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How to Use a Curling Iron Correctly

Learn how to use a curling iron correctly in this Howcast hair tutorial featuring celebrity hairstylist Jacqueline Bush.


My name is Jacqueline Bush and I'm an editorial in celebrity hairstyles. My clientele has included Faith Hill, Mark Ruffalo, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane Krakowski. I want to be able to show you that hair isn't as intimidating or as hard as you think it is and I want you be able to have fun with it and do what your vision is with your hair.

So now I'm going to show you how to use a curling iron. First thing that's really important is the tool that you're using. Mine has a rolling handle, I'm going to turn that to the lock position because normal people like yourself will not be using that; that's the professional way. But this iron itself is a great iron it's actually really cheap you can get it at your local beauty supply store, it's by Hot Tools and it is my favourite, favourite iron. You will see this - most hairstylists whether you're doing high end celebrity, editorial; most of them are using this iron - it's fantastic and it's cheap.

Very important - before you use any heat products on your hair - when I say heat products or really what I mean is heat tools, curling iron, flat iron even a blow dryer, you want to use a heat protector. What I have right now is something called Heat Glide by Redken. What it does is it's going to provide a barrier between the hair follicle and whatever tool I'm using on it. So you could see, and you probably will see, as I curl our models hair you'll probably see the product smoking off a little bit. That's a good thing because I know that I put the protector on and what it's doing is smoking off the product. If you're using a heat tool on your hair and your hair is smoking and you haven't used a heat protector product, you probably want to be concerned that your hair might be burning. In this situation it's actually not, I know what the smoke is but you know it's always important when you're using any kind of heat product, you want to keep the tool moving - in constant motion - if you let it sit that's what's going to dent the hair. You also want to be careful of how long you put it on the hair. Now this is the main difference in when you're getting that really pretty curl or getting that super straight.

Now, I've already actually put heat protector on our model's hair but what you want to start of using for her, she's got a lot of hair, so I actually - I'm going to show you - as you can see I've got, you know this product is pretty clear but I've got about three fingertips full for her hair. For my own hair, seeing how short it is, I probably just use one fingertip amount.

I start at the ends - the ends you want to start at because that's what gets the least amount of oil. You start at the ends, you work your way through the mid-shaft, now you could even put a little heat protector on before you start blow drying, you could do this after your hair is already dry - say the next day you want to use an iron on it you can defiantly do that; that's okay.

Getting those ends really good. You can then comb it through, I'm going to use a wide-toothed comb, the reason I'm doing that is just making sure that product is distributed evenly.

My iron is heating up. Now, this iron gets really hot okay? Do not touch this part unless it has the special glove which they do make now, they have the curling irons that you can use with a glove - those are fantastic and I think so great for people that get scared around the heat.

You're going to take your little section - I always silk the hair before I do whatever I'm going to do to it.

Silking the hair, what I mean by that is running the heat tool through the hair, as you see that was very quick, just like that it gives it enough heat - the hair actually feels hot to touch. What that's going to do is make this hair receptive to whatever I want to do with it.

So, we know we want to curl the hair - I'm going to show you actually on a section... we're going to do this section over here. How you'd base this section is on how big this iron is. This iron is an inch, so I can do her section an inch circumference and we can do it a little bit longer... it's about an inch all the way around.

I'm going to take that hair, I'm going to silk it through - not touching the iron. Now, to get a curl there's a couple of different things you can do - you can wrap it around the iron, you can even close it, you can wrap it around; you can keep your end out so you wont burn your fingers on that end. Now as I take that out, as you notice, I didn't put that on her face and I also didn't touch the iron. That gave it a little bit of a wave.

I'm going to show you another kind of curl. You can take the iron, silk it through and you can just curl the hair, leave it on for a few seconds. I'd probably leave my ends out if I were at home and didn't know how to use a curling iron because that's where we usually tend to burn ourselves, and what you can do is, I like the ends a little straighter anyway but what you can do is if the end's still a little straight, you can just curl the end afterwards.

There you go, so you keep working your way around the head and as you notice, the last thing I'm going to tell you is just when you curl it, if you want you can hold it for I would say no more than ten seconds.

Let that out... the last thing I'm going to say is just let these curls cool. If you start raking your fingers through the curl now what it's going to do is stretch out that curl - you see how it's already getting straighter and straighter? So you want to just let that dry completely, sorry, cool completely. Once it does you can run your fingers through it giving it a little more natural texture and that's how you use a curling iron.

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