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Curl Your Hair With a Flat Iron for a Red-Carpet Ready Look

Sep 22, 2022
Jun 7, 2024

Think for a minute about the celebrities you see on the red carpet. The ones with gorgeous, effortless-looking curls that make you wonder, “Could my hair do that?” 

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all tried it. We’ve bought high-tech curling irons and spent hours in front of the mirror curling every section, only for the result to look far from red-carpet ready. 

But getting perfect curls is easier than you think — and the secret is probably already in your bathroom. 

The tool that’ll give you the natural-looking curls you’ve always wanted is your flat iron. Not only is this technique celeb-stylist-approved, but it’s surprisingly simple. With patience and practice, anyone can achieve this hair look. 

But how do you get curly hair by straightener? This tutorial will tell you everything you need to know about how to curl hair with a flat iron.

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Table of Contents

A beginner’s guide to curling hair

If you have no idea how to curl your hair, even if there’s a proper curling iron in the picture, don’t worry — we have some tips for you! 

Start with healthy hair

First things first: Healthy hair is beautiful hair. It’ll be harder to get great results if you’re dealing with dryness, split ends, breakage, or other hair damage.

Start your journey to perfect curls with a hair treatment that’ll repair chemical, UV, or heat damage. We recommend the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, which reduces breakage and leaves your hair visibly stronger and ready for anything.  

Prep with a heat protectant

Once your hair is healthy and strong again, take steps to keep it that way. Hot styling tools (like straighteners) can severely damage your hair cuticle, making your hair appear dry and brittle. 

Does this mean you should avoid hot tools entirely? Of course not — but it does mean you must apply a heat protectant to your hair before you begin. Heat protectants form a barrier around your hair cuticles, giving each strand a little shield to help them withstand the heat.

We recommend using products like the Foxybae Hair Cool AF Heat Protectant Spray, which protects your hair from heat and helps promote hair health (thanks to biotin). Generously spray the protectant all over your hair. Then, let your hair completely dry before using any heat products. 

Start using the iron

Now your hair should be healthy and protected, and the straightener should be warm and ready to go. 

Your flat iron curls are just a few steps away:

  1. Separate your hair into manageable sections. 
  2. Grab one section of your hair and clamp it with your flat iron. 
  3. Begin sliding your iron towards the end of the lock.
  4. Twist the iron 180 degrees. The hair should wrap around one side of the straightener, but not both. Then, slide the iron the rest of the way down your hair. Once you reach the ends of your hair, you’ll have one beautiful, bouncy curl. 
  5. Repeat this process for each section of your hair. If you want your curls to look more natural, consider changing the direction you twist the iron (toward your face vs. away from your face) with each section. 
  6. Once all your hair is curled, leave it as-is, shake it out at the root, or comb through it for a more casual, natural hairstyle.  
  7. Use hairspray so the curls hold all day.

Just like that, you know how to curl with a straightener as the hairstylists do.

But this is just a basic tutorial. There are different ways to curl your hair with a straightener, depending on your desired curls. You’ll need to use a slightly different technique to achieve S or C-curls. 

For these looks, clamp your hair sections close to the root (but not so close that you burn yourself). With your free hand, pull your locks so that they make an “S” or “C” shape. Then, release the iron just a little and move down your hair, clamping the strands each time you move down. This technique will result in more dramatic, Old Hollywood-style curls. 

Set it with hairspray

There’s one last step to make your curls absolutely perfect. Grab a can of hairspray and spray your curls to help them stay in place. Look for a hairspray that absorbs excess oil (our favorite is the Orlando Pita Play Max Capacity Hybrid Hairspray) so your hair looks clean, shiny, and beautiful all day long. 

Once you’ve set your curls with hairspray, you’re ready to go. 

Be gentle

We have a few reminders to help you achieve this cute curly look more safely. First of all, avoid clamping the iron too close to your head. While you may want every last inch of hair curled, starting too high could burn your scalp. 

It’s also crucial to use a high-quality flat iron that won’t damage your hair. Even if you have heat protectant on (and you always should), it’s best to use high-quality tools to create hair straightener curls as safely as possible. 

Not all straighteners are alike, and if you want the best-looking results, you need the best tools. We recommend using flat irons with titanium or tourmaline plates (instead of ceramic or metal) because these materials retain heat better. The Foxybae Hair Rose Gold Titanium Flat Iron, for example, uses titanium plates, heating hair more evenly and reducing frizz

A few helpful tips

Anyone can learn how to curl straightened hair with a flat iron. All it takes is the right tools, the right products, and a little bit of patience and practice. 

With that in mind, we have a few extra tips and tricks to help you master this style. 

  • Use different-sized hair sections for different-looking curls. Smaller sections will result in curlier hair (think spirals or ringlets), while wide sections result in looser curls (think beach waves). Keep this in mind when sectioning out your hair to achieve the look you were picturing. 
  • The size of your curl section impacts the final curl, but so does the size of your flat iron. If you’re not happy with the curls you get with one iron, try one that’s narrower or wider and see how that changes the finished look. 
  • Remember that curls aren’t just for glamorous occasions — you can style curly hair any way you want. Curl your hair and toss it in a ponytail, put half of it in a bun, or throw on your favorite hair accessory. No matter what style you wear, those curls will give your look that little something extra. 

Now that you know how to curl hair with a flat iron, you’re ready to try all kinds of beautiful hairstyles you once thought were just for movie stars. Just remember: Getting the perfect curl takes patience, so don’t be afraid to try, try, and try again. 

And don’t forget to check out reviews on Flip for the products and tools you’re thinking of using. Follow creators achieving the same looks you’re hoping to recreate and feel great about your next hair-care purchase. 

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