How to Create the Curl You Crave Using Wand Curls

All about that #ClampFreeLife.

Ready to add some curl in your life? Then, it’s about time you tried using wand curls. We love curling wands because they give a looser, more lived-in curl, which is a curly look that’s totally hot this year. Our curling wand tips will help guide you through using your iron, as we’ve got all the little tricks up our sleeves for making sure you get the best style ever. Read on to learn our best curling wand tips:

How to Use a Curling Wand: Our Top Tips

1. Start with day-old hair

This is one of those often-mentioned tricks that really works. If, for whatever reason your hair is a little bit oily, it tends to hold a curl much better. Keep this in mind if you have hard-to-curl hair! Just make sure you brush your hair through with a boar-bristle brush to distribute all the oil before curling. If your hair it looks a little limp after you’re done styling, use some dry shampoo like Bed Head By TIGI Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo to refresh your roots.


2. Next up: protection

Before you ever heat style your hair, you need some protection. Spritz hair all over with some TRESemmé Get Sleek Heat Protection Spray for a shiny, protected styling experience. Tip: You’ll want to make sure it dries before curling your hair to avoid “hot spots.”


3. Curl vertically for curlicues.

Have you ever seen those photos that show different curling wand tips on how to wrap your hair around the barrel? Those are cool and all, but the angle you hold the wand is almost more important. You want to keep your angle the same over your whole head to get a uniform look. But, on top of that, the angle will change the look of your curls. Straight up and down? That will give you uniform ringlets. Sideways? A more structured wave.

4. Curl horizontally for voluminous waves.

For bodacious bombshell waves, hold the curling wand totally horizontally. This encourages your waves to look larger and more voluminous. Oh, and on top of that, if you follow our next two curling wand tips, you’ll get perfect mermaid hair. Promise.

5. The bigger the barrel, the wavier the curl.

If your goal is big waves, go for a big barrel. Sure, you can achieve a larger curl from a 1-inch curling wand. But when waves are the goal, the bigger the better when it comes to barrel size. Start with a 2-inch barrel for your best bet.

6. Curl lower on the head.

To get a cool (not kiddish) look, start your curls lower; you don’t need to start curling all the way up by your roots. Instead start curing your hair around ear height. This leaves your roots mostly straight, and your lengths curly. Doing this achieves a fresh, modern look. Then add more grit, if that’s your thing, with a sea salt spray. Shake through for texture.

7. The ponytail trick

If you have thin-ish hair, you can curl it in just under five minutes. Yes, we’re totally serious! Start by pulling your hair into a high ponytail. This prevents you from curling your roots (which basically nails our previous curling wand tip all on its own). Then, just curl the ends and lengths of your ponytail. That’s it! You’ll have to hold your hair on the barrel a few seconds longer, but it’s overall a much faster way to curl.

How to Curl Your Hair with Wand For Your Hair Length

The next hurdle is figuring out which iron is best for your hair length: The size or width of the curling barrel can either make or break a look, as you’ve probably experienced via numerous trial and error sessions yourself. However, not only is it impractical to splurge on different barrel sizes as your hair grows out, it is also unnecessary once you know the basic tricks of the trade to oomphing up each hair length.

short hair curling wand brown bob
Short hair gets some street smarts with some loose, rumpled texture. Photo credit: Dvora

Short Hair

Tousled curls are a dynamic way to break up the monotony of a bob or short haircut by introducing some volume and movement into the look—not to mention give natural textures a break from the flat iron. Start with washing your strands with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner, then prep your strands with a thermal protectant afterwards. Blow­-dry until your hair is damp (meaning, not wet—hair risks sizzling and frying out otherwise) and section off using some darby or alligator clips. Starting with the bottom sections on each side, wind hair around a curling wand or iron, ensuring strands are wrapped flat, and not bunched up, on the wand surface. Leave around an inch free at the bottom of each section. You can even experiment with twirling in different directions for a sexy, carefree feel. Repeat on all sections and mist with a light hairspray such as TRESemmé TRES TWO Ultra Fine Mist Hairspray 12” away from your head for a cute, swingy result.

wand curls light brown hair
Medium hair can afford wispy, romantic waves without losing much length. Photo credit:

Medium-­Length Hair

Messy, cool­-girl waves has been making its way to the limelight with medium­ or shoulder-length hair. These louche­y waves work rather well with second­-day hair, and after a tiny dusting of dry shampoo at your roots for a quick refresh, all it takes is a spritz of heat protectant such as TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray and you’re good to go. Using your ears as a reference starting point, twirl hair around the barrel from the mid-length to tip, respectively. Don’t stress about getting each section uniformly curled; on the contrary, a more random, relaxed finish is what you’re aiming for. Lightly brush out each section after you’re done, then spray some hairspray onto your hands and and refine each tendril with your fingers as needed.

wand curls to create loose curls
A curling wand gives long hair some sexy, glossy, bendy waves. Photo credit:

Long Hair

A lot more length means a lot more volume is allowed. Long hair looks its best with full­-on sexy curls—no need to shy away from drama here. To start, prep hair with a blow-dry primer like Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Volumizing Weightless Blow Dry Spray for some traction and start sectioning off your locks. Starting with your bottom sections, twirl hair around a curling wand or iron, this time making sure you twist away from your face—this opens up your features and brightens your overall countenance, imparting that glamorous bombshell vibe. Using the top-­to-bottom curl method as with medium-­length hair, make sure to twist the entire length of the shaft, from ear-­length to tip. Gently finger-­separate the sections once you’re all done just to soften each tendril, then flip hair over for added va­-va-­voom and set with a light, brushable hairspray such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Comb Thru Finishing Mist for good measure.

How to Curl your Hair with a Wand to Get Gorgeous Loose Waves

Step 1: Choose your curling wand.

Curling wands are fabulous tools for more than one reason due to their shape and the fact that without a clamp, they don’t create unsightly creases that are pretty much inevitable with regular curling irons. What’s more, the universal tool allows you to create everything from tight curls to super loose waves based on the way you twist your hair around the barrel. When it comes to bouncy flowing waves, simply choose a curling wand wider than 1″. Since we’re huge advocates of hair health, we recommend looking for a wand made out of ceramic or tourmaline as these materials are known to be safest for your locks.

Step 2: Prep your hair.

Before you begin styling your hair, we recommend nourishing it with an ultra moisturizing, curl-prone combo like the TRESemmé Flawless Curls Shampoo and TRESemmé Flawless Curls Conditioner, in order to target the driest patches of hair so that your curls will be full of life and shine. After you towel dry your hair, add in some of the Dove Curls Defining Mousse to set the stage for your look, not only will the product boost your curls, but it will smooth your cuticle too which will lead to a more polished headful of waves. After applying the mousse, allow your hair to air dry a bit longer and follow it up with a few spritzes of a heat protectant product and a few minutes under the hair dryer. It’s absolutely essential to make sure that your hair is fully dry before you begin curling, otherwise you will create a lot of unnecessary and unwanted damage to your tresses.


TRESemmé Flawless Curls Shampoo


TRESemmé Flawless Curls Conditioner

Step 4: Select your heat.

Now that you hair is dry, you’re ready to curl. Start by plugging your curling wand in so that it can preheat while you section your hair off for styling. To shy on the side of caution, start by selecting the lowest heat on the wand. Once you begin curling your hair, if the curl keeps falling out, it’s safe to assume you can amp up the heat a bit in order to achieve a lasting look. This often happens with super thick hair because it tends to require a bit more heat to lock in the look.

Although the subtraction of the clamp means less crimped hair, it also means a much higher possibility of burning yourself while wrapping your hair around the barrel. That said, for your first couple attempts, it might be a good idea to use the handy glove that accompanies most curling wands.

Step 5: Start curling.

Once you’re ready to begin curling, pick a section and simply wrap your hair at the base of the iron and move towards the tip. To set the curl all you have to do is hold the wand in place for a few seconds, but not longer than five to seven to avoid burning your hair. When curling, your iron should be on its end so that the base is higher up on your head and the tapered point is more towards the ends. By focusing your curling wand in this position, it will allow for a more natural curl pattern.

Step 6: Shake out your curls.

After curling your whole head of hair, flip your head over and shake it out. And just like that, #CurlMagic.

Now, we know you’re going to love, love, LOVE your waves, but it’s important to never overdo it with heat. That said, when you use your curling wand but want to make the look last, simply refresh your hair with a little dry shampoo like Dove Volume and Fullness Dry Shampoo.


You know how to use curling wand but want to get a better handle on how to use it on longer hair? Check out our article, how to use a curling wand on all hair lengths..