Short-haired ladies, you’ll feel me when I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with my go-to curling iron. With my hair hitting just above shoulder length, it’s flat-out impossible for it to wrap around the thick barrel enough times to get a true wave that you get when your hair is longer. I thought I was subjected to a life of bent-at-best hair until I get the urge to grow it out until I discovered the tool — and the technique — that makes full waves for short-haired girls absolutely possible. You ready for the secret?


Dun dun dun… the trick to getting waves with short hair is to use a skinnier tool. It seems like simple reasoning, but it was a major a-ha moment when I stumbled upon the incredibly thin Hot Tools Gold 3/4-inch Curling Iron ($40). I’ll set the scene: I didn’t have any of my regular wands at home one day and realized that it was collecting dust in my beauty stash (tbh, I have no clue why I bought it in the first place, but whatever — that is part of the game when you are a beauty junkie :). So I turned to this foreign tool in my drawer. I wasn’t sure how my hair would turn out at first, but as I got further into the process I realized I was getting a hair texture that I always wished I could have with short hair.


By the time I put my special styling trick into the waves, I felt so excited to have this more playful, random curl pattern, which was absolutely not achievable with the larger irons I had always been using before. A littler wand — I used the 3/4-inch size — allows us short-haired girls to finally up our wave game. Here’s how to copy my new and improved crimp.

Prep: Add Texture


It is always good to prep your hair with something to lift your roots for volume, like dry shampoo if you need it, or a smoothing heat protector if you already have volume and need a little control.


Shake your fingers through your hair to disperse whatever product you choose evenly.

Step 1: Make It Easy to Curl Loose Waves like a Pro


You guys, every time I watch a girlfriend attempt to curl her own hair I am baffled at her approach. It’s not that it’s wrong, but I know if she just made a few minor adjustments then her results would be so much better! I’ll let you in on the tricks:

– The best way to curl your own hair thoroughly is to do the job in sections. Pick up most of the hair on the top of your head and secure it in a quick topknot with an elastic. The hair that’s left out at the bottom is the hair you’ll curl first.

– Start at the root of your hair and begin curling away from your face.

– Hold the ends of your hair and shut the iron. Hold onto the ends when you’re feeding your hair into the iron too.

– For a relaxed wave, continue until you have around a half inch or slightly less of your ends out of the wand.

– Release the wand and let the curl fall.

Continue this process until all of your hair is curled!

Step 2: Go the Extra Mile With Tight Spiral Waves


To get a more eclectic look, I like to add multiple wave patterns in my hair. I do this by switching up my technique. Full disclosure: You can use this technique to curl you hair all over, or use it like I am here to add in a few next-level waves. Whichever way you decide to use it, here’s what to do:

– Start at the root of your hair and begin wrapping inch-thick pieces of hair around the iron away from your face.

– Continue wrapping until you get to around a half inch or slightly less at the end of your hair.

– For a tighter spiral wave, let sit for a good two to five seconds and then release the hair.

– Note: The smaller the pieces of hair you use, the more dimension you’ll get in your final hairstyle.

Final Touches


Shake your curls out and run your fingers through your hair to loosen and separate the waves. Add a serum to the ends of your hair with your fingertips to refine the look and keep the waves looking a little more piece-y and wild.


When I do my hair like this, I’m able to wear my hair as-is for two to three days without re-curling or washing my hair. Whenever the curls do start to fall out and get a little more messy, I just add some dry shampoo and hair serum to the ends the next day to refresh the look since the curls are so much tighter and random anyway. Have fun with this one, ladies!

Do you have any obvious but underrated styling tools to share with us? List them in the comments section below!


Get the look on Misty: Wal-Mart Tunic Top, Upper Metal Class Being Collar Necklace in Bronze ($115), Upper Metal Class Semi Oval Earrings in Bronze ($25)