Learn How to Use a Curling Wand for Better Results
You're in for the best curls of your life
Let’s face it, you feel good when your hair looks exactly the way you want. A head full of lush curls can take your day from blah to brilliant. But, achieving those curls isn’t always an easy thing to do…
Not sure how to curl hair? It’s important to understand what products to use before and after styling to help your curls last, how to choose the right curling wand, and techniques to get the results you want.
Here, we break it all down so you’ll learn exactly how to curl your hair with ease and consistently get the beautiful, long-lasting curls you’ve been dreaming of.
How to Prep Hair Before Curling
Did you know that hair is more prone to damage when it’s wet?
When curling your hair, make sure it’s completely dry and always use a thermal protectant.
This helps avoid potential dryness, breakage, and split ends that can result from heat styling wet hair.
Thermal Magique Heat & Humidity Tamer is an excellent choice because it not only protects your hair from the heat of your curling wand, it also shields your hair from style-sabotaging humidity.
After applying, make sure the product has dried completely, then brush your hair to evenly distribute and help eliminate any tangles.
In addition to protecting your hair, it’s always a good idea to wear a heat-resistant glove on the hand that will be wrapping hair around the curling wand barrel.
Section Hair for Better Results
When curling your hair, it’s so much easier to work in smaller, more manageable sections.
A simple way to achieve this is to clip your un-curled hair up and out of the way while you work on one small section (think 1/6 of your hair at a time).
Alligator Hair Clips are great because they’re so easy to grip, especially while you’re juggling a tool and your hair at the same time.
These styling essentials have double hinged jaws that extend to hold even the thickest hair and keep it securely where you want it.
They’re also gentle on strands and help to minimize snagging and creasing.
How to Choose the Right Curling Wand Size
Choosing your barrel size comes down to two factors: your hair length AND your hair goals...
If you have short to medium hair or would like a tighter, more defined curl, choose a 1” (32mm) barrel.
If you have long hair or prefer your curls and waves to be of the looser, more relaxed variety, then a 1.25” (32mm) barrel is perfect for you.
Curls too tight? Allow gravity to do the work or if you’re pressed for time, brush them out gently (with a brush or your fingers) once they’ve completely cooled.
Tips for Avoiding Damage
To keep your hair as healthy as can be, it’s recommended to avoid heat styling every day.
If you must, there are a couple things you can do to minimize the effects, such as occasionally letting your hair air dry before using your curling wand.
It’s also a good idea to curl your hair on your wand’s lowest possible setting that still gives you the results you want.
Try starting at the lowest temperature and slowly work your way up until you discover which setting works best for your hair.
How to Use a Curling Wand
Still struggling with how to curl your hair? We’ve got you covered with these 6 easy to follow tips:
- Wear a heat-resistant glove to protect your hand that will be wrapping the hair.
- Holding the tool vertically, keep the base of the wand near your roots, with the tip facing downward. (Tip: tilt the tool at a 45 degree angle to create space between your hand, face, and the wand.)
- If you’d like to achieve more volume at the roots, try holding the wand horizontally.
- Wrap a 1” strand of hair around the barrel. (A larger strand will produce a looser curl.)
- Hold the hair briefly with your protected hand for 5 - 10 seconds. (Fine or damaged hair may require less time.)
- Release hair, letting the curl gently slide out from around the barrel and let the curl cool completely.
- Wrap face-framing pieces away from your face, and wrap sections in the back of your head in both directions to give your hair variety and movement.
How to Make Your Curls Last
You invest time to curl your hair - what you do afterward helps ensure that your curls will last.
For starters, once you’ve released a curl from around the wand barrel, let it cool in the palm of your hand.
This helps the curl retain its shape before gravity has a chance to relax it.
Another way to make your curls last is to give them an even mist of hairspray to lock them into place.
We like Trois Chic Three-Way Hairspray for its customizable hold.
Simply twist the dial to select light, medium, or strong hold, with a flexible, humidity-resistant finish.
Best Curling Wands
Best Classic Curling Wand: Le Curl Titanium Curling Wand
What it is: Available in 1” and 1.2” barrels, this easy-to-use clip-free wand sculpts even the most resilient hair into smooth, shiny, frizz-free curls and waves.
What it does: Featuring the latest technology, Le Curl offers faster heat recovery times to curl hair more efficiently, plus a proprietary titanium coating that helps curls last longer, elevates shine, tames frizz, and retains moisture.
Why you’ll love it: With just the press of a button your wand heats up to the recommended 410°F and you can begin styling in no time. It creates shiny, beautiful, long-lasting curls that you are going to love.
Best Curling Wand for Natural-Looking Curls: Le Perlé Bubble Wand
What it is: This premium curling wand features a uniquely-shaped titanium bubble barrel that gives hair shiny, voluminous curls.
What it does: When you wrap your hair around the bubbles and grooves of the barrel, it produces an extremely natural-looking curl, similar to someone with naturally curly hair.
Why you’ll love it: If you’re after natural-looking curly texture, Le Perlé takes the guesswork out of curling. Simply wrap your hair around the barrel and let the bubbles do the work.
Best Curling-Wand-Meets-Flat-Iron: Le Duo 360° Airflow Styler
What it is: An innovative curling wand flat iron hybrid that lets you curl or straighten your hair with ease.
What it does: The lightweight, ergonomic styler features an easy-to-use clip and is studded with tiny air vents to instantly cool and lock in your curls.
Why you’ll love it: Gone are the days of waiting for your curls to cool. The built-in air vents set your curls on contact for beautiful, long-lasting results.
Rudolfo, Christina, “A Celebrity Stylists’s Guide To Using A Curling Wand”, December 7, 2018, https://www.elle.com/beauty/hair/a25415647/how-to-use-a-curling-wand/.
Franzino, April, “How to Curl Your Own Hair at Home Like a Pro”, December 30, 2020, https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/hair/g3050/how-to-curl-your-hair-fast/.
Gustashaw, Megan, “How to Curl Your Hair: 7 Tips That’ll Make Things So Much Easier”, August 31, 2020, https://www.glamour.com/story/biggest-curling-iron-mistakes-youre-making.
Teich, Jessica, Curling Irons vs. Curling Wands: How to Use Each for Perfect Curls and Waves, February 18, 2021, https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/a35216085/curling-iron-vs-curling-wand/.
Cruel, Jessica, “14 Useful Tips If You Don’t Know How to Use a Curling Iron”, December 28, 2020, https://www.self.com/story/curling-iron-mistakes.