Tutorial: How to Curl Short Hair Professionally at Home

Curling iron, flat iron... or both? Master the tricks to curling short hair with both a wand and a flat iron to amp up your regimen. #skillz

Hair dresser adding waves to short hair using a flat ironer

Are you searching for a tutorial on how to curl short hair? You’ve come to the right place. Most hairstyles out there might seem pretty democratic, but it’s no secret that longer-haired girls typically have the lion’s share of styles to play with. This is particularly obvious when you’re talking about the ultimate trifecta: braids, waves, and curls. Not to say that those with shorter locks can’t join in on the fun. Short hair can actually lend itself to a myriad of styling options.

Keep scrolling to find out how to easily curly short hair with a traditional curling iron and flat iron.

How to Curl Short Hair Quick and Easy

When it comes to curling short hair, locks that can make a full revolution (and then some) around a wand are generally considered easier to curl. These lengths are long enough to form—and hold—a style, and bonus, actually look extra-cute and fresh with a bit of texture rather than when just worn straight. If you’re looking to change up your short hairdo with some fun, flirty curls, look no further than our simple guide below on curling short hair with a wand and a flat iron.


Start with freshly washed hair.

Clean hair usually means fuller-looking, bouncier locks. Cleanse with a system that helps impart fullness and nourishment without weighing hair down (especially if your strands are fine, thinning, or aging). Power-dry with a blowdryer until at least 90 percent dry.

how to create curls in dirty blonde short hair start fresh

Begin curling the front sections.

Spray your hair with some heat protectant, like TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray. Then, use a 1 1/4″ curling iron barrel, begin twirling around sections of hair near your front hairline. Ed’s tip: When you curl very short hair, a modern, slightly tousled look is more youthful. Achieve by twirling hair in different directions.


a picture of a woman curling her blonde short hair

Continue until all sections are curled.

Keep curling the rest of your sections, and don’t stress if they’re slightly uneven. The chunkier and more disheveled, the sexier.

how to create curls in short hair dirty blonde curl all over

Muss up the roots with your fingers.

Gently shake out the curls after you’re done to loosen the ringlets. Tip: Shake up the root area to create some lift. Then leave as is and finish with some hairspray, such as Dove Style+Care Strength and Shine Flexible Hold Hairspray, or deck it out with a flirty hair accessory like a headband or sparkly comb. Anything goes!


how to create curls in short hair gently shake out curls

How to Curl Short Hair With a Flat Iron

Learning how to curl short hair with a flat iron can be tricky at first—learning how to use this tool in a new way can take a minute. However, once you master it, you’ll only need one hot tool for all of your styling needs!

Follow these instructions to get an effortless curl via a straightener. Remember, curling hair with a flat iron will take some practice, so keep on trying until you master the technique.

how to curl short hair with a flat iron
How to curl short hair with a flat iron? Master the twist.

1. Choose your tool.

When curling short hair with a flat iron or any tool for that matter, the size of both your sections and the iron are the most important factors. You’ll want your flat iron to be high-quality with ceramic plates too. Try to find one that is between 1/2″ to 1″ in width. If you have short hair, like a pixie cut, stick to a narrower width. If your hair is any longer than your ears, you can go wider than that.

2. Prep your hair.

Even though short hair tends to be less damaged (all those regular trims!), you’ll still need to protect your strands, especially if you choose to heat style or curl very short hair several times a week. Fending off heat damage is as simple as spritzing on a heat protection spray. Mist an even layer all over hair, and comb through to avoid any “hot spots” of spray on your heating tools.

3. Section your hair.

Even on short hair, it’s super helpful to section locks off evenly. You may need to get alligator or duckbill clips to secure your sections: These clips can catch strands really well and won’t slip or leave dents. You will probably only need to section off two layers, i.e., the top and bottom halves of your hair; sectioning makes it easier when it comes to curling short hair.

4. Twist your strands.

Starting with the bottom half of your hair first, it’s time to start curling! Usually, the bottom half of your hair will be pretty short, so do your best to add in bends to tie the look in with the longer top half. Take 1″-inch-or-so sections of hair, clamp each between the flat iron, then twist outwards as you gently tug it downwards.

5. Keep on curling short hair with a flat iron.

When you’ve finished the bottom section, unclip the top half of your hair. Find your part first, so you can figure out how to curl hair efficiently on the top half and to determine how your curls will lie. Repeat the curling steps, and be extra careful when curling short hair with a flat iron on the top half: The hair is not only more visible, but you’re also working closer to your scalp!

6. Shake it out and style it.

Once you’ve curled your whole head of hair, it’s time to shake it out! Ruffle up your curls and separate them with your fingers for fun, beachy look. Style your hair however you like from here: Wear it down, add a fun clip, or try a headband! When your look is complete, set your style with some hairspray, or a texture spray, like Suave Dry Texture Finishing Spray.

That’s it! Remember that practice makes perfect – keep working on those curling skills, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

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