I'm Tonie - my hearts desire is to work with brides who are not afraid of stepping outside their comfort zone for a dance in the rain, a romp under a waterfall or a blustery day that might put wind in her hair!


Hair Curling Tutorial from Seattle Wedding Photographer Tonie Christine

Feb 11, 2014



First of all, let me start this hair curling tutorial with a special thanks to my sweet E (husband) who laughed his way through helping me take the video on Instagram (See it here) as well as taking the photos and then ended it with “Well, I did not know I signed up for this on a Saturday morning when I married you!” We both DIED laughing!

Second, I am no hair pro but have just mastered my type of hair with a curling iron and am HAPPY to answer any questions you have so leave comments at the bottom! Share the post, pin it and spread the word to girls everywhere who need a tip on how to curl 😉

Hope this helps a few people out!

My hair:
Fairly curly naturally although I NEVER wear it that way
Been flat ironing it since I was in 3rd grade and USED to use the flat iron for my curls because I thought I NEEDED it to get the frizz out that you see after I blow dry it. That is not the case anymore and now I JUST use my curling iron! 
I have thin hair, but I have a TOOON of it. Like A LOT. 
I use a 1″ curling iron and recently tried a one and a quarter inch, since my hair is getting longer, but just found at this length my hair will still not hold that curl. So if you have long-ish hair and can’t get your hair to hold the curl, try a smaller barrel curling iron. 
I also use two kinds of hair spray just because I like the smell and how they both work! Big and Sexy “Stay and Play” as well as Bed Head- the blue bottle with a green top! 
Here is my SLIGHTLY damp hair just to show it does have some curl already in it… 
I blow dry it normally (and just do whatever you do normally) just trying to get lots of body in it!
This is the kind of frizzy mess I get after blowdrying it!
Next I separate it into four layers starting at the bottom. Just use a clip or claw to hold up the rest of it. If you have THICK hair you might need to do more layers… 
Then I just take sections of hair… maybe about two inches wide where the hair meets my head…
MOST IMPORTANT PART!!!: Hold the curling iron UPSIDE down and wrap the hair AWAY from your face…. I DO NOT USE THE CLAMP AT ALL. (only for un-ruly little layers if it’s totally necessary but I still wrap away from my face and hold the curling iron the same way… upside down. 
If you need your curls to last a long time, I let the curl kind of fall into my hand like you see below here and hold it for a second to let it cool… that way it looks quite like a ringlet when you let it down, but they will loosen up quite a bit in my experience so I like to let it sit that way…
One thing people have a hard time with is the opposite side of their head. They are good at one side and bad at the other. Just keep in mind on BOTH sides you need to curl away from your face. This is the other side of my face. (perfecting the harder side comes with time!)
I spray the second layer and then a second spray at the end.  I don’t use hairspray on  every layer, or when I start curling because your curls can look “crispy” and we all KNOW that crispy curls look … ummm… not desirable… 
Again, curl AWAY from your face. 
The curls will look kinda tight and like ringlets at first, so just run your hands through it a bit…. 
Give it one last spray and you are done! This is RIGHT after it’s done and I actually prefer it when it’s a bit looser and messier. I usually wear my curls at least two days if not three 🙂 
If you curl away from your face on both sides, then the back should kinda fall into cascading curls and not get all wrapped up into one big curl 🙂 




  1. Josie Rees says:

    Yay! I’m so happy you posted this! We have similar hair types. Mine is wavy/slightly curly with some frizz and I have TONS of hair. I have a 1 1/2″ curling iron and it just wasn’t curling. So frustrating. I’m gonna go out and buy a 1″ today and try this. Loooove this!

  2. Jordan Nicole Wall says:

    Love this, Tee!

  3. Amber Synegal says:

    Love it!!

  4. Heather Richardson says:

    Hurrah! A friend that has a similar hair type! 🙂 Whenever I do a hairstyle like this, I like, FREAK OUT when it rains. lol.

