PSA: You Can Use Your Hair Straightener as a Curling Iron, and Here’s How To Do It

I’m here to spread the good news that, no, you don’t have to buy a new hot tool every time you change your hairstyle. 

It just so turns out that your trusty flat iron has got your back. 

That’s right, loose curls and beachy waves can all be achieved with the right wrist maneuver. You just need the right tips and tricks. 

While straighteners can't produce bouncy, perfectly rounded ringlets (you will need a curling iron or hot rollers for that), they can add life, volume, and gentle waves to your tresses.

When you use a straightener as a curling iron, you're heating hair on both sides whilst applying heat only to some sections of hair. This produces a looser, wavier effect.

So, here’s our easy to follow go-to guide to achieving well worn waves using just your straightener. 

Side Note: You can also watch our Youtube vid on how to create textured curly hairstyles using Cloud NINE

A step-by-step guide to achieving curls with your straightener  

  • Separate your hair into 1-inch sections. For looser waves, work with larger sections. Begin with the hair closest to your face, and be sure to curl away from your face.

  • Open the flat iron and wrap your hair around one side, ensuring your hair is tight enough to make contact with the heat plate. For a loose wave, leave the flat iron open and hold your hair in place for 5 seconds. For tighter waves, clamp the straightener down for no longer than 3 seconds.

  • Continue working your way around your head. For the most natural look, remember to wrap your hair beginning about an inch above the ends, working all the way to your crown. This creates gentle, graduated waves that look like you've spent a day in the ocean breeze.

Our top tips for curling your hair with a straightener

Using a flat iron to curl your hair can take practise to perfect.

Here's our favourite tools and tricks that will help you create your perfect waves.

1. Avoid bumpy hair with wider plates

The hard edges of a straightener can produce bumpy hair if you're not careful. For a more even look, wrap your hair loosely around the plate of the straightener, and don't use sections smaller than 1 inch wide.

A straightener with wider plates like the CLOUD NINE The Wide Iron or the ghd max hair straightener works best for creating waves, since narrow plates create more curves and more opportunity for bumps.

This straightener also uses Ceramic Plates ideal for longer, thicker hair types. 

2. Section your hair to create even curls

A flat iron can't give you bouncy, perfectly proportioned ringlets. But if the curls you get seem terribly uneven or oddly proportioned, the problem could be the way you're dividing your hair.

Each section you wrap around the iron should be about the same size. Be sure also to wrap each section about as tightly as the next, or you'll end up with some very curly sections and some that are only loosely wavy.

Try the Mermade Hair Grip Clips for perfectly even results.

3. Don’t dry out your hair with heat damage

Heated tools dry out your hair, potentially causing it to break. To reduce the risk of hair damage, don't use a straightener on already-damaged hair, and apply heat for less than 5 seconds.

Invest in a high-quality straightener that applies well-controlled heat, such as the Silver Bullet Keratin 230 Ceramic Wide Plate Straightener . The floating Ceramic/Tourmaline plate design of this straightener allows it to glide easily through hair for straightforward and professional styling with minimal damage.

4. Protect your hair with a heat protectant 

Heated devices don't have to damage your hair. To reduce the risk of broken, split hair, always use a heat protectant.

Kérastase Résistance Ciment Thermique 150ml protects your hair from a range of styling tools, including straighteners and blow-dryers. This blow dry milk for extremely brittle hair helps to protect even the most weakened hair while leaving no residue on the hair. 

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

    Join Now >
    Filled with the usual things we know you'll love, and surprises you might not expect, it's real rewards, really simple.