It seems counter-intuitive, counter-productive even, to think of doing something so gutsy as using your flat iron in a way in which it was not intended. But that is exactly how to create texture and waves in your hair. Get some of the easiest cute curls you could ask for in a lot less time...once you practice this technique.
People constantly ask me how to recreate this wavy fun, but not too tight, spiral curl that is a cross between the beach wave, and a Shirley Temple head of hair. And as I explain the simple yet confusing technique of using one's flat iron to do it, I see eyes of shock, dismay and maybe even disbelief.
Why exactly would someone want to use a flat iron over their curling iron anyway? My reasons are because the curling iron clip always leaves a mark, the amount of time my ends are trapped in a curling iron clip is my prime suspect in the creation of split ends and damage, plus it takes less time to do my hair with the flat iron technique if I've practiced. It's like riding a bike - it's a little difficult at first but gets easier from there.
Here is my step by step guide to curling your hair with a flat iron:
Step 1 - Prep the hair and make sure you have the right tools. Use a flat iron that is 1 inch or 1 1/4 inch for best results and needing minimal wrist action. Make sure you also have a thermal spray or other protectant and a fine-toothed comb.
Step 2 - Section out your hair so that you have 2-4 sections of hair on the crown and the same in the area above the ears/lower head to the nape of the neck. If you have fine hair, you will most likely have 2 sections. The thicker the hair, the more sectioning you will need to do.
Step 3 - Start with a bottom section and grab hair strands about 1/2 inch wide. Spray with thermal spray then place your iron at the base of your hair near the scalp. It is easiest if the iron is facing towards the back of your head and parallel to the crown. This is completely opposite of where one would start with a curling iron. Keep your grip loose so as to not create a mark in the hair.
Step 4 - From here you will want to work very quickly. Turn the flat iron upside down and away from the head while holding onto the hair strand securely with your other hand.
Step 5 - Wrap the hair strand over the top of the iron and then hold it out from your head again with some degree of tension. Continue holding onto the strand securely. From Step 3 to Step 5, the hair should never leave your hand, and the iron should never leave your other hand.
Step 6 - Slowly and steadily pull the iron horizontally away from the head. Continue to hold the hair until the iron has made its way to the end of your hair.
While this is hard to visualize without being in the act of trying it, I can assist with a bit of a mental picture. It is very similar to curling ribbon. You buy the ribbon and it is straight. You take the scissors to the ribbon and hold the ribbon tightly with some tension as you run the scissors down it. This creates a curly ribbon. This is the same affect the iron has to the hair when you hold the hair with a nice tension, flip the iron upside down and flip the hair over the iron. Now it's off to try some practice on your hair. Good luck!
What is your favorite flat iron technique? Have you been trying out some fun curls? This would be great in a YouTube video. Fire away in the comment section below!
Mel B. is a Yahoo! Shine Beauty Guru, a writer of all things beauty, and Founder of www.AskASalon.com, where Beauty Pro's connect, network, and answer questions for savvy women wanting the best beauty information. When she's not working, you'll find her hanging with her family in Pacifica, CA, or just contemplating life with walks along the beach, typically with a hardcore energy drink in hand. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.