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How To Use A Curling Iron Correctly: 7 Mistakes To Avoid

Curling hair using a curling iron may not be as straight-forward as it looks. For those experiencing breakage, frizziness, limp curls, or a style not turning out as planned, don’t worry.

There are some common errors to blame. To gain natural, touchable, curly tresses without the messes, follow these simple guidelines.

Mistakes to Avoid While Using a Curling Iron


How to Use A Curling Iron

1. Use The Correct Product at the Right Time

Is hairspray used before or after? Should you use any at all, or is mousse better? These are all valid questions. Product used before styling creates a foundation for retaining a curl. It should be heat-protectant to prevent damage done to the hair.

Repeated heat styling causes damage such as dryness and split ends to normal hair. If the hair is color-treated, permed, or straightened, you need to take extra precautions. Chemicals strip the hair of moisture. Heat causes further moisture loss resulting in frizzy, dry, damaged hair.

The best option is to use mousse on towel-dried hair. Mousse creates volume, and it does not stick to a curling iron. You can use hairspray but do so sparingly and in the same manner. If the hair is too dry, the hairspray sticks to the barrel, and it ruins both the curling iron and your hair. The resulting curl will not be touchable nor natural.

A great mousse to use is by OGX. It’s part foam, part cream, and infused with shea butter and coconut oil, allowing the hair to retain moisture. It is lightweight and will defrizz curls. Plus, it smells incredible!

ogx creamy mousse
OGX creamy mousse

Hair Food offers a wonderful heat-protective spray. It is sulfate, paraben, and dye-free meaning that it’s great for color-treated or permed hair. Infused with coconut and argan oil, it seals in moisture.

hair food heat protectant blend

Misting a finishing spray locks a curl into place after the hair has cooled. This avoids wreckage to the curling iron. Apply it

Sexy Hair produces a nice, lightweight finishing spray. Infused with mimosa flowers and moonstone, it leaves hair bouncy and natural-looking.

sexyhair hairspray


2. Use The Correct Method When Curling Your Hair

Most people curl their hair starting at the end, clamping the iron, and twirling hair counterclockwise around the wand. Unfortunately, this is not the correct method. This method causes hair damage since the ends are prone to breakage. You should wrap the hair around the wand instead of clipping it at the end.

Clipping hair at the end and wrapping it around the barrel results in a fishhook indentation or a flip. Not the desired effect!

For a natural look, begin by parting the hair. On the right-hand side, in one-inch sections, beginning at the roots, wrap your hair away from your face. Stop an inch below the ends of the hair to avoid damage. If you’re using a curling iron with a clamp, pay special attention to its location. Wrapping it the wrong way will leave an unnatural mark on your hair.

On the left-hand side of the head, wrap the hair counterclockwise. The result will be a stunning, natural look!


3. Only Hold Hair In Place for Three Seconds!

Curling irons can reach temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on your hair texture and condition, this can cause damage.

For coarse, strong, or thick hair, higher temperatures are ideal because it is harder to keep a style. If you don’t allow proper time, this hair type will lose a curl within minutes. For the best effect, hold the hair for no longer than three seconds.

For fine or fragile hair, place your settings on medium to low. Again, hold in position for two to three seconds and release for that perfect curl.


4. Purchase The Correct Iron for Your Hair

A proper curling iron is an investment, especially if you want it to last. Cheaper isn’t always better. But expensive isn’t always necessary, either.

Curling irons with a ceramic or tourmaline barrel are the best solution. They last longer, are easier to clean, and evenly distribute heat throughout the hair. This type of curling iron is ideal for thick hair because it maintains even temperature and gives an added shine.

