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How To Use A Hair Crimper – The Beginner’s Guide

How To Use A Hair Crimper

If you are a big fan of the 1980s like me, you must have been excited when you figured out that many hairstyles are making a comeback. When we think about all those cool hairstyles, I am sure we all have in mind zig zag, crinkled hair. If you thought that you could only get that hairstyle after doing tight braids, let me tell you a secret – there are tools called hair crimpers that can be used to get a crimped hairstyle. It’s time to learn how to use a hair crimper.

If you want to learn how to get the famous 1980s zig zag look and add textured waves to your hair, follow my step-by-step tutorial below.

Choose The Right Crimper

Choose The Right Crimper

Just like choosing any hair tool, you must buy a hair crimper that suits your hair type. If you have thin hair, hair crimpers for stubborn, thick hair won’t give desired results. Therefore, the most important step of your hair crimping journey is choosing the right crimper.

Wash Your Hair

Wash Your Hair

Although using a curling wand or the best hot rollers requires second-day hair for better results, crimping is different. You need freshly washed locks to get the most flattering look. Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to smoothen those locks.

For more information about other styling tools, take a look at our review of the best curling wands here and click here to learn about the best hot combs.

Apply Heat Protectant

Apply Heat Protectant Spray

It is very important to protect your hair from the extreme heat. Apply a generous amount of heat protectant spray for the best protection. This is an important step. This hair product is not only used to protect your hair but it is also a great styling product.

Blowdry Your Hair

Never forget to dry your hair with a hair dryer because crimping on wet hair is a big NO! If you crimp hair while it’s wet, a crimper will cause heat damage to the hair follicles and it will lead to breakage.

Here you will find more information about the best hair dryers for your hair. Choose the best one for yourself. Want to learn how to dry your hair fast? Read more by clicking the link.

Comb Hair To Remove Tangles

Comb Hair To Remove Tangles

Using a smoothing brush, detangle any knots in your hair and try to straighten your curls to get a perfectly smooth surface before starting crimping. This step will ensure that the final result is smooth and perfect and that the crimping iron doesn’t get caught in knots. Plus, if you brush your hair after applying heat protection, it will ensure that the product is spread all over the hair evenly.

Prep Your Hair Crimper

Now the time has come to crimp hair. Plug in your crimping iron and use the lowest temperature setting to ensure it doesn’t burn your locks. You usually need to use high heat settings for thicker hair, whereas you might need to use the lowest setting if you have thinner locks.

Section Your Hair

Part Your Hair Into Sections

Just like when using a curling iron or straightening your curls with a flat iron, the best way to achieve crimped style is to part your hair into small sections – 1 inch (2.5 cm) or 2 inches (5 cm). Use clips to secure the sections and to move hair you are not working with out of the way.

Start Crimping & Repeat

Start Crimping & Repeat
Take a section at the bottom with your non-dominant hand and gently clamp down the heated crimping iron starting at the roots. Get as close to the scalp as possible without burning it. Hold down for 3 to 5 seconds and then release the pressure. Continue crimping down the length of your hair. Repeat this procedure with the rest of your hair to ensure you have the desired look.

Spray Your Hair With Hair Spray

Spritz a setting spray for a long-lasting crimped style. I recommend using hairspray with a flexible hold that makes the hair look natural.

Tips For Crimping Hair

Tips For Crimping Hair

Here are some useful tips for getting the perfect crimped hair:

  • Always dry your hair to prevent split ends. Using a heated crimper on wet hair can cause damage to your hair follicles.
  • If you have curly hair, try straightening it first to crimp your hair effectively.
  • The hot tool you decide to use will determine the final look of your crimped hair. The larger the barrel – the wavier the crimp.
  • If you want to get beach waves, part your hair into smaller sections.
  • To add volume, start crimping as close to your scalp as possible. For less volume, start further away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, crimping hair damages it. Like any hairstyling tool that uses heat, crimping your hair with a crimper can cause damage to your hair. You should always make sure to protect your hair by using heat protection before you start to crimp hair. You can read more about how to prevent heat-damaged hair in one of our blog posts.

You spray heat protection along with a styling product on hair before crimping. It is a must if you want to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Find lightweight sprays that protect the hair from damage at high temperatures. If your hair frizzes easily, apply a dime-sized amount of an anti-frizzing serum.

To use a crimper on short hair, you need to make sure you are working on untangled and dry hair. Just like the best hair waver, crimping iron works best if you divide your hair into small sections. They will be easy to wave using the crimping machine. Visit our blog post to read more about the crimper vs waver comparison.

You crimp hair roots by parting the hair into sections, starting with the bottom ones and crimping at the roots. But first, you should brush and air dry or blow-dry your hair to create texture and grip that will hold the crimp. Re-crimp over the last kink to join the sections. And now your crimped hair is ready.

The best hair crimper is Dry Bar The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron. This styling tool features three interchangeable attachments which snap easily into the handle to create a variety of styles. It can be used both on curly and straight hair. You will get three different looks in one tool.


There are different ways to achieve crimped hair – you can braid your hair or learn how to use a hair crimper. Hopefully, I have helped you learn how to crimp your hair to get desired style and fantastic zig zag look. Make sure to work on clean hair and dry it before starting the crimping process – you don’t want to end up with damaged hair.