The Right Way to Use a Curling Wand

Rachel Krause
Tyler Olson/iStock/Getty Images

Tyler Olson/iStock/Getty Images

We’re all in favor of hot tools so long as they’re used correctly, but let’s face it—they can be hard to master. The curling wand is one of our very favorite ways to style, as it allows for soft, flowing waves that are anything but uptight, while the clamped curling irons of yore tended to give the hair a more uniform look. Once you get the hang of the wand, it’s surprisingly easy to operate, so trust us when we say you’ll want to use it every day. No clamp, no problem.

Brush first.
It may not seem all that important, but brushing your hair through to remove tangles is key to getting the curls and waves you want. Any knots will become obvious once the hair is curled, and you don’t want to have to brush or comb through them afterward, as it’ll ruin your carefully crafted curls.

Don’t go without a heat protectant.
Just don’t—that curling wand is hot. We like to use a heat protectant that also offers some hold, like Kérastase Baume Double Je. Not only does it form a protective layer, but it also makes hair more manageable and helps to retain your style throughout the day. It’s a win-win.

Work with one section at a time.
If curling your hair seems like a daunting task, it’s probably because you’re attempting to tackle all of it at once. To help keep track of where you’ve curled and what still needs to be styled, clip the top layers of your hair on top of your head while the bottom layers hang down. Start by curling those layers, then take the top layer down section by section so you can see how each individual curl falls. If you want tighter curls, create smaller sections; if you want bigger, looser waves, keep the sections more substantial.

Curl away from your face.
For perfect, even flowing waves, our technique involves holding the wand straight down vertically and curling the sections away from the face. It creates that blown-back beachy look and helps to keep hair from appearing too ringlet-y or stiff. If you want a super loose wave, only curl your hair from the mid-lengths down rather than closer to the root for an effortless look.

Leave the ends loose.
Wrapping the ends of hair around the iron creates an undesirable crimped effect that does not occur in nature, so leave the final inch of each section out of the iron. Always be careful not to burn your hand when you get close to the ends—in fact, a heat-styling glove can be super helpful, if you don’t mind looking a little silly when you get ready in the morning.

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