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How to Curl Your Hair: The Only Foolproof Guide You’ll Need!

Curls may not make the world go round, but they do make our hearts soar. If you’re not a naturally curly girl, you can always fake it till you make it by learning how to curl your hair.

There’s more to curling your tresses than meets the eye. Still, there’s no reason to panic, because we’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide for curling hair!

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 demonstration

We’ll be wrapping everything up with a time-saving and stress-reducing cheat sheet for Pinterest-worthy coils and a list of cute curly hairstyles to play around with.


So, without any further ado, discover everything you need to know about how to curl your hair like the girl boss you are!


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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.

hair on fleek gif
via Giphy

The 6 Steps to Curled Hair Perfection

  1. Begin with a clean, freshly washed canvas.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Repeat the curling process for the remaining sections of hair.
  6. Use your fingers to gently break the curls apart and soften them for a more natural look.
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The 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.

bad hair day gif
via Giphy

If you truly want your curls to look fresh out of the salon, follow our essential list of dos and don’ts!

DO DON’T
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.

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5 Best Tools for Curling Your Hair

In this day and age, we enjoy a myriad of curling tools to choose from. The continuous growth of the hair industry has resulted in a wider product selection than we’ve ever had before. Find out which tools are the best for learning how to curl your hair and take your pick of the crop.

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via Giphy

1. Curling Iron

The classic tool of choice for numerous women is the good ol’ curling iron. As far as benefits go, the main advantage of a standard curling iron is its ease of manipulation. The clip provides better control over how you form the curls. If you love timeless glam curls, it’s likely the best tool for you.

KIPOZI 1 Inch Curling Iron Hair Curler with Ceramic Coating Barrel

2. Rotating Hair Curler

However, we now have a ton of new and improved curling tools that have simplified the whole process. Just one example is the rotating hair curler. All you have to do is feed your strand into the chamber between two barrels, hold the button, and release the curl. If you’re a newbie and want to ease into studying how to curl hair, go for this simple rotating curler.

CHI Spin N Curl in Onyx Black

3. Curling Wand

In terms of popularity, the curling wand is right up there with the curling iron. It caters to the needs of girls who prefer soft and loose beach wave curls. In addition, the lack of a clip allows for cleaner and more natural-looking curls – without any potential dents on the strand.

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand

4. Flat Iron

If you’re not quite ready to invest in tools specifically for curling, you can use one that you might already have at home. Yep, we’re talking about the age-old flat iron.

Even if you don’t have one, purchasing a flat iron is a smart dual investment. You’ll be able to use it for straightening and curling your hair without a care.

As for learning how to curl your hair with a straightener, it’s all about wrapping your strand around the flat iron and carefully tapping away from your face.

HSI Professional Glider | Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron Hair Straightener | Straightens & Curls with Adjustable Temp

5. Automatic Curler

When all else fails, an automatic hair curler makes getting picture-perfect coils or waves effortless. The machine winds up your strand and curls it in a chamber in a few seconds.

However, the potential downside is the risk of your hair getting tangled in the curling area. If you take your time and follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems though.

John Frieda Curl Secret PRO

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How to Curl Your Hair Naturally without Heat

No matter how much styling tools have improved with the times, the heat they generate can still damage your hair in the long run. Nonetheless, there are plenty of methods on how to curls your hair without heat.

After all, women have been curling their locks for ages, far before any plug-and-go tools came around. Go old school and damage free with one of the techniques presented below.

red head with wavy hair gasping
via Giphy

I. Rollers

We bet your mother could teach you how to curl your hair with rollers in a jiffy. But we’re here so you can skip asking anyone else for guidance.

  1. Firstly, pick your rollers in accordance with your desired curls. Smaller rollers work for tighter coils, whereas larger ones support bigger and looser curls.
  2. Wrap your strands around the rollers and leave them in overnight for some old Hollywood glam the following day.

II. Headband Halo

A lesser-known, no-heat curling hack is to use a headband for fabulous soft curls.

  1. Use a narrow, string-like headband and place it on the crown of your head like a halo. For the headband halo method, it’s best if you dampen your hair before getting started.
  2. After that, take small strands of hair and wrap them over and under the hairband until all the ends are tucked away.
  3. Sleep on it and you’ll have a beautiful surprise in the morning.

III. Pin Curling

Most of us have a stash of bobby pins at home as our go-to hair accessories. To create ringlets via pin curling, you should work with sections of hair that are about one inch in width.

  1. Twist the tips of the strand around your finger, then continue rolling the section up.
  2. Once you reach your scalp, use bobby pins to secure them in place.
  3. Keep your pin curls in overnight for the prettiest results possible.

IV. Braiding

Weaving your strands into braids is the oldest tip on how to curl your hair naturally. Countless girls have been using it for decades, long before we had goodies like wands and irons.

While you can use basically any braiding technique, French braids tend to lead to the best curls. As with many other no-heat curling tricks, we recommend using this method on damp hair and leaving it to work its magic overnight.

