Yet Another Way to Use a Flat Iron To Un-Flatten Your Hair

This wave-creating technique is just one more reason your curling iron will get picked last in gym class.
Publish date:
January 26, 2016
How-To, wavy hair, hairstyles, heat styling, tutorial, lobs, flat iron

In a forever-quest for "effortless waves" as well as cool styling for short-ish hair, my go-to for the longest time has been to squirt water on hair I woke up with, rub some sort of hair balm in my hands and pet it onto my hair, twisting and scrunching sections so it looks not quite as flat and stupid. Rather, so it looks more textured and also stupid. Stupid hair is what I call hair worn down and purposefully messy. Stupid-chic.

I've never liked using a curling iron or wand to create waves because no matter what I do, it always comes out looking suspiciously coiffed (because it is, duh). It makes me feel kind of like a tool, walking around with hair looking like hastily brushed-out curled gift-wrap ribbon. I've even attempted the flat-iron curling technique of twisting it, as one would do when trying to curl ribbon with a blade's edge. (How does that even work? Magic?)

It was much easier when my hair was long and natural and princesstial to just wrap some sections in buns with styling product, sleep on it, and wake up with lovely haphazard waves. But now that my hair sits at my shoulders and has a willfully coarse texture, it requires much more styling persistence to make it do anything other than what it wants to do, which is lie bone-straight, reaching outwards all triangle-like as if each strand was trying to run away from my head. No, sorry, you're stuck with me dousing you in chemicals on a semi-frequent basis.

And then I discovered this method of getting the exact kind of waves you want with total control over how wavy, how many waves, which direction — it's pretty much a finicky control freak's dream. And all you need is a flat iron. Some clips to section off sections helps, too.

It's way easy — I'll show you.

Start with dry hair, prepped with a heat protectant. Section off some hair so you can work without other hairs getting in the way — whichever way works best for you. Now grab a small section and brush it out. Push it up to make a curve like this.

Now clamp your flat iron flatly on the bend, tapping gently and moving downwards. Push the section of hair up so it keeps making curves and bends. Be careful when you get to the bottom because FINGERS. When you reach the end of your hair, let it cool and "set" for a few seconds.

Now keep going all over your head! If you're like me and have hair for DAYS, it'll take a while, but since you're just tapping the iron down sections, honestly this whole procedure took me maybe 15 to 20 minutes.

The random bending gives it a more natural look. And what's cool about heat-styling this way is that since you're applying heat so gingerly down the shaft, literally tapping your iron quickly on each section, there's less heat damage overall, which for my ammonium-scorched hair is paramount.

When you're tapped out (hehe), break up the sections with your fingers and spray with a texturizing hair spray (I like Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray or Redken Wind Blown 05 Dry Finishing Hairspray, which is less monies) for ultimate nonchalance.

And look! It's all textured without looking too styled! Now everyone can continue to wonder, "How does she do it?"

Does anyone else have any other flat iron tricks? I'm all for more reasons to shun my curling wand, the one instrument that has betrayed me with blistering burns on my hands/head.

Also, unrelated, but related to the future: If beauty advice is a thing that you would ever want me to weigh in on for you, ask me things here or at @sabletoothtigre on all social medias, and it shall be so, in regular installments of plenty.