Tutorial: Using a Wand Curling Iron (Plus 3 Easy-to-Achieve Looks)

They don't call it the magic wand for nothing!

Hair Types

Contrary to popular belief, using a curling wand isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be. Blame it on years of pre-conditioning: that great looks only came to those with expert YouTube-level skill, or a lot of moolah. And no shade on the curling iron, but there’s also something about a clamp-free tool that appeals to a lot of us twirl-and-go gals.

If you want more natural-looking, beachier waves, then the learning how to use a wand curling iron is imperative. The absence of a clamp makes hair form around the barrel more seamlessly. And although you can’t exactly tug and manipulate a wand with the same precision as a clamped iron, the hair also achieves a more natural twist around it, and achieves that defined S-formed spiral that’s a trademark of sexy waves and loose curls.

Scroll on to learn how to wield this “magic wand” like a pro:

Step 1

Blow-dry clean and prepped hair.

Ensure your hair is clean or free from residue, and spritz on a protective primer such as TRESemmé Repair and Protect 7 Pre-Styling Spray before going in with your blowdryer. Power-dry first, then refine as needed with a soft, round brush for a smooth base.

using a curling wand on clean hair
Step 2

Section hair.

Draw your hair back and up into sections for easier curling.

using a curling wand on fringe area
Step 3

Clip hair up.

Clamp the top half of your hair up and away from your face using duckbill or alligator clips. Give your lengths a final brush-through to free it of any knots or tangles.

using a curling wand per section
Step 4

Begin twirling.

A good tip for beginners: Start on the hardest-to-reach section, or those that are least visible — as your learning curve improves per section, you’ll end up with the best curls on the sides and hairline.

To curl, twirl 1 to 1.5″-wide sections of hair around the wand and hold for a few seconds. Wear the included glove if you’re not used to holding a heated barrel just yet! Release by gently sliding the wand out from under.

using a curling wand on the back sections
Step 5

Go in different directions.

You’ll probably end up doing this naturally anyway due to the angle you hold your wand, but try to go in different directions. This will help result in more natural-looking waves and give them a sexier, beachier spiral.

using a curling wand on the back sections
Step 6

Curl your remaining sections.

Continue curling the rest of your hair (first the bottom, then let down your top half), saving the sections around your hairline for last.

using a curling wand on all sections
Step 7

Finish with hair spray.

Finish with hairspray. Mist hair with a light coating of hairspray, such as Bed Head by TIGI Flexi Head Strong Flexible Hold Hairspray, for touchable hold and control.

using a curling wand with hairspray
Step 8


Give your curls a final zsuzh, and you’re all set!

*Tutorial photo credit: Faraz Essani Photography

using a curling wand final

1. Mermaid Waves

using a curling wand mermaid waves
Create a mermaid fantasy with these waves.

Get beach-inspired waves no matter the season with the help of your wand. To create this style using your curling wand, prep your hair with TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, then use a blowdryer to create volume at the crown of your hair. Take a section of hair close to your face, tilt your curling wand facing down and wrap your section around the wand while leaving the ends out. Continue this throughout the rest of your head and spritz with Dove Style + Care Strength and Shine Flexible Hold Hairspray.

2. Curly Pony

curling wand styles on a curly ponytail hairstyle
Give your ponytail an update with curly ends.

Gather your hair into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic. Take a section of your hair from your ponytail, then wrap it around your wand. Hold hair in place for a few seconds and then release. Continue to curl the rest of your ponytail, then brush through to create effortless-looking curls.

3. Loose Waves

using a curling wand loose waves
Loose waves are always a classic.

Fun, flirty styles like loose waves can be created on second- or third-day hair. To give your hair a refreshed look, spray with a dry shampoo like Love Beauty and Planet Water & Mimosa Flower Dry ShampooAdd your heat protectant, then use your wand to create loose waves throughout your hair. Pin your hair to the side to create your side-swept style.

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