Curls are sublime, there’s absolutely no doubt about that! Women with curly hair have a unique allure that marvelously combines playfulness with charm and sex appeal. Naturally, curly hairstyles are versatile, ranging from formal hairdos to everyday haircuts with minimal styling.
We’ll teach you how to curl your hair with a curling iron for beginners and also what you can do to ensure that they turn out flawlessly. Furthermore, we’ll cover all the common mistakes girls tend to make when curling their locks, providing positive alternatives for each one.
How to Curl Your Hair in 6 Easy Steps?
If you’ve never gone through the process before, learning how to curl your hair can seem intimidating. However, no matter what tool you decide to use, it’s a piece of cake even if you’re a beginner. It’s all in the technique and having a bit of patience until you nail it.
Below, we’ll show you all the instructions for how to curl your hair with a wand or curling iron, the two most common methods.
6 Steps to Curled Hair Perfection
- Begin with a clean, freshly washed canvas.
- Separate your hair into equal sections. If you’re using a curling wand and want more of a beach waves look, use 4 large sections. For a curling iron, smaller sections will be more useful for keeping the hair under the clip.
- Wrap your strand around the barrel of the curler and away from your face. Curling wand users should make sure that the clip portion of their tool is facing the front, while the barrel remains towards the back of their head.
- Depending on your curling tool:
- a) If you have a wand, hold the strand in place for 10 to 20 seconds, with the heat set on low. After that, don’t let the curl go entirely, but rather hold it in your palm for an additional 5 to 10 seconds for the curl to set.
- b) If you have a curling iron, there are two approaches you can try depending on what type of curl you want.
- For a tighter curl, focus on the middle section of the strand and gradually feed the ends in, tapping them as you pull the iron from your hair.
- For a wavier curl, twist your hair as you feed the ends in and only tap the tips lightly so they end up straighter than the rest.
- Repeat the curling process for the remaining sections of hair.
- Use your fingers to gently break the curls apart and soften them for a more natural look.
DO and DON’T of Hair Curling
All the same, mastering the art of how to curl your hair also relies on getting the details right. To be honest, you’d be surprised to find out just how many mistakes even seasoned curlers make on the daily.
|✓ Apply hairspray to your locks prior to curling them for a better hold. We recommend flexible hold hairspray so you can sculpt the strand with ease.
|X Use hairspray only as the finishing touch for your look. Your curl might not even hold out that long for you to set it in place at the end.
|✓ Pick your tool according to the type of curls you want to achieve. For instance, a curling iron with a clip works far better for tighter curls, whereas a wand is more effective for messy waves.
|X Try to apply the same curling technique with the purpose of obtaining different kinds of curls. As an example, you really won’t be able to get modern loose waves if you wrap the tips all the way around the barrel.
|✓ Use the proper barrel size for your hair length. If you have short to medium hair, we recommend a 1-inch barrel. For the best results on long locks, a 1.25-inch barrel is what you need.
|X Assume that a huge barrel will result in bigger and better curls or waves. You’ll just waste time and energy struggling with the inappropriate barrel size.
|✓ Curl your hair only after it’s completely dry and you have applied quality heat protectant products.
|X DON’T Fry your hair by curling it when damp and without any extra protection.
In today’s list, we’ll showcase the curly hair ideas that blew us away. Enjoy!
1. Short Curly Hairstyle
Now this is a sassy short haircut perfect for curly-haired women with attitude. It’s strategically cut to start from short at the back of the head and gradually reach longer locks at the tops. Adorable, classy, and flattering, all in one.
Do you have an outgoing personality and you’re not afraid to show it? Explore the fantastic world of short hairstyles! The curly pixie haircut is one of the most ravishing ideas that come to mind, but you can also experiment with other cuts even if you have curly locks.
If you have shorter locks, you can twirl them into the perfect curly pixie hairstyle. To get results similar to those depicted above, we recommend using wider sections of hair for your curls. As a side note, it helps if your pixie is cut in long layers.
2. Over Ear Tuck and Pin Hair
10/10 you’ve seen this hairstyle and have already fallen in love with it. There’s something super appealing about casually tucking a few strands over one ear and pinning them in place. You gracefully reveal your jawline, all while highlighting your best features.
3. Formal Curly Hair
If you have an important event coming up, you can count on a messy updo to accentuate your curls. One of the best parts about this curly hairstyle is that it takes literally a few minutes, provided your hair is cut in layers.
Classy curls are always welcome, but nothing beats the effortless cool that comes with a messy hairstyle. Whether you go for a half up half down look or a messy bun, their nonchalant energy will make you absolutely radiant. It’s also an excellent way to add a natural touch to the overall look.
