3 Curling Iron Mistakes You Might Be Making

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curlingmistakes

I saw a lot of the same mistakes made by so many women when I was teaching hair classes. Sometimes just the littlest change can make an enormous difference in how your curls look and last throughout the day. And while individualized attention may be the most helpful when learning how to perfect curling your own hair, I thought I’d share the 3 most common mistakes here!

Mistake #1 : Cranking the heat on your iron all the way up to the absolute hottest. This is not always necessary and you should really try curling your hair at about half the heat just to see what it does! You may actually really love the softer effect.

Mistake #2 :Β  Putting the iron in at your root, sliding it down the hair, and then rolling it up from the bottom. This will give you nice rounded and curled ends, but will leave your root area very flat! When you put the iron in at your root, begin twisting it and feed the ends of your hair into it. You can watch a video on how to do that here.

Mistake #3 : Curling each piece in the same direction. This isn’t ALWAYS a mistake, but if you want the look of looser and textured curls, switch the direction you are curling each time to make sure the curls don’t blend together as one!

I hope those tips help! If it’s easier to watch a video, you can watch this one or this one!

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Comments (47)

  1. Kelsey Reger says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    What kind of product do you use on damp hair if it’s going to be curled? thanks!

  2. KC says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    I’ve never been able to get a lasting curl with a curling iron, but a flat iron I have no problems with! Could it be a bad quality curling iron? Suggestions please, I have pretty thick straight hair.

    • Catherine says
      Posted October 20, 2016

      I also have trouble keeping a curl with a curling iron. I bought the Hot Tools one which seems to be a good brand, but now I’m trying to find a product to put in my hair before and/or after curling it that makes my hair hold the curl. I am also hopeful for suggestions if anyone has any!

      • Brooke says
        Posted October 20, 2016

        I also have a Hot Tools one – Kate has great reviews of them. I bought it, tried and my curls fell flat -so I turned the heat up – same result. I had my hair cut last week & took my tools with me to see if my stylist approved of them. She did (has the same one!) and then proceeded to give me a tutorial with my own Hot Tools curling iron – the results were amazing -through to the next day! She turned the heat way down & used it more like a wand and also held the wand more horizontal. I just needed a lesson & now I need to practice on myself! Thanks for the tips and video’s Kate!

        • Kate says
          Posted November 2, 2016

          So you turned the heat *down* and the curls stayed?? Maybe that’s what I’ve been missing all along!!

    • KateG says
      Posted October 20, 2016

      I have straight, fine hair but a lot of it. I struggle getting lasting curl with anything but a curling wand. I can even sleep on it and still have curl the next day. Normally with a curling iron is falls within an hour and doesn’t look like I did anything, regardless of the products used. Maybe try a wand if you haven’t already?

    • Tracy says
      Posted October 20, 2016

      I have straight thick hair with a slight wave. I recently purchased the T3 curling iron in order to achieve beachy-lived in waves. It did a great job of curling my hair and creating the look I wanted but by the next day most of the waves had come undone. I have very long hair and lightly “pin” it up while sleeping to avoid this very issue but it isn’t working anymore. I have also tried a flat iron and the same thing keeps happening. Both tools are on the higher end side and all of the hair products are as well. Maybe I’m having issues with my technique. Any suggestions?

      • Melissa G says
        Posted October 20, 2016

        Tracy…My hair sounds exactly the same as yours…and is course, so does hold a curl well. But I’ve never gotten more than 1 day…i have to recurl all of it everyday. It still has a slight wave in the morning, but not enough to work with. I use Hot Tools 1.25 curling iron. I love my hair all day…and it holds all day. But never the next morning πŸ™ I would love a suggestion too. My hair is being so dry from all the heat!

        • Tracy says
          Posted October 20, 2016

          Hi Melissa – What I failed to mention is that I was having someone else do my hair for the past 2 years so I’m kind of new to this whole hair game. That being said I’ve tried every tip and trick and used to watch what my stylist was doing and still can’t get it right. Frustrating isn’t it and I don’t think I can watch another tutorial. And my normally healthy hair is getting fried!

