How to curl hair with a flat iron: A complete guide

Amra | 14 November 2016

Think learning how to curl with a flat iron is impossible? Prepare to be pleasantly surprised…

When head-turning pictures of curly hairstyles flood your feed, it’s only natural that you want to get in on the action. But when you don’t have a curling wand or heated rollers to hand, achieving pretty curls might seem impossible. News flash: you can learn how to curl hair with a flat iron, instead!

If this mind-blowing revelation has got you wondering how to curl hair with a straightener, you’ll be very pleased to know we’re here to help! Yep, not only are we going to show you how to curl your hair with a flat iron, but we’re also going to show you how to create 5 genius hairstyles — bonus!

How to curl with a flat iron: 5 new ways to use your straightener


model with big, glamorous curls - how to curl your hair with a flat iron
Ooze elegance with Hollywood-worthy curls. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Classic curls

Glamorous, red carpet-worthy curls never fail to turn heads, yet without a curling tong to get them, you may be at a loss for how to achieve the look (sigh!). But not for much longer…

How to get the look:

1. Mist your mane with a heat protectant, like the TRESemmé Heat Defence Spray, all over your strands to help keep them safe while using your heated styling tools.

2. Start by taking a section of hair (roughly 2-3 inches), and clamp your straightener about a third of the way down. Turn the section of hair back on itself and slowly run the straightener down the length of the strands.

3. Continue this process on your entire head, until you’ve achieved pretty coils. Then, give your freshly created ringlets a once over with TRESemmé Runway Collection Make Waves Creation Hairspray to help seal in this shimmering style. See? You did it, you total movie star!

model with loose wavy curls wearing pink shirt - how to curl hair with a flat iron tutorial
Choose loose, undone curls for an pretty everyday look.

Loose curls

If classic curls feel too polished for the casual, off-duty model look you want, then learning how to curl with a flat iron with this nifty technique will totally help!

How to get the look:

1. Start by spritzing your hair all over with the TRESemmé Heat Defence Spray.

2. To create this cool-girl look, you’ll need to follow a twirl-and-pull method! So, take 1-2 inches of hair and place your straightener halfway down your hair shaft.

3. Then, in an outward movement, twirl the straightener away from your face and gently glide it downwards. Continue this process on your entire head.

Tip: Don’t want your curls to look overly ‘done’? Just leave the ends untouched and separating them with your fingers, for a more relaxed look.

4. Finish off with some TRESemmé Perfectly Undone Ultra-Brushable Hairspray, to give your off-duty style tonnes of staying power. And just like that, you’re all done!

model with purple hair and short beachy waves - how to curl with a flat iron tutorial
Getting beach waves with a straightener is easier than you think. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Beach waves: Part 1

With summer ready to burst onto the scene any day now, you may be wondering how to curl your hair with a flat iron to get holiday-inspired beachy waves. Luckily, we have you well and truly covered.

How to get the look:

1. After using a heat-protectant spray, feed your hair through your flat iron, fold it backwards and hold in place for few seconds. Now fold the hair forward in the opposite direction, again holding for a couple of seconds. This will create a loose, natural U-shaped beach wave.

2. Repeat the process on your entire head.

3. To mimic the look and feel sea-soaked strands, you’ll need to add some texture to your mane. So mist the Toni&Guy Sea Salt Spray all over, before running your fingers through your hair. Easy-peasy and not a patch of sand in sight!

long blonde and brown hair with beach waves - how to curl hair with a flat iron tutorial
Cheat your way to beachy waves with the braiding method. Credit: Kristen Soileau

Beach waves: Part 2

Stuck on time yet still yearn for beach-perfect hair? Don’t fret: this quick braiding method has got your back!

How to get the look:

1. After using some heat styling spray on dry hair, separate your strands into 6 equal sections.

2. Next, braid each section (a simple 3-strand plait will do), then take your straightener and run it over the braids, one by one. It’s crucial that you start all the way at the top of the braid and work your way down, making sure to hold it in place for about 10 seconds.

Tip: If you want to really amp up the wave factor, you can spritz each section with some sea salt spray before plaiting.

3. When you reach the ends of the plait, use your straightener to curl the tips, so the waves seamlessly blend together.

4. Now time for the fun part: undo your woven strands and shake out your hair! Use your fingers to loosen waves and you’re all done. Who knew learning how to curl with a flat iron could be this easy!

model with long blonde hair and crimped waves - how to curl with a flat iron tutorial
Crimped hair is offically back – and you can get it using your straighteners. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Crimped hair

Love crimped hairstyles but don’t want to look like you’ve just time-travelled from the ‘90s? Don’t fret, as this wavy look has been given a modern update. Think of it as the chicer, younger cousin of the retro-tastic style.

How to get the look:

1. Plait an inch section of hair and create a single, 3-strand braid. Then take your straightener and run it slowly down the plait.

Editor’s tip: Want to ramp up the volume of your crimps? Apply the VO5 Volume Mousse to your damp hair before you begin braiding, then blowdry it in to ensure your curls don’t end up sticky.

2. Repeat the action with the rest of your hair, making sure to run your flat iron from top to bottom.

3. Then unravel the braids, et voila! Now, all you need to do is find an awesome party to rock your new, playful ‘do at!


We hope you enjoyed learning how to curl your hair with a flat iron – it wasn’t as hard as you though, was it? And now you’re a pro, you’ll probably want to check out our Curly Hairstyles page, to see what other looks you can master!


Unilever uses cookies to give you the best experience online and to provide anonymised, aggregated site usage data. You can find out what cookies we use, what they do and how you can disable them in our Cookie Policy. By browsing our sites, you consent to use cookies. By closing this message, you consent to our use of cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them.