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How to Curl Medium Length Hair: Techniques For the Best Results


Curling medium length hair can enhance its texture, volume, and overall style. Whether you’re aiming for loose waves, tight curls, or something in between, knowing the right techniques and tools makes all the difference. This comprehensive guide explores how to curl medium length hair, providing step-by-step instructions, product recommendations, and tips for achieving the best results in 2024.

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How to Curl Medium Length Hair:

What Techniques Offer the Best Results?

Preparing Your Hair:

How Should You Prepare Your Hair for Curling?

Proper preparation ensures your curls hold longer and look healthier.

Hair Cleanliness:

Choosing the Right Wash:

Wash Your Hair: Start with clean hair, as oil and dirt can weigh down curls. Use a lightweight shampoo and conditioner to prepare your hair. Avoid heavy conditioners that can make your hair too slippery for curling.

Drying Your Hair:

Blow-Dry for Volume:

Partial Drying: If you’re using a curling iron or wand, ensure your hair is completely dry to prevent damage. Use a blow dryer to add volume at the roots, focusing on making your curls for medium length hair smooth and frizz-free. If air-drying, ensure it’s fully dry or use a heat protectant before applying any heat tools.

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Heat Protection:

Thermal Protectant:

Apply Heat Protectant: Before using any heat styling tools, apply a heat protectant spray or serum to your hair. This product helps shield your hair from the damaging effects of high temperatures, ensuring your hair remains healthy.

Detangling Your Hair:

Smooth Base:

Brush Thoroughly: Brush your hair completely to remove any tangles. Smooth hair ensures even heat distribution and produces better curls.

Using a Curling Iron:

How Can You Achieve Beautiful Curls with a Curling Iron?

A curling iron is a popular tool for creating a variety of curl types, from tight ringlets to loose waves.

Choosing the Right Iron:

Barrel Size:

Select Barrel Size: Choose a curling iron with a barrel size appropriate for the type of curl you want. Smaller barrels (3/4 inch to 1 inch) create tighter curls, while larger barrels (1.25 inches and above) produce looser waves.

Heat Settings:

Temperature Control:

Adjust Temperature: Set the iron to a temperature suitable for your hair type. Fine hair requires a lower setting (between 250°F to 300°F), whereas thicker hair can handle higher temperatures (up to 400°F). Always start with a lower setting and adjust as needed.

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Sectioning Your Hair:

Divide and Conquer:

Create Sections: Divide your hair into sections using clips. Start with the bottom layers and work your way to the top. Smaller sections create more defined curls, while larger sections result in softer waves.

Curling Technique:

Wrap and Hold:

Wrap Hair Around Barrel: Take a small section of hair and wrap it around the curling iron barrel, starting from the roots and moving towards the ends. Hold the hair in place for about 8-12 seconds. For a more natural look, leave the ends slightly straighter by not wrapping them fully around the barrel.

Release and Set:

Cool Down Period:

Release Curl: Gently release the curl from the iron and hold it in your hand for a few seconds before letting it drop. This allows the curl to set and cool down in shape.

Final Touches:

Fix and Finish:

Hairspray: Apply a light mist of hairspray to hold the curls in place. Choose a flexible hold spray that maintains movement without making the hair stiff or crunchy.

Finger Comb: For a more relaxed look, gently run your fingers through the curls to separate and soften them.

Using a Curling Wand:

What Are the Steps to Achieving Curls with a Curling Wand?

A curling wand offers a more modern approach to curling, often resulting in natural, free-flowing curls.

Choosing the Right Wand:

Wand vs. Iron:

Barrel Type: Curling wands, unlike curling irons, do not have a clamp. This design helps prevent creases and allows for more versatile styling. Select a wand with a tapered barrel for varied curl sizes.

Heat Settings:

Temperature Adjustment:

Set the Temperature: Similar to curling irons, adjust the heat setting according to your hair type. Always start with a lower temperature and increase if necessary.

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Sectioning Hair:

Work in Portions:

Divide Hair: Section your hair into manageable parts using clips. Start with lower sections and gradually move to the upper layers.

