Photo: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
A little heat can go a long way in spicing up your hairstyle. Whether your thermal curling iron is a 1/2-inch baby iron or a foot-long super curler, it can add major pizzazz to your hair. Just spritz your tresses with heat protectant spray before you curl to avoid frying your locks. All that's left to do is carefully twist to achieve sexy beach waves, 1940s ringlets or curls big enough to match your personality.
Mastering the basic technique of styling your hair with a thermal curling iron is the foundation for all those snazzy hairstyles you'll want to try later. When your hair is dry and well-combed, you take a small section of hair in one hand -- typically 1 to 2 inches thick -- and grip the curling iron in your other hand. Open the clamp if it has one, then close it around the section of hair a few inches above your hand. All you have to do next is slide the curling iron down to the tips of your hair, then twirl it up toward your head to wrap the hair around the iron. To ease the stress on your hair, you can release the clamp a little while you hold the twists in place for five seconds. Release the clamp completely and run the iron out of your new curl to finish.
Loose Ringlet Technique
Next time you want a head full of glamorous spiral curls, take a tip from Marie Claire magazine by holding a compact curling iron next to your head, pointed toward the sky. Carefully -- you don't want to burn yourself -- wrap thin sections of hair around the iron's barrel. You'll want to roll the iron from tip to scalp, without touching your head, for tight curls; holding for more than five seconds also keeps the ringlets shapely. The result? Rocking ringlets that bring to mind the swinging style of the 1940s.
Rippling Wave Technique
If you have long hair, you can pull off loose, cascading curls that highlight your hair's natural volume and shine. The trick is wrapping your hair around the barrel of your curling iron in alternating directions -- the first 2-inch section wrapped toward your face, the next 2-inch section wrapped away from your face. This creates full-bodied curls that seem to ripple over your shoulders.
Breezy Wave Technique
Breezy waves are low-key enough to party with you all day and night -- and they give you a major volume boost, too. All it takes is clamping a large curling iron to a 1-inch section of your hair -- start with a face-framing piece in front -- and rotating the barrel to wrap the hair around the iron, holding for five seconds. The key is twisting it away from your face, so the waves extend outward. You can leave an inch at the end for a casual finish, as Beauty News Editor Heather Muir recommends on the Allure magazine website. For the next section, twist toward your face, then continue alternating as you work your way to the back. You'll end up with sexy waves that look totally low-maintenance.