5 Curling Iron Mistakes

Sophisticated look with masterfully done hair

curling main art

curling main art

Heading to a party? There’s no better way to amp up your look than with a few curls, but as we all know, curling irons aren’t always the easiest tool to maneuver. Here is what you’re probably doing wrong—and how to fix it.

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MISTAKE 1: Not Prepping Hair
In order to get a good curl, you need to prep hair first. “It’s like building a house,” says celebrity hairstylist Patrick Melville. “You have to create a good foundation for it to hold.” To do this, first use a heat-protecting product (it’s essential to prevent damage), then blow dry hair completely. This will close the cuticle and help hold curls, as well as avoid heat damage from using the iron on damp hair. Melville also suggests using a styling glaze pre-ironing for control and texture. Also, if you know your hair has a hard time holding a curl, mist hair with a little hairspray before using the iron.

MISTAKE 2: Curling Hair in the Wrong Direction
Make a desired part before you start curling, as this will help determine which way to curl the hair. For a more natural look, you’ll want to curl hair away from face. This means winding the hair down and around the wand of the curling iron in a clockwise direction on the right side of face and a counter-clockwise direction on the left side.

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MISTAKE 3: Twirling the Iron Instead of Hair
Most women clip their ends into the iron, then twist the iron in toward their head. According to Melville, this will give more of a barrel curl (think Shirley Temple) or flip (think Farrah Fawcett), rather than the more natural looking wave you were probably going for. To achieve that, hold the iron so the barrel (the hot part) is facing down toward the floor, then wrap hair around it, starting from the roots and locking ends in last. This will not only make curls last longer, but will also give more volume at the roots. Also, make sure you don’t twist the hair at all before winding it around the barrel, as this will prevent the heat from distributing evenly on the hair. Think of hair as a ribbon and lay it flat over the curling iron as you wind.

MISTAKE 4: Using an Iron That’s Too Large
You might own four different sized curling irons, thinking you need each one to achieve a range of tighter or looser curls. The truth is, you really only need one. “You can do a lot more with a one-inch barrel than you can do with a larger one,” says Melville. “It’s more universal. If you want a looser wave, just take a slightly larger section of hair.”

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MISTAKE 5: Touching Your Hair Right Away
Always allow your hair to cool down for a couple of minutes so the curl has a chance to set. Touching or running your fingers through your curls immediately after curling can cause unwanted frizz or make curls droop. After that waiting period you can help keep your style in place by spraying curls and hands with a finishing spray and crunching the ends. To get a more natural, slightly messy curl, break up finished curls with your fingers at this point. Alternatively, you can brush them lightly for a smoother wave. This will also help distribute product evenly throughout strands. With your hair masterfully done you can head out to the party to enjoy everyone’s attention.

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