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Flat Iron Curl Tutorial

Flat Iron Curl Hair

Now that fall is here, it’s time to start changing my beauty routine up a bit. I’ve made a few important changes to my hair recently including the new “lived in color” look with my ends being a bit lighter/brighter, and my long layers are now “arrow pointed” making them more weightless. All of that means my hair will grow out nicely, but more importantly, it means that I can continue my current obsession with big waves and curls!

To get the look I’m after, I’ve been experimenting with flat iron curls! I’ve tried flat iron curls in the past without much success. It turns out that after quite a bit of practice, they get much easier. The trick is all in the wrist, and using the right flat iron. If you twist your flat iron just right, it will smooth the hair shaft while it curls, making your hair smoother, shinier and giving you a great curl.

Flat Iron Curl Hair

I started with freshly washed and blown out hair. I blew my hair out quickly, mostly with my head upside down to add some volume. I like to use a paddle brush to help smooth the hair a bit, but don’t go too crazy since you’ll be using a flat iron anyways. For hair prep, I usually use a good root volumizer, and I’ll add a bit of a volumizing mouse and a treatment spray with heat protection.

Flat Iron Curl Hair

Next I sectioned my hair for styling. I created a front section from my ears forward, and then created 3 sections from the back portion of my hair. I held each section in place using a sectioning hair clip, so I could just release the hair when necessary. I love the shape of these clips, I have a ton of hair and they actually hold my hair without falling.

A quick discussion about which flat iron works best for this, because not all are created equal. You want something with good plates, ceramic or titanium preferably. You want the heat evenly distributed, and you want it to reheat quickly. You also need good temperature controls, since this is a great way to fry your hair if you pretty much only have 1 super hot setting. If you can, you’ll want to set it below 400 for this style. Finally, the shape of the outside is important. I get much better curls, more easily, when the outside is a bit rounded. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle, but I definitely want there to be quite a bit of curve.

Flat irons that fit this description:
Dyson Corrale™ Hair Straightener: Yes, it’s a giant splurge. I use this one usually, simply because I find dealing with a cord regularly to be annoying. I leave this sitting out on the counter in its charging base, then I can easily grab it when I need it. I don’t find the flexing plates to be a game changer (I don’t even notice them).
T3 Lucea 1” Professional Straightening & Styling Flat Iron: It’s rounded on the outside, which I love. Unfortunately, the temperature control is by numbers of dots, rather than actual numbers. Just try to use fewer dots.
Hot Tools Professional 1” Digital Salon Flat Iron: An easy to use flat iron with a digital temp control, at a reasonable price point.

Flat Iron Curl Hair

Now it’s time to start curling! I use sections of hair that are much smaller than I would curl with a curling iron. They’re about an inch wide but not thick at all.

The best way to describe how to twist the iron is to hold the iron in your hair, grab the free end of your hair and pull it up and then over the iron as you see above, so the end is hanging down. Then twist the iron backwards (toward you) so that you’re pulling the iron back into that loop of hair. When you’ve completed that twist, the hair end should be coming out of the bottom of the iron. It takes me 2 full twists to do that.

Flat Iron Curl Hair

This picture shows you exactly where the hair is looping, and it makes a lot more sense! Practice this twisting before you turn on your flat iron, getting it right with a cold flat iron will prevent a lot of damage to your hair.

Once you have the twist just right, go ahead and turn on the flat iron. I like to start my flat iron pretty close to my scalp, bring it down a few inches and then twist. Once the twist is in place, continue bringing the flat iron down your hair. As you pull the flat iron down your hair, the end will go up into the flat iron first and then loop around the curve outside. The amount of curl you get depends upon how fast you curl, a faster speed will result in less curl (great for wavier styles and bangs), and slower speed will get you more curl. I was going pretty slow, mostly because I was taking pictures while curling.

Note that how you hold the flat iron will affect the curl as well. Lately I’ve been likely more of a curl like this (I’ll brush it out later to soften the look), and to achieve that look my flat iron needs to be parallel to the floor. If I hold the flat iron more vertically, I’ll get a softer wave to begin with. I’m honestly not great at twisting when I do that, so I do the curlier option and brush it out a bit.

Flat Iron Curl Hair

Don’t you twirl around as soon as your hair is curled? Isn’t that completely normal?

After each section is complete, I sprayed a light mist of a flexible hold spray. The curls will calm down a bit throughout the day (and a quick brush out will soften them), but they last 2 days and the curls are smoother than when I use a curling iron. Just the look I was going for! It’s perfect for a holiday party or having family over.

Flat Iron Curl Hair
Flat Iron Curl Hair


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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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  1. 12.21.18
    brandi said:

    My straightener has 3 size settings for creating curls and waves and i just CANNOT get it right lol! Hopefully your tutorial will help me out alot