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How To Use A Curling Iron – Step By Step Tutorial

How To Use A Curling Iron

Have you always wanted to get beautiful curls but you never knew how to use a curling iron? Let me help you become a curling master!

I envied girls with naturally curly hair my entire life and wished I had those wonderful curls myself. But since I had thick hair, I knew I had to find the perfect curling iron that would help me get curly hair I had always dreamed of. Oh, but there were so many variations – ceramic curling irons, titanium, tourmaline, with clamps, tapered – and more! I did not know how to choose the best one!

Don’t worry, it is perfectly okay not to know where to start. There are so many factors you need to consider and it all sounds a bit confusing, but I am here to help. I have made a little guide for you that will help you regardless of your hair type! Just stay with me!

To learn how to get perfect curls, keep reading my step-by-step guide on how to curl your hair with a curling iron:

1. Think About Size

Think About Size

Not all curling irons are the same. Depending on the size of curls you want to get, you need to choose the right one for you. But it is very simple, don’t worry! If you want looser curls, get a 1- to 2-inch curling iron; for tighter curls, get a barrel size that is under an inch. There are dozens of curling irons out there and it’s very important to figure out which one works best for you.

2. Pick Up A Quality Curling Iron

There are three types of curling irons – ceramic, titanium and tourmaline. Professionals mostly use titanium irons, but what I discovered is that the other two types are healthier, especially if you don’t want to damage your hair.

3. Choose The Right Temperature

Lower temperatures work best for fine hair and hotter temperatures are perfect for thicker hair.

4. Section Your Hair

Section Your Hair

Divide your hair into sections and secure the sections with hair clips. You can use any type, but in my opinion, plastic ones are the best as they don’t leave creases on your hair, which are sometimes very hard to curl over.

5. Curl And Repeat

Curl Your Hair

Get the hair and curl it up until the entire barrel is covered with flat hair. Make sure not to layer hair across the barrel as it can make some hair sections overheated and the other sections not heated at all. Hold your hair for 15 seconds per section. When you unclamp it, if you notice that you didn’t get the perfect curl you wished, simply re-curl that section and repeat the procedure.

6. Shake It Out And Lock It In

Release & Style

When you style your hair into a mass of curls and if you are satisfied with the result, simply shake it out to get a more natural look. At the end, to make sure that your curls last several days, get a strong hold hairspray and spray it all over your head to create a lasting look.

What's The Best Temperature To Curl Hair?

The best temperature to curl your hair depends on the quality of your hair. For those with thin or fine hair, make sure to keep the iron set below 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93.3 degrees Celsius). Girls with thicker hair should set it between 200 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (93.3 and 148.8 degrees Celsius).

Common Mistakes To Avoid

These are common mistakes to avoid if you want to get the best results possible:

1. Temperature Too High

We’ve already talked about what the right temperature is for getting the hairstyle you dreamed of. If you set the temperature too high, you will end up with heat damaged hair or hot spots and your curls won’t look as good as you wanted.

2. Wrong Sized Iron

Using the wrong-sized iron can produce undesired results. If you want to get bigger curls, that doesn’t mean you need to use a bigger iron! Make sure to follow my tips about how to use a curling iron I provided in this guide before you decide which iron to buy.

3. Holding The Curls Up Too Long

If you hold the curls up too long, you can damage your hair. If you want to get tighter curls, hold them until you get tiny curls. If you want to get bouncy curls, most hairdressers say you should avoid holding them for too long.

4. Wrong Direction

If you curl your hair in the wrong direction, you won’t get the look you want. Remember this rule – always curl from the roots down.

5. No Heat Protectant

Using a heat protectant is a very important step in getting the perfect look you want and keeping your hair as healthy as possible. Even if you use the best hair waver, you need some kind of protection.

How To Use A Curling Iron On Short Hair

Using A Curling Iron On Short Hair
Styling short hair can be a challenge. And if you plan to use a curling iron, it can be extra challenging to get the perfect results you dreamed of. Some of the most popular short hairstyles you can get using this hot styling tool are:

Curl Type #1: Classic Hollywood Wave

Classic Hollywood Wave

These waves are easy to get and they look absolutely gorgeous on short hair. In my opinion, you should curl your hair the next day after washing it to get better results. Apply oil to get super smooth and soft hair before you start. The best interchangeable curling wand is a great option for a styling tool you could use to get Hollywood waves. Also, use some lightweight hair spray to keep them in place.

Curl Type #2: Easy Spiral Curl

Easy Spiral Curl

One of the easiest hairstyles for shorter hair is easy spiral curls. Section the hair around your entire head and secure the sections. Place your curling iron vertically and curl one section at a time. At the end, apply hairspray to make sure your curls don’t lose their shape. Hot rollers are also a great way to get these curls. So, if you’re wondering which is better: hot rollers vs curling iron? Feel free to choose whichever one yourself, they are both great options!