          • Melodie says
            Posted October 20, 2016

            I suggest you and Melissa try Instyler Top Styler ceramic claws. You can find them at Amazon. I bought mine @Target about 3 years ago and it has been the best investment I have ever made in my hair. The curler claws will leave you with curls even the next day. This is coming from a woman who’s hair will in places not even hold a permanent’s curl… so so good!!
            Melodie Barton

            Top Clips Styling by InStyler Heated Curling Solid Ceramic Styling Shells Hair Curler Salon Equipment Curly Hair Tools Iron Instyler Topstyler https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I1ASF8Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_Hgzcyb4YKD2SW

          • Melissa G says
            Posted October 21, 2016

            When you say curls Melanie…what do you mean? I don’t want curls…but more waves.

        • Tracy says
          Posted October 21, 2016

          I’m not looking for “curls” either. Melissa – I think I found a solution to our problem but I’m going to put it to the test tonight. Stay tuned πŸ™‚

          • Melissa G says
            Posted October 21, 2016

            Tracy…Can’t wait to hear!! At one point, I thought it was because I had never thought of wearing a shower cap when I shower at night…just never occurred to me that although I’m not getting it wet, the steam will mess it up. Even bought the one Kate recommended here…but it’s not helped…at all!!!

        • Tracy says
          Posted October 24, 2016

          Hi Melissa – My beachy waves are still alive and kicking after having “curled” my hair on Friday. I switched to a curling wand which is so easy once you get the hang of it. But the secret to my “curls” staying in tact is that I used a curling cream AFTER styling my hair. I only used a teeny tiny amount, avoiding the scalp and only running it through the ends. Makes sense and not sure why I didn’t think of it before but it worked so that’s all that mattered to me. Just a side note that I only wash my hair every 3-4 days so I tend to stay away from products that are heavy to avoid buildup.

          • Melissa G says
            Posted October 24, 2016

            Thank you Tracy. That’s about how often i wash my hair as well. I have tried an angled wand in a couple different sizes and didn’t like the look it gave me. Had to end up using my regular iron at the end which took way too much time .

            What kind of cream did you use?

        • Tracy says
          Posted October 24, 2016

          I used the Oribe Curl Control Silkening Cream. It gives my hair the softness without the frizz. I wasn’t a fan of the wand either until I found a YouTube video that actually made sense to me on how to use it for what I wanted. Completely changed my mind and now it only takes me about 10 minutes to curl my whole head of hair.

          • Melissa G says
            Posted October 24, 2016

            Hey Tracy would you be able to give me the link to that tutorial? I’ve watched several, all of which had in me split my hair into four different sections. And then it didn’t have the bend that I wanted, it was more of a curl. So I took my regular curling iron and curl the whole thing and in the end it look the way I wanted, but there’s just no way I have that much time to put into it.

          • Tracy says
            Posted October 24, 2016

            Absolutely. Do you have an email address I can send the link to?

          • Melissa G says
            Posted October 24, 2016
  3. Melissa G says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    Kate…I would love to see a post with your favorite hair products…updated. Also, maybe how to deal with freq problems…like over dry hair d/t heat, or product build up, etc. Also, maybe a Q&A!!

  4. Posted October 20, 2016

    Thank you so much for these tips. I am guilty of all 3!

  5. Melanie says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    I always have the toughest time curling back the section closest to my face on my right side – it always ends up with the dreaded crimped look that seems to be unfixable. Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong and how to possibly fix that “crimp” if it does happen? TY!!

  6. Morgan says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    Kate, can you tell us which curling irons you use and what type of style you use each for? I watched your latest video tutorial and love the curls you got with the white curling iron. What kind was that? Thanks xx

  7. Alyssa says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    When I curl in the opposite direction something always ends up looking weird. I can’t figure it out!

  8. Fran says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    Love this! Any tips for hair drying out though? I make sure to condition it whenever I wash it, use a conditioning mask once or twice a week, always use a heat protector and try to give my hair rest days from.heat styling but it still looks sad when left to its own devices! I always find I get dry ends/split ends even though they get cut every 4-5 weeks. Am I missing something obvious?
    Love this post, I curl my hair more often now than straighten so this is good timing!

