How to Curl Hair With Straighteners Like a Pro

how to curl hair with straighteners

Whether you have short hair or long hair, everyone likes to play around with their look. Fortunately, a curling iron or flat iron can provide numerous hairstyles to boost your confidence.

In this article, we’ll be sharing the tricks on how to curl hair with straighteners, along with some important before and aftercare tips to keep your curls in place all day.

3 Great Styles You Can Create With a Straightener

You might already be familiar with using a straightener instead of a curling iron to achieve wavy hairstyles. But why would you choose a styler that’s designed for straight hair? Curling hair with a straightener is efficient and practical, as you won’t have to purchase another tool. In fact, a flat iron can create many wonderful looks and versatile hairstyles—simply by adjusting your technique.

Pretty Beach Waves

Beach waves are a style that never seems to be going out of fashion, and it’s one of the easiest hairstyles to create with flat irons.

For C-waves, the first step is to partition the front of your hair and separating it into approximately one-inch-wide sections. Then, take the straightening iron to the root, clamp down, and form a C shape with the curve facing outward. With this, we mean first pulling the iron away from your head, to create the “belly” of the C, and then finishing it off by coming closer to your head. You’re in control of how much wave you want to put in your hair. Position the iron closer or further away to create the shorter or longer beach waves – whichever you prefer!

Make sure to repeat this motion in the same section, using opposite directions as you move down your hair. Continue the process down the entire length of your hair until you reach the ends, focusing on one section at a time.

For the best style, keep the ends slightly straightener. Complete the look using a sea salt spray or textured serum. How you apply the product depends on the look you prefer. For more textured locks, roughly rub your fingers through your hair with the spray. Alternatively, flatten down the locks with the spray for a smoother finish.

Soft, Bouncy Curls

A bouncy curl is great for adding lift and volume to your hairstyle. Begin by placing the styler or hair iron around one inch away from the roots. Hold the tool vertically and start turning it away from your head.

Then, twist the iron with a half-turn—again away from your face. Hold the ends of the hair with your free hand as you use the tension to glide the straightener down the length of the strand to create bouncy locks. With each half-turn, you should be curling a new section of your hair strand, as you open the straightener slightly and allow it to glide down to the next section.

Sophisticated, Polished Waves

Finally, if you’re looking for waves that are sleeker and more sophisticated—like those of old-fashioned movie stars—you’ll like the idea of polished waves. We recommend not washing your hair on the day that you’ll be creating this look, because your hair’s texture will help you achieve a sleeker finish.

Begin by separating out a one-inch vertical section and place the flat iron at your roots. Flatten the root and gently pull the flat iron or styler down by about an inch and a half, while slowly curving this section away from your face, forming a small c-shape and curl.

For the next step, you want to make a tiny dip where the first wave stops and make a longer C-shaped curve in the opposite direction. Ensure that the rounded edge of your hair is positioned close to your face for a smoother finish.

Continue using this technique until you’ve reached the ends of your hair. And for a sleeker style, apply a shining spray and massage it into your hair with your fingers. You might want to avoid using a comb for a more lasting effect as well. Do the same with each section of hair until you have a head full of perfect Hollywood waves.

Styling Hair With a Straightener: Pro Tips

Styling hair using a straightening iron could be challenging for some. Below are tips that will help you create fabulous curly hairstyles within minutes.

Can You Curl Short Hair With a Hair Straightener?

Learning how to curl short hair with straighteners will be the same process as curling long hair. The only difference is that we recommend using a hair straightener with a shorter width. Something between 1/2″ and 1″ will be much better suited to shoulder-length hair, or shorter.

Although you may be more restricted in which hairstyles you can achieve, you can curl in the same way as we described for long hair, but be sure to twist the curls under to avoid them flicking out.

Which Way Do You Curl Your Hair With a Straightener?

When curling your hair, twist your wrist, and the hair straightener, away from your face. This allows the hair to flow over the iron – if you let them flow under, the curls will sit in the wrong direction and will not have a sleek finish.

Where Do You Start?

Start at the back and with the bottom layers of your hair, as these will become more difficult to reach as you begin to curl. Continue to work your way up your hair, focussing on different sections but starting at the back and moving forward each layer.

As you reach higher sections, use the flat iron a little higher, so it winds closer to the top of your hair, so you’re not just left with wavy ends (unless this is the look you’re trying to achieve, of course).

