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Curling Hair with a Flat Iron- It's Easy!

Updated on April 16, 2012

One of the questions I get asked the most about my hair is how I curl it. Many people are baffled when I tell them I use a flat iron! I try to explain how to do it, but the instructions really need a video tutorial. So, that's what I've done.

Curing With a Flat Iron- Advantages

Until I began curling with a flat iron, I could never get my curls to stay. I was lucky to get through the morning with them still looking bouncy and fresh. I used to use a regular curling iron, I experimented with a variety of barrel sizes hoping I'd find the right one. But, to no avail... Hot rollers were a joke for my hair. Perhaps I never mastered the art, but I always ended up looking like some crazy 80's feathered hair lady. And you guessed it, the curls lost their shape in a matter of a few hours. I must say, recently I've purchased an iron specifically for spiral curls and I've been pleased with the results. When I want super springy spiral curls that rival those of the late, great Shirley Temple, I'm in business. But, I really like the type of curls the flat iron creates. I've yet to be able to mimic them with any other tools

  • For crying out loud... they STAY. Not only do they last all morning, all afternoon and all evening, but you can still look good the next day. I kid you not.
  • The curls look more natural. The flat iron curl produces more of a wavy, gentle spiral curl... the kind you've always coveted.
  • You can easily alter how tight the curls are depending upon how slowly you run your hair through the straightener. It's great to have options, you just don't get that with standard curling irons. Bear in mind, it will take a bit of practice to perfect this art.
  • The curls come out looking very shiny and healthy. You don't get the same runaway pieces you get with standard curling methods.


How to Choose a Flat Iron for the Job

You don't have to go out and spend a fortune on your flat iron. It's not necessary to go buy one from some high end salon, trust me... I've done it. But, there are a few features you need to look for. One of your top priorities should be finding a straightener that's the least harmful to your hair. Here are the features you need to look for:

  1. Ones with variable temperature settings. Many cheap straighteners have fixed settings, but you want the ability to dial in the temperature that's best and the least damaging to your locks. Most range somewhere between 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 400 degrees is way too hot, it will fry your hair. Use the lowest heat possible to get the job done...
  2. You want ones with tourmaline and ceramic in the plates. The combination creates negative ions that make your hair extra smooth and shiny. It's not necessary to get one that boasts being "ionic"... all flat irons with tourmaline and ceramic create these negative ions. Many will also have titanium in the plates, which helps maintain consistent heat and will prevent hair damage.
  3. A 1" to 1 1/2" flat iron works well for curling your hair. The longer your hair, the bigger size you'll want.
  4. Avoid flat irons made with aluminum plates- they will seriously damage your hair.

Basic steps for curling hair with a flat iron
Basic steps for curling hair with a flat iron | Source

Curling Hair With a Flat Iron- Basic Directions

I highly encourage you to watch the video demonstration I made. Attempting to describe the process with any success is almost futile. The picture on the right is a great visual representation of how you will pull the hair through the straightener. As you can see, you will be rotating the iron around your hair until a "tail" is coming out at the bottom. At this point, you will slowly pull the hair through the iron.

I want to stress the importance of putting some sort of heat protective spray or serum. Do this each and every time you use a flat iron on your hair, whether you are straightening it or curling it.

In case you're wondering, in this video I'm using a 1" HSI Ceramic Tourmaline flat iron. Love the thing... so does my hair since it's yet to be damaged.


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