How to Curl Your Hair With a Flat Iron - Revised and Improved!




Introduction: How to Curl Your Hair With a Flat Iron - Revised and Improved!

Ever had your hair curled with a flat iron at the salon, but never managed to do it at home? Instead of heading to a professional, now you can recreate this look by following these 12 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. These instructions apply to curly, wavy, and straight hair types. To achieve the best style results, please follow the instructions for your hair type. If you aren’t sure of your hair type, you can download this hair type chart:


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. Hair produces natural oils that help styling last longer. If you need to wash your hair, do so the night before you plan to curl your hair.
3. Do not straighten your hair before beginning. The curls will not hold.
4. Practicing steps with an unheated flat iron on hair is recommended to avoid burning hair.
5. If at any point you smell your hair burning, remove flat iron and check that:
       • Hair is completely dry – a hot iron on damp hair will cause hair to burn.
       • The temperature of the flat iron is not too high. If it is, adjust as needed (see below for ideal temperatures).

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

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. Direct contact with skin can cause severe burns.

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Step 1: 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 (optional)
7. Hairspray

Step 2:

Gather all materials needed and plug in flat iron. Give flat iron enough time to reach the desired temperature. Make sure to use a safe outlet and place on a flat, sturdy surface, away from water.

If hair is wet, plug in blow dryer and dry hair until there are no damp spots. Brushing hair while blow drying is recommended to untangle hair and help hair dry faster. You may also brush hair after blow drying to untangle hair.

Optional: If you use heat protecting serum, 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 3:

Once hair is completely untangled, make a clean part down the middle of your scalp. Use a clip or a hair tie to secure both sections of hair.

Note: 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. When curling hair you can start with either the right or left side. Complete one side (from base of neck to the middle part of your head) before starting on the other side.

Step 4:

WARNING: Read steps 4-8 before attempting with heated flat iron. Performing this process while reading may result in burned hair.

Starting at the base of your neck, remove a small section of hair that has been tied off. You can vary the size of the section 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.

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 enclosing your piece of sectioned hair and 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 5:

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 6:

Rotate the entire flat iron, with hair still clamped and enclosed in the flat iron. Turn the flat iron an entire 360° towards you and stop when remaining hair is again hanging straight down perpendicular to the floor.

Note: Rolling the hair towards yourself will result in a different curl then rolling the hair away from yourself. Use whichever direction is easier or seems to yield better curls, being consistent with the direction.

Helpful Hint: When curling hair on left side, use flat iron with right hand, when curling right side, hold with left hand.

Step 7:

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.

Note: Do not pull too slowly or hair will burn. If a burning smell or smoke occurs, remove the flat iron from hair.

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

Step 8:

Wrap curled hair around finger to help define the curl. After pulling finger out of the curled hair, hairspray the curled section 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 9:

Repeat steps 4-8 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.

Step 10: You're Finished!

Congratulations on your new 'do! Enjoy looking cute!

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    6 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 8

    Hi, this step is where I have a problem; I did exactly what the tutorial says, but the final effect is.... completely straight hair. Help?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just got a new salon-grade flat iron for my birthday, which was yesterday Btw and this looks fun! Will do!


    8 years ago on Step 3

    your hair looks nice even without the curls yet! :)


    8 years ago on Step 10

    Clear instructions and lovely pictures!

    I've always wondered how to do this, thank you so much.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great photos! Probably the best tutorial I've seen for this. And thanks for including the recommended temperatures... I'm flat iron impaired. :D