When it comes to curling your hair, there are many tools, techniques, and types of curls to explore—curling irons for defined curls, hair rollers for voluminous hair, and hair wands for undone waves and curls. While most mane-obsessed people have their favorite go-to curling iron and are also familiar with using hair rollers, hair wands can seem a bit intimidating and confusing to use. To help you master the hair wand, we enlisted David Lopez, lead stylist of T3 and hairstylist to celebs like Ashley Graham, Hailey Bieber, and Chrissy Teigen, to break down the most important things to know when using a curling wand.
So for those who can’t seem to use a curling iron without getting their hair stuck in the iron’s clamp and want to achieve the loose, undone waves that only a wand can deliver, keep reading for David’s six key hair wand tips.
1. Choose the Best Barrel for Your Hair Type
T3’s Whirl Convertible specifically has four different interchangeable barrels for your desired wave or curl: Undone Waves 1″ straight barrel; Loose Waves 1.5″ straight barrel; Tousled Waves 1.25 – .75″ tapered barrel; and Cascading Waves .75 – 1.25″ reversed tapered barrel. Those with shorter hair should stick to smaller barrels and people with longer hair can vary in size and sections, depending on their desired result. According to David, “texture from a wand looks great on every hair length as long as each section is able to get a full rotation around the barrel.”
2. Always Start at the Root of the Hair
No matter the look that you’re going for, start with the wand at the root of the hair and wrap towards the end of the wand, holding the hair into place using the hand that is wearing the glove.
3. Hold the Wand With the Barrel Facing Downward
Holding the wand upside down while curling the hair is the most effective way to use the wand. Holding the wand in the direction that your hair flows and simply wrapping the section of hair from the base of the wand to the end will give you the best results for each section.
4. Pick Your Desired Curl
Both your hair texture and your desired curl are factors to consider when choosing which type of barrel to use.
- Uniformed, spiral waves: choose a smaller, straight wand and curl all sections in the same direction.
- Looser, voluminous waves: choose a larger, straight wand and curl all sections in the same direction.
- Tousled waves: use a tapered wand and alternate the direction in which you curl each section.
- Lived-in, voluminous waves: use a reversed tapered wand and alternate the direction in which you curl each section.
“I like to curl the hair away from the face except for the hair right in front of the ear and below the temple. This creates the illusion of fullness and texture without looking too messy. Great for fine hair,” says David.
Click here to watch T3’s tutorials that show you how to achieve every and any curl type.
5. Larger Sections = Soft Curls, Smaller Sections = Tight Curls
“A very basic rule of thumb is to remember that the larger section of hair that you wrap around the wand, the softer and more subtle the wave is. The smaller the section that you wrap around the barrel, the tighter and more dramatic the final wave and curl,” says David. Larger sections will result in looser, old Hollywood glam vibes while smaller sections will result in tighter, more defined curls.
6. Take Care of Your Wand
To keep your wand in tiptop shape and protect the wand against buildup from hairsprays and styling products, wipe the wand clean once a week when it is turned off.
For hold and texture, David notes that he first uses Kenra’s Whip Grip Mousse before styling. After styling, he mixes Kevin Murphy’s Young Again Oil with Kenra’s Volume Spray 25 in his hands and then runs through the lengths of the hair to give shine and hold all in one.