I've never been much of a hair person, and I've especially never known how to curl my hair. Growing up, my mum always put me in cute little braids and ringlet curls that I'd usually fight her over, so she eventually gave up and passed the torch (er, hairbrush) on to me. From then on, I wore one of three styles: messy bun, half ponytail or down and straight.
By college, there was a lot of bad boxed dye and scrunched hair (read: brassy and brittle), so I eventually accepted that I'd always have mediocre hair. Fast-forward to a few years, some YouTube tutorials and an upgrade in curling tongs later, and I finally started liking my mane. I was pretty good at curling my friends' hair and mine, but I'd always follow it up with a lot of hairspray to make it last the whole night (i.e., crunchy and crispy).
Then, one day, my usual method of hair curling as I knew it changed forever. I eagerly watched on my computer screen as I saw one of my favourite vloggers curling her hair, but instead of starting from the ends and rolling up (as I typically did), she began in the middle. The result? Perfectly wavy curls that I needed to re-create immediately. With the firm belief that knowing how to curl your hair properly is a skill every woman should have, I'm sharing my newly acquired technique—in GIF form.
Granted, this look is more for loose beachy curls instead of tight ringlets, so if a bouncier curl is what you're looking to achieve, a different wrapping method around a smaller barrel would serve you better. However, if you're like me and enjoy a more undone look, I highly recommend this method. See below for a step-by-step explanation.
First, start by taking a small section of your hair, clamping the iron in the middle of the section. (If the section is on your left side, place the clamp on top. If it's on your right side, place the clamp on the bottom.)
Next, turn the curling iron away from your face, leaving some hair sticking out at the end.
After holding for about five to seven seconds, press on the clamp with one hand, hold the end of the hair section with the other hand and slowly slide your curling iron down to the end of the section.
Then, wrap the curling iron away from your face again, and bring it up toward the roots. Note: If your hair is longer, you may want to do the hold-release-slide-wrap method twice, so instead of bringing the iron all the way to the ends after step three, just slide down a few inches, repeat step two, and continue. (There will still be hair hanging out at the end after repeating step two.)
Once you've wrapped up to the roots, hold for a few seconds, bring the curling iron down vertically, and release the hair to reveal your curly wave (as I like to call it). Now, you can most certainly change the direction of the curl as you make your way around your head (this helps the curls to look more natural), or you can have all of them face the same direction on either side.
You can also curl your hair in sections if you have a lot of hair, but, especially when I'm pressed for time in the mornings, I've found that I can knock it all out in about eight minutes by just doing it all in one fell swoop.
After doing my hair like this, my look will last all day long without a spritz of hairspray. If I revert back to my old curling ways, it won't make it past 3 p.m. (truly). If you have stick-straight hair, a hairspray-free world may not be on your horizon, but I've tested this method on so many different hair types and can say that it's lasted through nights of dancing, long events, and everything in between for them all.
Now you know the method, invest in a hard-working curling tong, like ghd's below.
A wand rather than a tong, the entirety of this ceramic-coated curler heats up to the optimum temperature of 185 degrees—perfect for forming defined curls without sizzling hair.
Want more? Check out our guide to the chicest curly hairstyles.
This post was originally published on February 24, 2016, and has since been updated.