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Straightener Curls: A Complete Guide to Beautiful Curls

by Lotte Lindgren on Jun 23, 2023

Read through by Dorthe Kristensen

Hairdresser and former co-owner of the award-winning hairdressing chain Zoom by Zoom
With many years of experience in the hairdressing industry, Dorthe has advised many customers about hair and hair care. Dorthe has read through this blog entry to ensure high quality and professionalism. This blog post is professionally updated on May 4, 2024.

Table of contents

Do you want to create beautiful curls in your hair, but lack a curling iron? Do not worry! You can easily achieve amazing curly hair with the help of a straightener. With this guide you get our tips and guidance, you can learn how to style your hair in the perfect way to create the dreamy curls you've always wanted. Read along here and become an expert in the art of curls with straighteners.

Preparation before styling with straighteners

Before styling your hair with a straightener, it is important to prepare the hair. Wash and dry hair thoroughly to remove any residue from styling products or dirt. Then apply a heat protection product throughout the hair before you start styling it with the straightener. With correct preparation, you not only ensure a beautiful hairstyle, but also healthy and protected hair in the long term.

Wash and dry hair

It is important to wash and dry your hair thoroughly before you start styling it. Be sure to use a good shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, and avoid excessive heat if you blow dry. If you want to create curls with a straightener, it is also important to make sure that your hair is completely dry before you start styling.

When using a straightener to curl the hair, make sure not to overheat the hair by repeatedly pulling the iron through the same sections of the hair. It can cause damage to both the structure and color of the hair and destroy the result of the desired hairstyle. Also remember to always apply a heat protection product before using straighteners or other heat styling tools, which can protect against possible damage from heated appliances.

 Woman with freshly washed hair

Use of heat protection product

To protect your hair from heat damage, it is important to use a heat protection product before using straighteners or curling irons. The product creates a barrier between the hair and the intense heat from the tools and helps to maintain the health and shine of the hair. So always make sure to apply an appropriate amount of the product to your dry hair before styling.

Also remember that although heat protection can minimize the risk of damage, you should avoid excessive use of straighteners or curling irons. Use them only on special occasions and take good care of your locks after styling with regular care such as moisturizing products or hair treatments. 

How to curl your hair with a straightener

Curls with straighteners can be an easy and quick way to create a new look for your hair. Start by dividing your hair into sections so you have better control over the curls. Next, take a small section of hair and twist it around the straightener before gently pulling it down to create small curls. Repeat the process with the rest of the hair until you have achieved the desired result.

Remember to adjust the temperature of the straightener, depending on how fine or coarse your hair is. It is also important not to keep the iron in one place for too long, as this can result in damaged hair or burnt fingers. With a little practice, straightening curls will become easier and more effective every time!

Woman gets her hair curled with a straightener

Dividing the hair into sections

To achieve the best curls with a straightener, it is essential to divide the hair into sections. Determine the number of desired curls and then divide the hair into corresponding sections. Use clips to keep the rest of the hair out of the way so you can focus on one section at a time until the entire head is styled.

Make sure to always brush your hair well before styling for an even and uniform finish. Dividing the hair into appropriate sections will also ease the process of creating perfect curls with your straightener and make it easier to work with each little tuft of hair individually.

Smoothing of the hair

Apply a heat protection product to the entire hair before you start straightening it. This will help protect your hair from heat damage and ensure it stays healthy and shiny. Divide each section of your hair into smaller sections for better results and easier control during the process. When you're ready to start, glide evenly and slowly down each section of hair for a glossy finish.

Remember the following tips when straightening your hair with a straightener:

  • Always apply a heat protectant first
  • Divide the hair into smaller sections for a better result
  • Smooth with smooth downward movements through each section of hair

These important steps will help you avoid damaging your hair while getting the results you want from curling irons.

Twist and curl the hair with straighteners

Take a small section of hair, twist it away from the face and close the straightener over the twist. Hold for a few seconds, then release gently. Use your fingers to separate the curl and repeat the process until all the hair is done.

This technique can give a natural and soft look or more defined curls depending on the amount of twist, the size of the sections and the temperature of your straightener. It is also important to note that the longer you hold the iron over the hair, the more defined your curls will be. So watch the time for each section for the desired result!

Hairdresser's advice

Lasse Søby is Denmark's leader in curls - Certified in Curl by Curl Cut™️ with training from Lorraine Massey herself in New York. In addition, he also works with other curl cutting techniques in dry hair and is an expert in colour treatments. See his instagram here. 

What is important before curling my hair with a heat tool?

- The most important thing to consider before styling your hair with a heat tool is, of course, heat protection. When we talk about heat tools where heat protection is necessary, we're talking about straighteners & curling irons, crepe irons and the like. If you want your hair to hold the curls you could create with a straightener, you need to prepare your hair beforehand. Start with towel-dried hair, apply your leave-in conditioner/treatment, your heat protection and then add a mousse product, salt water or other styling product suitable for styling. Blow-dry the hair 100% dry. Apply a little more heat protection and start styling with your iron.

Are there any special techniques you can recommend?

