Curls & Irons


We get a lot of questions from clients asking how to achieve certain looks with certain curling irons.

Well… depends on your hair and what look you are trying to achieve. We will get to the specifics, but generally speaking if you are looking for looser curls (almost waves) use a larger barrel curling iron and if you want smaller, tighter curls, use a smaller barrell curling iron.

For example, if you want to achieve a messy beachy wave/curl like Julianne Hough has in this picture you’ll want to use a 1 1/2 inch or 2 inch barrell curling iron.


The technique used here was a wrap technique where you actually wrap the sections of hair in alternating directions around the outside of the barrell similarly to the photos below. (Sections closest to the face are always wrapped backwards/away from the face.) Basically you won’t be opening the iron clamp and putting your hair in it to curl the section. Wrap your section and hold it for 5-8 seconds depending on your irons heat setting. You can carefully touch the hair that is on the iron and as soon as it is warm, you should release the section from the iron. You can damage your hair or even singe it off if you hold it on the iron too long.

Curling wand                wrap curls

Now if your hair is at or above your shoulders, it could be more difficult for you to use a larger curling iron as your hair is not long enough to sufficiently wrap in order to create a full curl/wave pattern. You can use a smaller curling iron like a 1 inch iron but simply wrap your section more loosely and don’t hold it around the iron for too long (3-5 seconds should suffice).


See this picture of Kate Winslet….her hair was most likely styled with a 1 or 1 1/2 inch barrel curling iron and wrapped around the outside of the barrel, but all sections were curled away from the face on each side creating more of a loose curl/wave type style – we LOVE THIS look!! It’s classic look that can be dressed up or down – but never looks overdone.

We always recommend using a heat protectant spray (we love Redken’s Thermal Resist) anytime you use heat styling equipment (curling irons, blow dryers, flat irons) and in some cases if your hair does not hold curl well, you’d be well suited to use a heat setting spray like Redken’s Hot Sets.

After your curls/waves are set, using a flexible hold aerosol finishing spray lightly mist your style to lock in the curls. We really like Enjoy Hairsprays. Finish with a lightweight shine spray/mist like Pureology’s Radiance Amplifier and you are good to go!

A lot of clients ask what curling iron is best to use.  You don’t have to pay a fortune for a curling that will work for you.  We definitely recommend a ceramic curling iron as the ceramic will heat more evenly and is more gentle on your precious strands.  Ceramic irons are less drying on your hair and often times will create a longer lasting curl.  A curling iron you can purchase at your local drugstore that we find completely sufficient and in fact great quality and long lasting for the price is the Conair Satin Finish Ceramic Curling Iron (pictured below).  It heats quickly, curls well no matter the technique used, is ceramic, has a user friendly handle and is available in varied sizes.  Average cost is around $20 – a great price!


If you have questions about how to achieve a particular look or style, don’t hesitate to ask your stylist at your next visit. We love sharing our knowledge with our valued salon guests!


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