Whether you're going for a sleek, straight style or beautifully finished curls, heat styling tools can help you get the look you want. Just like blow-drying, there's just a few things to remember when heat styling your hair system so you don't damage your hair in the process.
As an experienced hair wearer, I love using curling tools on my systems to get smoother, more polished and defined curls. I use various types of heated styling tools such as curling irons, curling wands, flat irons and deep wavers. Here are some of my favorites:
The size of the curl you achieve will depend on the size of the curling iron's barrel. Barrel sizes range from 3/8" all the way up to 2"!
Here are some examples of which ones to use:
- For short styles with very small tight curls, use 3/8" to ½" barrel size.
- For medium hair lengths trying to achieve medium to large loose curls, try 5/8" to 1" barrels.
- 1-¼" to a 2" barrel are common for use on long hair systems. A 1" barrel can give you pretty long-lasting body—even spiral curls—while a 2" barrel will give you those big bouncy "va va voom" curls that probably won't last the entire day without some serious hairspray.
Curling wands allow you to manually wrap your hair around the barrel of the iron and hold it in place, because there is no clip or arm to secure the hair. Be sure not to get the barrel too close to your hair system's base. Many curling wands come with a glove that protects your fingers from the heat while you hold the hair on the wand. Curling wands are great for creating that ultra-popular beach curl which starts out wider and narrows as it goes down the to the tip of the hair.
A deep waver has two wave plates that enable you to add a wave to your hair rather than a curl. The look is similar to a crimper but the plates are wave shaped. These are usually for medium to long hair.
Flat irons are used to straighten your hair. They come in various sizes for short, medium and long hair. You can opt for flat or curved plates. With curved plates you can create a bump or slight bend to your hair and help calm kinks and frizz in your hair system.
Before you go out and get a new curling iron or plug in your existing one, make sure you use these best practices to protect your hair system while you're adding in gorgeous new waves and curls, or straightening them out.
- Understand that daily or frequent use of heated styling tools will shorten the life of the hair in your system.
- Always use a thermal heat protectant on your hair system before curling or straightening it. Styling tools can severely damage your system when you apply heat without a protectant.
- Be sure your system is completely dry before using any heated styling tools such as curling irons or flat irons.
- Ensure that the styling tool you are using has the ability to set it to a specific degree of heat. We recommend that you set your heat setting between 175 to 250 degrees. Higher heats will cause damage to your hair system. Always test at the lowest setting first and work your way up in increments of 10 degrees until you reach the desired style.
- Do not curl a synthetic hair system. Heat and steam and could singe it.
- Consider using a ceramic, ionic, tourmaline or titanium iron whenever possible.
- A ceramic iron allows the heat from the coil to be evenly distributed across the iron ensuring you do not get concentrated heat in just one area.
- Ionic irons naturally emit negative ions and far infrared energy to help lock moisture into the shaft, essentially preventing frizz.
- Tourmaline curling irons are designed to release natural ions to reduce frizz and static, give the hair a healthy shiny look.
- Titanium irons maximize curl retention and offer great heat distribution. Great for curling, flipping and straightening.
Yes, I have all these wonderful tools in my hair care arsenal! No matter which iron you choose, remember these safety tips and styling tricks for curling your hair system and getting the look you want. Happy Curling!