how to curl short hair with a flat iron

How To Curl Short Hair With A Flat Iron In 8 Easy Steps | Expert Curls With Just A Straightener!

Don't have a curler handy? No problem. Read to know how to curl short hair with a flat iron easily!

Most people with straight hair often wish they had curly or wavy hair when they see how much easier it is for people with curly or wavy hair to get the hairstyle they wish to have. Are you one of those people? 

Or maybe you just come under the category of people who love to experiment with their hair and try out different styles.

Well, there are times when we want to get our hair curled but only own a flat iron and do not want to invest in curling iron right away. Then, here’s what you can do! Curl your hair using a flat iron!

Related: How To Straighten Hair With Flat Iron

Related: Best Hair Straightener For Short Hair

Yes, flat irons do work for “curling” of hair and you can try it out today with these simple steps.

So if you’re a person with short hair and own a flat iron, this read is perfect for you! So go, try it out and get those curls today!

How to Curl Short Hair with a Flat Iron

Before I get started on my little tutorial on how to curl short hair with a flat iron, you'll have to make sure you have the following items handy.

Things you will need:

  • A flat iron or hair straightener
  • A hair brush
  • Hair clips or bobby pins
  • Heat protectant hair spray
  • Hair fixing spray or gel

Step 1: Wash your hair to remove dirt and grease

how to flat iron short hair for volume

This step can be considered as the prep before you begin the process.

If you are one of those people who use a lot of hair styling products, then this step would be ideal.

Working with product free and clean hair will make the process easier while it will also help keep your flat iron clean and prevent product buildup on the plates.

Once you’ve washed your hair how you normally would, use a good conditioner and let your hair dry out naturally. 

This method would be ideal if you have time on your hands, but if you are in a hurry, you could also skip this step and cut right to the chase or should I say cut right to the curls! 

Step 2: Comb your hair out and make it free from tangles

how to curl hair with a straightener for beginners

As part of prepping your hair to style it, detangling your hair is very important. 

Because once you curl your hair, combing it out to get rid of the tangles after, will only mess up your curls and your effort will go down the drain. 

So start off with detangling your hair and begin to work on tangle free hair.

Step 3: Use a heat protectant spray to protect against damage

how to curl hair with a straightener by yourself

So finally, here comes the process. This step is very important not just when using a flat iron, but for any time you use any heat treatment on your hair (be it a flat iron, hair dryer, curling iron etc). 

Spritz a heat protectant spray (of any brand of your choice) all over your hair, before you begin to style it.

The heat protectant spray acts as a protective barrier between your hair and the heated plates of the flat iron.

It helps to lock in moisture in the hair strand and protects the hair from the heat damage like dry hair, split ends and frizzy hair caused by using heat controlled styling tools for the hair.

Spray the heat protectant spray all over your hair (not on the scalp) and comb your hair out to evenly coat your hair with the spray and wait for a few minutes before you start the styling process.

Step 4: Section your hair into parts

how to curl your hair with a flat iron

There are two ways to do this based on how you’d like your curls to sit

Method 1: Leave your hair as it is and work with only vertical sections part by part.

This method is useful for people with short hair up to the nape of your neck.

Method 2: For this method, you will have to partition your hair horizontally, meaning, partitioning your hair into two sections, one which holds up the upper portion of your hair over your ears and then the other, that has the lower half of your hair below your ears. 

The second method is useful for people with short hair reaching the shoulder level.

Step 5: Begin to curl your hair using your flat iron

how to curl your hair with a flat iron

Start off with working on small sections of your hair working your way inwards, doing the hair at the sides of your face first.

Clamping down the hair straightener very close to the scalp can make you burn yourself. So if you wish to have your curls right from the top of your hair be careful. 

If you have shoulder length hair and wish to have your curls only from half way along the length of your hair, then start off by clamping down your hair with the flat iron lower, as per your desired length.

Once the flat iron is clamped down gently twist the flat iron to a 180° turn (turning it away from your face), holding it in place for a few seconds.

It is better to repeat this process a couple of times to get the desired look, rather than clamping it down for too long under the heat, as it can ruin your hair

Then, slowly tug downwards towards the end of your hair. Repeat this process until you get the desired curl/wave.

Then similarly, work with the next portion of your hair (remember that every section has to have the same volume of hair). 

how to curl your hair with a flat iron

The key to getting the perfect curls is maintaining alternative section direction changes. 

This means that you will have to rotate the flat iron to a 180° turn again, but in the opposite direction of the first section.

Which means that you will have to twist the flat iron inwards towards your face, whilst the first section was twisting it away from your face.