  5. Kimmie Copen Ledesma says:

    Thanks lady!!!! ❤️

  6. Gina Galliano Buckley says:

    Love all these tips!!! I can’t wait to try it out 🙂 have you found a curling iron that you like the best and if so what brand is it?

  7. Katie Wieliczkiewicz says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for far too long. YAYYYY. Thank you thank you! Ever since you teased us with this a while ago, I’ve started curing more!

  8. Jackie Rosinus says:

    Definitely going to try this..I think I have been curling towards my face …You have the best hair!

  9. Ryen Lea Stone says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Alex Cowan says:

    One last question, how do you master the back section of your hair? That’s my hardest part other than having long thick hair. P.S. This is super helpful though!

  11. Thea Anderson says:

    How long does this usually take you start to finish? I usually get frustrated in the middle of blow drying lol

  12. Bridgette Bleichner says:

    Have you curled your hair with “wand” or do you usually curl with an iron? If you had used a wand in the past, did you end up with the same results?

  13. […] It’s been awhile since I have done any. Curled hair courtesy of Tonie’s tutorial over at Tonie Christine Photography… something I need to keep practicing for […]

  14. Laura McConnell says:

    Yay thanks for the tutorial! I tried it out and put some pictures on my blog! 🙂 http://loveandseattle.com/ I just need to buy some hairspray now…

  15. Trina Fisher Williamson says:


  16. Erin Lysaght Weaver says:

    Do you use any special shampoo or deep conditioners to protect your hair from the heat damage?? You curls always love fabulous. I’m growing my hair out now and can’t wait to practice this as it gets longer. My hair is similar but really thick so hoping this could work. Thanks!!

  17. Hailey Nichols says:

    You should just wear your hair natural! It’s got a beautiful natural curl to it! You gotta own what God gave you 🙂
    I also love your hair color!

  18. Morgan Finger says:

    How long do you hold the curl on the iron?

  19. Veronica Velasco says:

    Which curling iron did you use?

  20. Deirdre Matheson says:

    I have a hard time doing the back of my head. And Like the underneath layers. And how should you hold the iron? Like I would assume not parallel to the floor.

  21. Deirdre Matheson says:

    And how long do I hold my hair on the curling iron?

  22. Hannelie Mostert says:

    You said you wear your curls for at least 2 days. how do you sleep with them?/how do you revamp them in the morning?

  23. Tracy Doody says:

    I am going to try this tonight! We have the same kind of hair almost…mine is very thick! My natural curls are out of control and I would like to do something other then wear it straight every single day! Thanks for posting this!

  24. My Homepage says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] Informations on that Topic: toniechristine.com/hair-curling-tutorial-seattle-wedding-photographer-tonie-christine/ […]

  25. Michael Duchemin says:

    Wish I could teach my daughter how to do this. Can a man do that?

  26. Michael Duchemin says:

    I wish my daughter could do this, it is so cool. Can a guy learn to do that?

  27. Jessica Papke says:

    I never knew the away from the face thing. My hair is straight as a board an I haven’t been able to find a technique that works. I’m going to try this one when I go out tonight

  28. Kayla Ryan says:

    I wish I didn’t cut my hair. this was a great way of showing other people how to do it, Thank You!

  29. Laura Nelson Gaddis says:

    What heat setting do you put it on?

  30. Leslie Arzate says:

    I love this thanks!! But how does this take away the frizz?

  31. PeterApril Bridgwood says:

    I always say my hair looks like a raging lion mane when I blow dry it. Great article!

  32. Fiona Caflisch says:

    I ALWAYS straighten my hair before curling. It only lasts about good 5 hours but I’m going to try this way and see if it last longer.

  33. Hayley Hart says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, we have the same hair type and i’ve never been able to curl my hair myself before always had to reply on friends who use GHDs. I tried this way and it’s worked so well! 🙂 x

  34. Hannah Crisp says:

    Would it work with a 3/4 inch iron? I need to get a 1 inch.