4. Ombre Curls Hairstyle
Adding a bit of color to your ringlets can emphasize your lovely hair texture even more. A popular option is ombre, particularly with a brown blonde or brown caramel combination. Of course, you can venture into brighter colors if you’re up for it.
5. Long Curly Hairstyle
Having long and luscious curls is a major hair goal for women. Aside from being able to wear it down gorgeously, you have a lot more styling options at hand. If you want a casual look, part your hair half up half down and twist the top part into a loose knot.
Remember what we said in our cheat sheet earlier about girly ribbon curls? Well, now we have the perfect snapshot to illustrate the idea. The hairstyle is particularly popular among little girls. It doesn’t mean that you can’t rock them with confidence as an adult though.
6. Natural Curly Hairstyle
Women of color get to naturally enjoy (hopefully) corkscrew curls thanks to their afro-textured hair. There is myriad of African hairstyles that you can get inspired from, for example: cornrows. To outline your curls nicely, go for two or three cornrows above one ear on the side.
7. Tight Spiral Curls
For more of a retro approach to learning how to curl your hair, use spirals and coils as your main inspo. You’ll get a cool 80s vibe, not to mention that your tight ringlets will make you seem like an authentic curly haired gal.
8. Criss Cross Braided Buns
But what do you do when you want to experiment with numerous braids? This zig zag braided hairstyle is just what you have been looking for. Try out five or six braids, criss crossing them on the back of your head. Wrap them all in a loose, curly bun as the final touch.
9. Curly Weave Hairstyle
If you’re just completed your BC (Big Chop) and want to start growing out your natural hair, you can opt for a curly weave to help you get used to it. This shoulder length curly weave with copper highlights is an excellent idea to begin with.
10. Half Up Puffs
We l-o-v-e curly puffs, no matter if they’re entirely wrapped up or half up, half down. In this example, you can see how medium-length curly hair looks when it’s tied in a cute puff half up. Feel free to leave a few strands in front if you’d like.
11. Big Bouncy Curls
Speaking of volume, there’s no better way to obtain it than with big, loose, and bouncy curls. For this voluminous hairstyle, separate your locks into bigger sections and focus on creating soft, large curls for each one.
12. Cornrows and Huge Back Curls
Remember what we were saying about puffs earlier? Well, this is another amazing example to support our claim. Give your own original twist to the classic curly puff by braiding the top part of your head and leaving the back part as big as possible.
13. Low Side Ponytail
Similar to tucking strands behind one ear, a low side ponytail with curls is completely enchanting. It’s another pretty way to reveal your jawline, and also your shoulder. We recommend this curly hairstyle for any type of formal occasion.
14. Professional Short Curly Hair
Most corporate careers also involve a fairly strict beauty and dress code. While hairstyles aren’t that restrictive in offices, this is an example of how you can style your curls to make sure they leave a professional impression from beginning to end.
15. Big Medium Curly Hairstyle
Ladies with naturally curly hair know all too well that volume is a must when considering their hairstyle. To get all the dynamism you have ever dreamed of, try out a medium length hairstyle with plenty of layers. The cutting technique will naturally provide that much-desired volume boost.
16. Curly Loose Buns
Ah, messy buns, the #1 “weapon” of women with curly hair. Not only does this hairstyle cut major styling time, but it also has an effortless and endless glam about it. As a rule of thumb, the messier, the better.
17. Curly Bob Hairstyle
Bobs, both long and short, are one of the top hairstyles for women with straight hair. However, this haircut looks just as fabulous with curly hair. To add shape and volume to your hairdo, consider an angled bob that starts shorter in the back and gets longer towards your chin.
18. Highlights for Curly Hair
Just like ombre, classic highlights do an exceptional job of contouring your curly locks. You can get any color you want, but we encourage you to choose a lighter tone than your natural hair color to get the contrast you desire.
19. Long Curly Ponytail Hairstyle
The same goes for ponytail hairstyles. Once the ponytail is tied in place, all you have to do is curl the locks in the bottom section. The bigger, the better. We also encourage you to go for loose curls that resemble wavy hair, regardless if you have a high, medium, or low ponytail.
You really can’t get any simpler than a high ponytail when hairstyles are in discussion. This timeless hairdo works brilliantly for girls with long and curly hair, as you won’t spend extra time making the ponytail sleek, straight, or even. Wrap yours high and don’t shy away from some messiness.
