How to Curl Your Hair Like a Pro

August 02, 2021
Jazmine A. Ortiz
By: Jazmine A. Ortiz | by L'Oréal
How to Curl Hair
Curling hair can sometimes feel like one of those things that’s easier said than done. We feel your struggle, so we tapped Nick Stenson, Matrix artistic director and Nick Stenson Beauty founder, to not only give you his tips, but also step-by-step directions to achieving salon-worthy curls. Before you reach for your curling iron, make sure you read his guide below for the best results.
Matrix Total Results High Amplify Flexible Hold Hairspray

Curling for Different Hair Types    

Before you even pick up a curler, you must target your product choices to your hair’s needs. Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Iron Smoother Defrizzing Leave-In Spray is a good option for those looking for frizz control. However, if you’re attempting curls on super fine hair you’ll need to layer a product with enough grit like Matrix Total Results High Amplify Wonder Boost Root Lifter to support a style. “The best results are always customized to have hair looking healthy,” Stenson says.


One universal tip no matter your hair type: use heat protectant! Matrix Total Results Length Goals Perfector Leave-In Heat Protectant & Styling Spray is suggested by Stenson for keeping hair, extensions and wigs looking their best. Apply to damp hair and comb through to distribute evenly. “Take manageable sections to avoid heat crease lines in the hair,” he instructs. “Start your curl where you need the biggest boost. It’s natural to start curling at the ends but targeting the root area first and slowly working down the strand will give you the boost you need. Starting in the mid-strand will give you that bendy boho wave.”

Curling Iron Options and More Product Recommendations 

There’s a whole wide world of curling iron options that might have you stuck on which to choose. Frankly, there’s a curling tool out there to fit a range of curling needs, but Stenson’s personal fave is the T3 SinglePass Curl Professional Ceramic Curling Iron (which comes in both 1” and 1 ¼” sizes). If it’s a curling wand you’re interested in — which allows for those perfectly undone ends — he recommends the GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand

Now, you cannot invest time curling without locking in your hair with a finishing spray. “The Matrix Total Results High Amplify Flexible Hold Hairspray is literally the perfect amount of support and natural flexibility for bouncy curls,” Stenson says. “I love using the boar bristles of the Cushion Brush from my line CURIOUS Brushes by Nick Stenson to create mega shine and polish before the hair even touches the curling iron.”
  • Your Pro-Hairstylist Approved Guide to Perfect Curls


    STEP 1:

    Start with a great base. The most important thing is to build style memory with product before it’s time to use the iron. Creating a great texture with a product like Matrix Total Results High Amplify Foam Volumizer Full Bodifying Mousse before blow drying or air drying will give you a long-lasting natural-looking hold with less hairspray.

    STEP 2:

    Separate hair into sections using a comb depending on the size you want your curls.

    STEP 3:

    Point the iron tip down and begin wrapping the hair by the root area. As you’re wrapping, the hair will slightly twist to create a kind of coil. That’s a good thing!

    STEP 4:

    Leave the ends out for a modern look. This is another reason to prep the base and ensure a cohesive finish.

    STEP 5:

    Remove the hair from the iron and let it cool. How hair cools is how it will set, so touching it too soon will loosen the shape. (Reverse that tip if you need to loosen your curls.)

    STEP 6:

    Separate and shake curls to expand and watch the style come to life. Spray on a finishing spray for extra support as needed.

T3 SinglePass Curl Professional Ceramic Curling Iron

Heat-Free Curling Hacks

We realize some might want to keep things heat-free to avoid the damage that comes along with some of our beloved hot tools. “Sponge rollers and flexi rods are more comfortable to sleep in and allow you to wake up with the perfect texture,” says Stenson. “Pin curls work well for straight and wavy textures while Bantu knots will amp up curls, coils and zigzags.” Don’t forget to work mousse or gel into your hair before trying any options for optimal curl hold.

Hair Stylist: Jasmine Burnside

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