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Styling Your Hair With A Curling Wand

Are you on a quest for the perfect curls? Having the right tool and knowing how to use it are both essential to your Good Hair Day goals. So let me help! Let’s find out which curling wand is best for your hair type and hair length, and how to get gorgeous curls by using it the right way.

how to use a curling wand

Curling Wand vs. Curling Iron

Let’s start with the differences between a traditional curling iron and a curling wand so you can decide which is better for you. The obvious difference is that a curling iron (or tong) has a clamp that holds your hair in place while you curl it. A wand doesn’t. 

Curling irons create a fairly uniform curl size for bouncy curls, and the clamp can help you avoid burning your fingers — but it can also leave a ridge in your hair if you’re not careful.

woman with wavy fine hair

Curling wands are the best way to get loose curls or soft waves. Your hair will have a more natural look. They’re also great for naturally curly hair because you can just touch up individual curls without them looking unnaturally perfect. Some curling wand barrels are the same size from top to bottom, and others are conical.

One downside of curling wands, though, is that you’re more likely to burn your fingers (especially while you’re learning how to use it), so you may want to invest in a heat-resistant glove. 

Selecting The Ideal Curling Wand 

There are countless types of curling wands and irons available on the market, and if you are new to the curling wand scene, this can seem very overwhelming! Let’s walk through the various types of curling wands so you can feel confident in selecting the perfect one to meet your hair goals and needs. Selecting the proper tools will help you learn how to curl hair with curling wands.

Barrel Size 

Curling wands come in a variety of different sizes. There are 4 primary sizes of barrel for curling wands, and they each serve different purposes. Pick the right barrel size for the look you want

  • One of the most common sizes is a 2-inch barrel. 2-inch barrel curling wands are best suited for individuals who have long hair. Generally, 2-inch barrel curling wands will give looser curls. If you are interested in voluminous waves that look like you just stepped out of a salon, a curling wand with a 2-inch barrel may be the perfect fit for your needs.
  • 1 ½ inch barrel curling wands are great with medium-length hair. These wands create tighter curls than a 2-inch barrel wand but still leaves the hair looking perfectly tousled. You can also find a 1.25-inch barrel for something slightly tighter.
  • 1-inch barrel curling wands works on a variety of hair types and lengths. This size curling wand is notorious for creating the picture-perfect ringlet type of curl that you may imagine when visualizing curled hair. If you are looking for curls with more structure and bounce, a 1-inch barrel curling wand may be perfect to help you achieve the hair of your dreams.
  • The last barrel size you’ll find most often is the ¾ inch barrel curling wand. This size of the barrel is best for shorter hair lengths and can help you achieve very tight curls. This size wand is perfect for those who are looking for ultra-defined, much smaller curls.
t3 curling iron trio

Interchangeable Curling Wands 

There are a variety of curling wand styles available on the market. Some curling wands come with interchangeable barrels and can give you immense flexibility when it comes to creating a variety of different curls. If you are interested in multiple different barrel sizes, an interchangeable wand may be the perfect option for you! 

However, if you are only interested in creating loose beachy waves, a standard 2-inch curling wand without interchangeable barrels may be all that you need. Decide on what curl style you are most interested in creating and then select the wand and barrel size style based on that information.

Heat Settings

Your hair type will also help determine whether you need a wand with different heat settings. If you have thin or fine hair, you want to make sure your wand has lower temperatures to help prevent damage and breakage. If you have thick or coarse hair, you can withstand higher temperatures, so it’s not as important.

Don’t Forget To Prep

Now that you have selected the perfect curling tool for your needs, you might feel the urge to jump in and start creating those perfectly styled locks. However, you must prepare your hair before using hot tools on it! 

When you are curling your hair, it is important to start with completely dry hair. If you shower before styling this means that you will need to leave time for air drying or using a hair dryer on your damp hair.

woman using dyson hair dryer

And remember when using heat on your hair — whether it be from a curling wand or a hair dryer — to apply a heat protectant to it beforehand. There are a variety of heat protectants on the market. Generally, you should stay away from harsh sulfates and parabens when selecting a heat-protectant spray. 

Before curling or blow drying, make sure to generously coat your locks with heat protectant and then style away! The sprays or creams help prevent damage that comes from applying heat directly to your hair. This can also reduce frizz and flyaways leading to perfectly styled curls.

How to Curl Your Hair With a Curling Wand

The best techniques and tools for curling hair differ slightly depending on the length of your hair, but the process is generally the same. As mentioned above, different-sized curling wand barrels are used on different lengths of hair to achieve the best curl pattern possible. 

​If you’re a beginner with a curling wand, you may want to practice wrapping your hair around the wand with the wand off. This will give you the chance to get used to the motion without the risk. You can also buy a glove to protect your fingers from the heat.

woman using a t3 curling wand

Long Hair 

For long hair, try a 2-inch or 1 ½ inch barrel curling wand. These larger wand sizes are perfect for people who have more hair and can help you achieve the perfectly tousled curls/waves that you are looking for. 

The longer strands of hair can wrap more efficiently around the larger barrel size making it the perfect tool for crafting magnificently styled hair.

To make the curling process easier, separate your hair into multiple different sections before curling. This will create voluminous waves without struggling to access all of the layers of your hair.

a woman using a curling wand

Hold the wand near your hair, pointing down. Take a piece of hair and, starting near the roots and working toward the end, wrap it around the wand. Make sure you wrap it in the direction away from your face.

Hold the hair on the wand for a few seconds, then let the hair slide off the bottom. Move on to the next piece of hair until you’re done.

woman curling hair with curling wand

I prefer to leave an inch or two out and then use a flat iron to straighten out the ends. It’s all personal preference though!

Once you are done with the curling wand, make sure to finish with a hair spray and oil to emphasize the beautiful curls you just created.

Short Hair 

For shorter hair, a 1-inch or ¾ inch barrel curling wand is best. The smaller barrel size can help you gain the necessary curl definition even with shorter hair. This enables you to wrap more of your hair around the barrel leading to bouncy and voluminous curls that will leave you feeling your best.

I also recommend that you section your hair into two main parts. Secure the top section in a clip on top of your head while you work on curling the hair that rests underneath.

Curl the top layer of hair last. To finish off the look, add a texturizing spray for some extra volume and a little bit of hairspray to ensure long-lasting curls all day.

Need more hair tips? Here’s how to make curls last, avoid damaging your hair, and find the best hairspray for curls.

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