20. Rose Shaped Updos
Back to formal curly hairstyles. This low bun is breathtakingly twisted into a flower-like shape that rests peacefully at the base of your neck. The fact that your hair is naturally curly will help you obtain this chic shape with ease.
21. Double Braids and Low Pigtail
Jhene Aiko is not only a beloved singer, but she’s also a huge style icon. Among her memorable hairstyles is these adorable low pigtails look with two crown braids. The look is flawless for ladies with middle and side parts alike.
22. Cool Kinky Curly Hairstyle
We’re all for kinky curls, especially when they’re stylishly complemented with the right accessories. In this case, you can see how an African print headwrap makes these stunning curls even more eye-catching.
23. Curly Prom Hairstyle
Prom only comes around once, so you have to make it perfect for you. If you have long, loosely curly hair, half up half down is the way to go. This special hairstyle has two waterfall braids that connect in the middle glamorously.
24. Sleek Top Curly Ponytail
If you want to experiment with textures, you can combine curly with straight. In this hairstyle, the top is slicked back and the rest is shown off with a big, curly ponytail. It’s an ideal option for brides, bridesmaids or other fancy events.
25. Chocolate Balayage Curly Hairstyle
Ombre, highlights, but what about balayage? It would be impossible for us to not touch on this gorgeous coloring technique. For a natural approach, go for a chocolate or caramel balayage on your curls.
26. Flattering Curly Hairstyle for Thick Hair
Have thick, curly hair? Lucky you! You’re fortunate enough to be able to style your curls in almost any way imaginable. You already have volume galore, but you can switch things up a notch with a half up hairstyle like this one.
27. Shoulder-Length Curly Hairstyle
Tori Kelly is another curly girl from the entertainment industry that we always have our eyes on. You can clearly understand why. This Grammy-nominated singer always has her curls on point. Here, she inspires us with a laid back, shoulder-length curly hairstyle.
28. Loose Ponytail Curly Hair
If you’re not feeling a high or low ponytail at the moment, a traditional loose one can do the trick. You’ll have it up and ready in a minute, and it goes well with almost any casual outfit. A strand or two in the front can add a nice touch.
29. Flowers and Curls Hairstyle
Floral hair accessories are some of our all-time favorites, owing to the natural beauty they provide. Regardless if you’re getting ready for a remarkable outdoor wedding or you want to be the center of attention at a music festival, flowers, curls, and braids are the answer.
30. Curly Frizzy Hairstyle
Sometimes, frizzy hair can be a real pain in the rear. However, when you learn to embrace your rebellious curls, you’ll find that they have an incredible charm of their own. Cut yours mid-length for a wonderful outcome!
31. Chignons with Curls
Chignons, the ultimate queen of updos. Having curly hair is a significant bonus for this hairstyle, as it will be a breeze to style. Pick your favorite hairpin to complement this elegant and polished look.
32. Curly Updo Hairstyle
Speaking of updos, this classic and classy wedding choice is a must to keep in mind. It’s designed to be big, beautiful and jaw-dropping, with sweetness added by loose curls in the front and back.
On that note, one of the most stunning formal hairstyles you can try out is a messy updo. Here, you don’t even have to curl all of your hair. Reserve the loose ringlets only for the bun portion of the hairstyle. A few loose strands will always help pull the look together with style.
33. Loc Braid Outs
Women of the natural hair community know that a loc braid out looks dazzling, no matter how long your hair is. This example shows how your curls would look with this hairstyle in mid-length, together with a middle part.
34. Short Twists Curly Hairstyle
It’s often challenging to find the perfect haircut for your face shape. If your face is round, you can consider a playful bob that frames your jawline nicely. You can keep the bangs curly or straight, according to your preferences.
35. Stacked and Layered Bob
You already know that layering can work miracles, but how about strategic, stacked layers? This V-shaped long bob creates a delightful silhouette for large, soft curls. You can rock it with or without bangs, but don’t be afraid of a bit of hair spray here and there.
36. Big Half Up Hairstyle
Another half up, half down hairstyle for curly hair accentuates volume more than ever. This is a spectacular way for women with a thick hair texture to show off their superb locks.
37. Curly Hairstyle with Bangs
We’ve briefly mentioned bangs in a few of our ideas until now, but here we want to stress on their beauty. Quite a few women with curly hair frequently stay away from bangs, thinking that they might not work well with curls. To prove you wrong, just look at this phenomenal hairstyle!
38. African American Curly Hairstyle
Yet another African-inspired hairstyle combines twists with ponytails. We love this extraordinary hairstyle for the creativity applied, starting with tightly twisted strands on top. The relaxed ponytail makes the look adaptable for all situations.
