All too often I see some ladies admire a picture for the styling and think a hair cut is what will make their hair look like the model’s. That might be a part of getting the style you desire but most often how you use your tools is much more important.
The type of curl or wave pattern is determined by the angle that the hair is wrapped around the iron, how you hold your iron, and how it cools.
By taking a flat section of your hair and flatly wrapping it around your curling iron you will get a softer look when it is brushed out, its great for an old Hollywood look or beach waves. Another option is to twist the hair as your wrap it around the iron, this makes the sections stay more divided and more like a curled rather than wavy texture.
The angle you hold your iron is also very important for the final results. For an old Hollywood wave I use my iron in a vertical fashion, with a slight tilt (almost parallel to the outer half of my eyebrow) in the front sections. When I want more of a Marilyn Monroe type of curl I hold the iron horizontally.
Finally, the cooling position of the hair is the most under used and highly important step of the whole service. If you’re hair is notorious for loosing its curl completely or not holding the shape you want for more than an hour this is the step that will change your life. For old Hollywood waves I don’t pin my hair, but I will hold a curl for about 30 seconds after removing the iron. The Marilyn look needs to be pinned to the roots until it goes ice cold. If you have extremely difficult hair this will take some practice before it looks perfect. You not only have to train your hands to do what they need to do but your hair needs to learn how to hold the shape as well. Ask a naturally curly friend of yours who straightens their hair daily- they’ll tell you that their hair isn’t as curly or as hard to keep straightened as it used to be. It’s because their hair and their hands have learned to do what they practiced doing!
Sectioning is important for all kinds of styling but I really feel that with straightening it can make or break a styling. The angle of the sections and their size are the most important things to keep in mind.
When I had my hair in a forward bob, longer in the front and short in the back, I found diagonal sections with the hair directed towards my face worked best.
As far as sizing goes, it should be proportionate to the size of the iron. If you use a mini iron your sections will be much shorter than if you use a larger iron, however the thickness of each section should never be more than one inch! Taking sections larger than an inch are not evenly distributing heat to your hair, and if your hair is curly you’ll spend more time going over your hair again and again to get every bit of it straight than if you just take smaller sections to begin with. By taking less hair in each section you’re going to get more control of how each section looks.
Some styles can be done multiple ways so try things out and find what works best for you.
For more styling guidance please also read my other post What Tools You Should Be Using.