Ask anyone, and they’ll probably tell you that their flat iron is one hot tool they can’t live without. While we’ve used flat irons for years to smooth, unruly strands and create sleek, straight hairstyles, the versatile styling tool does much more than the name suggests. Whether you want beachy waves or tight curls, a flat iron can deliver—which is why it’s a must-have if you’re trying to add variety to your styling routine.
If you’re looking to learn the basics of how to curl your hair with a flat iron, we’re here to help! Keep scrolling for everything you need to know, including a step-by-step tutorial for achieving flat iron curls and one innovative tool pick you’ll want to purchase ASAP.
Is it better to curl your hair with a straightener or curling iron?
Deciding which tool is best for you depends entirely on your skill level and the hairstyle you’re trying to achieve. Since curling irons offer varied sizes (and sometimes interchangeable barrels), they work best for creating looks like voluminous bombshell curls.
Flat irons can help you achieve curls, beach waves, and so many other styles, but there can be a bit of a learning curve when you’re trying to get the hang of the styling techniques. While beginners might have an easier time styling with a traditional curling iron, all you’ll need is a bit of practice (and a few expert-approved tips) to master flat iron curls.
Which is the best flat iron?
If you’re surfing the web looking for the best flat iron for you, you’ll see a ton of options. We recommend doing research into which straightener is best for your hair type, length, and hair concerns. Flat iron plates are made with different materials such as ceramic, tourmaline, and titanium. Those with fine hair may prefer the gentleness of ceramic, while anyone with thick, unruly strands may benefit from a tourmaline or titanium hot tool.
There are, however, flat irons that work for every hair type across the board. The L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod Straightener + Curling Iron is a steam flat iron that delivers two times smoother, two times faster* results with less damage. The tool infuses water into the water cuticle with each pass, allowing you to retain moisture as you’re styling. The Steampod also helps protect salon color and adds shine to your hair.
*Compared to Steampod without steam and comb (heating plates only)
How do you curl your hair with a straightener step-by-step?
Wondering how to curl your hair with a flat iron? Keep scrolling for a complete tutorial.
Section the hair.
Before you begin curling, be sure to apply a few spritzes of heat protectant throughout your mane. We recommend the Redken Iron Shape 11 Heat Protectant Spray. This lightweight, thermal heat protection hairspray is perfect for use with flat irons and curling irons up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to protect your hair, add shine, and reduce frizz. Detangle your mane with a boar bristle brush to avoid any snarls while you’re styling. Be sure to use a detangling product like Biolage All-In-One Coconut Infusion Multi-Benefit Spray before you begin detangling.
Part your hair down the middle and choose which side of your head you want to curl first. Gather a 1-inch section of hair that’s closest to the nape of your neck. Use a clip to keep the top half of the hair out of the way for now.
Begin your first curl.
Pick up the first 1-inch piece of hair that you’re going to curl. Spray the L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Infinium 4 Hairspray onto the hair for extra hold, then clamp the flat iron at the base of the section.
Create your curl.
Holding the iron horizontally with one hand, begin twisting the iron downward as you pass it through the section.
Use your other hand to guide the hair through the iron as you twist. Release the strand from the iron once you reach your ends.
Release the hair from the clip and gather another 1-inch section. Continue curling the hair in 1-inch segments repeating the same technique, starting at the back of your head and working your way towards the front.
Pro tip: Gently run your fingers through the hair while it’s still warm to loosen the curl.
Complete your look.
Searching for more ways to style your hair with flat iron? Check out six more ideas below.
Faux Curtain Bangs
Smooth, Sleek Strands
Follow this Steampod tutorial to transform your curly hair into smooth, sleek tresses.
Watch this tutorial to learn how to create soft waves that are wearable for any occasion.
Recreate these stylist-approved S-waves for a glam look that’s wearable from the office to date night. Grab a 1-inch flat iron, a boar bristle brush, a heat protectant like Biolage Thermal Active Heat Protectant Spray, and follow the tutorial above!
Hint: You don’t need a crimper to achieve this ‘90s-inspired hairstyle. You can also create crimped hair with your flat iron. Starting with dry, detangled hair, apply a heat protectant throughout your mane. Then, apply a quarter-size amount of hair mousse like Pureology Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse throughout the mid-lengths to ends of your hair. Separate your hair into eight even sections and create three-strand braids with each section. Craft fewer braids if you want bigger crimps.
Pass your flat iron over each braid, starting by your roots and pressing down on each segment for a few sections until you reach your ends. Wait until your hair cools down before undoing your braids. Complete your look with a few spritzes of hairspray like Redken Triple Take 32 Extreme High-Hold Hairspray.
We’re all about embracing beach hair any time of year, and styling with a flat iron is one of the easiest ways to achieve beach waves in the comfort of your bedroom. Be sure to apply a few spritzes of texturizing spray like Matrix Style Link Texture Builder Messy Finishing Spray to complete your beachy look.
Interested in more expert styling tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.