39. Hippie Headbands and Soft Curls
Is your inner boho girl longing to express herself? Sometimes all you need is the right accessory to do so. Hippie headbands are at an arm’s length, so get yours and use it for the ultimate summer hairstyle.
40. Curly Afro Hairstyle
Afros are amazing. If your hair enjoys this natural texture, then you shouldn’t even think of ignoring afro as a hairstyle. It’s radiant from all points of view and we guarantee you’ll make heads turn with admiration.
41. High Curly Ponytail
This is another example of how you can rock a high ponytail with long and curly hair. This one is a bit more styled than our first example, but it can help you see how your hair would look if it’s really thick and long.
42. Half Up Curly Hairstyle
When it comes to half up hairstyles, most of them are either basic or visibly complex. Nevertheless, there are options that you can meet halfway. What makes this half up hairdo special is the twisting technique, as well as the cute metallic hairpins.
43. Fishtail Braid Updos
We adore the fishtail braid as much as any other girl, especially when it’s blended in a chic updo. The wide fishtail starts from the top, wraps towards the back and ends in the curly bun at your nape.
44. Curly Wedding Hairstyle
This fancy curly hairstyle is appropriate for any type of wedding, no matter the setting. The nude flower accessory is the icing on the cake for the look, so think about adding one to your elegant updo.
45. Black and Purple Ringlets
To support our vivid ombre ideas, here’s an awesome idea you can try out. While purple is indeed a flashy color, it’s harmoniously combined with black to tone down the overall look. The curls make the hairstyle even more charming.
46. Curly Space Buns
Cuteness is clearly a common theme with faux curl hairstyles. Another example to prove our point comes in the form of whimsical space buns. Regardless if you have longer or shorter hair, you can curl your locks to make your double high buns sweeter than ever before!
No matter if you call them double buns or space buns, these sweet details come together for a dreamy hairstyle. Naturally curly hair makes them effortless; you’ll see that the curls help you get the perfect buns without a lot of hassle.
47. Braided Hairstyle with Curly Hair
Even if your hair isn’t curly, you can recreate the look through styling. After you create your V-shaped waterfall braid, use a curling iron to get impressive ringlets in the second half. Try out this look for formal situations.
48. Curly Mohawk Hairstyle
The faux hawk is a definite favorite for edgy women who don’t want to fully shave the heads of their head. All you have to do is comb the sides up tightly and use bobby pins. Hair spray and teasing with a comb will help too.
49. Big Puffs and Bangs
This photo helps you get a better idea of what a voluminous puff will look like with curly bangs. It works splendidly for women who already have bangs. Nonetheless, you can also create the illusion of bangs through styling.
50. Bandanas and Big Puffs
Lastly, this is a magnificent idea if you want to incorporate urban hair accessories into your hairstyle. Pull all of your hair into a huge puff and tie a bandana around your head. In just a few minutes you’ll be ready to shine throughout the day!
51. Perm Hairstyle
Although we may not all be blessed with naturally curly hair, there are several ways we can get it. Thanks to perm hairstyles, we can now transform our straight or wavy locks into corkscrew curls like the ones we have always dreamed of.
52. Vintage Curly Hairstyle
There’s a certain elegance that comes with vintage hairstyles that you can’t really find anywhere else. Channel your inner 1940s diva with your hair parted to the side and long, rippling curls.
53. Curly Boho Hairstyle
To bring our ideas to a beautiful close, we present an ever trending bohemian hairstyle. The key is to not give yourself a hard time with styling so to get that all-natural boho glow. One of the easiest ways to do so is with a high ponytail with curls with a casual side bride tucked into the mix.
We want to wrap up our curly hairstyles with this wonderful bohemian idea. If you’re all for boho chic style, you should know that your curls don’t have to be perfect. In fact, it helps if they’re messy, and even on the wavy side.
So, What Is YOUR Hair Motivation?
To conclude, the huge amount of curly hairstyles available is a dream come true for ladies with this natural hair texture. No matter if you want to show off your curls with a fancy hairstyle or accentuate them on a day-to-day basis, we’re sure that at least a handful of these ideas will help you out. Go with your instinct and choose the most representative hairstyle for your ringlets. And then tell us what you chose!
Tom is pursuing a career as a hair stylist in London, following in his family’s footsteps. He chose this path from a very early age, taking all the necessary steps to achieve his goal. Tom lives a very active lifestyle, but still manages to find the time to share his expertise with readers at Hair Motive. When you can’t find him in the salon, you can find Tom having a walk in the park or visiting the theatre for the latest shows.