If you know anything about curling hair using heated tools, you’ll know curling irons have been the gold standard since before there was electricity. I’m sure you’ve seen an iron or two before in your life, you know, unless you’ve been living under a rock. In case you haven’t, a curling iron is usually a straight barrel that’s heated by being plugged into a power outlet.
It has a clamp that holds the hair in place after it’s been wrapped around the barrel. You leave the hair that way for a few seconds and then release the clamp and pull the iron out. After that, you should be left with a curl.
The biggest trends in new curling tools are irons without the clamp or “flipper”. Called curling wands, these tools are more flexible than the traditional curling iron because they are made of better materials, and they don’t have a clamp that can put a weird crease in the curl. More than that, tapered irons let you make different sized curls depending on where you wrap the hair on the wand.
Learning how to use a curling wand takes a bit of practice because you have to get used to wrapping the hair (often without the assistance of a guide). You have to learn how long your hair needs for the curl to set. Once you get the idea for how it feels when it’s wrapped correctly you should be good to go on the curl front.
I’m going to walk you through how to use a wand. If you’re used to a curling iron, it will definitely be an adjustment. If you haven’t used an iron before it will still take some practice, but you won’t feel like you’re missing a piece when you instinctively try to clamp down on your hair.
Once the wand is plugged in, you have to select your heat. If you’re not sure, always go with the lowest setting first and see how your hair does. Remember that you should always start with as little heat as possible, or you risk suffering fried hair. If it’s not enough heat or the curls aren’t holding, it’s time to crank it up some. In general, the thinner hair is, the lower the setting you need. The thicker your hair is, the more power you’re going to need.
While your iron is heating up, the rest of your head needs to get ready for the process. For some people, this means starting with a flat iron because their hair requires some preparation beforehand. Most people can get away with curling right over natural curls, waves and frizz though. In this case, just make sure there aren’t any major tangles and you should be good to go. Some people use heat resistant spray at this point. This can be a good idea, but if you’re using a product for the first time it’s best to test it first.
If your iron came with a glove, be sure to put that baby on before you start for the first time. It may not do a huge amount to keep you from burning yourself, but it will at least remind you to be careful.
Pick a section of hair that is smaller than 1 inch, and separate it from the rest of your mane. Remember that if you try to work with more than that, you won’t get much bounce. Flip the wand so the point is closest to your shoulder, but be careful not to accidentally touch any body parts with it. Remember: it’s HOT!
Start wrapping your hair at the base of the iron which should be held up higher than the tip. The tip is nearest to your shoulder. From there, wrap the hair towards the tip of the iron. Hold the iron in that position for a few seconds, but definitely no longer than 5 seconds. Remember that wands curl really fast compared to older tools, and if you hold it for as long as you could have before, you can burn your hair off. See how easily this can be done here:
Yeah. Don’t do that!
In order to avoid this you have to wrap the hair around the wand quickly, hold for a few seconds and let go. There definitely shouldn’t be a lot of dawdling time there.
Okay, Don’t rinse because all of your curls will come out! Once you make the first curl, you just have to continue with the rest of your head to get the style you want. If you want tighter curls, you will have to twist the curl while it cools. For looser waves, just let them fall. Either will add texture, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
If you’re more of a visual person, the video below that I found on YouTube is a good and honest tutorial.