Follow this pattern of alternatively changing twisting directions for each section of hair that you are styling until you have completely styled all your hair. 

This alternative styling pattern will make the curls/waves look more pronounced and voluminous, giving your hair the perfect bounce.

Step 6: Finish off by using a fixing spray or serum

There are two ways you can do this

Method 1: If you have a fixing spray then you can spray it all over your hair once you’re done with the curling process and let it sit, in order to hold your curls in place.

Method 2: For those who do not have a fixing spray, you can use even a hair fixing gel.

All you need to do is, rub a pea-sized amount between your palms and gently run it over your hair (make sure not to be too harsh, as the curls will get ruined), to let the hair stand perfectly in place.

Step 7: Gently run your fingers through the curls

This step can be done using just your fingers (avoid using a comb as it will ruin the curls). This step is just to help separate the curls, so be very gentle while running your fingers through your hair.

Step 8: Push your hair upward to get the perfect bounce

This step is simple and you can achieve that perfect look and it will add that voluminous bounce to your hair.

Once you have separated the curls with your fingertips, use both your hands to gently push the whole volume of your hair upwards right from the tips. You can do this a couple of times.

Tips for curling your hair with a flat iron

If you wish to have more curls/waves, then you will require to work with smaller sections of hair at a time, while following the alternative direction change styling method.

If you wish to have fewer curls, then follow the alternative direction change styling technique, but working with bigger sections of hair.

For those who are using ‘Method 2’ of hair partitioning mentioned in ‘Step 4’, it is recommended that you work with styling the bottom half of your horizontally partitioned hair first and once it has been completely styled, let down the top section and style that next.

 The ideal temperature setting to achieve these curls is around 360°. 

It is recommended that you do not increase the temperature higher than this, as this technique requires your hair to be clamped down by the flat iron.

You’ll need to hold this position for a few seconds, which means that too high temperatures can burn or damage your hair.

Will curling short hair with flat iron lead to damage

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to curl short hair with a flat iron without causing damage? It's a common concern among those with shorter locks, and the answer is not straightforward.

While it is possible to create gorgeous curls using a flat iron, the result may not be worth the damage done to your hair. Curling short hair with a flat iron is actually quite easy, but it takes skill and practice to get it right.

Flat irons use heat to straighten hair, and curling requires bending the strands around the plates. This process is hard on your hair, and it’s easy to end up with dry, damaged strands that break off easily.

There are ways to reduce the damage done by a flat iron, however. First, make sure your hair is clean and dry before using the flat iron. It’s also a good idea to use a heat protectant spray or serum to shield your hair from the high temperatures.

Finally, never leave the flat iron in one place for too long.

In conclusion, while it's possible to use a flat iron to curl short hair, it’s important to remember that this process can cause damage. To minimize the risk of harm, take proper precautions, and use your flat iron wisely. Remember, your hair is delicate and deserves the best care possible.

How To Curl Short Hair Without Heat

There are a few different methods you can use to curl short hair without using heat, but the easiest and most common is using heatless curling rods.
Simply twist the rods around your hair, hold it in place for a few hours (maybe even overnight), and then release the hair.
You can also use a hair rollers or your own fingers while blow drying (a digital perm) to curl short hair. Just be sure to avoid applying too much heat when blow drying - you'll end up with frizzy locks instead!

What type of curling iron is best for short hair?

The best type of curling iron for short hair depends on a variety of factors, including your hair type and curl pattern. However, some popular types of curling irons that are often recommended for short hair include the barrel-style curling iron and the flat iron. If you have thicker or coarser locks, you may prefer a barrel-style curling iron because it will create more pronounced curls. If you have finer hair, a flat iron may be a better option because it will help you achieve tighter, neater waves and curls. Ultimately, the best way to find out which type of curling iron is best for your locks is to try them out and see what works best for you.

The final takeaway

A lot of people out there with shorter hair lengths are often envious of those with long hair or regret having cut your hair short and need to wait a few months until it grows back. 

Well, you need to hear this then – let your hair length not be the reason why you cannot get the hairstyle of your choice! 

So if you wish to get your hair curled, owning a flat iron has made you get one step closer to those perfect curls. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

So for all you guys out there who want to get those perfect curls, at home, I hope you found this article handy.

Remember to follow the right techniques as mentioned and most of all do not forget to use your heat protectant spray!

It may be a little tricky doing it for the first time, but after you see those perfect curls/waves, it will definitely be worth the try, the time and your effort!

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.

Also Read:

How To Add Volume To Your Hair With Flat Iron

How to cut your own hair

How to train your hair to go back

How to wash natural hair

How to plop hair

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