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Cheat Sheet for Salon-Worthy Curls: Top Tips & Tricks

Now, you’re just a few steps away from becoming the ultimate curly goddess. If you want to learn how to curl your hair like a true professional, study their technique secrets. Take a look at the list below for major knowledge – but made easy!

beauty salon wavy hair
via Giphy

1. Started from the Top, Now We Are Here

Countless times, you’ll see girls in curling tutorials starting with the bottom section of the hair. However, quite a few stylists would beg to differ. Due to the heavy processing and manipulation of your lower strands, it’s often wiser to begin curling from the crown of your head downward.

2. DIY Curling Iron to Wand Life Hack

Why purchase two different curling tools when you can switch from one to the other in a matter of minutes? If you have a curling iron and a screwdriver, you can transform the initial tool into an awesome DIY curling wand.

  1. First off, remove the metal stand from the curling iron.
  2. Next, use a screwdriver to unscrew the plate with the clip. Ta-da!

3. How to Curl Your Hair to Last

For long-lasting ringlets, curl your hair starting from your roots as closely as you can. An additional benefit that comes with this trick is that you’ll get outstanding volume. It’s a 2-in-1 combo you can’t resist.

4. Technique Tricks

Once you get a hang of curling, you can dive into details and refine your technique. For example, the trick to nailing an ultra-tight coil is to twist your strand prior to wrapping it around the tool. Conversely, if you want to obtain girly ribbon curls, flatten the strand before you wrap it.

5. Must-Know Heat Rules

No matter how much we adore creating bouncy curls, every single heat-based tool will damage your hair in some way, shape, or form. Although it’s hard to resist using them, what you can do is choose heat settings wisely.

  1. If your tresses are fine or color processed, never set the temperature over 200 degrees.
  2. On the other hand, 300 degrees should be the maximum limit for thick locks.
  3. The biggest no-no is using any levels higher than 400 degrees.

6. Twist Your Locks Instead of the Tool

Even though every woman has her own curl preferences, many seem to gravitate towards the loose beachy waves trend. To get the look right, wrap your strands around the barrel instead of twisting the iron around them. You’ll get a much softer and natural outcome.

7. Take Direction

If you do want tight curls, a great trick is to hold your curling tool horizontally. Alternatively, keep the tool in an upright position for looser waves.

8. Stay Away from the Brush

Finally, and we can’t stress this enough – do not brush or comb out your locks after curling them (unless you’re into the frizzy look). Instead, use your fingers to pull the curls apart and set them in place with light tousling. As an extra tip, wait for your curls to cool off before further styling.

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Curly Inspiration: 15 Hairstyles to Try

The icing on the cake for our comprehensive curl guide is none other than a handpicked selection of beautiful curly hairstyles. Feel free to test out your favorite one as you start curling.

1. Curled Pixie Hairstyle

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. Bowl Cut with Curls

We are fans of androgynous hairstyles like the bowl cut or the mullet. For those who already stepped out of the comfort zone with an edgy bowl cut, add even more personality to your look with some messy top curls.

This will not only help personalize the look, it also adds contrast and definition to the appearance.

3. Choppy and Curly Bob Hairstyle

With bob hairstyles proving to be more popular than ever, it’s a wonderful idea to throw some curls into the mix as well. Regardless if you have a blunt or choppy bob haircut, some loose curls will create the illusion of texture, shape, and movement throughout your hair.

4. Soft Vintage Curls

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.

5. Ribbon Curls

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. 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.

7. Only Curled Tips Here

On the other hand, you can choose to curl only specific portions of your hair. For example, curling just the tips of your locks is a top trend right now. By following a blowout approach, you’ll also have all the volume you could ever desire.

8. 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.

9. Messy Curls

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.

10. Curly Messy Updo

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.

11. Waterfall Braid with Curls

It’s easy to see why waterfall braids and curls go hand in hand. Spirals are simply perfect for accentuating the strands of hair that cascade through the main halo braid. You don’t even have to struggle with separating your hair into individual chunks, as the strands will already be sectioned from the waterfall braid.

12. Curled Ponytail

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.

13. Pigtails with Curls

If you’re in a cute and playful mood, lightly curled pigtails are exactly what you need. You’ll get an extra dose of volume and a gorgeous silhouette. Leave two face-framing bangs in the front to boost the cuteness factor of the hairstyle.

14. 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!

15. Boho Braid Curls

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.

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So, What’s YOUR Hair Motivation?

In conclusion, the world of faux curls is as wonderful as it is complex. Even though the basic process of learning how to curl your hair is easy, the finer details can take some time to get used to.

Still, if you plan on curling your locks often, the time you invest in studying the craft will help you enjoy fabulous results!

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via Giphy

What do you love most about curly hair? Do you know any other useful tips on how to curl your hair effectively? We’re open to all ideas, so share your insights below and have fun curling!

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