  9. Posted October 20, 2016

    Super helpful, and I am definitely guilty of #1 and #3. I’m great at making overdone curls but am still working to master the pretty loose waves.

  10. Karly says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    I use all three of these tips and they are all very true and affective!! Plus some texture spray = PERFECT curls/ Waves!! πŸ™‚

  11. Posted October 20, 2016

    I can’t believe I haven’t tried #1 yet…turning down the heat for softer curls!!! Seems so simple now that you say it…thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

    http://www.polishedplaid.com

  12. Armand says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    Curls in general…i always get undefined curls that turn frizzy! When I use the upside down curling iron trick, all i get is waves. (which I like, but I also want curls!) I also don’t want to spend an hour curling my hair:(

  13. Sabrina says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    I have a bob and love your loose curls. How can I achieve that look with thick hair?

  14. Andrea says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    I use Kevin Murphy Body Builder Volumizing Mousse and it makes a huge difference to how long my curls last. I put a bit of heat protector in my wet hair first and then work in the mousse before blow drying. Then when I curl it holds it nicely and lasts a number of days.

  15. Sarah says
    Posted October 20, 2016

    It seems like my issue with curls is when I try to rake my curls out to soften them, it always ends up making my hair look either 1) stringy or 2) overly poofy. Do you have any tips for softening curls without having this issue?

  16. Posted October 20, 2016

    Ok. I am guilty of tip #1 and definitely need to start curling from my roots. Great tips I will actually use!

    Angela / http://www.BlushandPearls.com

  17. Posted October 21, 2016

    I’ve been definitely doing the first mistake, haha. And I don’t even love structured curls.
    Thanks for the tips!

    Ines
    http://www.lifestajler.com

  18. Posted October 21, 2016

    I always crank mine right up to the highest heat because my hair doesn’t like staying curled for more than two seconds, and that means i never curl my hair because i know its bad for it. Will have to try doing it at a lower heat and see how that goes, don’t know why I’ve not thought of that before!

  19. Sophie says
    Posted October 21, 2016

    Some great tips πŸ™‚ Sophie x

    sophiehmstewart.com

  20. Lauren says
    Posted October 21, 2016

    Thanks for these tips, Kate! One thing I’ve always wanted to know is how you get softly curled/almost straight ends. When I use the curling iron, I start at the root, but the ends of my hair always end up having a more drastic curl than the top. Any suggestions? I’ve tried leaving an inch or two of my hair out of the iron when curling, but still, the curl “bump” at the bottom is drastic and I’m looking for more of a subtle transition to the end of the curl.

    Thanks!

  21. Posted October 21, 2016

    So I make all 3 mistakes! Starting tomorrow I will “unmistake” it and see what happens. Hopefully I will learn to love my hair again!
    =) Bridget | http://nuttyhiker.com

  22. Posted October 21, 2016

    Thanks for a VERY helpful post!:-)

  23. Nora says
    Posted October 21, 2016

    I always seem to get a clamp mark in my hair but I don’t think my iron is too hot. Any suggestions?

  24. rhonda says
    Posted October 25, 2016

    hi Kate I was wondering if u could tell me how your hair is cut in this picture to pass along to my stylist. I have been growing minuet as well and I have bangs so this would be a great b picture for me to take her! thank you!

  25. Cath says
    Posted October 26, 2016

    Thanks for the tips Kate, especially number 3 – tried it today, what a difference!

  26. toby says
    Posted November 20, 2016

    The Shielo Leave in Protection spray works the best – it saves my dry ends from drying out or damaging by the heat. I am drying or curling them almost every day and this Shielo Spray is not allowing any damage to happen to my hair πŸ™‚

  27. christina says
    Posted March 7, 2017

    Ok I need help! I’ve watched all your curling videos and still can’t get my hair to curl πŸ™ (my hair and I have a love hate relationship)

  28. Erin says
    Posted March 13, 2017

    I can’t for the life of me master the “putting the curling iron in and not sliding it down to the end” of my hair. The curling iron pulls too tight and I can’t turn it any more. Any suggestions??