From summer-ready breezy beach waves to wedding-appropriate ringlets, curls always top the hair agenda. No matter your hair type (yes, even polka straight locks!) perfecting a bouncy look is easier than you might think. Simply follow our guide and become a master of all the curling tools – think wands, straighteners and non-heat techniques...
How to Curl your Hair with Curling Wands
Hair wands (and tongs) come in all shapes and sizes to help you achieve your desired curl. For short hair and small curls, choose a wand that’s one inch wide or less. Bigger, bouncier curls can be created with a wand wider than an inch. But no matter what size you choose, the way you use curling irons follows the exact same formula.
Our handy how to video tutorial will show you all the steps to bouncy curls:
1. Make sure your hair is dry, then brush through it to remove any knots and tangles.
2. Separate your hair into three large sections, starting at the bottom and working upwards, and using a large clip or hair bobble to keep it in place.
3. Brush through the bottom section again, then pick up a layer of hair from the left or right side. The layer shouldn’t be more than an inch wide. Any wider and the heat from the wand won’t be as effective and the curls won’t be as good.
4. Wrap the section of hair around the barrel of the curling tong, starting at the base and working up towards the end. Curl your hair away from your face, so you don’t risk burning it. Hold the hair in place for no more than about 10 seconds (less if you want looser curls).
5. Let the curl cool – if you want tight curls, use a hair grip to hold it in place while you go round the rest of your head, or you can leave it loose for a more relaxed vibe.
6. Repeat steps four and five until you’ve curled each section of hair. Depending on the look you’re going for, you can then gently brush the curls out, run your fingers through them to separate them slightly, or simply leave them and mist with hairspray to set in place.
How to Curl Hair without Using Heat
It is possible to get non-frizzy, defined curls without using heat. There are a few techniques, but the most hassle-free is a process that works on hair that already has a natural curl or wave. The method is called ‘plopping’ - a term that comes from the idea that you ‘plop’ wet hair onto a long-sleeved cotton T-shirt, wrap it up and then let it dry. Here’s how to do it...
1. After you’ve washed your hair, apply your usual products formulated for curly hair.
2. Lay a T-shirt out onto a flat surface, flip your head over and lower your hair down on to the T-shirt, making sure it’s gathered in the centre.
3. Roll the bottom of the T-shirt towards the nape of your neck and secure it in a knot.
4. Bring the top of the T-shirt over the rest of your hair, wrapping the sleeves around your head to secure in place.
5. Once your hair is dry, unwrap the T-shirt to reveal perfect curls.
For those with super straight hair, the cheat’s way to achieving curls without applying heat is with the help of foam rollers. You can get these in various sizes and similar to the tongs the smaller the roller the tighter the curl. Here’s how to use them:
1. After washing and drying your hair, comb it through properly so it’s nice and smooth with no tangles or knots in it.
2. Part your hair in two down the middle, and then taking a small section from one side of your head, carefully roll it up and around one of your rollers, and pin it in place. Different rollers will have different methods of pinning, so follow the instructions for the ones that you have.
3. Repeat step two, rolling hair up into rollers and securing in place, until all of your hair is secured in rollers.
4. Leave the rollers in place for at least four hours. It’s best to use them at night so you leave them in while you’re sleeping.
5. Remove the rollers to reveal beautiful curls that should last all day. You can spritz with hairspray to help them hold their shape.
How to Curl with Straighteners
Thought your hair straighteners were only good for achieving super sleek locks? Well, you thought wrong! Our step-by-step tutorial shows you how easy it is to use them to create beautiful, bouncy curls on long or short hair…
1. Your hair should be completely dry when you start because curls won’t last if it’s damp. Spritz with heat-protection spray, which protects hair from the heat, and also reduces frizz and adds shine.
2. Separate hair into a top and bottom section, to make curling more manageable, especially if you have very long or thick hair. Get the top section out of the way by tying it into a bun on top of your head.
3. Take a one-inch section of hair and spritz with hairspray to help give your curl added hold.
4. Using thin, flat straighteners, clamp down on the section of hair fairly close to the scalp. Turn the straighteners back on themselves by 180 degrees, and then gently and slowly run them down the section of hair until you reach the end. The more slowly you move the straighteners, the tighter the curl will be (for a loose wave, move quite quickly).
5. Repeat until you have curled the whole bottom section of hair and then do the same with the top. When working with the sections near your hairline, curl outwards so that the curls frame your face.
6. Finish with a misting of hairspray to set in place. Use your fingers to lift sections gently as you go, so that the spray reaches all the hair, as well as breaking up the curls for a more natural finish.