- There are many techniques you can use to achieve different hairstyles using a curling iron or straightener by utilising techniques such as:

Curling irons: - Beachy Waves: Take small sections of hair and wrap them loosely around the curling iron for a relaxed beach look - Tight Curls: Wrap small sections tightly around the curling iron for defined curls - Vintage Curls: Curl hair in the same direction to create elegant vintage curls.

Straighteners: - Sleek Straight: Smooth the entire hair from root to tip for a smooth and radiant finish - S-Curve Waves: Create soft waves by making an S-shape with the straightener along the length of the hair - Twisted Ends: Twist the ends of the hair around the straightener for a subtle wavy look. And again, remember to protect your hair with heat protectant spray before using styling tools.

How do I get the best light curl/fall in my hair?

- To achieve the best light curl or fall in your hair with a styling iron, start by applying a heat protectant spray to minimise damage and follow the steps described earlier - take small sections of your hair and gently curl it with the iron, avoiding applying too much heat. Alternatively, you can achieve heatless curls by twisting your hair into small sections and securing it with bobby pins or hair clips while slightly damp around a Heatless Curl tool. Leave it in for a few hours or overnight and wupti, you have airy, light curls. Remember that the hair must be completely dry before removing it.

Tips for curls with straighteners

Curls with straighteners can be an easy and quick way to create beautiful curls. To achieve a natural look, it is important to vary the size of your grip on the hair when using the straightener. The smaller pieces of hair you take, the more defined your curls will be.

Also, use a heat protection spray before styling to protect your hair from damage and increase the durability of your curls. Start from the bottom and work your way up in sections for the best results.

Woman sprays heat protectant spray in her hair

Using different types of straighteners for different curls

Choosing the size of the straightener for certain curls is decisive for the desired result. Here is an overview of which size works best for different types of curls:

  • 19mm: For small and tight curls
  • 25mm: For medium-sized waves and gentle curls
  • 32mm: For big and loose waves or big Hollywood curls

Using ceramic or titanium coating can help avoid damage to the hair during the styling process. Ceramic coatings distribute the heat evenly, while titanium hair irons have a higher heat resistance.

Adjusting temperature settings based on hair type and desired result can ensure the best styling experience and reduce the risk of damage. Examples of recommended temperature settings include:

  • Thin/fine hair (up to 150 degrees)
  • Normal/healthy hair (150 -180 degrees)

Using styling products to increase the durability of the curls

Choosing the right product for your hair type is essential to achieving long-lasting curls. It is important to choose styling products that suit your specific needs and hair type. Therefore, it may be a good idea to consult with a professional hairdresser or read the ingredient list on the product to ensure the best fit.

Some tips on application techniques for optimal results include:

  • Distribution of products evenly in the hair
  • Focus on the middle of the hair and work downwards towards the ends
  • Use your fingers or a wide comb for easier separation of curls

For optimal effect, layering and combinations with other products such as mousses, hair gel , hair serums and hair sprays are recommended. Layering also makes the hair more resilient over time.

Adding volume to the curls

Curling techniques are a great way to add volume to hair before you begin styling with your straightener. By incorporating these techniques, you can help create a voluminous look that lasts all day. Another great way to add volume is by using a round brush with your straightener. Guidance in using this tool will ensure you get the most out of your styling.

If you want even more texture and volume in your curls, spray, salt water spray or dry shampoo may be the perfect solution for you. These products also help add structure and hold to the curls without any extra effort or time involved in the process. So the next time you need to style your curls with a straightener, try some of these easy tips for maximum volume and hold! We can highly recommend our salt water spray , which is both warm and UV protective. 

Mistakes to avoid when curling your hair with straighteners

When curling your hair with a straightener, there are some mistakes you must avoid to achieve the desired result. One of the most common mistakes is curling too close to the scalp. This can lead to an unnatural and unflattering shape to your curls, so always make sure to start a few centimeters away from your scalp.

Another mistake is using too high a temperature on the straightener. Too hot settings can damage hair and make it look dull and damaged over time. Find the right temperature for your hair type, and always remember to use a heat protection product before styling with a straightener.

Curls too close to the scalp

Avoid curling the hair too close to the scalp, as this can increase the risk of damage and wear to the hair strands. Start the curls a few centimeters away from the scalp and move the straightener downwards towards the tips. Use a comb to create distance between the straightener and the scalp to avoid burning yourself or your hair. With these simple steps, you can achieve beautiful and healthy curls with your straightener.

Too high temperatures on the straightener

Choose the right temperature for your hair type to avoid damaging it. If you have fine or damaged hair, use a lower temperature to avoid further damage to the hair. Always remember to test the temperature on the back of your hand first so you can adjust the heat of the straightener as needed and avoid burns.

Using the correct temperature for your hair type is essential for successful curling with a straightener. Therefore, think about what type of hair you have and be careful not to take chances with unnecessary heat treatment of your hair. Use our tips to guide your daily routine and practice the technique using these basic steps for a healthy result every time!