  35. Marah Bossard says:

    I have naturally THICK curly hair and I tried this using my wand and it worked so nicely. I mean it took a long time. But I will have to keep this in mind when I have an extra hour and a half to get ready.

  36. Krissy Krigbaum says:

    I have almost the same exact natural curly hair as you except mine’s red. I’ve got the curl part down, but am noticing right next to my scalp is still a bit frizzy from blow drying (especially around my face). How do you get those parts to look nice since the curling iron doesn’t go right next to your scalp?

  37. Stephanie Davis Smith says:

    FYI you can remove that clamp entirely. It’s much easier to maneuver that way. Just pop the stand off, remove the metal pegs and take out the single screw underneath the clamp.

  38. Татьяна Крепкий says:

    I would have to use clips because I have many layers. Good advice for starting to curl hair. I always do it wrong. I curl towards my face, because I think that look looks better on me. My worst EXPERIENCE Is curling with a wand it’s HARD and curling my bangs they turn not ugly but fugly. I need major advice. Also, I’m thinking about getting a “perm” because my hair does not curl on one side and the other side it comes undone NO MATTER HOW MUCH HAIR SPRAY I PUT IN IT!! Anyone know about full body perms and just half perm, anything? Thank you!! I do not want to ruin my hair so advice is needed!! I also have very thin hair as you can tell from my picture because they love to chop it into pieces but I love the Scene Girls hair and I think someone over did it some. Bottom is very thin.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Do you have layers in your cut in the front? I’m trying to figure out how to get the nice curls around the face, and close to the eye level. I’m thinking I can’t get it because I don’t have any short layers, and mostly all long. I curl away from my face and still can’t quite get it to look like this.

  40. Michele Zupkow says:

    Thank you. I’ve always had long hair most of my life, bra strap or longer (mid bob in the late 80’s) and curls rarely take. Hot rollers are so much work, yet so beautiful… I will try a smaller barrel, no one has ever told me that before. Thanks again.

  41. Jody Steele says:

    So helpful thanks! How do you post a picture?

  42. Katie Cannon says:

    Can you brush your hair after curling, or do you leave it like this for the day? How do you keep it from looking tangled/nappy? I have to brush my hair every hour or two so it doesn’t get frizzy and tangled 🙂
    This style looks so sleek and polished and pretty!

  43. Brittany Gilliam says:

    My hair comes to my upper thigh. Yep, it’s that long! 😀 It has a natural waviness to it but doesn’t hold a curl very well ( it’s super thick!) . Going to see if this works! Thanks for the tutorial 🙂

  44. Jennifer Riddall says:

    I loved the look of your natural hair….both look good!

  45. Samantha Strothers Paulson says:

    We have the exact same hair type and I have really struggled with getting my hair to do the pretty curls/waves. Thank you for posting this tutorial! I am really looking forward to trying out your tips.

  46. Chrissy Schneider says:

    Do you spray your hair with hairspray before you dry it?

  47. Anissa Franki says:

    Your hair literally looks exactly the same as mine post shower and blow dry! I am so ecstatic because I have the hardest time curling it! I can’t wait to try this!

  48. Alex Carroll says:

    I have thick super curly hair that is unmanageable!!!! But I tried this and it looks amazing!!!

  49. Allie Duvall says:

    Love this! My natural curl is very similar to yours. Since you don’t normally wear it natural, I want to share my trick with you. I usually shower at night and then wrap my hair in a towel for at least 10 minutes or so to get some of the water out. Then I’ll take it down out of the towel and let it air dry for a little while (mostly to let it cool off from the hot water). Then I take a hair tie (preferably an Emmy Jay because they fit looser at the base) and tie my hair up 90’s style at the top of my head in a messy bun. I don’t comb it out first or anything. The messier and loser, the better. Then in the morning, it’ll still be a little damp but it’s just dry enough to keep that volume at the roots and the curls look more even throughout and organized. Sometimes I add a light texture spray and sometimes I do nothing and it looks so carefree, but still really pretty and tame. I hope this helps you shake that natural curl that your mama gave you!

