I love to curl my short hair. I can do it on Monday and typically wear the curls until at least Friday. Throughout the years, with a pixie haircut, I’ve learned a lot of tricks for curling very short hair. Keep reading to learn about my three favorite hair-curling tools and the multitude of ways that I use them to achieve my curly hairstyles. Tutorials are included.
Get Ready to Curl Your Short Hair
Whatever technique you choose to curl your short hair, you will need to start with dry hair. Whenever I need to prep my clean hair, this is what I do. After shampooing, I use a leave-in conditioner and a styling mousse. Then, blow dry, smoothing with a round brush a bit. Once my hair is completely dry, I apply a leave-in serum as a heat protectant. This last step is important: do not forget to use a product to protect your hair from the heat.
Most hot tools come with a temperature gauge. When choosing the proper heat setting, think about the quality of your hair and what heat setting you will need to style it. Hard-to-manage, or thick hair, will need a higher temperature compared to hair that’s fine and fragile. If your hair is none of these extremes, pre-heating your iron to a medium heat setting (360 F) should suffice.
Size matters, so you must find the right-diameter tool for the length of your hair. The size of the iron will determine curl size and the tool size you will need for your hair length. For example, if your hair is 1-inch long, a wand that’s 1 inch or larger won’t be of use to you.
Curl Short Hair with a Wand
I suggest choosing a curling wand that comes with a heat-protective glove to keep from burning your fingers. In the attached video tutorial, I use this Eva-NYC Healthy Heat Clip Free Curler. It comes with a glove and has an adjustable digital temperature setting.
Curling wands are pretty simple to use. Section the hair so it’s easy to manage, start from the bottom taking 1-inch sections, wrapping the hair around the wand, and hold for about 5-10 seconds. Then, remove the wand. Allow the curl to cool and set completely if you are going for a ringlet look.
Slightly pull each curl after release for a looser curl. To keep some length to your short hair, you can leave the ends out and keep them straight. Wrap hair away from your face in the front, but throughout the back, you can (optionally) wrap in different directions. Spray your hair to finish off the style.
If you want to learn exactly how to curl your short hair with a wand, check out the video below.
Curl Short Hair with a Flat Iron
I often use a flat iron to twist my strands and achieve piecey, perfect waves (one of my fave hairstyles, btw). Keep in mind that for curling short hair, you’ll need a smaller flat iron. My choice is the Schmedium Flat Iron by Stylecraft as part of their travel duo. This iron gets up to 410F, making it perfect for techniques that require the iron to keep moving through the hair.
Take a small, 1-inch section of hair clamping the straightener at the roots. Then, smooth the hair a little, then, if you don’t have enough length to wrap the hair around the flat iron, just twist the iron 180 degrees and slide down for a beach wave. Pull the curl a bit with your fingers to relax the curl a bit further, if you prefer. Leave out the tips for this technique, as well, to give a longer appearance.
In this video that shows how to curl short hair with a flat iron, I use two techniques. I use the beach-wave technique in the front on my long bangs that were created with extensions. In the back, I used the tilt-and-slide technique to create body and volume.
Curl Short Hair with a Curling Iron
If you want to add some volume, take small sections using a larger iron barrel. Separating the hair into sections will give a more-defined curl. This will also create a more polished-looking curl. If you want to learn how to curl your short hair with a curling iron, check out each of the videos below.
For the ringlet look, roll the hair vertically and back, away from your face. Allow to cool, then set with hairspray. Ringlets are great for sleeping on because they become loose waves after several days of sleeping on them.
If you’re going for a natural look, there’s no need to create such uniform sections. You can also alternate the direction of the curls so that they don’t appear as uniform. Pulling the ends of the curls while still warm will also give a more natural appearance. After all pieces of hair have cooled down and set, gently run your fingers, or a pick, through the curls and mist with your favorite hairspray.
All the irons I used are made by Stylecraft. I use all three sizes of their Style Stix to create different styles.
As you can see, having short hair does not limit your style possibilities. With the proper hot tools and techniques, you can master a lot of ways to curl short hair. Follow me on Instagram for additional short-hair styling inspiration videos.