How To Curl Your Hair With A Flat Iron, So You Don't Have To Buy All The Hot Tools

It's so hard to find good help these days. And by help, I mean hot tools. But here's a secret: If you don't want to invest in multiple tools, or are traveling and only have space in your suitcase for one, choose a flat iron. In addition to giving you sleek, straight strands, you can curl your hair with a flat iron just as well as (if not better than) with a curling rod. Here's how:

The Tips

First off, you'll want to make sure your flat iron is only one to two inches in width. A paddle straightener will not work as well since your hair will be wrapped around the outside of it. Next, you'll need to decide what type of curls you want and which direction you want them to go. 

  • If you want tighter curls, use the straightener vertically with respect to the ground, and move slowly. 
  • If you want looser curls, use the straightener horizontally with respect to the ground, and move more quickly. 
  • If you prefer curls that turn away from your face, rotate the straightener up, causing your hair to wrap towards the top of your head. 
  • If you prefer curls that turn toward your face, rotate the straightener down, causing your hair to wrap towards the bottom of your head. 

The Procedure

  1. Prep hair by spraying in a heat protectant and combing through.
  2. Separate hair into one-to-two inch sections. Just like with traditional curling, the smaller the section, the tighter the curl.
  3. Grab a section and clamp it in the straightener before rotating the straightener in the desired direction. 
  4. Once your hair and straightener are oriented to your preference, move the straightener along the hair as if you were simply straightening it. Remember, how quickly you move it will determine how tight your curls are.
  5. After reaching the end of the section, release the straightener, and twirl the section around your finger according to the direction of the curl. This will help it set. 
  6. Repeat this process until all sections are complete, and set with hairspray. 

For Curls Away From Your Face...

Keep in mind: this curl turned out somewhat tighter because I held the straightener somewhere between vertical and horizontal while also moving it slowly. 

For Curls Towards Your Face...

Keep in mind: this curl turned out looser because I held the straightener horizontally while moving it more quickly.

For Tighter Curls...

Keep in mind: this curl turned out tighter because I used a smaller section of hair, held the straightener vertically, and moved more slowly. Just be wary of moving too slowly though; you don't want to burn your hair!

Final Product

Of course, curls will vary depending on the technique you choose. I've demonstrated looser curls using the quick-and-horizontal technique on the left side of the picture, and tighter curls using the slow-and-vertical technique on the right side. Additionally, not all of my curls are going the same direction. 

Images: Miki Hayes (5)

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