10 common hair curling mistakes and how to avoid them
Whether you curl your hair several times a week or only break out the wand for special occasions, the art of curling is a learning curve. Doing it correctly will not only make your 'do look a whole lot better, but will also prevent you from completely frying your hair. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned pro, chances are you're guilty of making at least one of these errors.
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1. You're not replacing your curling wand
Curling irons are definitely an investment and it makes sense you’d want to get the most out of your purchase. However if you’re still using heat tools that have been laying around for years and years, it might be time to replace them. Whether your curling wand is on the cheap side (no judgement – the most affordable heat tools can work just as well), or simply isn’t as effective as it once was, you could be in the market for a new one. How do you tell? If you have to go over sections more than once, this is an indicator it might not be heating the hair properly and evenly.
2. You're using the wrong sized barrel
Unfortunately you can’t use any size curling wand and hope for the best – the size of the barrel will drastically alter your results. The amount of barrel sizes available is enough to get your head in a spin, but there’s a curling iron out there for everyone, whether you want loose and voluminous waves or tighter curls. A good rule of thumb is a ½ inch barrel will give tight, springy, retro curls and a barrel around 1-2 inches will give a more natural, bouncy wave.
3. You're curling your hair before it's completely dry
We can see the steam coming off your hair now. Try to avoid using your curling tool before the hair is 100% dry as this could cause damage – on top of that, your curls definitely won’t last as long.
4. You're not using a heat protectant
Applying heat protectant is a non-negotiable step when it comes to curling your hair. A good heat protectant will add moisture, shine, and of course protect from damage – ensuring your strands aren’t dry and easily prone to breaking away, so don’t be without it!
5. You're holding the curl for way too long
Wrapping the hair around the wand and holding it there for too long will not only increase your chance of damage, but prevent you from achieving enviable beach waves, as opposed to tight ringlets. Of course it all depends on the look you’re going for, but for those perfectly loose waves which almost look like they could be natural, make sure you only hold the curl for around five seconds. To give staying power, spray with a light dusting of hairspray afterwards.
6. You're curling the top and bottom sections of hair
In other words, remember to stick to the mid-lengths. Avoiding the top section will give you a much more flattering and natural style. When it comes to the ends, it’s also a good idea to leave an inch or two of the bottom uncurled to give less of a formal ‘I’m going to prom’ look.
7. You're not curling away from the face
If you’re keen on natural, loose waves, always curl away from the face instead of in the other direction. If you want a more haphazard, messy effect just make sure to do this for the front sections instead.
8. You're curling very large sections of hair
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to curl large sections to get a loose wave. Achieving that effortless, soft look is actually down to the technique you use to curl (and the type of curling wand, of course).
9. You're touching the curls before you're done
As tempting as it is to mess about with your hair during the curling process, your curls won’t hold as well if you do this. Have straight hair that doesn’t like to hold a curl? Don’t even think about it. Once the curls have cooled and set, you can give them a tousle but there is a wrong and a right way to do this…
10. You're brushing out your curls the wrong way
You may have heard of this tip to make sure everything doesn’t look too ‘done’, however using a brush – or more importantly, the wrong brush – will only let the curls drop faster and tends to give a frizzier appearance. When it comes to making the finished style look effortlessly tousled, it’s all in the shake – tip your head over and gently rake your fingers through before spritzing with hairspray. In lieu of fingers, the right brush to use is a wide tooth comb so you don’t end up looking like Hermione.
Main photo: @georgiafowler
Do you make any of these mistakes when curling your hair?