How To Curl Hair With A Flat Iron The Right Way

Discover the secrets to using this hairstyling tool for beautiful and gorgeous curls.

Written by , MA Gracia Odile MA Experience: 3 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Shreya Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years

If you are looking for a quick yet effective way to achieve those stunning curls, then you might be surprised to know that your trusty flat iron might just be the secret weapon you were looking for. Learning how to curl your hair with a flat iron can be a game-changer for your hairstyling routine. With the right technique and some practice, you will be able to create stunning curls effortlessly with just a single device. So buckle up and dive into this article for some tips and techniques to master the art of flat iron curling. Read on.

protip_icon Before You Get Started
  • Choose a flat iron with smooth plates, rounded edges, and adjustable heat settings to get the desired curls.
  • Use a heat-proof pouch to store away your flat iron after use.
  • Clean your flat iron with a damp cloth to prevent debris and dirt from building up and reducing the tool’s effectiveness over time.
  • Use a heat protectant to shield your hair from damage and frizz.

Types Of Flat Irons Suitable For Curling

A black flat iron on a wooden table
Image: Shutterstock

The type of flat iron you use makes a difference when curling your hair. The best ones have rounded edges and smooth plates that won’t snag or pull on your hair. Here are the types of flat iron suitable for curling:

  • Ceramic: It evenly distributes heat, minimizing damage. It is more affordable and suitable for fine, damaged hair.
  • Titanium: It is durable and suitable for coarse, thick hair.
  • Tourmaline: It helps reduce frizz and is suitable for curly hair.

Choosing the right type of flat iron for curling comes with a host of benefits. Find out what they are below.

Benefits Of Using A Flat Iron To Curl Your Hair

There are some surprising benefits of using a flat iron for getting the curls of your dreams. Some of them include:

  • It is versatile and flexible, allowing people to create a wide range of looks such as beach waves or glossy curls.
  • The heating time is quicker compared to curling irons, enabling faster hair styling.
  • It is slim, portable, and easy to pack.
  • It is perfect for quick touch-ups or last-minute curling.
  • It distributes heat evenly, reducing the chances of hot spots that can fry your locks.
  • It gives you smoother and frizz-free curls due to its smooth plates and even heat distribution.
  • It provides greater control over the shape and direction of curls.

Brooke, a fashion blogger, shares her experience of using a flat iron to create curls. She writes, “It took me a while to finally get the hang of the loop and pull that goes along with flat iron curls, but years later I find myself using this technique the most these days. The curls that come from a flatiron last longer for me, a little more of a wave, and they curl a little higher up in my hair than a curling iron (i).”

Learning how to curl your hair with a flat iron the right way can help you reap the above-mentioned benefits in the long run. Scroll down to learn how to do so like a pro.

How To Curl Your Hair With A Flat Iron

Curling your hair with a flat iron takes some practice and technique. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get salon-worthy curls at home:

1. Apply A Heat Protectant To Your Hair

A stylist applying heat protectant to the woman’s hair
Image: Shutterstock

Start by detangling your dry hair with a wide-toothed comb. Once done, apply a heat protectant spray or serum from the roots to the ends to shield your hair from heat damage and frizz.

2. Heat Your Flat Iron

A flat iron heating
Image: Shutterstock

Set your flat iron temperature according to your hair type – 300°F for fine hair, medium-thick hair 350-370°F for medium hair, or 370-400°F for coarse, thick hair. Give it time to fully heat up.

3. Section Your Hair

A woman’s hair divided into separate sections with clips
Image: Shutterstock

Divide your hair into 1-2 inch sections and secure them with clips. Then, take 1 section and place it between the iron plates near the roots.

4. Curl Your Hair

A stylist curling a woman’s hair with a flat iron
Image: Shutterstock

Clamp the iron and turn the ends outward. Slowly glide the iron down the hair shaft, holding it for a few seconds at the ends to create your curls. Do this for all sections.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can rotate the iron 180° away from your face for outward curls or towards your face for inward curls.

5. Loosen The Curls

Once all sections are curled, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to loosen and separate the curls for a natural look. Apply a bit of hairspray to keep it in place.

Once you master the basic curling process, you can experiment with different methods to achieve a wide range of head-turning looks. Check out the next section to know more.

Curl Methods To Try With A Flat Iron

The versatile flat iron allows you to sport your favorite looks for any occasion. From beachy waves to tight curls, check out the curling methods below and discover a world of styling possibilities:

How To Use A Flat Iron For Beach Waves

A woman with beach waves
Image: Shutterstock
  • Create a deep side part and section your hair into one-inch sections.
  • Take 1 section and clamp the flat iron at the base of the hair.
  • Twist it away from your face.
  • As you slide to the end, rotate the iron so your hair doesn’t wrap around the barrel.
  • Repeat the steps above for a relaxed, tousled look.

If you are looking for something with a little volume and lift, you can use your flat iron to create some bouncy curls. Scroll down below to know more.

How To Use A Flat Iron For Bouncy Curls

A woman with bouncy curls
Image: Shutterstock
  • Part hair deeply and divide it into 1-2 inch sections.
  • Clamp the iron close to the roots and turn the ends out and up.
  • Maintain tension as you smoothly glide the iron down to the ends.
  • Repeat the process twice to get bouncy curls.

An important presentation at work or that much-awaited romantic date requires something more elegant and refined. Learn how to get polished waves below.

How To Use A Flat Iron For Polished Waves

A woman with polished waves
Image: Shutterstock
  • Section your dry hair into manageable parts and spray them evenly with a heat protectant.
  • Take 1 section and place it between the plates near the roots.
  • Half-turn the iron away from the face.
  • Pull down for about an inch and a half.
  • Repeat in alternating directions for soft S-shaped waves.

