8 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Curling Iron

Michelle Grossman
curling hair

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We all want the bouncy, voluminous, seemingly effortless curls we see all over Pinterest, but more often than not, our locks don’t exactly turn out the way we want. Whether it’s ringlets that are too tight or too stiff, or it’s hair that winds up being totally flat, when you don’t know how to properly use a curling iron, you wind up with less than amazing hair. To get to the bottom of a good hair day, we learned how to correct some of the most common mistakes we all make with curling irons.

Using the wrong size barrel: Different sized curling irons create different looks, so size really matters when it comes to your hair. Smaller irons typically work to create tighter curls or waves, and are great for shorter hair. Larger barrels allow you to have larger, looser curls, and are best for longer hair.

Not prepping your hair: Using a heat protectant is an absolute must to prevent as much damage as possible. Also, make sure that your hair is entirely dry before touching it with a hot curling iron. Heat on damp hair is a surefire way to create serious damage like split ends and breakage.

MORE: 8 Mistakes You’ve Been Making With Your Flat Iron

Curling in the wrong direction: Going the wrong way will throw off your whole look, so it’s important to stay on track. For a more natural look, curling your hair away from your face is best. Just remember that your each side of your head requires a different direction, so on the right side of your face curl towards the left, and on the left side of your face, curl towards the right.

Twirling the iron: Clipping your ends into the iron and then twisting the iron in towards your head is actually incorrect. To achieve a more natural curl that will last longer and give you volume at the roots, it’s actually better to do the opposite. Hold the iron so that the tip of the barrel is facing towards the floor, and start wrapping your hair around it at the roots, and locking your ends in last.

Taking too much hair at once: Sections, sections, sections! The best results come from curling your hair in smaller sections, rather than large ones. If you curl too much hair at a time, heat won’t be distributed evenly, causing your curls to fall flat very quickly.

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Holding hair on the iron for too long: Obviously, heat isn’t exactly the best thing for your hair. The last thing anyone wants is fried ends. Keep the hair on the iron for under 10 seconds, and steer clear of the highest high setting.

Touching your hair right away: Don’t mess with a good thing — not at first, anyway. If you fuss with your curls right after releasing them from the clamp, you’ll be undoing all of the curling you just did. Wait about 15 minutes, or until the curls have had time to cool, before moving your fingers through your hair.

Not cleaning the iron: Product build up on the barrel can cause excessive dryness to hair, not to mention the product build up on the iron can turn into product build up in your hair. Grab an iron cleaner and give it a quick run down once a week or so.