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Hairstyle Dictionary: The Official Guide to Every Type of Curl

Hairstyle Dictionary: The Official Guide to Every Type of Curl

Jun 19th 2016

Last month in our hairstyle dictionary post, we discussed common hairstyling tools and all of the beautiful looks you can create when your bathroom is stocked with the right ones. Now, we’re taking a deep dive into curling irons and the various looks you can create with different barrel shapes and techniques to nail your look every. single. time.

Beach Waves

Ahh, beach waves. A go-to look we adore anytime of the year. This look is best achieved with an unclipped styling wand and by wrapping small sections of hair around the iron. Alternate the direction of the wave to avoid a uniform pattern and break up the sections with your fingers after curling all of your hair.


Pro Tip: Use a Sea Spray or Spray Wax to give individual sections definition for a sexy, piecey look that lasts all day.  

Barely There, Brushed Out Waves

There is something really attractive about brushed out waves╌maybe it’s the allure of an I woke up like this look or just the sheer simplicity of creating the style, but either way, we dig it. To achieve this look, put your curling iron on a low temperature setting╌this will give your hair bend rather than a true curl╌and curl all of your hair in one direction. Let your hair cool and then brush the waves with a paddle brush to perfect the gentle, barely there bend.


Defined Curls

Defined curls are making their comeback this year and, thankfully, they are super easy to create! Think: the first way you remember ever curling your hair. With this style you have two options: curl your hair from bottom to top or top to bottom. This simple change will give your look a noticeably different look.

  • Bottom to top: Curling your hair from the ends up will create most of the curl on the ends of your hair with only a subtle wave in the length. Using this technique is a great way to fake a blow-out. Simply clip the ends of your into the clip of your curling iron and roll your hair up.

  • Top to bottom: Curling your hair from top to bottom will create a more consistent curl or wave from root to tip. For this style, you can use a clipped or unclipped curling iron. Simply wrap your hair around the barrel of the iron starting at your roots and work your way down.

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Hollywood Waves

This is a highly sought after look for glamorous occasions of all kinds (not just Hollywood red carpets). The trick to achieving this look is to curl your hair in one, uniform direction; pin the curls in place and allow hair to cool completely; then, release and brush out curls with a paddle brush to create a uniform pattern.


Pro Tip: Use a flexible hold hairspray to keep everything in place!

Voluminous Curls

The key to voluminous curls is one part awesome blow-out and one part large barrel curling iron. Start by blow drying wet hair with a thickening foam and round brush to create volume and height. Next, use a large barrel curling iron to curl random sections of hair in alternating directions. Let the hair cool completely before breaking up the curls with your fingers and setting with Extra-Body Finishing Spray®.

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Finger Waves

This is likely the hardest curl look to achieve, but shhh! We have a secret for faking it in a hurry (we say see a pro when you’re going 100%). To achieve the look, take 1-2" sections of hair and, using your smoothing iron at your roots, bend your hair by twisting the iron 180 degrees. Pull the hair down and twist the opposite way 180 degrees. Continue rotating the iron back and forth until you reach the end of your hair. Repeat on the entirety of your hair.

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Armed with a heat protectant spray and your various irons, you have a plethora of beauty looks at your fingertips. So, which one are you going to try first?