Finally, the Right Way to Curl Your Hair with a Straightener

You might have been doing it wrong before.

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Kathleen Kamphausen/Lauren Ahn

If you roll your eyes at the thought of curling your hair with a flat iron, claiming "it's just too hard to do," this step-by-step tutorial (and video!) by celebrity hairstylist and Scünci ambassador Laura Polko will help you perfect the technique.

Kathleen Kamphausen/Lauren Ahn

1. Spritz your hair all over with a heat-protectant spray. Create a center part and then mist one like Sun Bum's Beach Formula 3-in-1 Leave In to prevent the heat from singeing your strands.

2. Start curling the hair closest to the nape of your neck. Using a 1.25-inch-wide flat iron, like Harry Josh Pro Tools Ceramic Styling Iron 1.25 Inch, feed a one-inch section of hair closest to the nape of your neck between the two clamps of the flat iron. From there, in one fluid motion (or else you'll create divots in your hair), twist your wrist away from your face, so the hair flows over (not under) the iron. Make sure the hair continues to wrap around the flat iron's barrel as you push the iron toward your ends, which will create the curl. Think of this technique in the same way you'd curl a ribbon with a scissor. Remember, the smaller the section, the curlier your hair will be.

3. Continue to work your way up toward your hairline, making sure to feed the hair into the flat iron a little higher than mid-length. Again, you want to make sure your curl starts closer to the top of your head and not just at the ends; this will ensure that.

4. Finish the right side off by grabbing the section of hair at the hairline, clamping the hair around mid-length, and turning the iron away from your face. This hair will be the easiest to curl, since hair near the hairline tends to be not as thick at the rest, so you don't need to leave the iron on it that long to get results.

5. On the left side, start at the nape again, feeding your hair through the clamps and turning your wrist again away from your face as you simultaneously move the iron toward the ends. If you're right-handed, as you curl the middle section of your hair, your right arm will be reaching over your head and your fingers should be pointing toward the floor. This placement is normal (even though it might feel odd) and will help control the iron better. As you move toward the ends, though, twisting your wrist away from your face, you'll find that your arm needs to cross in front of your face to reach the tips.

6. Finish off with the hair at your hairline and voilà—you've just successfully curled your hair with a flat iron! (Again, you'll reach your right arm over your head and then bring it in front of your face to control the iron.) Be sure to run your fingers through the curls to break them up a bit—or you can even use a boar bristle brush for a more uniform finish if you don't like the separated spiral look. Then, spritz your hair with hairspray and go!

To watch Polko curl her hair with a straightening iron, check out this video below:

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