There are so many new hair styling tools on the market (hello, Dyson Airwrap) it can feel impossible to get a handle on them all. Curling wands, in particular, can be confusing—why should you use it versus a curling iron? What size barrel is best? What kind of styling products are you supposed to use?
That’s where celebrity hairstylist Marcus Francis, who works with Julianne Moore, Katharine Langford, and Camila Cabello, comes to the rescue. We recently sat down with the Suave Professionals ambassador to get his best tips for mastering the curling wand, ahead.
Curling wands are best for looser styles.
“If you’re going to do soft waves or beach waves, you would use a curling wand because you don’t need a clamp to set the hair,” Francis advises. He adds that you shouldn’t hold the wand too close to the head because it creates a roundness that is “not as flattering.”
The direction you twist the hair matters
“Wrapping away from the face is a good way to start, and in the back you can alternate directions,” he says. “If you wrap all the hair forward it closes in—you want to show off the face as much as possible.”
For a longer hold, start prepping your hair when it’s wet
Francis goes with a combination of mousse, thickening spray, or sea salt spray. “I put one of those styling products in while the hair is wet,” he says. “You have to prep the hair with something. You can’t just have clean hair, use a wand, and then hair spray. If you don’t create memory in the hair it doesn’t matter how long you wand or tong it for.”
Note: You’re probably keeping your hair on the heat for way too long….
If you tend to wait 10 seconds or more for a curl to set, you may need to reconsider. Though it varies depending on your hair’s natural texture and damage level (if it’s color-processed, chemically straightened, etc.), Francis says “If you want to create a soft wave, I would say stay in the world of three seconds, so two to four seconds.” Her also prefers to wrap hair around the wand once, move down, then wrap again instead of holding hair on the heat.
…Especially on the ends.
“I feel like when you curl the ends for too long, it crosses the point of being polished, then gets ‘dippidy-doo,'” Francis explains. “It’s too ‘done’ of a hairstyle. I think people like the way hair looks like you just woke up that way. That’s the way that a lot of my clients want it—They don’t want to look ‘done.'”
Don’t be afraid to brush out your curls.
“People are so petrified to brush through the texture to soften it,” Francis says. “I understand each person’s hair is so individual and different that way, but I think that’s where people need to learn to explore product use for their hair type because [the desired finish] comes from products, not from how well the iron is heating or how long you set the hair.”
If you’re a commitment-phobe, opt for convertible heat tools.
“I love Harry Josh’s irons because you can convert them from a wand to a traditional curling iron and that attachment is everything,” he says. “It’s a good investment because you have the flexibility. I know T3 has one of those with interchangeable wand sizes. It’s really good.”