Priced at $39.99, Xtava offers a professional, versatile curling iron with 5 in 1 tourmaline ceramic barrels in a variety of shapes and features. It’s suitable for all hair types, has precise temperature settings, and automatic shut-off.

xtava curling iron

Bestope also offers a 6-1. Unlike the Xtava, the wands are tapered, most do not have a clip, and it contains a bubble wand. The price is more expensive but is better suited to maintaining healthier hair.

bestope curling iron set

Marcel curling irons rank at the top of the list for that natural look. Since it doesn’t contain a spring, the clamp won’t leave a mark. Hair wraps around a wand for a flawless curl. It is the favorite of many stylists due to the diversity of curls that are achievable. The drawback is that it is not beginner-friendly. It takes some practice.

The Dura CHI marcel professional curling iron is a little more expensive ($95.29), but worth it. With titanium and Ceramic infused barrels and multiple temperature settings, it is perfect for many hair types. The non-slip grip offers greater control while styling hair.

dura chi marcel

Bubble Wands are great for beginners! The bubbles provide a perfect template for hair placement. Yet, this is not for short hair. Hair must be long enough to accommodate spacing between the bubbles.

Bed Head Rock N’ Roller has an affordable price point ($24.86) and will not damage your hair. With a tourmaline and ceramic barrel, it reduces frizz and adds shine. It is one of the few curling irons without a clamp, so curls come out flawless.

bed head curling wand

A triple-barreled iron is great for a soft beachy wave. Due to its design, you can create a beautiful, loose wave for long to medium hair.

Mojonnie creates a great 3-barrel curling iron ideal for hair at any length. The wand is a ceramic tourmaline that produces negative ions for soft, shiny waves.

3 barrel curling iron

Spiral curling irons are great for tight curls if the hair is correctly wrapped around the wand. If not done properly, hair can get trapped between the guide and can pull right out.

Zinnor has a unique design for spiral curls. Its cut-out curl guides prevent hair from being trapped, and it has an anti-burn cover. The only drawback is that you cannot select heat temperature.

zinnor curl styler

Curling irons with a clip are the most popular because they are user-friendly and widely available. If not correctly wrapped, they can create an embarrassing “fishhook” look at the end due to the clamp.

It’s important to note the age of the curling iron. You should replace them every four to five years. The easier way to tell if it needs replacing is by whether it holds a curl well or not. Similar to flat irons, like curling irons age they begin to lose heat.

If your curls are drooping, it may be time for a replacement.


5. Smaller Sections are Better

When wrapping hair, twist it around the wand in one-inch sections. Too much hair will not create a good curl because not enough hair comes into contact with the wand. Uneven heat distribution causes either a loose wave or the curl to fall out.

For lasting results, evenly wrap one-inch sections of hair around the wand for a professional look.


6. Proper Barrels Make a Huge Difference!

Curling Iron

Before purchasing a curling iron, consider the length of hair and the type of curl. Larger barreled irons are great for longer hair and looser curls. Shorter hair requires smaller barrels because they wrap around the hair easier. They also create a tighter curl. Learn more about curling iron barrel sizes.

If curls are misshapen, it is an indicator that your wand is too small. Not enough hair is coming into contact with the barrel to generate a good curl. Go down a wand size for a better result.

The ideal size is a one-inch barrel for all hair lengths. It creates diversity in styling options.


7. Allow Hair to Completely Cool

Allowing hair to cool sets in the style. The tendency is to finger-style it while hot. Yet, the result is curls falling within minutes or frizz. After hair cools, apply the mist a finishing spray evenly through curls. Scrunch-styling can create a curlier appearance.

For a messy look, break up the curls, or brush them to create a smooth wave.

These techniques allow hair to remain healthy and vibrant, ending frizz and the damage done by applying heat continually. Heat protective products used on towel-dried hair prevent damage from repeated styling. If you are in a hurry, use a hairdryer with ionic capabilities. It will cut down on the damage done to hair follicles.

In considering curling irons, thought must go into selecting the right one for your hair type, texture, length, and desired curl. Choose to invest in the right product for your hair type. Special consideration for color-treated or permed hair is necessary. In the long run, it will last longer, be cost-effective, and do less damage.

Watch the Following Video on How to Curl Hair with a Clamp Curling Iron