Apart from the methods mentioned above, you can experiment with some other methods to create fun and stylish looks. Check out the next section to know more.

Other Popular Curling Methods To Try

Gone are the days when you needed a dedicated curling iron to achieve gorgeous, bouncy hair. Unleash your creativity with the hair techniques given below:

  • Five-Second Touch Up: If your curls fall flat during the day, revive them with a quick pass of the flat iron. Pick out a few pieces and clamp the iron shut for 5 seconds to define the curl pattern without damaging your hair. You can alternate in the opposite direction to add dimension to your hair.
  • Hollywood S-Waves: Channel your inner goddess with this elegant style. Divide your hair into sections and make a continuous “S” shape from the roots to the ends. Finish with a holding serum for shiny, defined s-pattern curls
  • Braids: You can use this method to get tight, ringlet curls. Part your dry hair into sections and braid them. Clamp the flat iron down on each braid near the root and slowly slide down to the ends. Wait for the braids to cool completely before unraveling. Run your fingers through your hair to break them up for a tousled, curly look.
  • Perm-like Curls: If you want to recreate those gorgeous permed curls, divide your dry hair into sections and clamp the iron vertically or horizontally to curl out. Alternate the directions as you work around the head to create a spiral perm. Finish the look with a holding spray.

With the methods mentioned above, you can create any look for any occasion. But to ensure you get the desired result without damaging your hair, check out the next section for some essential tips for using your flat iron for curling.

Tips For Curling Hair With A Flat Iron

Curling your hair with a flat iron takes a little bit of patience and practice. The following tricks will help you protect your hair and achieve long-lasting, healthy curls in no time:

  • Always start with dry, detangled hair as curling wet hair can result in dryness and frizziness
  • Choose a narrow, rounded-edge iron for curling your hair as thick, paddle-shaped ones may not give you the spiral you are looking for.
  • Always work in one to two-inch sections to ensure even heat distribution.
  • Be slow and gentle when gliding the iron from the root to the tip to avoid damaging your hair and create defined curls.
  • Avoid combing your hair immediately after curling it to allow it to set and cool down.
  • Finish with a light touch of hairspray or an airy mist to lock down the style without making it too stiff.
  • Ensure you keep the iron moving to avoid burning your hair.
  • Start curling at the eye level to create a more natural look.
protip_icon Pro Tip
Avoid using an aerosol hairspray as it can make your hair sticky and weigh down your curls.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned expert, there are some common mistakes you should avoid when using the flat iron for curling. Find out that they are below.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Using A Flat Iron For Curling

A woman using a flat iron to curl her hair
Image: Shutterstock

Here are some common pitfalls you may encounter when using your flat iron for curling your hair:

  • Skimping on a heat protectant leaves your hair vulnerable to damage.
  • Curling large sections of hair can result in uneven hair distribution.
  • Starting at the tips can lead to undue stress on the most fragile part of your hair.
  • Rushing through the process often results in poorly formed curls or unnecessary frizz.
  • Using extremely high heat settings can burn your hair.
  • Holding the iron in one spot for too long can create flat spots and cause heat damage.

Both a flat iron and a curling iron will give you the desired results. However, there are key differences in how they work. Check out the next section to know more.

Flat Iron Vs. Curling Iron – Which Tool Is Better For Curling?

A curling iron and a straightener
Image: Shutterstock

Understanding and weighing the pros and cons of each tool can help you choose the right one for you. Curling with a flat iron requires clamping down on a section of hair and twisting or flipping it to wrap the hair around itself. On the other hand, curling with a curling iron involves wrapping your hair strands around the heated barrel to help get the desired curls.

Further, the adjustable barrels in curling irons let you customize the curl size and shape as per your need as compared to a flat iron. While curling irons are designed specifically to create lasting, smooth curls with less effort and more consistent results, the single barrel size of the curling iron makes it more expensive and requires using other heating tools to achieve different curly looks.

A flat iron is the perfect way to get those amazing curls without lugging around other styling tools. It is a quick and versatile tool that can create a wide range of looks, from beachy waves to bouncy curls. So, whether you are on vacation or need a quick pick-me-up at work, this portable tool is the answer to all your problems. Always make sure you use a heat protectant to prevent damage and frizz and avoid combing your hair after curling to let it set. With just a little bit of practice and technique, you can skip those expensive salon visits and create your favorite looks at home!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my curls last longer?

You can use a flexible hold hairspray after styling to let your curls last longer. If not, you can use a dry shampoo or texturizing spray for added grip and volume to your curls.

Can I curl short hair with a flat iron?

Yes, you can curl short hair with a flat iron. Ensure you choose a thinner iron for better control and work in small sections to create the desired curls or waves.

How to curl a bob with a flat iron?

You can start by working in small sections, twist the iron away from your face to create waves, and avoid clamping too close to the ends for a more natural, tousled look.

Key Takeaways

  •  A flat iron can create stylish looks such as beachy waves and bouncy curls.
  • They heat up quicker, making them perfect for last-minute styling or refreshing your curls throughout the day.
  • Ensure you use a heat protectant and move the tool after 5 seconds to avoid burning your hair.

If you want to create those amazing textured waves without stepping foot in a salon, then you have come to the right place. Check out this video on how to use a flat iron to get those laid-back beach waves at home.

Personal Experience: Source

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Gracia Odile

Gracia OdileBeauty & Lifestyle Writer

Gracia Odile is a teacher-turned-beauty and lifestyle writer with three years of professional experience. She has a bachelor's degree in English from St. Stephen's College, a master's in Anthropology from the University of Madras, and a degree in education from GGSIPU. She is passionate about understanding the intricacies of human interaction in various cultural contexts. Her empathetic approach and captivating full bio

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