Q: I am just looking for advice on how to curl your hair. I've just bought curling thongs but the instructions aren't
great. I've got very fine hair so please forward me advice on how to curl my hair. My hair is just below my shoulders. Do I curl my
hair when it's wet or dry? Should I use mouse, hair spray, hair wax?
A: Of all the technological advances in hairstyling over the last half-century, the development of personal heat-styling appliances
is probably the one with the greatest impact on women’s grooming habits. In particular, curling irons made it possible for women to
rapidly go from having naturally straight hair to having curl in the areas of the head where it was wanted – whether in just one area or all over.
In spite of the fact that curling irons have been available for more than three decades, many
women still aren’t sure of how to properly use them. Unfortunately, improper use of curling irons can cause serious damage to the
hair, and you are very smart to ask for advice when you are unsure about it.
First of all, the MOST important thing to remember is that you ONLY use a curling iron on DRY
hair. To get an idea of what happens to damp hair that comes in contact with a hot iron, try dripping water onto your curling iron
after it has become fully heated. When you do you will see how the water instantly starts to boil and evaporate. Now, imagine that
happening with the moisture that is inside the hair shaft. The net result is that you literally boil the hair.
As for what styling products you should use to assist in the curling process, it depends on the
amount of hold you want and the strength of curl desired. Hair wax is not recommended for use prior to curling, because it does not
“dry”, but rather coats the hair shaft to smooth and define the hair.
I recommend that you review the articles we have available here (see the links below) on Hairfinder about styling
with heat appliances. But, in the interest of giving you some readily usable advice on styling with your curling iron, here are
some instructions for creating long-lasting curls with your new iron:
First, after shampooing and conditioning the hair, towel dry and apply your favorite styling
product (use gel for stronger hold and volume, mousse or setting lotions for lighter, more natural hold levels) to the damp hair.
Comb the product through the hair to distribute it evenly. Use your hair dryer to dry the hair completely, working in sections to
make sure that the hair is fully dry before using the curling iron.
Once the hair is dry and you have decided where you want to add curl, lightly spray the hair
with hairspray and allow it to dry. Take a slice of hair that you want to curl and wind it around the barrel of the curling iron
and hold it in place just long enough to heat the hair thoroughly. Slide the curling iron out of the curl and allow the curl to cool.
The heat of the iron is what breaks the hydrogen and salt bonds of the hair and cooling the hair
allows the bonds to reform into the new curl shape. This is what makes the curls stay. The styling product and hairspray add
strength to the hold of the curl. Repeat this process until you have added as much curl as you want in the style. Once all the
curls have been formed and allowed to cool, you can brush through them and style them as desired.