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How To Curl Your Hair - 6 Different Ways To Do It

Lainee Read

Author Lainee Read | Social Media Manager, Sam Villa


Six Methods for Curling Hair:
Flat Wrap Hair With a Curling Iron Lazy Curl with a Curling Iron Spiral Curls with a Flat Iron Red Carpet Waves with a Curling Iron Ribbon Curl With a Flat Iron Push Waves With a Flat Iron

There are many hair tutorials out there that show you how to curl hair. So we created a video and assembled step by step photos showing you six different ways for how to curl your hair with a curling iron as well as how to curl your hair with a flat iron.

By the end of this tutorial, you will understand how to create different types of curls–spiral curls, barrel curls, and everything in-between.

Before we begin we want to offer some curling hair tips:
  • We recommend practicing with the your curling iron or flat iron in the OFF position. I know, it seems silly. But this will allow you to practice these curling hair techniques without burning yourself. After you feel confident then turn on the heat and curl your hair.
  • Always use a heat protectant spray when you curl hair. Working with heat protection is vital to the health of your hair. Heat doesn’t just dry hair out, it can destroy the integrity of the inner structure of the hair, and even decrease the longevity of that beautiful color that you invested in at the salon.
  • 392° F. That is the maximum temperature to use to keep hair color safe from dulling and fading. So turn your irons down and be more deliberate with your speed (slowing down) to create better curls with less damage to your hair.
These are the hair curling tools and products we will be using in our tutorials:

How to Curl Your Hair With a Curling Iron

These first four hair curling techniques are designed to teach you how to create different types of curls using your curling iron. We will show you how to create loose curls by wrapping the hair around the barrel of the iron and then changing directions. Tight curls by wrapping the hair around the barrel in a flat motion or twisting the hair before wrapping it around the barrel. Then we will teach you an elegant wave by combining two of these four techniques. Here we go...

Flat Wrap Hair With a Curling Iron

Our hair curling tool of choice for this technique is a 1” inch curling iron. Remember to use a heat protectant spray before using your curling iron!

This flat wrapped technique creates a wide curl with lots of volume. The final result will resemble a  however the tightness of the curl depends on the width and thickness of your sections.

For this technique we recommend using wider sections – about 1-½” - 2”. The secret to this curl is keeping the hair wrapped flat against the curling iron barrel without twisting. To keep the hair flat against the curling iron you’ll need to adjust your hands each time you go around the iron, otherwise the hair will naturally want to twist around the barrel. If you have fine hair and desire more volume, this curl type is for you! Scroll down to see how it’s done.

Flat Wrap Hair with a Curling Iron

  • Take a vertical section and mist with a thermal heat spray to protect your hair from the heat then use a wide tooth comb to evenly distribute the product. Choose the direction you want the hair to curl, either toward your face or away from your face.
  • Focus on keeping the section flat while wrapping it around your curling iron. Remember, don’t twist the hair around the iron.
  • Continue to wrap the hair around the iron until you get to the ends. To create more natural looking curls, don’t curl the last 2” or so.

HOT TIP: Taking smaller sections will create a tighter curl pattern and larger sections will create a looser curl pattern. Experiment with the size of your sections until you find the perfect curl size for you!

Lazy Curl with a Curling Iron

Using your 1” curling iron, this technique creates a loose wave. Take your iron and wrap the hair around the iron, but only half way down and then switching wrapping directions for the remainder of the section. By changing the direction of the curl and leaving the ends out, this will give the effect of a more relaxed wave.

Lazy Curl with a curling iron

  • Begin with your first section and mist with a thermal heat spray from at least 6” away to protect the hair. Gather the section, elevate to 90 degrees with thumb and index finger.
  • Place the curling iron in front of the section with the barrel of the iron behind the section. Holding the section, face thumbnail up and flat wrap around the iron (do not twist the hair around the barrel when doing a flat wrap). After you complete the flat wrap, hold the section and roll the iron and close near the scalp and  allow the section to heat completely before moving on
  • Holding the section, remove the barrel from the hair and turn it so the barrel is not in front of the section. Place the iron in the spot where your last curl was made and repeat the process, flat wrap, roll the iron and close
  • Once to the end of the section, comb through with your hand and finger through the section to separate the curls

End result will be a lazy curl that looks very natural. Finish with a flexible hold hairspray.

HOT TIP: Check the temperature by placing your finger over the hair that is in the iron. Once your fingers are hot, release the section.

Spiral Curls with a Curling Iron

Again, picking up your 1” curling iron and heat protectant, we’re going to create a spiral-like curl. Working in smaller sections like the flat wrap curl, the hair is first twisted from the top to the ends, then wrapping that twisted section around the curling iron to create that spiral effect. The end result will be a tight spiral curl with added texture.

Spiral Curls with a curling iron

  • Begin by taking a small section and mist with a thermal heat spray from at least 6” away to protect the hair. Twist the entire section from base to ends. Instead of twisting you can also braid the section of hair.
  • The key here is to twist the section and wrap it around the curling iron all in the same direction. If you want to curl away from the face, twist and wrap in the outwards direction from your face.
  • Wrap the entire twisted section around your curling iron and let it heat up.
  • Remove your curling iron and allow the curl to cool. Once your entire head is curled, shake the curls out with your fingers to loosen and add more volume.

