Curling wands have been around almost as long as styling hair has been a thing, in one form or another. We’ve all watched our mothers and grandmothers curl their hair carefully in our childhoods, breathing in the strong aroma of burned hair and hairspray. However, with advances in hair curling wand technology, you can have curls that are twice as nice with much less acrid scent. If your mother or grandmother did not pass her curling practices down to you, you may not know the exact method of achieving that perfect, curled style. Alternatively, you may be a little reluctant as you know how far curling wands have come in the last decade or so and you’re not quite sure how to go about using these newfangled wands. Here is a simple guide to using the professional curling wands of today.
Choosing the Right Wand for You
Today’s professional curling irons are made of higher quality materials than Grandma’s metal-barreled contraption. The contemporary standby for curling wands is a barrel made of ceramic, which releases negative ions to the hair’s surface as it works. Ceramic barrels are great because they conduct heat evenly and efficiently, without hot or cold spots, using the minimal amount of heat necessary to get the job done. The negative ions prevent the natural moisture and oils from being stripped from the hair, which could cause splitting and damage to the cuticle. Ceramic is also smooth, which gives the result of smooth curls. The negative ions promise a smooth curl with minimal to zero frizz.
Lots of ceramic wands are also coated with tourmaline, which is a grounded up gemstone that has all the same powers as the ceramic wands, and just adds to all of the benefits for fantastic, smooth curls that will make everyone else jealous!
Learning Curves for Lovely Curls
Another thing that might be different from Mom’s clunky old curler is that today’s curling wands don’t have that pesky clamping action. This may seem daunting, because how in the heck will you get the hair to stay wrapped around the barrel? Fear not; those clamps made unsightly creases in otherwise perfectly lovely curls. They were a blessing and a curse. Today’s barrels are smooth and seamless, and while that may seem daunting, practice makes perfect!
One of the more difficult aspects of this learning curve is getting the wrap down without an extra set of hands or eyes. It can be tricky to figure out how to wrap your locks all the way around the barrel and then figure out how long it needs to stay there to achieve the lasting curl effect.
Starting the Process
The first thing you need to figure out is the proper heat setting for your hair type. Thicker or frizzier hair may need higher settings, but it’s always a good idea to try the lowest setting when you’re first starting out. You can always go up, but if you start high you might fry your hair, and nobody wants that. Try a lower heat and see what happens, and if it’s not doing the job, incrementally increase the temperature.
Prepare Your Hair
While your iron is heating up, you may need to flat iron your hair if you have millions of corkscrews. You may get away with just curling the frizz away, but you know your hair better than we do, so we’ll leave that up to you to decide or experiment with. It’s usually a good idea, regardless of your hair type, to apply a heat protectant serum or spray to your tresses before you start the curling process. This can help prevent any damage from using a heated appliance on your hair.
Begin to Spin
Choose a section of your hair that is about 1 inch or smaller. Separate it from the rest of your hair. If you try to use a larger section, you may not get the effect you’d prefer, so keep it small, at least to start. Point the hot end of your wand toward your shoulder—but NOT ON your shoulder! It’s hot! Begin wrapping the sectioned off lock of your hair around the barrel, near the base (handle) of your wand. Continue wrapping it around the wand downward, toward the tip. Hold the iron in this position for no longer than 5 seconds. This may seem quick, but our wands work quickly and more effectively than Mom’s. Then, simply let the hair go.
Once you are more used to the process, you will get quicker at wrapping the hair around the wand, holding, and letting go. It should be a quick process to avoid burning the hair; it doesn’t need a whole lot of extended contact. After the first curl is born, it’s time to repeat this process again and again until your whole head is curly.
If you’re more of a visual person, there are tons of video tutorials all over the Internet. It won’t be too long before you’re an expert!