Using a curling iron isn’t rocket science but it’s not completely intuitive either, and it’s one of those skills that you probably learned from a mom, sister, or friend, not a stylist. If you find that your curls are uneven, look unnatural, or don’t last, you may benefit from a little instruction. Click the style notes for six common curling iron mistakes and their solutions. –Laura Martin
Mistake #1: Not using thermal protectant. Thermal protectors help your hair accept heat without damage, add shine, and provide hold. Using one not only protects your hair but also improves the look of your curls.
Mistake #2: Straightening hair first. Drying your hair with lots of tension before using an iron makes it harder to re-curl. Rough dry before curling, or better yet, diffuse and use humectant products that support movement and blend your natural wave with the coils you create.
Mistake #3: Curling sections that are too big. The sections you use for styling should be the same size as the tool you are working with. For example, 1” sections for a 1” curling iron.
Mistake #4: Working from ends to roots. Although traditional curling irons are hard to apply root to end, clamping onto tips and wrapping up creates the weakest possible coils. Instead, wrap hair freehand from root to tip.
Mistake #5: Using a dirty iron. Product, hair oil and dirt built up on the outside of your iron will make for an uneven result. Clean with rubbing alcohol and cotton (when iron is cool and unplugged) to remove buildup.
Mistake #6: Tousling too soon. Running your fingers through freshly set hair upsets the new shape before it has time to solidify. Always cool completely and mist with hairspray before you touch or tousle.
Special thanks to Laura Martin for this post. Laura is a professional hair stylist, former senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, and a creative non-fiction MFA student at Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA. Follow her inspirations on twitter.