How to Use a Flat Iron: Top 5 Ways

Lorie Knickle March 19, 2020

The humble flat iron, a tool more versatile than you may imagine! From twists and curls, to smooth gloss there are many great styles you can create. Today, we'll look at how to use a flat iron and my top 5 styles, in particular. They are all fairly easy and with a bit of practice you'll be styling in no time. For all 5 looks I've used a Kenneth Bernard Vibe 1" Flat Iron - my best friend in style! So grab your flat iron and let's get started!



Flat Iron Curls


Want big bouncy curls that last? Traditional pin curls are created without heat, but add a flat iron and you've got style with staying power! A little bit of product helps too. Here's how to use a flat iron to get these curls.

Prep with a thermal protectant primer that contains hold. For this style I used Redken Pillowproof Express Treatment Cream Primer on damp locks and then blow dried my hair.

Section your hair into several large sections and hold with clips, pins or hair ties to keep them out of the way.

Take a 1” strip of hair out of the section you’re working on and comb through it to get rid of any tangles.

How to Use a Flat Iron

Wrap the strip of hair around 2 fingers to create a little coiled bundle. 

Flat Iron Curls

Carefully holding the bundle by the edge (using a thermal glove is the best bet here - I don't have one but will be investing in one ASAP!) clamp the flat iron over the bundle, opening and closing on the bundle in a tapping motion. Don't hold the clamped iron on the coil; just tap a few times to heat.

Flat Iron Curls

Clip the bundle to hold its shape while it cools and move on to the rest of your hair.

Flat Iron Curls

Keep bundles pinned until thoroughly cooled.

Unclip and set your curls free! Run your fingers through the curls to break them up a bit and create separation.




Flat Iron Curls


Put your curling iron and hot rollers aside. These curls were created with a flat iron! And with a flick of your wrist you can curl too. Here we go!

Spritz hair with a thermal spray that contains hold, such as Redken Iron Shape 11.

Section hair into large sections and hold with clips, pins or hair ties to keep them out of the way.

Take a 1” strip of hair out of the section you’re working on and comb through it to get rid of any tangles.

How to use a flat iron

Run the flat iron over the section twisting hair around the barrel as you go. To do this, turn the barrel of the flat iron with your wrist as you pull down. It may take a few tries to get used to the motion, and if it feels uncomfortable, I recommend trying it a few times without heat. After you feel more comfortable with the motion, flick on the heat and start curling.

While the curl is cooling, cup lightly in your hand to maintain the shape until cool.

Continue through the rest of the sections, changing the direction of the twist from strand to strand to create variation.

Rub a small amount of Moroccanoil Treatment between your fingertips and lightly run fingers through your hair to break up the curl and leave hair shiny. Spritz lightly with a light, flexible hold hairspray, like Sebastian Shaper.



 Flat Iron Crimp

These beachy crimped waves make for a fun, casual look! Create texture in even the flattest hair with this super easy technique. 

Spritz hair with a thermal spray with hold, like Redken Iron Shape 11. For extra hold, add a lightweight, non-sticky gel that will hold up to heat. Try AG Hair Thermal Spray Gel.


Top Ways to Use a Flat Iron

Section hair and braid each section. Keep in mind that the larger the section, the bigger the wave. Smaller sections will give tighter crimps.

Ways to Use a Flat Iron Crimps

Clamp down on a braid starting at the scalp and release. Move the iron about an inch down the braid and clamp again, releasing after a second or two. Continue moving down the braid, clamping and releasing.  Don't hold the clamped iron on the braid for any more than a second or two; keep the heat moving. Once you complete the first braid, continue with all the other braids.

Ways to use a flat iron crimps

Let the braids cool and set. Once cooled take out braids and lightly comb through with your fingers.

Spritz with flexible hold hairspray, like Kenneth Bernard Style Hairspray.



Flat Iron Smooth

Usually when you think of using a flat iron, you think smooth and shiny. Here's how I got my straightest, glossiest results!

Start when hair is damp and apply a smoothing lotion. Look for one that provides heat protection and humidity control. One to try: AG Hair Set it Straight.

Blow hair dry with tension, meaning use a brush or comb pull hair taught (but not tight, taking care not to stretch or pull) and blow dry from root to tip.

Section hair and hold sections with clips, pins or hair ties to keep them out of the way.

Take a 1” strip of hair out of the section you’re working on and comb through it to get rid of any tangles.

Flat Iron Smooth

Using a comb, slowly comb through the section creating tension as you move. Follow behind your comb with your flat iron. The tension helps further create the smoothness you’re looking for. As your comb pulls the hair straight, the heat from the flat iron sets it. 

Continue through the section, moving on to the next until your full head of hair is smooth and straight.

Add a shine spray for extra gloss: extra points for one that keeps humidity and frizz at bay. One to try: OSIS+ Magic Shine Serum



Flat Iron Volume

There are lots of ways to get volume at your crown. From backcombing to volume-boosting products, you can take your hair from flat to fabulous easily. But a lot of methods roughen up a smooth look. This technique uses heat to change the texture of your hair. Heating your hair and then using a round brush creates light volume while maintaining a nice smooth finish. 

To keep hair smooth and add volume, get out a round thermal brush and your flat iron. One to try: Moroccanoil Ceramic Round Brush

Taking a 1" section from the crown of your head, roll the round brush under the hair at the roots.  

Flat Iron Volume

Run the brush about 2” from your scalp and position the flat iron between your scalp and the brush. Move the brush and the flat iron simultaneously along the section in an upward motion.

Flat Iron Volume

Once the brush reaches the ends of the hair, re-position it between the flat iron and your scalp, rolling hair under after the flat iron has passed through. 

Flat Iron Volume

Keeping the hair wrapped around the brush, wait until the hair is cool to the touch, then spray with a flexible hold hairspray. One to try: Sebastian Professional Shaper.

Unroll the brush and fluff roots lightly with fingertips. 

Continue in sections around the crown until you’ve achieved your desired volume.


I hope you enjoy my favourite ways to use a flat iron. Shop for your new flat iron and have fun playing and experimenting with your favourite flat iron looks!


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