Hair Care

9 Curling Iron Mistakes You’re Making (+How to Avoid Them)

Let’s talk about the curling iron mistakes you might be making.

Curling irons have become an essential tool in our hairstyling arsenal, giving us the power to create those gorgeous, bouncy curls at home. Whether you’re a casual user or a seasoned pro, the chances are that you’re making at least one of these common mistakes with a curling iron.

But, overlooking these mistakes can result in less-than-stellar curls, damaged hair, or even burns.

But have no fear… in this guide, we’ll look into the most common errors, why they’re detrimental, and most importantly, how to avoid them.

Let’s uncoil the mystery and set the record straight with these curling iron mistakes you’re probably making.

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Discover the common curling iron mistakes that can ruin your locks and learn expert tips to achieve flawless curls.

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#1. Choosing the Wrong Curling Iron

Choosing the right curling iron is the first step toward achieving those perfect, envy-worthy curls.

A common mistake is to select an iron based on what your friend uses or what you saw in a YouTube tutorial without considering your specific hair type and needs.

Curling irons come in various barrel sizes and materials, each suited to different hair types and desired curl styles. Smaller barrels, for instance, create tight, defined curls, while larger ones are perfect for big, loose waves.

Material-wise, ceramic irons distribute heat evenly and are great for fine, delicate hair. On the other hand, titanium irons heat up faster and are more durable, making them ideal for thick, coarse hair.

The key is to understand your hair type, consider the look you’re going for, and choose a curling iron accordingly. Remember, the wrong curling iron can lead to subpar results and potential hair damage.

Make the right choice, and you’re halfway to curling perfection!

#2. Not Prepping Your Hair

Believe it or not, one of the biggest curling iron mistakes is not preparing your hair correctly before curling.

This one is crucial for achieving those long-lasting, shiny curls. Just like a painter wouldn’t do work on a dirty canvas, your hair should be clean and dry before using a curling iron.

Starting with dirty hair can cause the iron to stick, resulting in a less smooth curl and potential breakage.
To prep your hair, start with a clarifying shampoo to remove any built-up oils and product residue. Follow up with a hydrating conditioner to nourish your hair and keep it healthy.

Once your hair is clean, let it air dry naturally or blow dry on a low heat setting. Some experts even suggest using a volumizing mousse or root lift spray to give your hair extra body and hold.

The goal is to have clean, dry, and untangled hair before you even turn on the iron. This simple step can make a huge difference in your curling results, so don’t skip it!

#3. Curling Your Hair When It’s Wet

A really common misconception is that curling your hair when damp will hold the curl better… but in reality, it’s one of the biggest curling iron mistakes you can make.

Not only will the curl not hold, but you also risk severely damaging your hair.

Applying heat to wet hair can lead to “bubble hair” – a condition where water trapped inside the hair shaft heats up and forms tiny bubbles, making hair brittle and susceptible to breakage.

Always remember, curls love dry hair!

And always use a heat protectant spray before applying heat to your hair. This extra step will save your hair from unnecessary damage and give your curls a smooth, shiny finish.

#4. Holding the Iron in One Place for Too Long

It’s common to think that the longer you hold the curling iron in one place, the better the curl. But this mistake can lead to excessive heat exposure, damaging your hair and making it dry and brittle.

For most hair types, a 5 to 10-second period is sufficient to create a lasting curl.

If you don’t get the desired curl in this time frame, you might be using the wrong temperature setting or barrel size.

By being mindful of the time, you can achieve beautiful, bouncy curls without compromising the health of your hair.

#5. Not Sectioning Your Hair

Another big error is failing to section your hair before curling.

This can lead to uneven curls, missed strands, and an overall messy look. Sectioning your hair allows you to work with manageable pieces, ensuring that every strand gets the attention it deserves.

Start by dividing your hair into three sections: the lower bottom layer, the middle layer, and the top layer.

Pin the top two sections up and start curling from the bottom layer, working your way upwards. This makes the process more manageable and helps create a more voluminous, natural look as the curls lay on top of each other.

Also, be sure to keep sections around 1-2 inches wide – any larger, and the heat might not penetrate all the hair properly, leading to loose and inconsistent curls.

Remember, the key to perfect curls is patience and precision, so take your time to work through all sections for a stunning, head-turning result.