Very hot hair straightener

Failure to use a heat protection product

It is essential to use a heat protectant product before curling your hair with a flat iron. Choose a spray or cream that suits your specific needs and distribute the product evenly throughout the hair before using the straightener. This will protect your hair from damage and minimize the risk of split ends and dry locks. So always remember to use a heat protection product before starting your next curling project!

Instructions for keeping the curls in your hair longer

Keeping the curls in the hair longer is a challenge for many women. If you want curls with a straightener, you should start by washing and drying your hair well first. Then you can use a heat protection product on the whole hair before styling.

Once your curls are shaped, avoid touching them too much or combing them out. Instead, use bobby pins and spray to keep the hairstyle in place all day long. If necessary, you can save the curls with your fingers by gently shaping them back into place during the day.

Use of hair pins and spray

Choosing the right size of bobby pins is important when you want to avoid damaging your curls. It is best to use small bobby pins for fine curls and larger bobby pins for big waves. Also, make sure not to pull or tighten the hair too much, as this can damage it.

When using hair spray or salt water spray, remember to hold the bottle at least 20 cm away from your head and spray in a smooth motion all over the hair. Avoid excessive use of spray as this can make your hair look stiff and result in product build-up on your scalp.

Always remember to be careful with your curls using both bobby pins and spray. Never pull your curls with the pins or comb them through after the sprays have been applied - this will damage them and give you an uneven result.

Another piece of advice for your hair styling of curls is to avoid touching the hair. After styling your hair, it is important to avoid touching it as much as possible. Constant touching can disturb the curls and cause them to lose their shape. Try to avoid pulling the locks behind the ears or running your fingers through the hair, as this can damage the curls.

One of my favorite tips is to sleep with your hair in a bamboo bonnet. If you want to keep your curls overnight, try sleeping with a hair bonnet. This can help hold the curls in place and maintain their shape. We have a great bonnet here at Yuaia Haircare.

You should also avoid moisture and rain. Wet weather conditions can cause curls to fall out and lose their shape. If you know it will be humid or rainy, consider using an umbrella or a hood to protect your hair. You can also use an anti-frizz spray to prevent frizz and maintain curl definition.

Saving curls with your fingers during the day

How to refresh the curls using your fingers:

  • Gently run your fingers through the hair to freshen up the curls.
  • Lightly squeeze around the strands to give more definition to the curls.

How do you avoid frizz when touching your curls?

  • Avoid touching and playing with your hair too much during the day.

Tips for resurrecting or adjusting certain parts of the curl:

  • If the tips become flat, you can screw them upwards towards the scalp and fix them with a clip.
  • For more volume on top, grab the top layers towards the bangs and wrap them around your fingers.

    Product recommendations

    When creating curls with a straightener, there are a number of products that can help you and your hair along the way. Heat styling curls can often be very hard on the hair and it is especially important that you make sure to protect your hair. Furthermore, it's important that your hair lasts a long time and there are a number of products that can make your life much easier.

    Heat protection is a must for heat styling

    You may have heard it before, but heat protection is one of the most important things you can do for your hair when heat styling. The heat makes your hair dry and brittle, making it more prone to breakage. You can easily prevent this with the right heat protection spray. We have developed one of the best heat protection sprays on the market, if you ask us. This spray gives you up to 220 degrees of heat protection, UV protection, an anti-frizz effect and plenty of shine for your hair. Not only that, it's silicone free! This is especially important as the product doesn't build up in the hair, making it difficult to rinse out. It's also ideal if, for example, you need to apply curling cream to get a more defined curl or fall in your hair. Just for fun, we tried using a smooth brain on some paper to see the effect of heat protection and there's no mistaking it. 

    A good curl cream that moisturises and holds the hair

    Once you've created your beautiful curls with a straightener, you may want to consider adding a little curl cream for extra definition. It may also be that curls start to fade as the day progresses, in which case curl cream can be a good helper. Our curl cream is enriched with nourishing almond and macadamia oil, which leaves your hair soft, healthy and frizz-free. It also contains Fision™ AquaShield, a combination of moisturising, conditioning and nourishing ingredients. The product complies with the Curly Girl Method, which means it is free from silicone, sulphate and drying alcohol. It gives a medium hold to your hair and does not make your hair stiff.

    Salt water spray can be a good idea for a little more volume

    If you want more volume in your hair, especially if you have thin and fine hair, a saline spray can be the perfect solution for you. Salt water spray can help lift the hair and give it structure and a slightly more beachy curly look. Our saltwater spray gives your hair a luscious volume and durable structure. It helps define and hold your curls all day long. You get a good and long-lasting result without your hair becoming stiff. It's very easy to wash out the saline spray. The saline spray is of course Curly Girl approved, and it is also heat and UV protective.

    Nourishing shampoo and conditioner

    After heat styling, it's always a good idea to give your hair a good moisturising and conditioning treatment to ensure it doesn't become dry and at risk of breakage. We highly recommend our Repair and Care Shampoo and Conditioner which is formulated to give your hair maximum conditioning and moisture with lots of delicious ingredients such as Inca inchi oil, Sorbitol, Aloe Vera, Macadamia oil, Jojoba oil, Shea butter. The products are of course free from sulphate and silicone.

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