Stylists Reveal The Biggest Mistakes You Make When Curling Your Hair

We all want to head out of the house every morning looking effortlessly beautiful. Like you're not trying to hard, but just happen to have it all together. One of the best ways to get that laid back style is with loose, romantic curls. The perfect curls add a freshness and lightness to your look. Unfortunately, curls done the wrong way can leave you looking like you just stepped off the stage on Toddlers and Tiaras. From frying your hair to creating a cave over your face, the wrong curling mistakes can really cost your look. We checked-in with some of our favorite stylists to learn how to avoid the biggest curling mistakes out there.

Too much heat

One of the quickest ways to damage your hair is regularly using too much heat. This is the number one mistake stylist Jarrod Harms sees from his clients. "Extreme damage easily happens when the tool is too hot," he says. "Just [look up] YouTube videos of young ladies melting their hair and see." Don't feel that you need to use the highest heat setting on your curling iron to get fast curls that will last.

Try experimenting with lower settings to find out the perfect setting for your individual hair. Dani Everson of Clementine's Salon recommends adjusting the heat level based on your hair type. "Course or thick hair requires a higher setting," she explains, "while thin hair doesn't need as much heat."

Wrong direction

Another hair no-no is curling every strand of hair in the same direction. According to Everson, curling your hair in the same direction "can cause the outcome to all jumble together." She explains, "This creates less defined curls."

For sexy, defined curls, try alternating the direction of your curling iron as you make your way around your head. And while you're at it, never curl the hair around your face towards your face. "You should curl away from the face towards the hairline, because curls toward the face end up covering it, creating a cave," says Everson. "Curling away from the face enhances and opens the face."

By opening up your face, you'll show off that confident attitude, rather than hiding behind a jumble of curls.

Wet hair

Always make sure your hair is completely dry before you start curling with a hot curling iron. Wet or even damp hair is extremely fragile, so blasting it with heat will cause damage and breakage. If you are always rushing in the morning, try washing your hair the night before. It's not worth cutting corners and styling wet hair. "I was surprised to see how many people use an iron on damp hair!" commented celebrity stylist, Justine Marjan. "Never start curling hair until it is 100% dry." Take it from the stylists!

How the pros do it

Every stylist has his or her own favorite tools, but a common one is a curling rod or wand. This is basically a curling iron without that clamp that holds your hair in place. This tools allows you to wrap hair sections around it and really control what kind of curl you want. The downside is that it can get a little dangerous with your hands that close to such high heat. Always use the lowest heat setting possible and look into using a special glove when curling.

Everson is a big fan of the curling rod. "I can get a light romantic loose curl or manipulate a tighter wave to hair," she explains. "Because it doesn't have clamps, you never get that kink in your hair that some curling irons can leave behind."

Harms also likes to use a curling wand with his clients, but explains to always use caution with it. "Regardless of the tool, make sure your hair is bone dry before using it," he says. "Read the directions and use a heat appropriate for your hair type."

Have a plan

Our stylists agree that you need to know what kind of curls you're going for before breaking out that curling iron or rod. Do you want tight, voluminous curls, or relaxed waves? The answer will determine what tool and which size iron you reach for.

Marjan changes her technique based on what her clients are hoping for. "Bear in mind that the longer you hold the hair on the iron and the smaller the curling iron, the more of a curl you will see, she shares. "If you use a large curling iron, you will see more of a wave." She is also careful to use the same technique and direction on both sides of the face, leaving an even, finished look. "Make sure that what you do on one side, is repeated on the other so that both sides are even," she adds. "For a more natural finish, leave the ends off the iron so they stay straight."

Pump the volume

Many of us love using gorgeous curls to add a little more volume to thin or fine hair. To get that natural looking volume, break out your curling rod. Everson likes using this tool to add volume because it's easier to curl closer to the roots of the hair. "This helps to increase volume," she says.

And while we'd all love some sexy volume, we're definitely not going to get that with frizz. It can be hard to avoid the frizz and flyaways when curling your hair, so make sure your hair is perfectly combed before styling. "Make sure each section is combed smooth before curling," recommends Harms. "Curling a messy section makes frizzy hair."

Ditch the heat

Sure, all stylists love their tools, but sometimes there's an easier way. If you're worried about damaged hair or simply don't have a lot of time in the mornings, Nina of Nina B Artistry has some great tips. Nina starts the night before to achieve wavy curls with tons of volume. Start by wetting your hair at night, either out of the shower or with a leave-in conditioner. Then start wrapping small sections of hair into knots. Aim for at least 10 knots of hair. Then simply tie a scarf over your head to prevent frizz and get some shut eye. "In the morning unravel the knots," says Nina. "You have perfect bouncy curls and so much volume that will stay throughout the day." This works especially well on women with thin or fine hair looking for volume.

To soften the curls, take a fine feather comb and gently brush out the waves.