#6. Using the Wrong Temperature

A frequently overlooked curling iron mistake is using the wrong temperature.

The temperature setting can significantly influence the outcome of your curls and the health of your hair.

Too high of a temperature can cause severe heat damage, resulting in dry, brittle strands and split ends. On the other hand, a temperature that’s too low may not effectively curl your hair, leaving you with lackluster results.

To avoid this, choosing a temperature suitable for your specific hair type is essential.

  • Fine or damaged hair should be curled at a lower temperature, typically between 200-300°F (93-149°C).
  • Medium-textured hair can usually tolerate a moderate temperature of around 300-350°F (149-177°C).
  • Coarse or thick hair may require a higher temperature, anywhere from 350-450°F (177-232°C).

Remember, start with the lowest recommended temperature for your hair type, and gradually increase if necessary. Many modern curling irons come with adjustable temperature settings to easily control the heat level.

By curling your hair at the correct temperature, you’ll achieve beautiful curls while minimizing the risk of heat damage.

#7. Not Letting the Curls Cool Down

A sometimes-neglected step in the curling process is allowing your curls to cool down properly, which can affect the longevity and shape of your curls.

Hot curls are still malleable and can easily lose their form. By letting them cool down, you’re allowing the cuticle to close and the curl to set, ensuring that it holds its shape for longer.

After releasing the curl from the iron, hold it in your hand for a few seconds until it cools down. You can even clip the curl up while it cools for a more defined and longer-lasting curl.

Once all your hair has been curled and cooled, gently run your fingers or a wide-tooth comb through it to break up the curls and give them a more natural look.

Remember, patience is key! Investing a bit more time in the cooling step will reward you with gorgeous, long-lasting curls.

#8. Skipping Hair Spray or Setting Products

Another curling iron mistake that can lead to short-lived or lackluster curls is skipping on the hair spray or other setting products.

These products add hold to your hair, ensuring the curls stay intact and voluminous throughout the day. By bypassing this step, your curls may lose their bounce and shape faster, especially in humid conditions or throughout daily activities.

After you’ve curled and cooled your hair, finish with a light mist of hairspray. Consider using a setting lotion or mousse, depending on your hair type and the look you’re trying to achieve.

Be sure not to overdo it, though – too much can make your hair stiff or sticky. Apply it evenly and sparingly for best results.

Also, remember to choose a hairspray or setting product that suits your hair type.

For fine hair, a lightweight, volumizing hairspray can add much-needed lift without weighing down your curls. For thicker, coarser hair, you might need something with a stronger hold.

By incorporating a setting product into your curling routine, you can extend the life of your curls and achieve a more polished final look.

#9. Not Cleaning Your Curling Iron Regularly

How often do you honestly clean your hot tools? This step is often overlooked. But just like any other heat-styling tool, your curling iron needs a good clean every once in a while.

Over time, product buildup from hairspray, heat protectant, and other styling aids can accumulate on the barrel. This affects the iron’s performance, causing uneven heat distribution and damaging your hair by creating hot spots that overheat and burn your strands.

To keep your curling iron in top shape, clean it after every few uses. Allow the iron to cool completely, then gently wipe down the barrel with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Be sure to remove all traces of product residue. If there’s stubborn buildup, a soft toothbrush can help dislodge it. Remember to dry the iron thoroughly before storing it away.

Regular cleaning of your curling iron enhances its performance and prolongs its lifespan, ensuring that you can continue to create those coveted, bouncing curls for many years to come.

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Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts Icon

Mastering the curling iron goes beyond knowing how to wrap your hair around a barrel. It includes understanding and avoiding these common curling iron mistakes.

Remember, using the right products in the correct order, selecting the appropriate temperature for your hair type, allowing your curls to cool down, and regularly cleaning your curling iron can make all the difference in achieving those perfect, long-lasting curls.

It’s all about patience, practice, and care for your hair. With these tips, you’re well on your way to becoming a curling iron pro, ready to create beautiful, bouncy curls with ease and confidence. Happy curling!

Until next time,


Your Turn: Do you make some of these curling iron mistakes without even realizing it? Are there any other common mistakes I should add to this list? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

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Last update on 2023-08-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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