Using a curling iron can help you give your flat, straight hair a bounce. It can also help you tame your natural curls into softer, kinder versions of themselves. If you've never used a curling iron before, it's natural to be intimidated. The irons can look scary, and the thought of putting something hot on your hair can leave even a pro feeling a little uneasy. By following a few simple steps, each time you curl your hair, you can make the process easier and less frightening.
Begin by choosing the right curling iron for your hair. Standard curling irons have barrel sizes of about 1 inch, and this will give you standard-sized curls. If you'd like a tighter curl with more spring, look for curling irons with barrel sizes of .75 inch or smaller. If you want soft waves, look for an iron with a barrel of 2 inches. Plug the curling iron in several minutes before you're planning to use it. If you've never used a curling iron before, choose the lowest heat setting possible on your curling iron. This is especially important if you have thin or fine hair, as hotter temperatures can damage your hair.
Your hair should be clean and completely dry before you begin to curl it. Using a curling iron on damp hair can cause damage or frizzing. Comb through your hair so it is free of tangles and apply a heat serum spray to prepare it to be curled. Divide your hair into five sections by twisting it into buns and clipping them in place with pins. You'll work within only once section at a time. This makes dealing with your hair much more manageable. You'll curl all of the hair in once section before you release a clip and start working on another section. Curl the front of your hair first, and save the back of your head for last.
Open your heated curling iron by pressing on the handle. A clamp should open. Place that clamp on the tip of a small section of hair, about 1 inch wide, and roll the hair around the barrel until it's about an inch from your scalp. Hold for 10 seconds and push the button once more to open the clamp. Slide the barrel out carefully. Repeat until all of your hair in that section is curled, and then move on to the next section. If you find that your hair is not forming tight curls, turn up the heat a notch and give the iron several minutes to reach the new temperature. Don't move from a low setting to a high setting all at once.
When your hair is completely curled, run your fingers through the curls to give them a soft appearance. Apply a holding spray to encourage the curls to stay in place. Unplug your curling iron and place it on a heatproof surface to cool. Your bathroom counter works well for this purpose, but make sure to keep the iron away from the sink.