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How To Use A Curling Wand for Magical Results


Now that you know how to use a curling iron from our previous article, let's spend some time learning how to use a curling wand! You might think, “what's so special about curling wands” but the two hot tools have some distinguishable differences. It’s tough to master the trendy beach wave and other wanded hairstyles using a regular curling iron. Thankfully, curling wands make the process super easy, and I bet you’ll be hooked once you see the result. 

But before we get there, it’s important to note that there are a few crucial steps you should implement in your curling routine if you want your curls to hold. Like I explained in my previous article, I had a really tough time maintaining curls for longer than two hours. I thought I was born with a rare kind of hair type that would remain stubbornly straight no matter what. 

It took a few trips to a more expensive salon and some rigorous questioning of my professional hairdresser to understand the ins and outs of curling pin-straight hair. Luckily for you, I’m sharing all my secrets today so that you can have the curls of your dreams, too!

By the time we’re done, you’ll be curling wand pro. Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll learn in the following paragraphs:

  • How to use a curling wand on yourself
  • Finding the perfect curling wand
  • Does hair length matter when curling hair with a wand
  • How to use a curling wand on naturally curly hair
  • Hair wand curls: tips and tricks

But Before We Start Curling …

I know you’re impatient to get to the step-by-step guide, but trust me when I say that every piece of advice, tip, and trick included in this article is equally important. It’s not just the curling process that makes the hairstyle, it’s everything combined. 

So what are some key factors you need to know before you start curling? 

Finding the right curling wand is extremely important. This will, of course, depend on your individual taste, hair type, and hair length. Personally, I would wholeheartedly recommend curling wands for people with damaged ends from treatment like hombre, balayage, or bleached hair. 

Since the curling wand won’t wrap around the ends of your hair strands, it avoids burning your hair and adding heat damage where it's least welcome. You can learn the critical differences between a curling wand vs. curling iron in our dedicated article!

Depending on your hair length, you should pay attention to the size of your curling wand barrel. Curling wands are cone-shaped, often clamp-free hot tools designed to create messy curls. The base of your curling wand will be as close to your scalp as possible (you’ll learn more about the process below), so if you have short hair, look for a smaller-sized barrel. Otherwise, your hair won’t wrap around the wand easily, and you might even burn your hands and your scalp. 

If you have long hair, you’re in luck – pretty much all curling wand sizes should work for you, but try to avoid getting smaller sizes if you have a lot of hair because this will only prolong your curling time.

It’s important to note that curling wands tend to create messy hairstyles. If you’re aiming for a neat hairdo, you might want to consider switching to a curling iron, especially if you have short hair. 

You can get tons of variety with curling iron sizes, mainly because they are more popular. You can take a look at the best curling irons for short hair so you can have a larger grasp on what's available and make an informed decision. 

Okay, now that you’ve got your curling wand at the ready, what else do you need? I recommend to both professionals and beginner curling wand wizards to equip themselves with a heat-resistant glove

The curling process includes holding your hair as a substitute to a clamp, so if you’re clumsy like me, some heat protective gear is essential. Even if you aren’t clumsy, there will be times you just hold the curling wand wrong or forget, so why risk scars and burns on your beautiful skin?

Time is of the essence when curling your hair. Set aside at least 30 minutes to do your hair. Many people tend to rush through the process or forget they have a lot of hair, and curling each strand takes time. Or worse – some of you might have at least once made the mistake of curling your wet hair with a hot tool, which can be terminal for your hair health. That’s why always leave yourself with plenty of time to curl. 

I’m sure most of you might be considering curling your hair every day. I understand the temptation – walking out with the perfect hairstyle, showing off your locks. Of course, it’s possible to implement a daily curling routine, but you should be very careful of heat damage. That means that you should invest in some heat protection products like sprays, for example, which will lessen the impact of hot tool damage. 

What that means is it’s important to set aside a bit of money to spend on hair care products if you want to have a healthy mane. Otherwise, a few weeks will pass by, and you’ll start noticing your magic curling wand has turned your hair ends into a broomstick!

