Heat styling is the quickest and easiest way to achieve curly hair if your hair is straight, but a drawback of using a curling iron is that it can damage your hair. Many hair types only respond to heat, and cannot be styled satisfactorily using heat-free methods. You can get curls without burning your hair by using heat protection products and minimizing your hair's exposure to styling tools.

Step 1

Shampoo and condition your hair with hydrating products. Oil-based products are best, because they help strengthen hair while forming a barrier around the follicle that will protect hair from heat. If you have oily hair, though, use oil-free products.

Step 2

Apply a smoothing serum to your hair when damp, and brush it through with a comb to evenly distribute from root to tip. Serums help keep hair frizz-free when curled, while acting as a second barrier for heat.

Step 3

Allow your hair to air dry. Hair dryers remove moisture from the hair and cause more damage than most other styling tools.

Step 4

Spritz your hair with a heat protective mist from root to tip and comb it through. Allow it to set until your hair is completely dry again.

Step 5

Section off your hair as desired and pin to your head with hair clips. Large 2-inch sections of hair will give you loose curls, while sections under 2 inches will result in tighter ringlets.

Step 6

Turn your curling iron on to the lowest heat setting, and allow it to heat up.

Step 7

Wrap one section at a time around the curling iron and hold it there for no more than 10 seconds. Any steam indicates that the heat protectant has not dried yet, a common issue with fine hair. Remove the hair from the iron until it's dry.

Step 8

Allow the curls to set for five minutes. Brush out your hair until the desired look is achieved.


  • Even on low heat, curling irons can burn the skin. Always hold the iron away from your skin when you use it.