How to Use a Curling Iron or Brush on Shoulder Length Hair With Long Layers

Layered, flowing curls are an iconic Hollywood style, worn by celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Ellen Pompeo. But before you begin styling your shoulder-length mane into gentle curls, stylists recommend giving your hair long layers. Without layers, your hair weighs down even the most softly coiled curls, leaving them limp and flat. Longer layers, on the other hand, let you strategically style your hair with curling iron and brush, so you appear to have loose curls flowing through all your hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Towel
  • Large round brush
  • Hair clip
  • Large-barrel curling iron
  • Hair pins
  • Mousse
  • Flexible hairspray


    • 1

      Wash and condition your hair. Conditioner helps protect hair from the two upcoming heat-based styling treatments. Towel dry your hair and detangle your tresses using a wide-toothed comb.

    • 2

      Blow-dry your tresses until they feel almost dry. Flip your head upside down and massage a golf ball-size amount of mousse through your scalp and layers. The mousse gives your roots and curls stability and volume during the day.

    • 3

      Blow-dry your hair straight by wrapping 4-inch sections of hair around the large round brush. Point the blow-dryer at the hair wound around the brush for 10 to 15 seconds. Pull the brush up and sideways from the scalp with one hand while holding the blow-dryer with the other. Repeat until all sections of your hair are dry and straightened.

    • 4

      Twist and loosely secure the top third of your hair in a hair clip. This lets you curl the bottom layers more easily.

    • 5

      Start in the center of your scalp and clamp 2-inch sections of your hair around the large-barrel curling iron. Roll the curling iron within 2 inches from your scalp and hold for 10 seconds.

    • 6

      Pull the curling iron down toward your shoulder in a straight line and release the clamp, forcing the curl to unravel. Secure the newly released curl to your scalp with a hairpin until it feels cool. Cooling your hair in the coiled position helps the curl last longer.

    • 7

      Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until the entire lower section of your hair is pinned in curls.

    • 8

      Remove the clip from the top section of hair. Wrap 2-inch sections of hair around the barrel, rotating the iron away from your face. Stop the iron 3 inches from your scalp

Tips & Warnings

  • For special events, stop after Step 7 and cover your hair with a scarf. Resume Step 8 just before the event, as this will ensure the longest curl life and least frizz.
  • Watch yourself in the mirror while using the curling iron to prevent accidentally burning your fingers or scalp.
  • Supervise children under 14 years old to avoid accidental burns.
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  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

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