How to Use a Curling Wand – A Detailed Guide

Let’s get down to business! It’s time to convert you into a curling wand enthusiast. Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll achieve the perfect beach wave in no time!

Step 0

Make sure you start the process with blow-dried and brushed hair. If your hair is wet, I recommend you wait until it’s air dry to try out this process.

Step 1

Start by sectioning your hair. Since you’ll be working with 1-2 inch wide sections of hair, you don’t want the rest of it to get in the way. Most hair curlers come with hair clips, which are used precisely for this task. Of course, you don’t need a clip unless you have one. You can always substitute it with a bobby pin or even an elastic hairband. So long as the hair is tamed, you’re good to go.

Always start from the bottom. It’s easier to keep track, and you won’t have to dig through the top part of your hair just to find uncurled strands. I’ve made that mistake myself in my rookie curling years. 

Step 2

The main difference between a curling iron and a curling wand is the way you hold them. A curling iron is held with the tip pointing up, right? Well, a curling wand isn’t. Always try to point your curling wand downwards, with the tip pointing to the floor. Some professionals may use it pointing up, but they always finish by releasing the hair with the curling wand pointed down. 

Go on, turn on your curling wand, grab your Thermo glove and try it out yourself! Make sure to keep the curling wand as close to your scalp as possible (without burning your skin) for more voluminous results! Only hold a curl for a maximum of 10 seconds. If you’re curling your hair for longer than 10 seconds, you’re just doing it wrong and burning your hair!

Step 3

Are you moving on to the second hair strand already? Alright, hold on a second! Curl directions are important, so before you start wrapping that hair around, make sure you’re doing it in the opposing direction of your first curl. This not only creates more volume but guarantees your curls won’t be blending together. 

Step 4

Clamping your curls after you release them is extremely important. Try to cup the curl with your hand without squeezing too hard, or you might ruin the curl. Hold it for a few seconds while it’s still hot, and slowly release it. You can also roll up your curls and clip them if you have particularly stubborn hair. This usually leaves them in shape for longer. 

Step 5

Of course, nothing will keep your hair in place quite like some hair spray. You will hear a thousand different pieces of advice on when and how you should be spraying your hair. Some people tend to do it after each hair strand. Others do it all together, at the very end. And some do it before, after, and during styling. 

Depending on the results you want to achieve, you can spray after each few hair strands. However, I am a supporter of the comb and spray technique because it creates messier curls. They don’t look as tidy, which can be a bonus if you’re after the beach wave hairstyle or mermaid’s hair. 

Many people with stubborn hair prefer to spray before and after, but that can build up product and moisture in your curls, which weighs them down and inevitably straightens your hair. Try to mist your hair, use a light fixating spray and brush your hair for perfect results!

Step 6

Are you wondering how to curl naturally curly hair with a curling wand? It really isn’t that much different from your usual curling process. You just need to make sure you have wrapped the entire hair strand around the barrel of your wand. Don’t forget your curly hair has texture, so leaving the end free will look odd – they simply won’t curl and will look out of place from the rest of your hairstyle.

I know some steps may seem a little challenging, but practice makes perfect, so don’t worry! There are a few tips and tricks you can implement into your hair curling routine if you want. They’re all listed below, and if you follow them, you’ll be sure to have a healthy curly mane! 

Step 7

If you want to learn how to use a curling wand on medium hair, you can watch the HSI Professional brand’s easy-to-follow YouTube video tutorial.

Tips for Using a Curling Wand

Here are a few tidbits of information that will drastically improve your curling process. Combine them with the previous steps, and your wand curls will really stand out!

Choosing The Right Heat Setting

A crucial factor to consider is heat. For lasting curling wand curls, you must ensure your hot tool features a heat setting compatible with your hair type. Otherwise, you might not get a hairstyle that lasts. Many people blame the hot tool and complain they have bought a fake when they haven’t double-checked the heat settings. Don’t worry. It’s easy to determine the right temperature. Just follow the guide below:

  • Do you want lasting wand curls, but you have thin, fine, and/or damaged hair? A curling wand with adjustable heat settings is a must. It needs to range between 250°F and 300°F (don’t worry if it goes above that). Damaged hair hates a ton of heat and can curl easily with a 280°F setting. Otherwise, for stubborn hair, you can stay closer to the 300°F mark.
  • Do you want to achieve lasting curls, but your hair type is normal? Choose a setting between 350°F and 380°F. Stick in between this range and try out what works best for your hair.
  • You’re after fabulous wand curls, and your hair type is thick and coarse. That means you should look for a curling wand that heats up anywhere between 400°F and 420°F. I only recommend the 420°F setting for people with thick, coarse, and curly hair, as it may damage the rest of the types. Otherwise, most hairstylist professionals will advise you not to go above 410°F. 

