No Clamp Curling Iron Technique

Who’s ready to witness a chick in her robe sans makeup dealing with hair appliances in her bathroom at 7 a.m.? Let’s get going!

The cast of characters: A Mason Pearson brush and a good ceramic curling iron. Ladies (and gents?), there is nothing more important than a good brush. I just recently bought a new one, but the previous Mason Pearson I owned (and STILL used) was given to me when I was 8 years old. Forgive my math, but I do believe it lasted 24 years. They are worth the cashola, is all I’m sayin’. As for the curling iron, I have a Hot Tools Tourmaline Ceramic 1-inch iron. Ceramic is super important for the shine and who the hell knows what the use of tourmaline is supposed to accomplish. (Un)Fortunately, I mentally wandered off to my happy place (the one where you float on chile con queso clouds) while the ULTA sales associate was explaining it to me.

Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream and Sheer Shine Mist. I love these products, and they last forever. In fact, I just buy the travel sizes. I don’t think I could ever get through the regular ones. Plus, you can pack them in your carry-on. Am I always thinking or WHAT?

Now, stop right there. Any person who, up to this point, has been thinking, “Gee, that Whoorl is quite the narcissist”, needs to take a gander at this mug shot. Will you take a look at this sorry soul? This is the face of someone who has already showered at 6:30am because their toddler decided to wake up at 5:15am READY! FOR! THE! DAY! But look at me, diggin’ in and doing it for the team. Holla!

Oh yeah, so step one. Take a shower. Towel-dry hair.

Put a pea-sized drop of the glossing cream in the palm of your hand. Yes, that’s right- I don’t have man hands. The size of a pea, not a dime, a nickel or a quarter. That cream can get a leeettle on the greasy side. Rub it your palms until it warms and then work it through from the middle to the ends. While working it, look in the mirror, purr and say, “I’m worth it.”

Now, here’s a little fork in the road for everyone. I don’t blow-dry my hair unless forced. However, I know lots of you actually have to BE somewhere looking all hot and sassy in a certain amount of time. So, by all means, please blow-dry your hair at this point. You don’t need to dry it stick straight- just blow-dry while brushing to close the cuticle. (That’s right, I just sassooned you with a little hair terminology). After drying, don’t worry if your hair looks frizzy/lame/heinous/stringy. The curling iron will take care of you.

Here I am about an hour later, after I completed my morning routine of:

1. Feeding toddler.
2. Cleaning up after toddler.
3. Dressing toddler.
4. Wiping toddler’s bum.
5. Contacting local black market for baby-selling opportunities.
6. Unloading dishwasher.
7. Belittling my husband.
8. Husband belittling me.
9. Drinking 1/2 cup of coffee. (With REAL caffeine! I’m crazy!)
10. Checking Google Reader, Twitter, Flickr and email.
11. Applying a little undereye concealer, mascara and blush.
12. Looking at wavy hair in mirror.

And there you go! Thanks for visiting the Whoorl Hair Photo Essay! See you next time!

Okay, so we’re not done for the purposes of this post, but 85% of the time, this is the end of the road for me. I’m a wash-n-wear kind of gal. Not today, however. Today I’ll be the Super Me. I know what you’re thinking, “What if the super you meets the super her and the super her rejects the super you?” Well, then it’s no problem because it was never you, it was just an act. I live my life like a French movie.

Bring on the tools!

Get your sexy brush and work it. Brush with many strokes (so if you have hair like mine, you get the waves to relax a little). Then pin about half of your hair up in a clippy thing.

At this point, I realize taking photos and using a curling iron at the same time presents a challenge. Enter husband.

“Honey? I know you’re in the middle of drafting, but could I borrow you for a second?”
“I need you to take pictures of me curling my hair.”
“Because I’m doing this photo essay for Whoorl about my hair…you know, how I do it.”
“Because people are always asking about my hair, honey. I thought it would be funny…you know quirky kind of funny…not FUNNY, funny…I don’t think I’m some sort of comedien…comedienne? Comedienne, comedienne…wow, that word sounds kind of funny when you say it repeatedly…comedienne, cah-MEEEE-dienne, cah-meeeee-dieNNE. Heh.”

*silent, judgemental staring*

Here’s the important part. Up until recently, I wasn’t very familiar with curling irons. I presumed you were supposed to clamp your hair down and then roll upwards like in high school. Stupid, stupid me. Apparently, you don’t use the clampy part at all. (Are you all shaking you heads right now? Like C’MON, everybody knows THAT!)

Basically, hold the iron parallel to your head, and starting a couple of inches from your scalp, wrap a 1-1/2 inch section of hair around the barrel (in the away-from-your-face direction). Continue wrapping up the barrel until you are holding the ends up against the iron and simultaneously trying to keep your fingers from blistering due to the 300 degree heat.

In the above photo, my perfectionist husband is taking his sweet-ass time lining up the shot to his liking, while my defenseless hair cauterizes and falls off.


*hair breathes a sigh of relief, trembling*

Repeat. This process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Consider starting a rooster-hair trend. When curling the top layer, use much larger sections of hair to keep from looking too curling-ironish.

Here I am half-way through, thinking the bathroom light makes my skin look peachy-pretty.

ACK! Natural light! Close the window shade already!

See how curling larger sections on top gives it a less perfectionist look? Because, you know, that’s me, Miss Carefree.

Spray one spritz of the mist on each side of hair. Let it cool completely.

Look at clock and realize you have 20 minutes until your appointment with you-know-who. Freak out because you’re not dressed and your child is sitting in the living room naked, feasting on an electrical cord.

Yell, “SHIT!” (Just to watch your husband shudder. He does it every single time.)

Dress yourself, dress your baby, shake your head and put on your new sexpot lip gloss. Take picture of final result. Preview photo, see nothing but blurry. Yell, “SHIT!” again. Take another photo.

Look at photo. OCD kicks in. Hair is not looking optimal. No time to worry about it. Rush out the door and into the crazy world, spreading the hair joy. Much like a prophet.

  1. Samantha

    September 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I think your hair looks MUCH better natural. In fact it looks fantastic!

  2. grace

    October 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    hahahaha! That was very entertaining to read!!! :D I just read one post and I already love your site! Your hair looks way cute! Thank you for the tutorial!

  3. Marisa

    October 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Don’t feel bad till I read your tutorial I had no idea about the curling iron thing either. Jeez I feel like a tom boy now….

    -yells down the hall-


    -is being ignored-



    “take me shopping”

    “What?! Why?!”

    “cvuz I need to feel gurly…”

    husband stares open mouthed then walks away shaking head in man corn fusion

    “well you coming then?”

    jesus I’m spoiled!

    “Comin honey”


  4. Jenny

    November 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks SO much for this amazing tutorial…I’ve been clamping and rolling up for forever and had no idea why it didn’t look like I wanted it to. I tried your steps and it looks a lot better.

    Thanks again! :)

  5. inas

    November 28, 2009 at 12:31 am

    i love your tutorials and your site is so nice it does shaw that you have spend much tim on it.. keep it up with those tutorials

  6. Shirley

    May 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    “just blow-dry while brushing to close the cuticle”

    If you want that cuticle closed use your cool shot. Heat will open cuticle cool air closes it. Just fyi.

    I only use a Marcel iron. I agree with Judith Tiedemann.

  7. Kara

    February 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    OMG I have been trying to create this look for months and was finally successful using your helpful and f’ing hilarious instructions. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! :D