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How To Enhance Your Natural Curls Using a Curling Iron

How To Enhance Your Natural Curls Using a Curling Iron

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While there’s nothing quite like the magic of your unique curl pattern, your natural texture’s versatility is its secret superpower. Whether you’re hoping to transform your loose curls into well-defined ringlets or you want to use your natural coily texture to create luscious waves, the right styling tools will help you craft your desired look while caring for your tresses.

If you’ve ever wondered how to curl curly hair, there’s no one right answer. Instead, there are several tips & techniques for you to keep in mind to create the sky-high volume or silky strands you’re looking for.

Keep reading to expand your repertoire of looks by discovering how to curl natural hair. We’ll outline how to choose the right curling iron for your texture, what you should do to prep your curls, & how to style your hair, step by step.

Choosing the Right Curling Iron for Your Natural Texture

So, you’re ready to twirl & transform your hair while still honoring your natural texture, but where should you begin? More importantly, is it even safe to use a curling iron on curly hair? With the right heat hair tools & techniques, it absolutely is! When searching for a curling iron, make sure to find a curl-conscious tool that offers the gentle heat application your tresses need.

Start by choosing a curling iron made from the right stuff. While titanium heating tools work for some, you’ll want to opt for a ceramic curling iron that’s gentler on your strands. Ceramic is considered an insulator, which just means it heats from the inside out. This is a gentler way of heating up the hair shaft, which prevents damage to your curls while still crafting well-defined & long-lasting texture. 

Another major perk of choosing a ceramic vs. titanium curling iron is its heat distribution. Compared to other materials, ceramic heats evenly, which means more even curls. When you’re on the lookout for the right curling iron, make sure to prioritize material so you can give your curls the TLC they deserve while gaining access to an expansive range of styling options. 

Preparing Your Curls: Essential Tips Before Curling

So, can you curl curly hair? Of course! However, the process requires a few steps of preparation to keep your strands looking & feeling their best. When you’re ready to explore your natural hair’s styling possibilities, there are a few steps you’ll want to take before you grab your curling iron.

Always Use Heat Protectant

Always remember to coat your curls in a healthy dose of heat protectant before heat styling. Having a product like the PATTERN Heat Protectant on hand acts as a shield no matter your hair type, sealing in moisture & helping your strands maintain their natural shine & bounce. Heat protectant safeguards your cuticles, helping your curls stay hydrated & healthy.

Make Sure Your Curls Are Completely Dry

Using a heat styling tool like a curling iron on wet or damp strands can cause serious damage, so make sure your tresses are completely dry before you start the curling process. 

When your hair is wet, its cuticles are exposed & open, making them more susceptible to damage. Fortunately, once your locks have dried, you can safely heat style while still prioritizing the health of your hair.  

Choose the Right Size Barrel

When you’re exploring how to curl curly hair with a curling iron, you’ll find that these heat styling tools come in several barrel sizes, making it easy to customize your look & create the shape & texture you want. 

Here are some tips to help you find the right curling iron sizes for styling your curly hair:

  • A classic 1” barrel width may be what you’re looking for if you want to transform your curls into billowing waves, or you’re hoping to create a more uniform look by styling certain strands to match your natural curl pattern. 
  • If you’re hoping to craft curls with plenty of volume & bounce, a slightly slimmer barrel, like a 3/4” option, may be the right choice. 
  • For long-lasting, sky-high coils, tapered & pixie looks & defining your existing curl pattern, choose a slim curling iron barrel option, preferably one that’s around 3/8“ to create tight, well-defined curl clumps. 

If you’re looking for a tool to touch up any uneven strands, stick with the barrel width that’s closest to your curl pattern. When you’re ready to switch up your look completely, try a curling iron that differs from your natural texture. 

Step-by-Step: Using a Curling Iron on Natural Curls

Whether you’re hoping to refresh your coils or you want to transform your style altogether, the right curling iron may just become your hair’s BFF. Here’s how to curl naturally curly hair with a curling iron while maintaining its volume & flair.

#1 Start On a Low Heat Setting

When you want to enhance your strands with the help of a curling iron, start with the styling tool on a low-heat setting. If you aren’t seeing the hold & definition you want, you can always bump the heat up a notch or two on the dial. This gives you maximum control while crafting your look, since certain curls may require higher or lower heat levels than others.

