How to Get Big Curls With a Straightening Iron

Create smooth, natural-looking curls with a beveled-edge flat iron.
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The same tool that gives you the glossy, pin-straight locks you love can also create the big, bouncy curls and waves you crave -- with a simple flick of the wrist. Unlock the secret to streamlining your beauty routine with the multi-tasking iron that can do it all.

Blow-dry the roots of dry hair to build volume and create height. Always use a nozzle attachment on your blow dryer, which helps direct air flow and prevents your hair from getting too close to damaging heat.

Section off the top half of your hair by placing your index fingers on either side of your head just above the tops of your ears. Move your fingers along your scalp until they meet at the back of your head. Twist this top section into a loose bun and secure it with a clip.

Take a 2-inch section of hair from the unpinned section and spray it lightly with flexible-hold hair spray. Brush through to distribute the spray evenly.

Position the flat iron a few inches from the roots horizontally. Use your free hand to loop the hair once around the bottom plate of the iron, leaving the rest of the length pointing down, and gently clamp the iron closed.

Slide the iron down the length of the hair toward the ends while turning your wrist to rotate the iron outward, away from your scalp, to create big, loose curls. Avoid curling the last inch or so of hair for a less fussy, more contemporary-looking style.

Repeat the process throughout the lower half of hair. Unclip the top half of hair, divide it into 2-inch sections, and curl each section. Let the curls cool, then rake through with your fingers or brush them out to create loose, cascading waves.

  • Avoid using a flat iron without rounded or beveled edges, which will create a bend in the hair instead of a curl.
  • Use larger sections of hair to create bigger curls.
  • Use two hands to rotate the iron if one hand proves to be difficult.

Hilary White is a professional writer and editor based in San Diego. White has been writing articles on fashion, style, fitness, nutrition, movies and entertainment since 1994. Her articles have been published in "Westways" magazine, "Pages" magazine, "Book Street USA," "Magill's Cinema Annual," and numerous titles from Visible Ink Press. White holds a bachelor's degree in English from Michigan State University.