The hair at the front is actually the easiest part to curl, as it is thinner and should be left until the end. Ensure that you turn the iron away from your head, as using a direction towards your head won’t create a smooth, luscious curly hairstyle.

Do You Need to Use a Heat Protectant Spray?

Curling hair with a straightener might not be as challenging as you think with the help of our techniques. However, do remember that when styling hair with a flat iron, make sure to use a heat protection spray to minimise any heat damage.

In fact, using a heat protectant spray is a critical step you shouldn’t miss when curling with straighteners to ensure that you’re protecting the hair shaft. It is also one of the easiest ways to add a natural-looking shine to the body of your hair. Also, use the lowest heat setting possible for your hair type, particularly if you have thin hair.

Choosing the Right Curls for Your Face Shape

beautiful woman with curly hairWhen learning how to curl hair with straighteners, bear in mind that not everyone has the same face shape. This means that one type of curl might look flattering on one person and be unflattering on the next. Establish the best type of curls for your face by following the tips below.

a. Oblong

For this face shape, opt for a curly hairstyle with plenty of volume. We also recommend curling up until the ends of your hair to create the illusion of a shorter face.

b. Square

There are many styles someone with a square-shaped face can pull off. Using a straightening iron or styler, create a rounded shape by the sides of your face with soft curls that can help disguise a square jaw. Ensure that you curl your hair in an outward direction at the top to add height and balance your face shape with a vertical approach.

c. Diamond

Professional stylists love to play around with curls on those with a diamond-shaped face. Opt for soft ones around your jawline to take the focus away from a pointed chin. Also, play around with lots of texture by running your fingers through your hair once it’s cooled down. If your current hairstyle allows it, why don’t you try out a side parting to reduce the appearance of a longer face?

d. Oval

If you’re blessed with an oval-shaped face, keep your ringlets loose and styled in a direction away from your face. The idea of this type of curl is to show off your face shape and flaunt your natural look.

e. Round

For those with a rounder face, you may want to keep most of your hair around the top of your head to create a lifted look. Accentuate it by styling some hair around your face; this technique creates a softer look.

f. Heart

Create a look that’s angled by using different types of curls, i.e. a mix of tight and loose ones. This is a great technique if you don’t already have layers in your hair or have short hair. The different heights and types of curls will help frame your face nicely.

Ways to Keep Curls in Your Hair

Hairdresser applying hairspray for long curly hair of womanOnce you’ve gone to the effort of curling every section of hair, you want to make sure that they stay in place all day. One of the best ways to keep a long-lasting curly style is by not shampooing and styling your hair on the same day.

Instead, opt to style it on the second or third day after having shampooed it. This is because your hair might be too soft and sleek and will, therefore, resist the curls and make them less defined. However, if you must wash your hair on the same day as curling, skip the conditioner stage. Softening your hair more with conditioner will let the ringlets lose their shape faster, as they don’t have enough grit.

Use Plenty of Hairspray

Once you’ve created curls with straighteners, it’s time to ensure that the curls remain in place and don’t get frizzy. Choose a hair product that will let you play around with the texture, so you can create a smooth, polished style or more natural, beach waves by running your fingers through your hair.

When applying hairspray, don’t hold it too close to your hair, as this can make your curly hair too heavy. Instead, focus on a few light sprays, and wait a couple of minutes for the spray to completely dry before seeing if you need to add another application.

Wait for Your Hair to Cool

Moreover, another way to get your curly locks to stay is by not using heat after you’ve curled them. Instead, let the coil cool down and set before you completely remove the iron or let go of the freshly curled strand of hair.

The heat is what makes your hair transform into curls, and if each section is still hot by the time you let it fall, it’ll change into a straighter look. Alternatively, you can try clipping your curls up after you’ve focused on each section if you’re in a rush. Then once you’ve curled every section, unclip your hair and let the swirls fall loose.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to curl hair with straighteners, we recommend that you practice these techniques in your spare time so you can be ready for any event. Focus on a particular section of hair that you may be struggling with. Don’t forget that you can even curl your hair the night before and sleep with luscious locks to awake to the following day with beautiful hair.

Finally, it doesn’t matter if you have short hair or long hair, let your locks have some time away from a straightener, too. Excess heat can damage your hair follicles, so try to go a few days a week without using a flat iron or any heat appliance. Ask your hairstylist for alternative styling methods, if you’re unsure.

Do you have a more specific way on how to curl short hair with straighteners? Or perhaps there’s a certain hair straightener that you love. Let us know your thoughts, along with some recommended products, in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

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