Using Heat Protectant

Things are getting hot in here! No matter the heat setting, you should always invest in a heat protectant. These useful sprays are your best bet if you want healthy hair with minimum heat damage. When buying a heat protectant, double-check the temperature you use when curling your hair. There is no point in purchasing a heat protectant if it only protects up to 300°F. Read the fine print!

Brushing

Like I briefly mentioned, brushing is essential. Not just before you start curling, for ease and control over your hair, but post curling, too. Brushing your hair or gently running your fingers through your hair separates individual strands, creates more volume, and your hair looks less tidy. The curls appear more natural. You need to be careful, though – always wait for your hair to cool down before you brush it. Otherwise, if you pull on it while it’s hot, you can straighten it. 

Curling Wet Hair

Is a no-no! If you have read any of our articles, you’ll have a pretty clear idea why. But for those new to the concept, allow me to explain. 

If you decide to curl your hair while it’s wet (when in a rush or feeling a bit lazy), you will do irreversible damage to your hair strand. What goes on when curling wet hair is invisible to the naked eye. 

The barrier of your hair strand, called the cuticle, usually serves to protect your hair. When it’s wet, its defenses are down, which allows access to the internal part of the hair, called the cortex. The cortex is made of many things, primarily water, and surrounds the medulla – the heart of your hair strand.  

When you apply an insane amount of heat, 300°F, and 400°F, to wet hair, the cortex starts boiling, and all the natural moisture inside your hair disappears. It’s the same moisture that keeps a hair strand healthy and shiny. 

But that’s not everything. The bubbling up starts breaking the cuticle and damaging your hair strand. Your hair suddenly appears hay-dry, it breaks easily, and no amount of conditioner or oils can save it—time to visit a hair salon and start all over again. 

That’s why I want you to make a promise to me right now not to curl your wet hair! 

Cleaning Your Curling Wand

People underestimate how much product buildup can affect a hairstyle. Why do you think most curling wands and curling irons are black in design? It’s essential to clean up and look after your curling wand to get the wanded hairstyles of your dreams. 

When you notice black residue building up on your curling wand, you can choose one of the following options to clean up your hot tools:

  • You’ll need some alcohol (like white spirit, for example) and a few cotton pads, like the ones for makeup removal. Dab a few drops of alcohol on a cotton pad and start rubbing the barrel of your curling wand. Repeat until all the residue is gone.
  • If you haven’t got white spirit or rubbing alcohol lying around, you can make a paste with bicarbonate soda. Mix three parts soda and one part water in a cup and stir. Using a cloth, rub away the dirt and build up.

Important: always clean up your curling wand when it’s unplugged and cool to avoid burns. 

Storing Your Curling Wand

Storing your curling wand is also necessary. Not all curling wands come with a swivel cord, and often the cables can tear and break. So if you want to store your curling wand correctly, fold up your cord like it was when you first took the curling wand out of the box. You can use a strap or an elastic headband to wrap around it and keep it in place. Be careful not to put any pressure on the core base when storing it away. 

Don’t go just yet…

Did you find what you’re looking for? If you’re looking for alternative curling methods and curling wands sound a little too advanced to you, why not check out the best spiral curling irons?

Or perhaps you hate the idea of curling your hair with a hot tool. I know some of you have treated hair, so allow me to recommend magnetic rollers as an alternative no-heat curling method!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial guide! I’m excited to finally share all the tips and tricks I learned with you! Are there any secrets to curling with a wand I might have missed? Let me know in the comment section below!

Best Selling Curling Wands

Last update on 2021-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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