Creating Curls with a Flat Iron

Why Not Create Some Carefree Curls with Your Flat Iron?
Ok, you’ve heard the myth. You’ve seen other people with beautiful, bouncy curls. They tell you they used a flat iron. Curls with a flat iron? Yes! I’ll show you how anyone can achieve that carefree curly look. It just takes a little practice, patience, and the right tools!

HAI SST Super Silver Tourmaline Hair DryerThe Perfect Blowout
The first step to any great style with a flat iron is a really good blowout. Creating a super smooth canvas of hair before you style will not only allow you to create those sleek straight looks, it’s also essential for creating curls. A great blowout also helps smooth the hair cuticle, providing a perfect base for creating long lasting, frizz-free curls. Need a great hairdryer for your healthy blowout? You cannot go wrong with one of these:

ghd Professional Round Ceramic BrushBeat the Frizz 
If you really want to say goodbye to frizz, use a professional ceramic brush when you blow dry. A super-smooth frizz free style starts with a quality ceramic brush. The ceramic technology smoothes down the hair’s cuticle while you style and makes it easier to straighten or curl your hair afterwards. If you need a great brush to help you with your blowout, try one from GHD. It features a solid polycarbonate handle and barrel and the first ever with a natural ionic powder coating. This allows the brush to retain the heat from your hair dryer, helping you to dry and style from both sides for quick results and long lasting hold. Especially if you are creating curls – long-lasting is what you’re looking for: GHD Professional Ceramic Round Anti-Static Brush.  

Section, Section, Section
To begin, you should section off your hair into manageable pieces. I find that 1 inch usually works best for everyone. The sections you create should be easy to work with, and small enough to fit into the flat iron you are using. If you are using a flat iron with a 1 inch plate width, section your hair into a 1/2 inch – 1 inch sections. This will ensure you don’t take a section to large to get the job done. As you are more comfortable creating curls, you’ll be able to determine which size sections are right for you. But the million dollar question is: Which flat iron should you use?

HAI elite Digistik Ceramic Tourmaline StraightenerA Flat Iron that Curls??
Hmmm, let’s face it, when you think of flat iron, you don’t normally think of curls. But it’s time to change your mind! Today’s flat irons are so versatile; they are perfect for creating a variety of styles, in addition to straightening. When choosing a flat iron, it’s best to determine your styling needs, and if curls are on your list of styling necessities, you need to find an iron with curved edges.
It is essential that your flat iron’s plates aren’t, well, flat. The curved edges will allow you to coax your hair into those curls you crave. You might be surprised at how many flat irons perform double duty and help create curly styles as well as straighten. Check out these faves:

If you’d like to see more, visit our Curling Flat Irons section.

Biolage Smoothing SerumHealthy Protection
Now that you have a flat iron with curved edges, you’re ready to create your first curl. Before you start styling, it’s a great idea to coat your hair with a thermal protectant to protect your hair from the high temperature of the iron, and to also add volume and shine. Protecting your hair from excessive heat is not only important, it will also add structure and support to the curls you create. We say it over and over again, a heat protectant is a must. Check out these thermal barriers that love to eliminate damage and frizz:
GHD Obedience Cream, BioSilk Smoothing Balm, Bain de Terre Shine Serum Anti-Frizz Recovery Complex, Bolage Smoothing Serum (left), Joico K-PAK Styling Creme Elixir Want more choices? Visit our thermal protectant section, or read our Top 5 Most Popular Heat Protectants, to find out more.

Ready, Set, Curl!
Beginning with the first section of hair about 1″ wide, and holding it at the ends, place the iron vertically over the piece. Gently closing the plates and lightly gripping the hair make sure to rotate the iron slowly as you glide the iron down toward the ends. If you want bigger curls, take larger sections of hair, and use the same rotating motion. This is why it’s so important to use an iron with a rounded barrel and plate design to create the perfect curl. If your iron doesn’t have rounded plates it will create unnatural dents in you hair. The rounded plates are what give you the smooth, flowing curls. Unnatural dents? No thanks!

Oops, That’s Not a Curl
If you don’t get the curl right on the first try, don’t worry! Just let the section you were working on cool down for a few minutes before you try it again, and move on to the next section while you are waiting. It takes a little while to get the hang of creating curls with a flat iron, but with a little practice you will achieve those perfect, bouncy, glamorous curls. Patience…Virtue….Get it?

Curl Number Two
For the next section of hair, repeat the same rotating motion as before but this time rotate the iron in the opposite direction to get a more natural look. Alternating the way you rotate the iron as you style around your head gives you the natural carefree appearance curls usually have. The back of the head is the hardest, but don’t worry if you have trouble here and cannot reach your roots, just try get as close to the roots as possible. Continue this process, moving throughout each section of your hair, remembering to alternate rotations, until you have completed curling all of your hair. Remember that each section should have a light coating of your heat protectant first to provide a good barrier from the heat and protect from unnecessary damage.

The Bouncier the Better!
To create curls with extra bounce, don’t start too close to your roots, this creates too much volume near the top of your head and the curls won’t be soft and bouncy. Instead, place your iron in at the root and glide the iron gently down the first one to two inches of hair before you start rotating the iron. Starting the rotation further down the section will create the nice bouncy look you want.

Davines Love Curl Enhancing SerumExtra Texture
Now that you’ve created a whole head of curls, make sure they have staying power. To finish your look, place a little curl cream on your fingertips and work through your hair to give each curl maximum hold, definition and shine. The separation of each curl will give your style added depth, dimension and movement. A lightweight curl cream is best, you don’t want to weigh those curls down after you’ve spent all your time creating them!
Might I suggest some of the curl-coaxers I like best: Davines Love Curl Enhancing Serum (pictured), Bumble and bumble Curl Crème Curl Conscious Wavy Woman, L’anza Polyester Art Elements, CHI Pliable Polish Weightless Styling Paste.

See, that’s all there is to it – perfect, bouncy curls with a flat iron! Give it a try, it’s easier than you think! If you still need some extra pointers, this video will get you curling in no time….


  7 comments for “Creating Curls with a Flat Iron

  1. Bionic Beauty
    January 3, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Great new blog! I like the clean simple layout too. :)

    I love the idea of this post, but I’m a little confused on “holding the iron vertically” to the hair and then rotating. My iron is curved, but it doesn’t really heat up too much on the outside. Is this only for flat irons that heat up on the outside as well? Or maybe a picture would help me see it better in my mind. lol- it’s so hard to get the hang of things over the web.

    Thanks so much! Keep up the great blog!
    Bionic Beauty

  2. shelley
    January 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Jami,
    Check out this video post:

    Hopefully this will get you curling with your flat iron in no time!

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