Curling Technique:

Wrap and Hold:

Wind Around Barrel: Take a small section of hair, hold the wand vertically, and wrap the hair around the barrel away from your face. Hold the hair in place for 5-10 seconds.

Release the Curl:

Let It Cool:

Release Hair: Gently slide the curl off the wand and hold it in your hand for a few seconds to set. This step helps the curl hold its shape.

Styling and Finishing:

Seal the Curls:

Apply Hairspray: Mist a light layer of hairspray to secure the curls. For a natural finish, use a flexible hold spray.

Separate for Volume: Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to separate the curls for added volume and a softer appearance.

Using Rollers:

How to Curl Your Hair with Heated or Velcro Rollers?

Rollers offer a heat-free or low-heat option for curls for medium hair, providing volume and bounce.

Choosing the Type of Rollers:

Heated vs. Velcro:

Heated Rollers: Heated rollers are easy to use and provide long-lasting curls. They come in various sizes for different types of curls.

Velcro Rollers: Velcro rollers don’t require heat and are gentle on the hair. They are suitable for creating loose waves and adding volume.

Sectioning and Rolling:

Divide and Roll:

Create Sections: Divide your hair into sections. Use smaller sections for tighter curls and larger sections for looser waves.

Place Rollers: Starting at the ends, roll the hair up towards the roots. Secure the roller in place with the included clips if you’re using heated rollers, or let Velcro rollers adhere naturally to your hair.

Setting Time:

Allow to Set:

Heat and Cool: For heated rollers, wait until they cool completely, about 15-20 minutes, before removing. Velcro rollers should stay in place for at least an hour for the best results.

Remove and Style:

Finish the Look:

Unroll Carefully: Gently unroll the rollers to release the curls. Avoid pulling to prevent frizz and disturbing the curl pattern.

Set with Spray: Finish by applying a light hold hairspray to keep the curls in place. Use your fingers to gently arrange the curls as desired.

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Using No-Heat Methods:

How to Curl Medium Length Hair Without Heat?

Heat-free methods are a great alternative for those wanting to avoid heat damage while still achieving beautiful curls.

Braiding Technique:

Overnight Braids:

Braid Sections: Divide slightly damp curl shoulder length hair into sections and braid them before you go to bed. Tighter braids create more defined curls, while looser braids result in waves.

Unbraid in the Morning: In the morning, carefully undo the braids and use your fingers to separate the curls. Apply a light hairspray to hold the style.

Twisting Technique:

Hair Twists:

Twist Sections: Separate damp hair into sections, twist each section tightly, and pin it into a small bun. You can sleep in the twists or leave them for several hours during the day.

Release and Style: Once dry, release the twists and gently separate the curls with your fingers. Finish with a hairspray to maintain the curls.

Using Flexi Rods:

Flexible Rods:

Wrap Hair: Wrap small sections of damp hair around flexi rods from the ends to the roots. Twist the rods to secure them in place.

Set and Release: Leave the rods in overnight or until your hair is completely dry. Carefully remove the flexi rods and finger-comb through the curls.

Maintaining Your Curls:

How Can You Ensure Your Curls Last Longer?

Proper maintenance can help prolong the longevity of your curls and keep them looking fresh.

Product Use:

Extend Hold:

Hairspray and Mousse: Apply a light hold hairspray or mousse designed specifically for curls to extend their lifespan without weighing them down.

Refresh Curls: Use a curl refresher spray or a small amount of water to reactivate the product in your hair and refresh the curls.

Nighttime Care:

Preserve Curls:

Silk/Satin Pillowcase: Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction and prevent your curls from frizzing overnight.

Pineapple Method: Gather your hair into a loose, high ponytail on top of your head (pineapple method) to preserve curls and prevent flattening while you sleep.


Curling medium length hair can be achieved through various methods, including using curling irons, wands, rollers, and even no-heat techniques. Proper preparation, choosing the right tools, and employing effective curling techniques are essential for achieving the best results. Regular maintenance and using suitable products further ensure your curls remain defined and long-lasting. With these tips and methods, you can create beautiful curls that enhance your medium length hair and suit any occasion.