Beginner-friendly Curling Iron Hair Tutorial

Valentina Arjona
by Valentina Arjona
5 Materials
30 Minutes

Today, I’m going to show you how to curl your hair with a curling iron.

This styling technique is classic and would be a great addition to your beauty arsenal.

Let’s get started with this curling iron hair tutorial!

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Tools and materials:

  • Curling iron (optional- use 2 sizes)
  • Thermal protection product
  • 2 claw/alligator clips
  • Hair brush
  • Dry shampoo
Curling iron

For this tutorial, I’ll be starting with my hair that was washed yesterday and then air dried. 

Dividing hair

1. Apply thermal protection and divide your hair

Before applying heat, feel free to apply a thermal protection product of your choice. 

Then divide your hair in the back, down the middle, and clipping a section on top with a claw clip.

Clipping hair up

Separate another thin section for the hair that’s down, and clip up the rest. 

Sectioning hair

In general, we will split this further into smaller sections. I recommend working from the back section and moving forward.

This way, you can toss a finished curl to the back so it will be out of the way.

Sectioning hair

2. Prep for your first curl

Run a brush through to ensure the hair you’re about to curl is detangled.

Brushing hair

Before curling, clamp the wand toward the roots and run it down, like a straightener. Adjust the heat as needed. 

Curling hair

3. Curl, twist, repeat

Start with the wand by the root and curl the hair away from your face. Hold this for a second.

Curling hair

Next, let that curl go, without opening the clamp, then twist the iron again to make a 2nd curl.

Curling hair

Leave that for another second. Then smooth the ends as you pull off the iron, followed by brushing through that section with your fingers. 

Curling hair

Depending on your hair length, repeat this, working down this section of hair, twisting and curling the last part until you’re left with just a small tail at the end. 

Curling hair

Undo this final twist and then slide the clamped iron down that little bit of hair at the tip to smooth it.

Then run your fingers through the curled section for a more relaxed wave.

Curling hair

Tip: If you’re a beginner to heat styling tools, try out this curling motion 1st when the iron is turned off, just to get comfortable with how to work with the iron. 

4. Repeat for the bottom sections of hair

Use the same process to curl-twist-curl-smooth more small sections of hair, moving forward and tossing the finished curls to the back.

Curling hair

Tip: Work in small sections!

I know this seems counterintuitive, but working in smaller sections for these curling iron waves is actually going to save you a lot of time in the end.

Curling hair

Tip: Maintain a vertical hold with your curling iron for this technique.

Feel free to change your angle slightly to achieve a more natural, randomness, but in general, the more horizontal you hold the iron, the more curly your hair will look (as opposed to wavy). 

5. For the top section, alternate between thin and wide curling irons

For more variation in the waves, you can use 2 sizes of curling wands for these curling iron waves.

Curling irons

For the back-most section of this top layer, use the same size barrel as before. Curl in the same pattern. 

Curling hair

For the next section, curl in the same pattern with a thinner barrel.

Especially with the thinner iron, you want to hold it as vertical as possible.

Curling hair

 If it looks too curly, pull the curl gently until it cools.

Curling hair

Switch off curling with the wider and thinner curling irons. If you have bangs, leave them out for the moment. 

Curling hair

6. Curl to blend your bangs

Grab just the longer pieces of your bangs and use the same curling method. 

Curling hair

7. Use dry shampoo

Spray on dry shampoo to add texture and volume. 

Adding dry shampoo

Massage it in. 

Adding dry shampoo

There you have it! How to make waves with a curling iron: 

Curling iron waves

Curling iron waves

Curling iron waves

I hope you found this curling iron hair tutorial to be helpful! If so, leave a comment.

Next, learn 3 easy ways to style curtain bangs

Suggested materials:
  • Curling iron (optional- use 2 sizes)
  • Thermal protection product
  • 2 claw/alligator clips
See all materials

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