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Creating voluminous, shiny, curly hair is the easiest way to glam up your look, no question about it. But if you weren't blessed with naturally curly hair, it can be a bit of a gamble to try to bring curls to life with a curling iron. Seriously, why do they always end up looking like little girl ringlets? We bet that wasn’t the look you were going for! To take the guesswork out of using a curling iron and make the overall styling process easier for you, we’ve put together the below tutorial on how to use a curling iron. Trust us: With the right curling iron and styling products (like hair mousse, heat protectant, and hair spray), you’ll be able to confidently curl your hair.
Unsure what exactly to do when you’ve got a curling iron in your hand? We’re laying it out for you with step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Select your curling iron. Before buying a curling iron, take a few things into consideration. For starters, how curly do you want your hair to be? If you’re looking to create tightly wound coils, you’ll want to choose a barrel size of ¾-inch or less. If big, bouncy beachy waves are more your jam, pick up a curling iron with a barrel of 1-inch or more. As far as types of curling irons go, ceramic and tourmaline ones are always a good bet, as they can help minimize the look of frizz.
Step 2: Start your look with freshly washed hair. To get the most out of your perfectly curled look, it’s a good idea to start off with clean hair. Hop in the shower and use a system of shampoo and conditioner formulated to manage the appearance of frizz, like the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz-Defy Shampoo and the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz-Defy Conditioner. Follow up by applying a hair mousse, like the L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse, to wet hair to help add some volume.
Step 3: Blow-dry your hair. Once your hair is about halfway dry, blow-dry it with a boar bristle brush until it’s completely dry. Make sure to apply a heat protectant, like the L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BLOW DRY IT Thermal Smoother Cream, first.
Step 4: Test your curling iron’s heat. Now that you’ve blow-dried your hair, it’s time to get to work with that curling iron! First, find the proper heat setting for your hair. Typically, it’s a good idea to test out the lowest heat setting possible to see what type of curl it creates. From there, you can adjust the heat as needed before you start.
Step 5: Curl your hair. Once you’re done heating up your curling iron, divide your hair into two or three stacked layers, depending on how thick your hair is (fewer to curl fine hair and more to style thick hair). Use a lobster clip to hold the topmost layers out of the way while you start curling the bottom section. You want to curl your entire head of hair—not just the top layers—because the more curls you create, the fuller your hair will look. For each layer, curl your hair in 1-inch sections. You don’t want to create sections that are too thick, since then you may find yourself having to repeatedly curl the same section over and over again so that it’ll hold its shape—and excessive heat styling can lead to damage. You also don’t want to keep your hair on the curling iron for too long for the same reason—really, a few seconds at most should do.
Want a more natural look? Curl your hair away from your face. To do so, wind your hair down and around your curling wand in a clockwise direction on the right and counterclockwise direction on the left.
Step 6: Shake out your curls. Once you’ve finished curling your whole head of hair, flip it over and give it a good shake to loosen up your look for a more natural-looking finish. So easy, so pretty!
Step 7: Set your curls. If needed, lightly mist your hair with a hair spray, like the L'Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray.
For more heat styling tips, here are 3 Hairstyles You Can Create with a Flat Iron.