With a plethora of fresh, exciting hairstyles ripe for your hair this spring, you may be tempted to toss that flat iron out the window once and for all in favor of today’s huge array of curling irons and robotic styling devices.
But don’t chuck the flat iron yet. Just because it was invented to straighten your hair, doesn’t mean that’s all it can do. Clever hairstylists are using it to sculpt some of today’s best curly styles.
Combine a gorgeous curl with one of the many braiding techniques popular right now and you’ve got a recipe for drop dead gorgeous style that’s sure to turn heads and keep the compliments rolling in.
Curls have been a style statement forever and this spring and summer, they’re more popular than ever. But don’t run out and get a perm — here are tips for gorgeous, healthy curly hair styles.
The beachy, deconstructed curl
“Right now the style that’s really going on is really boho, really relaxed waves, very textured but without a whole lot of definition,” said Jenny Hausam, a hair artist at The Barbary in Norman’s Campus Corner.
For beachy curls, start with a curl enhancing product such as Bed Head Foxy Curls Extreme Curl Mousse.
Clamp a 1-inch section of hair about a half inch from the end of the strand in a flat iron with semi-rounded edges.
Twist the rest of the hair strand around the outside of the flat iron, count to about 20 then release the clamp. Hausam prefers a Chi flat iron also recommends Wigo irons.
For texture, finish with a sea salt spray such as Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray. You can also make your own sea salt spray using any of the multitude of lovely salts available. Mix with water. Salt sprays may not make your hair feel clean but they’re relatively safe for your hair since they usually don’t have an alcohol content.
For years, women have been sleeping in braids to attain the look of all-over effortless waves. Hausam has a time-saving tip for the same effect: Braid your hair into 1-inch thick braids, then use a flat iron along the braids to heat the wave in. Finish with a flexible hold hairspray such as Bed Head Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hairspray by TiGi.
For bigger, loser waves try two large braids.
But what about those funky, out-of-control ends of the braids? Lightly wet the crease mark from ponytail holders, then use your flat iron to bend the ends under so they don’t stick out in all directions.
Love is in the hair
For a romantic visage perfect for a wedding or prom, try an automatic curling system like the BaByliss Pro MiraCurl Machine. While it’s a little tricky to use and takes practice, once you get it, you can create a full head of beautiful spirals in no time. Bonus: It’s fun to use.
After curling all your hair, weave in a waterfall braid across the back of the crown. Waterfall braids are the newest braid trend. They’re softer and less structured than regular French braids. Try Youtube for instructional videos on creating waterfall braids.
For big, voluminous glamorous curls, a 1 1/2 inch barrel curling iron will create loose waves in long hair. First, apply a curl activator such as L’Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse to add grip to fine hair. To make curling masses of hair a bit easier, try an automatic curling iron like the Rowenta Curl Active Curling Iron. Its self-spinning barrel automatically rotates.
Naturally beautiful curls
For women of color, attaining curls isn’t usually a problem — it’s taming those curls, said Desiree’ Irving, stylist at The Hair Cafe. The first step to training your curls is identifying what kind of natural curl pattern you have: usually a tight spiral, wave or corkscrew shape.
For many women, a good way to tame and define their curls is to separate it all into small sections using a rattail comb. Apply a curl defining product such as Nairobi Setting Foam for light, fine hair, or Aflon Keracare Twist and Define Cream. Then use the comb to twist the hair all the way to the ends.
Straw sets are a popular way for women of color to achieve perfect curls. Coat hair with curl defining cream or foam, then, using actual drinking straws, wrap and twist small sections of hair around straws, securing them with bobby pins at the tops. You can achieve a similar look with perm rods. Set the hair while damp, then allow to dry, either naturally or in a heat dryer chair.
And for women of all hair types, curling wands are still hugely popular, with cone shaped or cylindrical rods. These irons have no clamps and can be quite tricky to learn to use. They usually come with a thermal glove to wear so you don’t burn your fingers. Irving said curling wands are a favorite styling tool for many ethnic celebrities, including Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez.