Have you ever wondered how you see some women first thing in the morning and they just look so… well, perfect? We’ll let you in on a little secret: It didn’t take them that long to get that way—or at least not as long as you think. Gone are the days of having to get yourself ready three hours before you need to leave the house (because, c’mon). Chances are if they’re anything like us regular, impatient, busy folk with important things to do by 9 a.m., they were up and out the door in less than an hour. The sell: a certain mastery of hairstyling, like some key flat iron techniques, that can spell the difference between frumpy and fab.
I’ll caveat this by saying that none of these tricks are exactly groundbreaking, but what may be any given weekday for some might be a life-changing experience for others. I for one am more of a blowdry-and-done kinda gal, and trust when I say that these gave me much more confidence to switch up my everyday glam. Scroll on:
3 Quick Flat Iron Techniques to Master
1. The Straight Pull
Best for: poker-straight, paparazzi-shiny hair
Ever see those celebs on the red carpet with insanely lush, waist-long hair? Well, apart from having to weft in some hair extensions, the only way to get that impeccable sleekness is with a flat iron—yes, even if your locks are already straight to begin with.
Start on clean, freshly washed hair (we like the radiance and smoothness we get from S Factor by TIGI Diamond Dreams Shampoo and Conditioner). Towel-dry, then prep with a heat protectant-and-styler in one, like S Factor by TIGI Flat Iron Shine Spray. Next, power-dry with a blowdryer till hair is around 85 percent dry, then section off hair into top and bottom sections and clip the top up to start.
Beginning with your bottom sections, take a paper-thin strip of hair and clamp it between the flat iron tongs at the spot nearest (but not touching) your scalp that you’re most comfortable with (Ed’s tip: The closer the better, but a few centimeters from your roots is your safest bet). Tug hair downwards firmly and carefully, avoiding letting the tongs stay on one spot for more than a second—you’ll create dents in your hair or worse, actually risk singeing your hair off. Repeat on all bottom sections, then let down your top sections. Brush hair thoroughly to detangle, then create your desired part first before straightening the rest of your hair. Want more guidance? Check out our straightening tutorial.
2. The Twist-and-Tug
Best for: Beachy, spirally curls
One of the most common flat iron techniques is the twist-and-tug method. This is actually a styling hack used by women to create curls without using a curling iron (hey, some just want one tool to rule ’em all!). Also, a flat iron renders a slightly different curl than a curling wand—the former is bendier and a bit messier than curling-iron curls, which gives us those covetable, chunky, blogger-like waves.
Start on hair that’s been washed and dried with a wave-encouraging system, like TRESemmé Perfectly (un)Done Shampoo and Conditioner. Towel-dry and prep with a texturizing spray, like Suave Professionals Sea Mineral Infusion Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, then blow-dry till hair is 90% dry. Section hair into top and bottom halves and clip the top half up.
For fuller, spirally curls, take a thin 1/2-inch section of hair and clamp it between your heated flat iron tongs. Close the tongs, and then twist hair around the outside of the closed tongs for one full turn. Then gently tug the hair slowly through until the entire section passes through the clamp.
For beachier, messier waves, the flat iron techniques are a bit different. Tug hair through a bit quicker for looser, more wave-like ringlets instead of a full spiral. Check out our step-by-step tutorial.
3. The Tap-and-Crimp
Best for: Crimped, 1970s-inspired bends
Want a more unique curl than that Insta-glam look? Go for a tap-and-crimp. After washing and prepping hair with your heat protectant/styling agent of choice, dry hair with a blowdryer. Next, part hair down the middle (for that legit ’70s feel!) from forehead to nape.
Starting with one side, take a small section of hair between your forefinger and middle finger, slide your fingers slightly down the strip of hair, and then pull the hair towards your head, creating a slight “C” bend. Then lightly open and close the flat iron tongs, tapping them onto this short “c”-bent length of hair, effectively crimping it. Slide your fingers further down an inch, pull hair towards you, and then tap. Repeat till you see an S-like bend forming, and continue till a few inches from the ends for a more relaxed look. Repeat till all sections are crimped.