Start with dry, clean hair. Massage a curl-enhancing gel or mousse into your hair, starting 1/2 inch from the root and going all the way to the tips.
Separate your hair into four main sections -- two in the front and two in the back. Clip each section up by twisting it with your hands and holding it in place with a hair clip.
Start with one of the back sections. Unclip the hair and separate out a 1-inch-wide section. Comb through this section and clamp it into the curling iron, smoothing down to the tips and curling all the way back up. Hold in place for 10 seconds, then gently release the curl.
Repeat Step 3 with the rest of the first section of your hair, then repeat with the other three sections. Hold the curling iron parallel to the floor for traditional curls, or point it straight up and down for a spiraled-curl look.
Gently run your fingers through your hair to release the curls from their curling-iron structure, keeping them curled but giving them a more natural look. Spray your hair with hairspray to keep the curls in place all day.
The smaller the curling iron, the tighter your curls will be. A larger barrel on a curling iron will create larger, looser curls.
Curling irons can damage or burn your hair, so use a heat-protecting styling product in Step 1.