How to Curl Hair With a Flat Iron




How many of you have had your hair curled with a flat iron at the salon only to have it fall apart by the time you get home? Instead of wishing you had the tools to touch up the hairstyle at home, now you can recreate this look by following these simple steps. If it doesn’t look amazing on the first try just keep practicing!

These instructions will help you achieve beautifully curled hair with your flat iron without having to pay the salon price. In order to make these instructions as useful to you as possible, we are going to give instructions for curly, wavy, and straight hair types. If you aren’t sure of your hair type, please download this hair type chart at

To achieve the best style results, please follow the instructions for your hair type.

1. Hair must be at least shoulder length in order to effectively curl hair with flat iron.
2. Do not wash hair directly before styling hair. Your hair produces natural oils that help your style last longer. If you need to wash your hair, do so the night before you plan to curl your hair.
3. If at any point in time you smell your hair burning:
        • Make sure that hair is completely dry – placing a hot iron on damp hair will cause it to burn.
        • Turn down the temperature setting on your flat iron.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:

WARNING: Flat irons contain extremely hot plates. Hair can burn if hot plates are placed directly on wet hair or if flat iron is clamped down for a very long time.

DANGER: Flat irons contain extremely hot plates. If hot flat iron is placed directly on skin it can cause severe burns. Avoid direct contact with skin when using a hot flat iron.

Step 2: Description of Equipment/List of Materials and Equipment Needed

1. Flat iron/straightener
2. Blow dryer
3. Hairbrush
4. Hair clips or hair ties
5. Mirror
6. Heat protectant hair serum (not necessary but if you have it at home you can use it)
7. Hairspray

Step 3:

Gather all materials needed and plug in flat iron. You need to plug in your flat iron first so that it can have enough time to reach the desired temperature. Make sure to plug in flat iron at a safe outlet away from water, and make sure that flat iron lies flat on a sturdy surface.

Ideal Temperatures:
• Curly = 380-430°
• Wavy = 360-380°
• Straight = 200-360°

Step 4:

Plug in blow dryer and dry hair until it is completely dry. There should be no damp spots in your hair whatsoever. We recommend brushing your hair while blow drying because it detangles hair and helps hair dry faster. You may also brush hair after blow drying to detangle hair.

Step 5:

If you have heat protecting serum at home, place a quarter size amount (unless product specifies otherwise) of the serum in the palm of your hand and apply to hair working from root to tip. This will help fight heat damage to the hair.

Step 6:

Once hair is completely detangled, make a clean part down the middle of your scalp. Then grab a clip or a hair tie and secure both sections of hair with it. It is important to curl hair in sections because it makes the process easier and it ensures that parts of your hair don’t go uncurled. Sectioning your hair also makes the process much easier. When curling hair you can start with either the right or left side, just make sure you do one whole side (from base of neck to the middle part of your head) before starting on the other side.

Step 7:

Starting at the base of your neck, remove a small section of hair that has been tied off. This should be about 1 square inch section of hair. You can vary this amount based on the size of curl that you want:

• Smaller section = Tighter curls
• Larger section = Loose curls

Note: Before beginning to curl hair make sure that flat iron has reached the desired temperature for your hair type.

Step 8:

While holding the sectioned piece of hair in one hand, grab the open flat iron from the handle furthest from the plates with your other hand. Place open flat iron so that it is surrounding your piece of sectioned hair.

Step 9:

Bring flat iron as close to your scalp as possible without touching your skin so that you don’t burn yourself. Once flat iron is as close to scalp as possible, clamp down on sectioned piece of hair. The sectioned piece of hair should be directly in between the hot plates of the flat iron.

Step 10:

Now that hair is clamped, grab the hair that is not directly clamped in the flat iron and wrap it around flat iron one time. The hair should be pulled under the flat iron, not over the top of the flat iron. The remaining hair should be hanging straight down, perpendicular to the floor. The hand that was holding the section of hair can let go of it so that both hands can be used for this next step.

Step 11:

Now you must rotate the entire flat iron, with hair still clamped and surrounding the flat iron. Turn the flat iron an entire 360° towards you, not away from you, and stop when remaining hair is again hanging straight down perpendicular to the floor. This works either rolling the hair towards or away from self, it's just a different direction of curl so be consistent. Use whichever direction is easier or seems to yield better curls. When curling hair on left side, use flat iron with right hand, when curling right side, hold with left hand.

Step 12:

After flat iron has been completely rotated, slowly begin to pull hair through the flat iron until all hair has passed between the two hot plates. The slower you pull, the more defined the curl will be.

Step 13:

After the hair has passed through the plates you may let go of the flat iron and set it back down on a flat surface.

Step 14:

Wrap curled hair around finger to help define the curl. After pulling finger out of the curled hair, hairspray the curled hair so that the curl will last. Make sure that hairspray can is at least 6 inches away from face and do not spray a single section for more than 3 seconds.

Step 15:

Repeat steps 5-12 for remaining hair, again working your way up to the top middle part of your scalp. Then repeat the same steps for the other side of your scalp.

Be the First to Share


    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest
    • Maps Challenge

      Maps Challenge

    13 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Your tutorial is identical to this one:
    So which one of you ripped off the other?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, they are mostly identical. However, if you will notice the other tutorial has the words "Revised and Improved!" at the top, then you will realize that my team and I created both tutorials, with the other being "revised and improved." Thanks for your concern.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great curls! I got almost the exact same results with my 1 inch Karmin G3 Salon Pro styling iron. It's got pure ceramic and tourmaline plates and rounded edges so it got the curls flowing and my hair was sooooo smooth and silky aftwerwards.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love curly hair and I always use my straightener to get that bouncy look. Thanks for the tips I'll try that with my Karmin G3 Salon Pro, it works pretty good, removes static and leaves my hair silky and shiny. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the tips. But the irons damage the hair. Them need special care when.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I use my flat iron to curl my hair too, but I do it the same way you take scissors to a ribbon to curl it when wrapping a package. I don't wrap my hair around the iron but just angle the iron so that it is level with my head after grasping the hair, then pulling it fast. I get really tight curls. Your instructions are great, but my way will work with hair that is only 4 or 5 inches long too. I take small sections like you suggest but maybe an inch by a half inch.

    1 reply

    That is really cute. I had heard you could curl hair with a straightener, but had never seen it done. I have a two inch straightener, do you think that would work, or would it only really work with a skinnier one?

    1 reply

    No, I definitely think it can be done! Try it out a few times and I'm sure you'll get some lovely curls :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This looks great, but needs a main image before we can publish. I've gone ahead and unpublished so you can get back in there to add that. Thanks!

    1 reply