Unable to process your request

Create bouncy curls and beachy waves that are worthy of the red carpet with our ultimate guide

With party season now in full swing, we’re sure that Christmas hairstyles are very much on your mind. If you’re fantasising about having curly hair, you’re probably wondering how to achieve this. There’s one way that might surprise you: a straightener!

The idea of curling your hair with a straightener can seem very counter-intuitive. As hair styling tools go though, they’re actually quite versatile – especially if you don’t own curling tongs. 

If you’ve seen anyone do it, you’ll know only too well how impressive it can look! Trying it yourself can be another story, however. To help you nail the technique, here’s our five-step guide on how to curl your hair with a straightener - once you’ve tried it, you won’t look back.

Step 1: Choose your straightener 

There are so many great straighteners on the market that it can be tough to know how to pick the one that’s right for you. What should you look for? Those with variable temperature settings can be especially handy when it comes to safeguarding the health of your hair. Going to be travelling with them? Look for cordless options. When it comes to plates, ceramic ones are great for even heat distribution, whereas titanium ones generally heat up more quickly so can be a good choice if you’re short on time. 

What about the size of your plates? As a general rule of thumb, the wider the plate, the looser the curl. However, if you like to get creative, experiment with the size of the section of hair that you feed through your straightener instead. Aim for around one to two inches to start off with and make it smaller or larger, depending on the size of the curl that comes out. 

Here are three of our favourites.

For all hair types 

Dyson Corrale Cord-Free Straightener (£399.99)

• Manganese copper alloy plates

• Cord-free option

• Three heat settings – 165°C, 185°C and 210°C

A weight-balanced appliance that gives you maximum control, this hair straightener is suitable for all hair types with three precise heat settings. Its flexing plates ultimately mean less hair damage* too. The medium-sized shape of the straightener works great for creating a wide range of curls, but particularly if you’re looking to create fuller-looking ones and waves.

For long lasting styling

BaByliss Straight and Curl Brilliance Rose Gold Straightener (£119.99)

• Titanium ceramic plates

• Up to 235°C with variable heat for lasting results

• Five temperature settings

If you’re partial to rose gold, this straightener will catch your eye. But how it looks isn’t the only great thing about it! We also love how quickly it heats up and how the ionic system releases frizz-controlling ions to smooth hair and enhance shine. Its slim plates work a treat for creating tighter curls and for if you have shorter hair too. 

For travel

Revamp Progloss Liberate Cordless Compact Ceramic Hair Straightener (£79.99)

• Ceramic and ionic floating plates

• Cordless

• Three temperature settings ranging from 160°C to 210°C

If you’re always on the go, you might want to have a straightener with you at all times which, of course, calls for a compact and cordless option. The ceramic plates of this one are infused with keratin, argan oil and coconut oil to help make hair gloriously glossy and are great for creating more defined curls.  

Step 2: Apply heat protection

As fabulous as heated styling tools make your hair look, they can cause some damage too, especially if you don’t use heat protection. Shield your precious strands with one of these great hair protectors.

Try: Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (£25)

• Size: 250ml

This oil is a must for anyone with dry to very dry hair. Not only does it offer heat protection, it also gently detangles and eliminates frizz.

Try: VO5 Frizz-free Heat Protect Hair Serum (£4.40)

• Size: 50ml

Frizz stands absolutely no chance with this hair serum on your locks, and it also protects against up to 230°C of heat!

Try: Mark Hill Style Addict Styling Heat Protection Spray (£6.99)

• Size: 300ml

• Vegan 

That crunch you sometimes feel in your hair after applying heat protection spray? With this one, it’s non-existent! And, if you’re curling your hair with a straightener, its heat-activated hold will come in useful to stop those curls from dropping too.

Not found what you’re looking for in terms of heat protection? We have more great options here.

Step 3: Feed a one-inch strand into your straightener

Part hair, divide it into sections and clip into place. 

Start on the right side at the nape of your neck with a one-inch section of hair and feed it into the plates, holding your straightener as you would when straightening your hair. 

Then, in a single motion (to avoid hair that looks more crimped than curly), twist your wrist away from your face in a smooth, fluid motion so that the hair goes over (rather than under) the appliance. To make the curl, the hair has to continue wrapping around the barrel of the straightener while you pull it towards the ends. The greater the rotation, the tighter the curl. How much should you turn it? If you have short hair, try half a turn. For longer hair, try a full turn.  

To keep curls looking modern or for a more tousled look, stop an inch before you reach the end. 

Top tip: If you want curlier hair, do this in sections that are smaller than one-inch.

Step 4: Work up and to the front 

Work your way up towards your hairline doing the same thing with similarly sized sections of hair. Be sure to feed the hair into the straightener as high as possible so that the curl starts closer to the top of your head. Alternate directions for a more natural, textured finish.

To finish this side, take the front section of hair and place it between the straighteners at midlength, turning the barrel away from your face as you did with the rest of it.

Now it’s time to do the same on the left side. If you’re right-handed, when you curl this side your arm will be reaching over your head. Although it might feel a bit strange at first, this placement will give you the best control of the iron. As you move towards the ends, you’ll find that your arm needs to cross over your face to get right to the bottom.

Leave your curls to cool to allow them to set before moving onto the next step.

Step 5: Use your fingers

Unless you want tight curls, you might opt to run your fingers through the curls to separate them slightly.

Finally, grab some hairspray to give your curls hold. Gorgeous selfie optional. 

Try: Schwarzkopf Got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray (£4.29)

• Size: 300ml

If you want your curls to really hold, you should freeze them. Not literally, of course, but with this amazing hairspray. It’ll keep your hair curly until you choose to shampoo it out.

Try: L'Oreal Hairspray by Elnett for Normal Hold & Shine (£3.98)

• Size: 200ml

This cult hairspray is a salon favourite for a reason. Providing a normal level of hold, it’s also great for protecting hair against the effects of humidity without any stiffness or stickiness.

Try: Philip Kingsley Finishing Touch Flexible Hold Mist (£12.50)

• Size: 100ml

If you want to set your curls while still allowing for natural movement, this is ideal. It resists humidity well, but you can also brush it out when you need to. 

Explore more amazing hairsprays here. You might also find our guide to must-have hair stylers helpful too!