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How To Curl Hair With A Straightener: Step By Step Guide

You likely know that flat irons can help give you sleek, straight hair, but did you also know you can curl hair with a straightener? Yep, a flat iron is like a hairstyle Swiss army knife. Learning how to curl hair with a straightener is a clever trick to have in your arsenal. Read on to learn about different ways to curl your hair with a straightener.

Choose Your Straightener

Hair straighteners come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. You can pick almost any type you like, but you do want to be choosy about a few things. Here’s what to look for:

  • A flat iron with standard 1-inch plates or smaller. Any wider, and the curls may be too loose to notice.
  • A rounded body. You’ll be wrapping the hair around the iron, so you want something round rather than flat.
  • Something easy to handle. You want to be able to maneuver it with one hand without causing your hair to snag or break.1

how to curl hair with a straightener | KintsugiGather Your Tools

  • Hair straightener
  • Conditioning primer spray or heat protection product
  • Hair clips
  • Hair ties
  • Hair spray

1. Prep Your Hair

When you’re ready to curl your hair, you want to make sure you’re starting with clean, dry hair. Attempting to curl damp hair may risk damage – and it simply won’t work as well. You’ll also want to spritz on some heat protectant or primer to help provide a barrier between your hair and the heat.

2. Choose Your Heat Level

To protect your hair, try to use lower heat settings. A temperature of 365 degrees is ideal, according to some hair stylist experts. If you have chemically-treated or damaged hair, you may want to go for an even lower temperature.2

3. Section Your Hair

how to curl hair with a straightener | KintsugiTo effectively curl hair with straightener, you’ll want to divide your hair and focus on one section at a time. It may help to start with the lower sections of hair first (near the nape of your neck) so you won’t have to mess with your hair after it has been curled.

Clip or tie the top portion of your hair up, so you can focus on the underside first. If you have thick hair, you can also section off the right or left side so you have less hair hanging down to start with.3

4. Start Curling With The Slide Technique

There are a few different ways to curl your hair with a straightener depending on the curl you’d like to create. Here’s the basic, easiest method:

  • Grab the 1-inch section closest to your face.
  • Slide the flat iron down from the top near your roots to the area where you want the curls to start (about the middle of the section).
  • Once you reach the middle of the section, stop and rotate the flat iron 180 degrees away from your face.
  • With the hair wrapped around the flat iron, slowly pull the iron down to the end of the hair shaft and out of your hair.
  • Repeat with the next section, alternating away and toward your face, until you’ve curled all of your hair.4

curly hair style | Kintsugi5. Finish And Set Your Look

Once you’re done, you’ll want to spray your hair with something that will help give it hold – such as a bit of hairspray, dry shampoo, or texture spray. After that, you may want to run your fingers, comb, or a brush through your curls, depending on the look you’re going for.5

Different Types Of Waves And Curls (And How To Achieve Them)

Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you’re ready to learn how to curl hair with a straightener to achieve different types of curls.

Bouncy Curls

To achieve bouncy curls, follow the basic steps, but start your curl higher up on the hair strand to add volume. To do this, do the 180 rotation an inch away from your roots instead of halfway down the hair. Keep tension with the straightener as you pull out and away toward the end of your hair.6

Beachy Waves

Of all the different ways to curl your hair with a straightener, this one may give you the most “beachy” wave look. Grab a one-inch section of hair, and gently drape it into the flat iron in the shape of an “S.” Clamp the straightener down where it curves, and hold it for several seconds. Repeat over your entire head for beautiful beach waves.7

beachy waves | Kintsugi

Beachy Pin Curls

To achieve natural-looking pin curls with a straightener, try this:

  • Gather a one inch section.
  • Twist the strand from roots to ends.
  • Wrap the twisted section into a cinnamon bun shape on your head.
  • Press down on the shape with a flat iron and hold it for 4 seconds.
  • Repeat until all of your hair is curled in a beachy curl look.8

hair straightener curls | KintsugiPolished, Soft Coil Waves

Drape a section of your hair onto a flat iron plate, and then clamp down about an inch or so from your roots. Keep the flat iron horizontal, and wrap the rest of the section around the iron once. Hold your hair taut as you slide the straightener down and off your hair.9

Tight Curls

For tighter curl style, follow the basic technique, but rotate the iron 360 degrees instead of 180 degrees. As you work, hold the iron in a horizontal position rather than vertical for tighter curls.10

Sleek And Curly With The Same Tool

If you want curly hair, but think that a traditional curling iron feels a little too… extra, you may want to give flat iron curling a try. The technique does take some practice, but after a few practice runs, you may find that it’s your new favorite trick.

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