Method 1 of 5: Using a Curling Iron
Heat up the curling iron. Most curling irons will need a little time to heat up before you can use them. If you try to curl your hair with the iron before it reaches the correct temperature, the curls will not hold.
- Some curling irons will have different settings which you can play around with until you achieve the best result. Try to keep it at the lowest temperature possible though, to cause less damage to your hair. Look for curling irons that say None Damage on the box.
- A good guide is 320ºF (160ºC) for fine hair and 430ºF (220ºC).
Make sure your hair is completely dry. Putting a hot iron on damp hair can seriously damage it — not because the iron is too hot, but because the water will turn to scalding steam. Play it safe, and completely dry your hair first. Run a blowdryer over any damp spots. (Although, try to wait it out. Depending on your hair thickness, this may take time. But, if you want to reduce heat on your hair, you can wait. However, if using a blow drying is the best option for you, keep it on a cool setting.)
Brush out any tangles while the iron heats up. Start at the end of your hair and brush out the bottom few inches or centimeters, then work your way up until you can easily brush through the length of your hair. This reduces damage to you hair like split ends, fallout, etc.
Apply a heat protection spray. If you regularly use heat to style your hair, it’s really important that you use a heat protection spray. It will protect your hair from the damage caused by exposure to high temperatures and prevent it from becoming dry and frazzled looking. Just spray it liberally all over your hair before curling.
- Heat protector sprays can be found at most drug stores and hair salons.
Split your hair into sections. Even if you have thin hair, you’ll get better results if you work with small sections of hair. That way, you can make sure you’re curling everything and curl in a more uniform style.
- Pin or clip up the top section of your hair. Using your thumbs, grab everything that’s above the top of your ears and clip it up on top of your head.
- Release upper sections as you work. When the bottom section of hair is finished, unclip your hair and let out a little more, clipping up the excess again. Continue working this way until all your hair is curled.
- Remember that using bigger sections of hair will result in bigger, looser curls, while using smaller sections of hair will give you smaller, tighter ringlets.
Start curling. Now that all the prep work is out of the way, you’re ready to start curling. Begin by taking a small section of hair and wrap it around the curling iron, beginning at the top or bottom, depending on the type of tongs:
- Some curling irons will have a clamp near the handle. If this is the type of curling tongs you’re using, open the clamp and position the end of the hair at the lower end of the barrel, near the handle, then close the clamp to secure. Then you can wrap that entire section of hair around the iron, by rolling the iron upwards towards your roots. Stop rolling when you get about an inch away from the roots, to prevent the iron from burning your scalp.
- Other curling irons, often referred to as wands, don’t have a clamp. With this type of iron, you should start near the top of your hair and use your hand to wrap a piece of hair around the iron. You will need to hold the end of your hair in place while that section of hair curls. Some curling wands provide a safety glove that you can wear while doing this, to prevent your hand from burning.
Hold the iron in place. You will need to hold the curling iron with the hair wrapped around it for a few seconds, while the hair heats up and curls. This should take approximately 10 seconds, but the time will vary according to the individual curling iron and the temperature it’s heated to.
- Play around to find a time that creates a perfect curl with your iron, but remember to start out with a lower time to prevent your hair from burning.
- After 10 seconds, let go of your hair to release the curl. If your hair is still a little flat, try pinning it while it’s still curled (tutorials on internet) then at the end take all the pins out of each curl.
Move on to the next curl. Once you are happy with how your first curl turned out, move on to the next piece of hair and do the same steps as before. Make sure that you wrap all the curls around the iron in the same direction, so the curls will look uniform.
- Alternatively, if you want less uniform curls, you can mix up the direction a little bit for a less styled look.
Loosen your curls (optional). If you want your hair to look softer and looser, run your fingers through the curls a few times. The curls will pull down and loosen up as you do so. You can also turn your head upside down and use your fingers to fluff up and separate the curls.
- Once you have curled your hair, do not brush it with a hairbrush. It will loosen the curls too much and they will fall out.
- If you brush out curls with a hairbrush, your hair will look wavy rather that curly, which can be a nice style in itself.
Set your curls with hairspray (optional). If you tend to have straight hair, or you’re worried about your curls turning frizzy or falling out throughout the day, mist some hairspray over your curls. If you want tight curls, you can spray each curl individually as soon as you’ve finished with it, but if you want a looser style, wait until the curls have relaxed a little and only spray them when you’ve finished curling your entire head.
- Choose a loose hold hairspray so your curls aren’t too stiff and you hair doesn’t feel too “crunchy”. Hold the can about 12-14 in (30.5 cm – 35.5 cm) away from your head and spray evenly around your head. Be careful not to apply too much
- Never apply hairspray to the curls while they are still wrapped around the iron. The combination of the heat from the irons and the alcohol in the hairspray will fry your hair.
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