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How to Curl Your Hair with a Curling Iron

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

The holidays are fast approaching, and everyone wants to look gorgeous in their family photos. The most common question this time of year is, How do I curl my hair properly with a curling iron? Here is a guide to help you properly create ringlets or waves and keep your hair safe.

A young with wavy, brown hair. Image byAnna from Pixabay
Image by Anna from Pixabay

Prep your hair

Your hair should be completely dry and brushed. I recommend using a heat-protectant product.


Choose your iron

When choosing a curling iron, the wider the barrel, the looser the curl. Barrel sizes range from 1" to 2" diameter.


Choose your temperature

Choose the temperature setting by your hair type. For fine or treated hair, you can use the lowest setting. For normal or thick hair, use the medium heat setting, but please don't use the highest heat setting even if you have thick hair. It isn't necessary, and you may risk burning your hair.


Curling iron barrel and clamp

How to Curl

To make loose, beachy waves, start with a small section of hair and hold the iron a couple of inches away from your scalp. Wrap your hair around the iron; the clamp isn't necessary. Don't worry about curling the bottom inch or two. Leaving the ends out will give it a less polished look. Hold for about 10 seconds before releasing your hair, then let it cool before touching it. This technique will create loose waves.

Close up of hair wrapped around a curling iron to create beachy waves
How to wrap hair for beachy waves

For ringlets, start with a small section of hair. Clamp hair at the mid lengths and wind hair until the ends are secured between the clamp and the barrel. Once ends are secured, roll the barrel down to about an inch away from the scalp. Be sure to wrap your hair around the barrel and not the clamp so you don't create a crimp in your hair. Hold for about 10 seconds before releasing your hair, then let it cool before touching it. This technique will create curlier rings.

Close up of hair wrapped around a curling iron to create ringlets
How to wrap hair for ringlets

Andrea with ringlets on the left and waves on the right  showing the difference of the 2 types of curls

Here you can see the difference between beachy waves and ringlets, loosely fluffed out with fingers.


Curling your hair this way is fast and easy. For the best stress-free results, practice on your hair before the holidays. Then relax and enjoy your time with family and friends, knowing your hair will be photo-ready.


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