly warm if the product buildup has hardened. Using a cleaning brush, gently scrub the barrel in a circular motion. Once the tool is clean, wipe with a soft, damp cloth. It’s also important not to wrap the cord around the iron to store as this wears out the base of the cord over time. To store, wrap the cord in a figure eight motion and secure with the Velcro closure.
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Curling irons are one of the more elusive beauty tools that we have at our disposal. They aren’t like flat irons, which are pretty self-explanatory in terms of directions and results. We use a flat iron to get chic and straight. But, curling irons open a whole new world of possibilities.
You can achieve beachy waves, tight ringlets, or effortless volume with a curling iron. But, if you aren’t taking care of your curling iron properly or using it in the right way, your desired beautiful salon-worthy curls might be falling flat! If this sounds like you, check out our list of curling iron do’s and don’ts. They might surprise you.