How to Curl Hair with a Straightener for Perfect Waves

How the heck did I let Casey talk me into this?! Last time I let her talk me into something like this was when I rocked my dress backwards to not one, but TWO weddings for that failure of a wedding fashion post. (remember it?) #fail

Note to self: Add “a post with precisely 26 awkward photos of just me” to the “I’m never doing this again, Casey” list.

I can try & blame today’s random and super awkward post on Casey all I want, but the truth is… she’s right. We do get quite a bit of questions and comments about MY HAIR. Crazy, right?! (Who would think my short blonde locks would cause such conversation?) So Casey thought it would be appropriate for me to share the “inside scoop” of what I do to get my casual curls and extinguish these questions once and for all.

How to Curl Hair with a Straightener

I hate to burst your bubble, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t really put that much time or thought into my hair. Like most girls, I would definitely not call myself talented in the beauty shop category; I just try and survive day to day while making the best of what I have. So here goes nothing…. my ten minute tutorial on how to curl hair with a straightener.

The Hairstyle Details

Time: about 5-10 minutes
Supplies: My grandma’s old teezer, hair spray, straightener
Best curls: when my hair is cleaned the day before and not right before curling
Rookie Tip: Let your straightener really heat up to get the “best curl”
Random Thought: If you are a trained hair professional, I’m sorry. You are probably cringing as you read, judging my outgrowth, and totally horrified at the amount of frizz that I am promoting. If you are MY trained hair professional tuning in… I’m REALLY sorry. Please don’t let this tutorial be a reflection of your amazing abilities.
FYI: Naturally, I have very straight hair.

Pin up your hair to curl the bottom layers first.

Step One: I have a lot of hair, so I use an old butterfly clip to clip the top layer of hair out of the way for the first round of curls. I then spray a LIGHT layer of hairspray on the hair that is down & about to get curled.
Use a hair straightener to create beachy waves.

Enter my round-edged straightener. I do not own a curling iron and really appreciate the fact that my straightener does double duty, especially when I travel. I only pack my straightener and still have the option to go straight or curly. #veryconvenient

Step 2: After I spray the hair, I take small-ish pieces and pull them aside to curl each individually. Don’t pull too small of chunks, only because you’ll probably look more like goldy locks and less like a casual curl/wave.

Pretty much the rest of the steps: Once I have one piece, I start at the scalp and clamp it into the straightener. I then pull the hair through while twisting the straightener AWAY from my face. You can probably go either way with the twisting of the straightener, I just it looks better if my curls twist away from my face rather then into my face.

I continue to pull the hair through the straightener and away from my head until it eventually all runs through the straightener. When the piece of hair exits the straightener, it should be curled! If it’s not entirely curled:

1. make sure the straightener is HOT enough

2. make sure your hair is DRY

3. make sure you are twisting the hair AND pulling away from your face with a tiny bit of force.

Note: You do not EVER need to hold the hair in the straightener like you do when using a curling iron (hello burnt hair). Just make sure the hair is being pulled through and twisted the entire time and you should be good. If you want a tighter curl, do the twist/pull a little SLOWER. If you want less of a curl, faster is better. (Wow, does that make any sense at all?! … I sure hope so!!)

Apparently, this is harder to put into words than I thought, especially when your hair terminology is non-existent.

I continue to use that same exact method for every chunk of hair throughout my entire head. Once the bottom layer is done, you can release the butterfly clip and get to work on the top of the hair. Note: If your bottom layer isn’t perfect… You don’t really see that layer, it just adds some texture and depth to the style. The curls definitely don’t have to be anywhere near perfect.

When you get to the pieces around the face, make sure you are twisting the straightener away from your face to ensure your curls flow outward. For my “bangs pieces”, I don’t start twisting at the scalp, but more so at the middle of the piece. This helps to make sure I don’t look too “curly-Q” but more casual wave/curls.

At the very end of the curling process, I run my fingers through all of my hair to loosen the curls and again, get away from that formal “curly-Q” look. Some people may think this looks too messy and would prefer to skip this step and go with the more tailored curls… you do whatever is best for you and for your specific event. (ie. If I’m going to a wedding, I probably don’t run my fingers through but stick with the plain curls and move on to the next step)

A teaser and hairspray: old school volumizer that works!Now comes my favorite part and the REAL secrets behind my hair.

Enter my Grandma’s old TEEZER and LOTS O’ HAIRSPRAY. As far as I’m concerned, these are hair MUST-HAVES. I would never, ever do my hair without using both of these.

I pull up some of the pieces on my top layer and teeze them at the root (especially under my bangs). Some people think this makes the roots look a little frizzy, I’m okay with that. My hair is never even close to “perfect” or “polished” because I actually prefer the imperfect look. The teezing ensures some volume but may lessen some of the curls. If you need to touch up a few pieces after the teezing step, by all means. Try and get those pieces curled before you add the hairspray. Once you hairspray, it’s sometimes hard to go back and change… especially if you use heavy-duty hairspray like me. I use hairspray with plenty of hold to keep my style in place. I top of the look with a nice layer of lacquer hairspray and my 5-10 minute hair prep is OVER!
Beachy waves with a hair straightener: mission possible!

I hope this curling your hair with a straightener is easier than you expected. If it isn’t, I guess I did NOT do a great job of explaining because for me, curling my hair is both easier and less time consuming than straightening it. Weird, right?Beachy waves with a hair straightener are easy!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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