1. You're choosing the wrong barrel size. We've said it before and we'll say it again: Size matters. Frustrated with the sausage curls you thought were going to be loose, Gisele Bündchen waves? It's because your iron is too small! Tiny barrels (1/2-inch to 3/4-inch) are great for tightly-wound ringlets, touching up already curly hair, or elaborate vintage styles, but if you're more of a bedhead kind of girl, don't go below a 1-inch barrel (1 1/2-inch will give you Victoria's Secret bombshell waves). Always remember this rule of thumb: The bigger the barrel, the looser the waves.
2. You're not watching your heat settings. Irons have heat spectrums for a reason. You have to be mindful that you're not burning your fragile hair to crisp, and you have to take extra precaution if your hair is color-processed. As we learned from this eye-opening video, 400 degrees can literally change your hair color right before your eyes. On the other hand, higher temps may be necessary in order for certain textures to hold a curl. According to researchers, 365°F is a a solid temperature as the hair can still retain moisture/the cuticle will be sealed, but won't require those sneakily damning multiple strokes.
3.You're holding the iron the wrong way. Much like barrel size, the angle at which you hold your curling iron can affect curl size. Holding it horizontally will result in tighter curls, while holding it vertically will yield looser, beachier waves.
4. You're clamping the iron down on the end of you hair. This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Not to mention that it leaves weird indents. To ensure fluid waves, clamp the hair in the middle of your section then twirl your hair through it, pulling it through in a continuous motion. Also, the ends are where your hair is driest, so the less time they're in contact with the iron, the better.
5. You're curling your hair in the same direction around your entire head. Do not feel bad for making this mistake! If you're curling your own hair, it's only natural as you're using one arm to curl two different sides of your head. But generally, curling your hair away from your face is the way to go as it's more flattering and it looks more natural.
6. You're not cleaning it. Whether you're prepping your hair with a heat protectant (as you should!) or going over days-old, dry-shampooed hair, you're inevitably transferring product onto the iron. This creates a buildup that's gross, unhealthy for your strands, and could disrupt the curls/waves you're styling. As you can see in the video below, there are several super easy ways to do so.
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