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Hair Tutorial: How To Get Soft Pretty Waves Using a Tapered Curling Iron

There are really a handful of ways to achieve soft and pretty waves in your hair and even more tools on the market claiming to create the sought-after look, but sometimes it’s difficult to know which to use to get exactly what you want. And I’m 100% positive that if you watched the YouTube video of the poor girl trying to demonstrate how to use a tapered curling iron and burning her hair off in the process, you were a little timid to use your heat styling tools for a few weeks after or ever at all, but really, that should never happen. Please note, if you have fine hair and plan on using small sections of hair like the girl in the video did, please turn the heat down on your iron. Most newer irons and wands allow you to adjust the heat, which is what makes them work so well!

But if you know how to do it correctly, you can really achieve these soft and pretty waves in your hair with almost any of the available curling irons and/or wands as long as they’re of the professional variety. Cheap, drugstore brands just won’t get the job done right! I actually love my metal 1″ Hot Tools curling iron for most wavy hairstyles but sometimes a different iron will create subtle effects that make all the difference in the world to your own hair. So don’t give up if one doesn’t work for you, a different brand or size even, may be just what you need. You can read about some of my favorite hair styling tools here.

For this tutorial, I’m using a Hot Tools Tapered Ceramic Curling Iron {$38.35 on amazon}


  • Click through these easy steps and learn how to get soft pretty waves with a tapered curling iron. 1 of 5
    Click through these easy steps and learn how to get soft pretty waves with a tapered curling iron.
    NOTE: The wand iron shown here has a plastic tip, but many do not and come with a glove so you don't burn your hand. Use the glove for protection.

    Original hair tutorial here
  • image-3492 2 of 5
    image-3492
    {Though I'm beyond this step in the photo shown} SEPARATE your hair in half {as if to create a half ponytail} and clip it up. Begin by curling or waving the lower half first and the top last.
  • image-3490 3 of 5
    image-3490
    Section out about an inch of hair and beginning closest to the root {or wherever you'd like your waves to start -but remember they fall a bit} wrap your hair around the iron and hold it in place {for about 20 seconds or so}.

    TIP: The larger sections you use, the larger waves you get and alternately, the smaller sections you use, the tighter waves you get, but they all fall out a bit regardless.
  • image-3491 4 of 5
    image-3491
    Once you've waved the bottom section of your hair, release the top section and wave it the same.

    TIP: To get the best waves with the most volume, wrap the top section of your hair BACK and around {as seen above}. You want the waves on either side of your face to flow back to look the most natural, so wrap your hair sections BACK instead of forward, if that makes sense.
  • Wave Styling Tips… 5 of 5
    Wave Styling Tips...
    After my waves have cooled and set {give them 5-10 minutes and do your makeup while you wait}, I do a few different things to create different looks. Sometimes I just take my brush and "fluff" the top/crown section of my head, allowing the rest of the waves to fall naturally into place {as seen here -the top is soft but the back still has almost intact waves}. Other times I just use my fingers to messily separate the waves and loosen them up all over, giving it more of a beachy look. If you're going for a more Old Hollywood Glam style, brush out your waves completely and use a product that smooths and adds shine to keep your waves in place.

    You can use hair spray to set your waves if needed {note: I have NOT used any other products other than the curling iron in any of the photos you see included in this post}.

    For more soft wave tutorials and videos to help if you're still a bit unsure, follow the links below for a few other options.

More hair tutorials for soft waves…

* No Heat Curls for BIG HAIR
* How to get the Perfect Curls with a curling iron
* My first ever hair tutorial for soft beach waves from 2008 {though I have a few new techniques and style it a bit differently, this is still relevant}
* Another No Heat Curls tutorial… that’s not as great, probably better for shorter hair


Find Maegan Tintari at …love Maegan daily for style secrets, hair tutorials, fashion trends, DIYs, home decor and more. {Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram}

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