Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Curls Ahoy - How to create a soft curl in your own hair

Today I'm going to show you a few simple steps for how to get movie star worthy waves! The above photo on the left is immediately after brushing out the curls, and the right is the next day after sleeping on them. :)

This is my favourite hairstyle on myself now that I have shorter hair. I definitely do not regret making the chop and getting a medium length hairstyle. I style my hair a LOT more now that it's a a medium length, and it's so much easier to maintain it. 

...but that's not the point. So here I go, how to get a soft curl in your own hair using a hot iron curling wand. 

1. TOOLS... 

- A curling iron (mine has a clamp and is medium width - Babyliss Curling Iron, ceramic 32mm ) 
Large section clips or something like a hair tie to keep your hair up and out of the way
- Small pin curl clips (similar to these will work, or even bobby pins if you don't have any)
- Brush (mine is this bristle brush from wasp)


I found the easiest way to work through all the hair without missing any on myself was to part down the centre (like for pigtails), then tie this off to one side. With the loose section leave one layer about 3cm in width all the way across the bottom of this half of your head. The rest of the hair should be twisted up and clipped out of the way like in the photo on the left below.


Use the hot iron to curl the hair in small sections. Try to roll the hair along the length of the barrel so that it all heats evenly. It's also important when using a clamp iron to make sure the ends are smooth underneath or you'll end up with a kink in the hair ends!
I like to touch my hair to make sure that it's heated all the way through (be careful if you do this not to touch the iron itself and burn yourself), and then count for another 5 - 10 seconds depending on how thick each piece is.


This step isn't absolutely necessary, but it does help with the longevity of your curls. :)
Once you release the hair from the curler, re-curl the hair into the same curl that it held on the hot iron (it should easily reshape as you bend it around) and then pin it into place with the small pin curls. I found it easiest to pin them down flat on top of itself, but if you have more hair and want to pin them out round on the side that's perfectly ok too!


Continue with this process, by working your way from the bottom up to the top, and pinning each section as you go.

After you pin a few rows, help set the curls with a soft spray with hairspray. This should help the curls hold once they're brushed out.

When you finish one side, repeat this process for the other side of your head. It took me a while to do it all because I have really thick hair. You might not end up with as many pinned curls as me, or you may end up with more. It's hard to do the back of your hair, so just do your best!


Like I said earlier, it doesn't have to be perfect. It's hard to curl your own hair, and this is how mine ended up looking. Obviously the left side was my better side. Haha.

The curls can stay in this position until they are cool or as long as you want to leave them like that pretty much. If you wanted to curl your hair early in the morning for an event that night then you can leave the curls pinned in all day. That way the brushed out curls will be super perky for the evening still.

If you didn't pin your hair up while they were cooling they may just end up being a little more loose, but you should definitely still get the desired effect. The first time I tried curling my own hair I didn't pin it, and it turned out fine. It's just definitely beneficial to pin it if you can as it makes it neater and easier in my opinion as well as holding the curl.


While your hair is pinned up out of the way this is the perfect time to do your makeup! 

I went out in public with my hair pinned up like this too. I say "own it!". It's nothing like the end result, but embrace the inner Nanna style of the pinned curls. :D


Using your brush gently brush through to turn the separated curls into a nice soft wave. You should be able to mould the curls with your hands into place once you've brushed them out too. I like to flip mine over into a side part as well to create the big romantic swept side look. 


Once you have the shape in place and you're happy with it, spray hairspray from about 15cm away all over your head to set the hair in place. You can use the hairspray to keep any fly-away's down too. 

Final look - Left: just after being brushed out, Right: after being slept on

And you're done! All up this took me about 2 hours because, like I said, I have really thick hair. If you can convince a friend to do it for you, you can get them to do it in layers all the way around your head instead of splitting the hair in half and bringing it forward. It should take less time that way too because the hard part for me is always getting the tool on the right angle and holding it up on that weird angle without burning myself. Haha. [PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH ANY HOT TOOLS]

For me the curl was of course the best immediately after brushing it out, but the curl shape held quite well for almost a full week until I washed my hair again. This is not something I do every week, as I just don't have the time, but for special events (like my birthday in this case) it's a great alternative to paying a hairdresser to style it for you.

Doing this technique with thicker and thinner hot irons will effect your end look, so feel free to experiment and let me know what you think works best! You can also pin parts of the hair up, or all of it into a bun for different curled hairstyle variations.

What do you think about this technique? How do you curl your hair with a hot iron? x


  1. Love your hair colour lovely! Great tutorial, how long does the curls stay wavy in your hair?

    1. Thank you so much! The full curl volume drops after about a day, but I'm left with a nice wave/stylable curl for just under a week until I wash it in my hair. :)