#2 Section Your Curls

When you’re getting ready to style your natural tresses, start by separating them into different sections using the PATTERN Sectioning Clips. Depending on your hair thickness & density, you may want to separate your strands by layer or opt for equal sections starting from one side of your scalp to the other. 

This makes it easy to spot which pieces you’ve curled & decide if you want to use a different heat level or barrel width in certain areas. 

#3 Decide On a Curling Method

When you’re exploring how to curl naturally curly hair, embrace your creativity. You may decide that you want to use the clip attachment to style your strands, which involves opening the curling iron’s clasp before wrapping a section of your hair around the barrel. Then, close the clasp & wait for five to seven seconds. Pro tip: For finer strands, start at three seconds & hold longer as needed. Next, you can open the clasp, release your hair from the barrel & move on to the next section. 

Another styling technique you can use is to treat your curling iron barrel as a curling wand. This means that instead of using the clasp to secure your hair around the barrel, you’ll wrap your strands around the curling iron with its clip attachment open, so the barrel acts as a wand. 

Some heating tools, like PATTERN’s Interchangeable Curling Iron, come with various attachments, making it easy for you to access an assortment of possibilities to expand your repertoire of looks.

#4 Consider Curling Your Tresses in Different Directions

Depending on the look you want to achieve, you may want to curl different sections of your hair in opposite directions. This can be done using either a curling iron or wand to help create a more natural vibe, elevating the texture & definition your tresses already have. 

Maintaining Moisture When Styling: The Key to Healthy Curled Hair

Now that you know how to use a curling iron on curly hair, it’s important to explore hair care practices to help you avoid damage & keep your tresses thriving. So, what’s the key to heat styling & keeping your curls vibrant & shiny? Moisture. 

It’s crucial to keep your coils hydrated & lock in moisture whenever possible, especially if you plan on using a curling iron to enhance your natural texture. Here are some tips to help you maintain moisture while heat styling for show-stopping results & healthy hair:

  • Prioritize deep conditioner – One way to ensure your waves, curls or coils look their best & maintain their moisture is by deep conditioning. We recommended reaching for products like the PATTERN Heavy Conditioner or Intensive Conditioner to achieve optimal moisture. Making this step an integral part of your washing & styling routine can ensure your strands feel nourished, preventing frizz & breakage while maintaining the strength & bounce of your hair. 
  • Look for a hydrating treatment – If you know you plan on heat-styling your curls, reach for a hydrating treatment like the PATTERN Hydrating Mist, which is full of key ingredients like Coconut Oil & Aloe Vera. This type of product can give your curls some added support, helping infuse moisture into your locks (which may even support healthy hair growth)!
  • Consider using leave-in conditioner – While you don’t want to add too many products to your hair before heat styling, consider using the PATTERN Leave-In Conditioner when you plan on wearing your curls naturally. This can ensure they stay hydrated in between heat-styling, supporting healthy, shiny coils.

With the right tips & hair care practices, you can enjoy the fun & versatility of heat styling without worrying about damaging your locks. 

Explore Your Curls’ Styling Possibilities with PATTERN

There’s an endless array of styles you can craft using a curling iron, so let your imagination run wild. With top-shelf tools, you can skip the heat damage & continue to make curl-conscious choices while exploring different styles, amplifying your hair’s volume & elevating your natural texture. 

At PATTERN, we have a wide variety of styling & hair care products to achieve the look you’re after, whether you want to enhance your curl pattern or have fun with heat & transform your tresses. 

From our expertly crafted Jojoba Oil Blend to our Bounce Back Pre-Poo, we have the products you need to moisturize, strengthen & unleash your curls (packed full of the ingredients they crave).



Healthline. Can Coconut Oil Help with Hair Growth? https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/coconut-oil-for-hair-growth#for-the-hair 

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Reviewed by Ashley Ludgood

With over 12 years of experience in the beauty and fashion industry, Ashley Ludgood brings a wealth of expertise to her current role at PATTERN. Her insights have been featured in reputable publications like American Salon Magazine, American Spa Magazine, and Skin, Inc. Ashley has also shared her knowledge at conferences, including Face & Body, demonstrating her ongoing commitment to contributing to the industry. Having been an integral part of the team at PATTERN for nearly 4 years, Ashley continues to make significant contributions. Holding a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, she remains passionate about her field. Among her favorite products, Ashley turns to the PATTERN Styling Cream, Moisture Milk, and the Cleansing Shampoo as her go-to essentials.

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