Gisela Schober/Getty Images
Gisela Schober/Getty Images
Curling hair is a beauty no-brainer, right? Just wrap a section of strands around a hot tool, wait a few seconds then watch as beautiful spirals appear. Unfortunately, the magic doesn't always happen. There are some who just can't seem to wield their way to red-carpet-worthy waves…or any at all.
In fact, you may be missing a step or two. Here are seven common mistakes celeb hairstylists see even the most adept hair curler doing.
Heat Protectant Protocol: Hot tools can quickly lead to hair damage for the obvious slow burn it does to your strands. It may not have noticeable results but always do this step! In need of a suggestion? "Unite 7Seconds Condition—it detangles the hair but also acts as a heat protectant. It has UV-A and UV-B protection in it, and you can use it when your hair is wet," recommended hairstylist Denise Madrigal of Nine Zero One Salon. When your hair is already dry, the pro recommended Unite 7Seconds Glossing. "It's kind of like a shining mist but it also protects your hair from heat." And remember: Never hold on heat for more than 10 seconds, and that's if you have hair that hardly holds a curl.
For the Directionally Challenged: Don't know when to twist in or out? It doesn't really matter unless you're curling the hair close to your face. "It's a really big pet peeve of mine when I see curls that are going toward the face," said hair pro Scott King. "From the temples and above, curl away from your face—it opens up your face."
For the hair not as close to your face, try mixing it up. "I like to personally curl hair in alternating directions—that way the curls will break up instead of becoming one big curl. It creates separation between the curls," added Denise. "I usually hold the iron vertically, never horizontally—because that's going to give you a tighter curl."
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Sectioning Gives Structure: If you want salon-quality curls, you need to section off layers to guarantee you get all the strands.
"Clip away the top layers, and start from the bottom of your hair and go up," said Denise. "If you start from the top, you can get lost and miss hair."
"If you want more of a structured look, definitely do about one-to-two-inch sections," added Scott.
Size Matters: "If your hair is shorter, use a smaller barrel," noted Scott. "And if your hair is longer or medium length, use a one-inch or above-sized barrel if you want more of a wavy look."
Going Straight: To curl the ends or not to curl the ends—that is the question. Recent hair trends say straight ends are more modern, but it's a matter of preference. "If I want hair to look more polished I will [curl the ends], but if I want it to look more bedhead-y, beachy or textured, I'll keep the ends straight. Sometimes, you can even go over the ends with a flat-iron," advised Scott.
Brushing Is Sometimes Bad: Your hair won't set until it's cooled down, meaning if you brush your hair right after curling it, it will straighten out most of the curls. "I don't really brush hair if I want more of a beachy bend—I just rake my fingers through it," said Scott. If your curls are tighter than you like (read: ringlet status), you can gently pull at those strands before the hair cools down completely.
Limit the Hairspray Use: "I've seen my girlfriends put a ton of hairspray on before curling, so you hear that sizzle—you don't want that at all," urged Scott. "I personally don't like using hairspray until the very end. I actually don't use it if I don't have to. I use a texturizing spray (obsessed with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray) or dry shampoo and if you have flyaways or your hair doesn't hold a curl that well, put on a hairspray after that." The pro also suggested Ouai's Matte Pomade to rough up the hair and tame flyaways.
So, are you guilty of any of these missteps?