If the last time you attempted to curl your hair was for your high school prom, in which you ended up with crunchy sausage curls and lifetime’s worth of bad pictures still framed on your mom’s mantel, then yeah, we’ve been there. Because for some reason, curling your hair is not as easy as it looks despite the billion YouTube tutorials and dozens of times we’ve watched friends do it.
But if you’ve sworn off curling irons and wands in favor of, uh, whatever the hell your hair naturally does on its own, please come back into the fold, because we got hairstylist and semi-wizard Jasmine Santiago to show us exactly how to curl our hair in the easiest of beginner tutorials. And when we say easy, we really do mean easy — just three GIF-filled steps and a tiny bit of patience. So click through to see the how-to, and then maybe politely ask your mom to update her photos.
Pretty self-explanatory step, but hey. Starting with the face-framing layers near your hairline, wind a 2-inch section of hair around a 1-inch curling iron (without clamping down), like the Hot Tools Multi-Heat Control, or a curling wand, like the Remington Ceramic Pearl, twisting the hair in the direction away from your face. Hold for five seconds, then slip the iron out of the curl, before quickly wrapping the curl around your fingers to softly define it.
Step 2: Curl it forward
The key to natural-looking curls is making sure you alternate the direction in which you twist each section. So after curling the front piece away from your face, pick up the 2-inch section next to it and twist it around the wand toward your face. Hold for five seconds, then release and rewrap around your fingers. Continue alternating directions around your head until all pieces are curled.
Step 3: Add some texture
To keep curls from falling limp or poofing out after a few hours, lift and spritz sections with a texturizing spray (if you want a soft, matte, volumized finish) or a lightweight finishing spray (if you want a shinier, more defined finish). Rake through the curls with your fingers — don’t worry about being gentle; softer curls look more natural — as you spray, and remember: Less is more.