HOT TIP: Allow your spiral curls to really cook! Spiral curls collapse because they either didn’’t get enough heat or they didn’’t cool long enough to set the style!

Red Carpet Waves with a Curling Iron

A wand or curling iron can be used for this technique. Begin like you would with the Flat Wrap technique but as you wrap the hair around the iron, you then twist the section like you do in with Spiral Curl technique. This curling iron technique is more difficult but the end result is a soft yet very dramatic beautiful wave.

red Carpet Waves with a curling iron

  • Begin with your first section and mist with a thermal heat spray from at least 6” away to protect the hair. Gather the section, elevate to 90 degrees with thumb and index finger and over direct to the corner of the client’s eye. Place the curling iron in front of the section with the barrel of the iron behind the section.
  • (Be sure to keep the hair in fingers close to the barrel at all times). Holding the section, face thumbnail up and then twist the hair so thumbnail is facing the floor, slide down and wrap. Slide the hair up the barrel making sure to keep thumbnail close to the barrel without closing the blade. (Closing the blades of the barrel will produce lines of demarcation inside the crest)
  • Repeat the motions until the end of the section: Wrap, twist – thumbnail up, thumbnail down, wrap, twist, thumbnail up, thumbnail, down, wrap…. Once to the end of the section, drop the elbow of the arm that is holding the curling iron, keeping hold of the section. While holding the end of the section with the thumbnail turn the curling iron in the opposite direction for more tension, allowing the heat to do its job. (This creates the tension in the twists – the twist is the crest and the flat wrap is the valley)
  • Release thumb and place the palm of hand underneath the barrel of the curling iron. Catch the hair in palm when released from the barrel. (If hair is just dropped without catching it, the section will stretch and become loose). With the section in palm, spray two shots of a firm hold hairspray. Pancake and compress the section in both palms (The hair will be very hot!). Allow the hair to cool and be patient. Release the section from palm
  • Take your Sam Villa Styling Brush and comb through the section to the ends, holding the hair at the bottom for a few seconds to relax the waves.
  • Release the section and your loose waves appear. Add some light oil serum to help tame any frizz and for extra shine, we suggest using Redken Diamond Oil.

How to Curl Your Hair With a Flat Iron

In the next two techniques we are going to introduce two different ways to curl your hair with a flat iron. The ribbon curl is a tight flat iron curl that is created from tension and just one small twist motion at the beginning. The push wave creates a loose and organic finish by creating an s-shape with the hair and only tapping the flat iron down the section. Are you ready!

Ribbon Curl With a Flat Iron

Using your flat iron again, the ribbon curl is a tight curl with more bounce and similar to a ringlet curl created with your curling iron. Place the iron diagonally into the section and as you pinch the iron close you will slowly rotate half a turn and slide the flat iron down the section of the hair. The half turn and tension is what creates the tight ribbon curl. The ribbon curl lasts for days and gradually turns into a beach wave type curl as the days pass by.

Irron Curl with a flat iron

  • Take a medium size section 1” in length and ½” in width and prep with a thermal heat spray. Hold the section in one hand and your flat iron in the other with the iron vertical and your palm facing the head.
  • Pinch section at base, as you pinch, fold hand so palm faces you (still holding the section with left hand). Slowly slide flat  iron down to the end of the hair shaft and release hair, –this will allow the hair to spring into a ribbon curl.
  • Using your hands to shake the curls out and finishing with a flexible hold hairspray to keep the curls in place.
  • Take your Sam Villa Styling Brush and comb through the section to the ends, holding the hair at the bottom for a few seconds to relax the waves.
  • Release the section and your loose waves appear. Add some light oil serum to help tame any frizz and for extra shine, we suggest using Redken Diamond Oil.

 

Push Waves With a Flat Iron (also called an S Wave)

For this curling technique we are going to switch to our flat iron. The push wave is an organic type of finish. By creating an S type figure with the hair and using your flat iron to tap over the waves, this creates what we call the push wave.

S wave with a flat iron

  • Working with your flat Iron, take horizontal sections, making sure you spray first with a thermal heat protectant
  • Begin near the scalp, pinching the section with your index finger and thumb
  • Insert the iron above your pinch and begin to tap over the section, pushing the hair in the same direction until the section is completely heated
  • Move your "pinch" down and tap, tap, tap the section again, this time pulling the hair in the opposite direction from the previous section
  • Focus on creating an “S” pattern
  • Repeat this push and pull pattern until you reach the ends of your hair
  • The end result is beautiful! Loose, organic waves that have a different texture than you can create with a curling iron.

Remember to work with small sections and just like anything you want to be great at ... practice is necessary! Don’’t rush these curling iron and flat iron techniques, take your time learning them before attempting on yourself. Most important, don't forget your thermal spray! You don't want to end up like the little girl on YouTube :)

Once you get the hang of these curling iron and flat iron techniques, get creative and combine different techniques! It’’s time to get curling!

We want to see your results! Share your finished results on Instagram and use the hashtag #samvilla.

Want more Flat Iron tips? Check out how to create perfect beach waves using your flat iron!