How to Curl Really Short Hair with a Flat Iron

So, you've taken the plunge and cut your hair in a cute new short style. It’s all the rage right now and all the celebrities are doing it. It looks great as you walk out of the hairdresser all professionally blow-waved and set. But this only lasts until the next morning or just after the first wash. Then it’s all flat and your regular "long hair" routine doesn’t work.

Well, all is not lost. Here is a simple technique that you can use to style your hair on a daily basis. It's a style that works for a fun night out as well as a day at the office.

One of the trendiest hairstyles right now is the beach wave. These soft waves look good in a short cut too. Once you get the hang of it, these waves look very chic and relaxed. It creates a hairstyle that looks effortless yet stylish and well put together.

Learning to curl and style short hair after years of having long hair is a lot easier than you may think. You don’t even need to go out and buy a new curling tool. Just grab your flat iron.


This technique may be simple, but it does take some practice. You have to get the right tools and find the correct bend and curl.

Firstly, use a good protective spray to stop any damage. A good quality heat protectant spray is a good investment if you are going to curl or apply heat to your head on a daily basis. It’s a safeguard against all potentially damaging styling tools. Once the spray is on, and your hair has dried you are ready to start.

Next, add a styling product. You can also use Dry Shampoo. This works well, especially if you haven’t washed your hair to give a bit more grip and texture.

If you have fine or very straight hair an excellent product to use is a texturizing spray. This will make your hair feel thicker and fuller. If your hair is thick, it will also help with lift. Spray liberally with fixing spray before you start.

There is one common mistake you can make when starting. This is to curl from the bottom of the hair and then curling up towards the scalp. This is not the way to go. To begin with, the ends are the most fragile and need the least amount of heat. The part that is in contact with the flat iron for the longest time is the part that will curl the most.

This is why if you start with the ends you will have them form into very firm curls and then have no wave close to the roots.

Now, section out the hair. You can start at the bottom or the top. But it’s easiest to clip the back part away from your face, leaving the front part loose and the rest out of the way. Some people like to start from the back.

But when you are learning this technique, it’s sometimes better to start from the front. This way you can see what you are doing, and you can practice until you can achieve the curl you like. Then, once you have the technique, you can change it up. It’s all about what feels the most comfortable for you.

You should always start from the top of each part of the hair (closest to the scalp). Then slowly release the flat iron and turn it so that the ends go through last. In fact, you can even leave the ends off. This will give you a more natural beachy style that looks more relaxed and less of a salon style.

Starting in the front of your face, take a one to one and a half inch section and clamp it into your flat iron. Twist the flat iron 180 degrees, not 360, twisting toward the back of your head, then pull it straight down to the tips of the hair. Move towards the back of the head (It’s almost like curling ribbons with a pair of scissors.

The idea is that you are bending the hair around the flat iron not curling it. For the shortest pieces at the back of the head, you can twist them slightly to create the wave.

If you want more lift? Then put the flat iron as close as possible to your scalp. Hold for a few seconds with the hair standing up at the base.

Take the next section. It should be the same size as the first and rotate the flat iron in the OPPOSITE direction to the first section. By doing it this way, you will add a lot of movement and much more body to your hair. This will also stop the curls from clumping together!

For the next section, take a part that is the same size as you used in the first case.

Now, this part is essential, curl this part in the opposite direction than you used for the first curl. You should alternate the direction for each section you select. This will give your style movement and keep the curls from bunching together.

Move towards the back of your head alternating sides. Repeat until your whole head is completed.

Spray with fixing spray and let it cool. You can now use your fingers to separate out the curls. Break apart the waves and style it with your fingers to a shape you like. You can use some styling cream here for definition if you want.


When you are choosing which flat iron to use there are a few things to bear in mind. Here are a few tips that we have gathered up from the professionals.

The best flat irons have a titanium plate or ceramic plate. Check that it isn’t only the metal that has been plated. If that is the case, the coating will eventually wear off and you will be left with metal spots. Tiny cracks to form in the plate as the metal gets older and if your hair gets caught, it can snag and become damaged.

Medium heat is the best temperature to use that will not damage your hair. This will still curl it in the right way without damaging it. A good quality flat iron should have a temperature gauge on it.

A cheaper and less effective one with only a high and low doesn’t work that well as high is usually too hot and low is too low.

The best temperature is 300 degrees for fine to medium and 350 degrees for medium to coarse hair. Some flat irons have numbers on them (1-25) These work as well, so splurge on it and get the better one. Your hair is your crowning glory and you don't want to scrimp on it.

The best flat irons to use for a curl is one with a beveled edge, a slight curve to the edge, not a plain or straight edge. This helps with the curling.

There are many ways to curl your hair and once you have this technique down, you will see you can do it in 15 minutes in the morning. The best thing about it is that it's a natural look, relaxed style so will wear well through the day or night.

Try out these techniques and let us know how it goes. If there are any other hairstyles, you would like to learn about, give us a shout, and we can put together other sets of instructions.


What are the advantages of curling your hair?

Curls add volume to the hair and also help to maintain it as you don’t need to brush and style it as much as straight hair. This also reduces hair loss as you don't need to comb your hair as often.

What is the disadvantage of using a flat iron?

The heat emitted by the heated appliances creates more split ends than usual. The way to stop this is to use a good heat protectant spray.

Excessive heat can also weaken hair and increase the loss. Over time using a lot of heat on your hair without any protection can lead to, dull and lifeless hair.

Can you curl your hair without heat?

Yes, you can. One easy way is to dampen your hair and then twist small sections into curls and secure with a bobby pin. Then sleep on this and release in the morning. You will have curls you can now style as you wish.

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