to flat irons, unruly coifs can turn to poker-straight strands in
minutes. But sleek styles aren't the only effects these power tools
create. With the flick of a wrist you can make waves, curls, even
zigzags, and all without a curling iron in sight. Follow these tips
from ULTA national salon educator Mezei Jefferson to take your hair
from flat to fabulous.
The Zigzag. To get that not-quite-curl, not-quite-wave,
take a 1-inch section of hair and coat with holding spray (you'll want
to do this before beginning any style). Holding hair away from the
scalp, clamp the iron about 2 inches from the roots with the tip facing
the ceiling (it should be completely vertical). Wrap hair around the
barrel once or twice, depending on the length of your hair, making sure
you leave about 3 inches from the end. Let sit for 20 to 30 seconds and
release. The top of the strand should have a wave. With the straight
end that remains, clamp at the point where wave ends, this time with
the tip facing in the opposite direction (it should be pointing toward
the floor). Wrap hair around the top of the barrel one to two times and
then release. Repeat around your entire head and set with hairspray.
The Spiral. For soft, sexy ringlets,
start with small sections of hair, about 1/4 inch in width. Twist from
root to tip and clamp the end. Roll the twisted strand around the top
of the barrel all the way to the scalp. Let sit for about 30 seconds so
heat can penetrate. When hair feels hot to the touch, release iron. For
tighter curls, keep strands twisted and fasten into pin curls close to
The Wave. Beachy-chic tresses are simple
to style with the right technique. Imagine the way a ribbon coils when
you slide it taught against a scissor blade. Beachy waves are basically
created the same way. Hold a 1-inch section at the end with your left
hand. With your right hand, place the iron vertically over the piece,
about an inch from the scalp. As you clamp down on the hair, rotate the
iron forward, toward your scalp, so that it makes a C shape, and glide
the iron down toward the ends. The rounded barrel is what creates the
shape of the wave, so make sure you do this with a curved iron.
For salon-worthy styles, try these tools:
GHD Professional 1 inch styler, $225
This model may be pricey, but consider it the Ferrari of the flat-ironing world.
Not only does it give you sleek-straight strands, curls and waves,
but its advanced ceramic heating technology produces negative ions,
which diffuse heat and seal the cuticle. Plus,
it creates shine, locks in color and eliminates frizz. Built-in sensors
adjust the heat to the perfect temperature based on your hair type and
maintain a consistent temperature throughout the styling process.
Hot Tools NanoCeramic Flat Iron, $51.99
The slender, lightweight design makes this hot tool easy to control.
Its rounded plate edges are perfect for curling ends under or flipping
them out. Infrared heat warms hair from the inside out, protecting it
from damage and smoothing surface strands.
Remington T-Studio Ceramic PEARL Pro Slim Straightener, $29.99
The extra-smooth glide leaves strands dent-free and silky. Since it
only takes 15 seconds to heat up, styling in a hurry is a cinch. The
salon-length swivel cord gives you the flexibility to create any style
T3 Single Pass 1 Inch Straightening and Styling iron, $160
Made with tourmaline—a semiprecious gemstone that emits ionic, infrared
heat—this professional tool seals in moisture and reduces static for
frizz-free styling. Single-pass heating maintains the same temperature
for faster styling and long-lasting results.