Curl Type #3: Easy Beachy Waves

Easy Beachy Waves
The easiest way to get easy beachy waves is to use a flat iron or a curling wand. Curl one section at a time and apply some styling products at the end to be sure your hair looks the way you wanted even the day after.

How To Use A Curling Iron With A Clamp: 3 Styles

How To Use A Curling Iron With A Clamp

You got a new curling iron with a clamp? You don’t know how to use it? Don’t worry! Just follow the steps we went through at the beginning of the article.

Flat Wrap Hair With A Curling Iron

Flat Wrap
Take your iron and place it at the top of the section, flat wrap your hair around it, keep it for 15 seconds, and release the curl. The flat wrap technique creates wild curls with lots of volume.

Lazy Curls With A Curling Iron

Lazy Curls
Lazy curls look perfect on long hair and they are super easy to make. Wrap your hair around the iron, only halfway down. Then change the wrapping direction for the remainder of that section. If you’re wondering why you should do it in the opposite direction, that’s because it will give your tresses the effect of a more relaxed wave with a more natural look.

Spiral Curls With A Curling Iron

Spiral Curls

The best trick I learned for getting perfect spiral curls was to pick up my hair and let the bottom parts loose. Then get one small lock of hair, twist it and iron it. Gently release the hair and repeat it with all your hair sections and you will get the desired look.

Tips For Using A Curling Iron With A Clamp

Tips For Using A Curling Iron With A Clamp

The best tips for using a curling iron with a clamp I learned are:

  • Work in sections – The best tip for using a curling iron on every hair type is to always section your entire hair, secure the sections, and iron one section at a time.
  • Curl it in different directions – If your hair lacks volume, this tip is just for you. Also, make sure to curl close to the hair root and you will get a brand new look.
  • Thick hair curls – One more tip I found very useful if you have thick and oily hair is to iron vertically with the clamp facing forward. It is also great for beach waves.

Curling Iron With A Clamp Pros And Cons

Here are the pros and cons of a curling iron with a clamp:


● Defined Curls

If you have always dreamed of defined curls, this product will become your best friend very soon. The clamp allows you to define curls the way you want!

● User Friendly

Hairstyling has never been easier! With this type of iron you will be able to get nice curls you will love and once you master using it, you will style your hair quickly in less than 10 minutes!

● Style Your Hair Without A Fuss

You don’t need to use hair clips, as the clamp holds your hair while you’re making it curly.


● A Bit Clumsy

The built-in clamp makes the whole iron a bit clumsy making it a bit harder to carry it around. If you want to take it with you on vacation, make sure to always have some extra space!

Curling Thick Hair

Curling Thick Hair With A Curling Iron

Curling thick hair is a bit harder than curling any other hair type. Why? Because thicker hair is mostly too heavy!

  1. Wash and dry your hair quickly before you start curling it
  2. Use a 1-inch iron as it is best for thick hair
  3. Part your hair down the middle in the back, take one little section and curl it around the iron
  4. Move the iron all the way to the end and then twirl it to the top of your head. Let it stay for about 5 seconds
  5. When you are done, you will get a lot of nice curls

If you don’t have a curling iron, click here to see the best models we tested and choose the right one for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should be using a curling iron on dry hair. The curling iron heats up the strands of your hair and if your hair is even a little bit wet or a bit damp, you will probably damage it. It’s really hard to make your hair healthy again if it gets damaged this way. Remember to completely dry your hair before starting the curling procedure! Click here to find the quietest hair dryers we have found on the market.

You should put hairspray on after curling in order to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Yes, there are some hair sprays that you can use before curling your hair, but make sure you don’t use only this type of product before the procedure. Hairspray can be applied before curling only if you use heat protection before it.

No, don’t brush hair after curling! Why? Because you only need to let your hair fall and you will get the hairstyle you want. No brushing, no nothing! If you brush it just after finishing it, most of your curls will probably not last and your hair will be straight again. Oh, straightened style again? You did the work for nothing!

If you curl your hair every day, you will damage it. Most heat styling addicts (I was one of them) have coarse and damaged hair as a result of everyday usage of the iron. Daily use of iron makes your hair more vulnerable to getting split ends. Even the best curling wands and curling irons can do damage if you use them often.


I hope this guide helped you to learn more about curling irons. You need to get the curling iron that will give you desired results. Think about the types of curls you want to get before you purchase it. Never use high heat, always use heat protection and other products to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Loose waves or tight curls? No problem! You can get anything you want, just follow my guide on how to use a curling iron and take care of your hair!