How to Curl Long Hair: A Loose Curls Hair Tutorial That’s Actually Pretty Easy

It took me many years, and many YouTube videos, to figure out how to curl long hair. So I’m super excited to share this loose curls hair tutorial with you today! 

If you want to know how to achieve beach waves too, this hairstyle tutorial will be easy to follow—promise! 

There are many different ways to get these looser waves, I’m just sharing what’s worked for me.

For reference, I have fine hair; you can get loose waves with a flat iron or a curling wand but I’m using a curling iron for this tutorial.

More of a visual learner? Check out my IGTV video below:

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Sharing a super easy #hair tutorial with you guys today on how to get big loose curls with a curling iron! It’s taken me YEARS to figure out how to curl my hair, and I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve found watching other videos has helped me figure it out. This is my go-to way to curl my hair. I take bigger or smaller sections depending on the look I’m going for. And I brush it out more or less, again, depending on the look. I use a SUPER soft hold hairspray. I basically don’t like any hair products or for my hair to feel product-y. Linked all of my recommended tools below. Questions? Like videos like this? Please let me know in the comments below!!! I’m new to IGTV so would love to hear what you like. 💗 Hair products and tools: http://liketk.it/2FwLd #hairstyle #hairtips #ltkbeauty #ltksalealert #igtvhairtutorial #longhairdontcare #hair

A post shared by Marlene Srdic | Life With Mar (@marlenesrdic) on

How to Curl Long Hair, a Loose Curls Tutorial 

What You’ll Need

Here is everything you’ll need for perfect curls.

RELATED: The Best Hair Extensions for Fine Hair

Before You Curl: Start with Next-Day Hair

Most people need to have next-day hair to curl it because your hair may be too soft to hold a curl well. 

This isn’t the case for me as my hair is very fine and oily at the roots. I also have wavy hair at times so sometimes the next day isn’t the best.

Bottom line: Take this advice for what it’s worth and try it both ways to see what’s best! 

I personally find my hair looks best with clean, dry hair.

Before blow-drying and to protect it from heat, I use this Biolage Blow-dry Glotion heat protectant. It’s non-sticky, leaves no residue or texture and will protect your hair from high heat damage. 

A little goes a long way and this heat primer lasts a long time. You can pick it up at Ulta or on Amazon.

Shop more of my Amazon Beauty Favorites Here

If you feel like your hair is too soft and clean and needs some grit, you may want to try a texturizing spray.

Step 1: Part Your Hair into 4 Sections

If you’re trying to curl long hair, you’ll need to part it into four sections.

Yes, this makes a BIG difference! 

Sometimes I try to shortcut this step and honestly, I never end up with the same results. It just doesn’t look as nice! 

So do yourself a favor and part your hair into four sections; this means part on either side and part again the top half from the bottom half.

I like to use clips like these to take a section of hair and clip it away until you’re ready to work with it.

I also use them when I blow dry my hair. 

Step 2: Start Curling! 

how to curl long hair:  loose curls hair tutorial

Begin with 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces of hair. To achieve the curls pictured, I use a 1” Hot Tools 24K Gold Digital curling iron.

I’ve been using Hot Tools curling irons for YEARS as I like the way the curl holds and it easily glides through the barrel.

This digital version is nice because it shows the temperature right on the barrel, locks the temperature so you don’t accidentally change it with your finger, and has an auto shut-off feature. 

This is SO handy! It wouldn’t be the first time I accidentally left the curling iron on, so this is a super handy feature to have. 


  • For bigger curls, use bigger sections. 
  • For smaller curls, use smaller sections. 

I mix it up with different size sections of hair. 

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How to Hold the Barrel 

If you really want to know how to get loose curls, how you hold the barrel is perhaps the most important part! 

I hold the curling iron upside down and curl hair away from my face in vertical sections.

This means if I am curling the left side of my head, my right hand is holding the barrel upside down and I use my left hand to wrap the hair around the barrel and away from my face.

Wrap your hair around and then clamp. Keep your hair in the curling iron for about 30-45 seconds, then release the curl into your hand.

To do this, I open the clamp and let the curl slide out of the barrel and fall into my hand.

Hold the curl in your hands while it cools a bit, then let go. This helps set the curl. If you want really long-lasting curls, you can even pin them to the top of your head with bobby pins.

  • DON’T clamp the ends of the hair so you end up with a kink
  • DO experiment with wrapping tighter or looser curls

If your hair is really long, you may need to go back and touch up the bottom if you want a curlier look. I prefer straight ends for more natural curls.

RELATED: How to Get the Perfect Blowout, a Q&A with Drybar Founder, Ali Webb

For a wavy hairstyle, don’t pin or hold the curl. Be sure to brush it out after the hair has cooled. You can use a wide-tooth comb for this.

How to Frame Your Face

brunette woman with long hair curls

Typically for my face-framing pieces, I hold the curl for maybe 5 seconds max.

I just want a bit of a wave here, not curly hair, so I don’t hold it in the iron for very long. 

Finishing Your Beautiful Long Curls

Once you’re done curling your hair, it’s time to spray and finish! 

best products to curl long hair

I personally do not love a strong hold hairspray, so I use Sebastian Shaper or Sebastian Shaper Plus (both currently buy 2 get 1 free).

It gives a soft hold without adding any texture to the hair. This has been my go-to hairspray for many years! 

If you prefer some texture, you may want to try some sea salt spray.

After spraying, I’ll lightly brush out my curls. You can use a hairbrush or just your fingers for this. 

It’s up to you how much you want to brush it out to loosen the curls; I typically do it just a bit as the curls can also loosen throughout the day. This also helps my curls last longer.

To finish, run some Wella Professionals Oil Reflections through the ends of your hair. I also really love Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil.

Remember, as with all hair product, a little bit goes a long way!

This stuff is amazing! Just use it on your ends—not your roots—for some added shine. It doesn’t add any extra texture, is super lightweight and a little goes a long way! 

I hope this loose curls hair tutorial has helped you learn how to curl long hair! 

Is this how you curl your hair, too? Let me know in the comments below. 

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  1. I’m always curious to see everyone’s favorite products/ techniques! I’m definitely going to check a few of these out.

  2. Your hair looks AMAZING. I have relatively short hair (just at my shoulders), and curling is a pain in the booty. I especially struggle because I only own wands. I need an actual clamp iron so I can get the best hold on my hair!

  3. I curl my hair all the time, and I love reading different advice from different people! Thank you for sharing your routine!

  4. i am totally worthless at curling my hair! I have tried everything but my hair just doesn’t hold curl! maybe i need to try this!

    xx rebecca // the crystal press

  5. OMG THANK YOU. Seriously! I have always wanted pretty curls like you have, but my hair never holds curls! Now I realize it’s because I’m always starting with fresh hair. My hair is so soft I may even need 2 day old hair. Will try that and HOPEFULLY this is the tip I needed to get curls to actually stay lol. Also as I have long hair like you, this whole post is super helpful!!

    1. So glad it’s helpful!!! Definitely let me know if that does the trick. You can also try adding texturizing products to your hair to see if that helps!

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