How I Curl My Hair

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how I curl my hair. Over the years, I have continued to perfect my technique. Here’s a video where I show how I blow dry my hair and an older version of my curling technique. The blowdrying is still my go-to and, in fact, I feel like I’ve just gotten even faster and more precise with it. It sounds so dumb, but learning how to blow dry my hair at home was a big moment for me. It has saves me so much time and now I prefer doing my own hair versus going for blowouts.

Hair Curling Technique

Here’s what I have been doing lately curling-wise though. It’s actually pretty easy, but I do have to say, I think every hair type curls, and holds curls, differently. This works for me. I have friends who have their own technique and if I did it their ways, I’d end up like Shirley Temple or with totally flat hair. I love learning what other people do even still though because I usually pick up a few tips along the way that I can implement into my own routine.

T3 Curling Wand

One major change in my curling process is that I changed wands. I bought this interchangeable wands from t3 and it’s a gamechanger. My everyday choice is the 1-inch barrel though, and I probably could have just purchased that one. I love the 1.5 inch as well when I want more full body waves– they fall out a bit more and look more Hollywood glam versus wavy.

Curling Hair

Because I’m going for looser waves than tight curls, I only do a few total sections. I do three main sections and then four to six mini-sections; two on each side for the lower and top layers and then three in the middle where there’s a bit more hair. I clip the hair that I haven’t curled yet up on my head with an alligator clip.

Similar to pretty much every other curling tutorial out there, I curl away from my face for each side. It took me a little bit of practice to figure out how to hold the wand on each side, but now it’s second nature.

I also leave the ends out– at least an inch– and I don’t worry so much about curling the roots of my hair. I like that the uncurled ends make my hair look less fussy and my “second-day hair” looks a lot better when I do this too.

If you want tighter curls (or if your hair doesn’t hold a curl long enough), let each section FULLY COOL before moving the curl into a ponytail or clip. You can even ravel the curl back up and press and hold with your palm while it cools. When I do this it’s too curly, but again, if your curls have a tendency to instantly fall, try doing that!

How I Curl My Hair

Between each section, I tie the done curls back with a silk scrunchie to prevent creases! I repeat the curling process until every piece is curled.

Carly the Prepster Hair

And here’s where one of my favorite tricks comes in. (I actually learned this one from Julia!) After I’m done curling, and while my hair is still cooling off, I severely tuck my hair behind my ears. I really pull the hair taut for the tuck. It helps shape the hair immediately by your face!

Ear Tuck

  Hair Curling Tutorial

I usually let my hair cool and set for at least a half an hour. The longer I wait to touch my hair, the longer my curls last (and the better they look). I usually curl my hair right before doing my makeup and then I get dressed and go through my morning routine.

Then I take a paddle brush and brush through the curls. I know this is kind of a big no-no for curls, but it’s the best way to break everything up so you don’t end up looking like Shirley Temple. My curls usually look a little fluffy and nutty and will eventually calm down on their own. Sometimes though I’ll use my fingers to reform and shape the waves for an instantly polished look.


Carly Heitlinger

So I would say that if you’ve seen my hair curled in any post over the past six, this is the process that I have followed! Not too bad, right?

Wavy Hair Tutorial

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I just bought this curling iron, but with the clips – with the hope to get the wand versions in the future. But I tried the 1.5 in barrel and the curls didn’t hold at ALL. Very disappointed. Did you have any issue with this? Any trial and error tips?


I saw your insta yesterday and was like I NEED to know how she gets her hair so perfect! You read my mind 😂 This was super helpful, thank you!


I always love your curls! This is so similar to the way I part my hair to use my want. For some reason though, I have the opposite problem. My curls never seem to hold. No matter what I do. I’ll have to re-do my routine and see if it’s something funky I do to prevent my hair from staying.

Katie |