  50. Sandra Poe Goodhew says:

    Ihave the exact same type of hair as you. The thing is, I pretty much mastered my frizz. The key is conditioner. I also only shampoo one or two times a week. After you shampoo, don’t rinse your hair for at least five mins. Then only rinse some of the conditioner out. Leave it so that your hair feels squishy still if you ball it up at the nape of your neck. Rub some gel into your hair after you squeeze it and dry it with a t shirt. Do not let a normal towel touch your tresses. If you want your hair curly, just dry it with a diffuser on your dryer and use your fingers. No brush if you want to keep your curl! Dry your hair upside down for body and kinda scrunch it as you go. When it’s mostly dry, shake it out and see if you like how it looks. If not, curl the limp curls with your curling iron. Toss your head upside down again and spray on the underside while you agitate the roots for more body. Turn back straight up, shake into place and done! Once you get the hang of it, if it’S humid, you will want it curly. It doesn’t frizz at all! HaiR only frizzes because it’s thirsty. Make sure your hair is well moisturized no matter what style you wear it in and you will have little to no trouble with frizz!

  51. Jennifer Williams says:

    You are awesome thank you

  52. Shawn Lanphere says:

    I have naturally curly hair, thick. When cut short I resemble a poodle. The first lesson I learned from my curls was not to blow dry. if I had to, however, I used a diffuser. Blow drying then putting the heat from the iron on it can’t be good for the hair. BUT – this is the secret I want to know – what do you use (shampoo, conditioner, gel, cream) to get the ends of your hair to stay together after styling? I use the “Sexy Curls Hair Cream” and it does wonders for the softness of my hair, yet the ends still like to part ways. 🙁 Any advise?

  53. Cymmy Gajewski says:

    I took my clamp off! It’s really easy and can be put back on if necessary. Just a few screws and then it’s a wand!

  54. Danita Hunt says:

    My hair get frizzy Exactly like that, that’s why I do nother blow dry it what so ever. Your curls stay in 2to 3 days?!? I don’t even bother, I’m lucky if curls stay in an hour. 🙁

  55. Anonymous says:

    Clean hair will rarely hold a curl. Even if you do use hairspray. Try this: don’t wash hair for 3-4 days, freshen up roots with dry shampoo if you need to, and then try curling it. You will need less hairspray and your curls will hold for days!

  56. Ashton Phillips says:

    you are beautiful!

  57. Stephany Brisco says:

    Tonie, I’ve been doing my hair like this for a while now. I use to curl it other ways while growing up but this method is my favorite! So fun to see you doing it too. My hair isn’t as curly as yours but has body to it, it’s thin but I have a lot of it. It was thicker when I was younger. I’m 38 now. I great way to get more body at the top and a messier, sexy look is to put a little muse in the crown area before it dries. I like to let my hair air dry so I’m not applying so much heat to it all the time. I don’t always point my curling iron down and I sometimes like to curl just the very front bangs with a traditional curl to get a softer look. I’m older than you so I feel I kinda need it 🙂 You’re so sweet for sharing. I get compliments all the time on my curls and I’m sure you do too.

  58. Cherelle Jaynes says:

    When you wear the curls for a few days how do u brush your hair in the morning so it is not a tangled mess without making a frizz mess?

  59. Ola Patykowski says:

    Amazing! My hair is very similar to yours. What products do you use on your hair (Shampoo, conditioner, treatment, etc.)? Thanks!

  60. Deborah Stockwell says:

    Thank you so much for posting this – This is the kind of curl I’ve been looking for! So excited to try it!

  61. Jackie Prim says:

    My hair is much curler, fine and think, but this technique still works. I normally wear it natural but I want to be able to change it up some. I have always turned the curling iron up and not down this change really helped. Not flat ironing it first is helping it hold the curl. Thanks for the post, my hair feels great and I love the new look.

  62. […] I am horrible at curling my hair, so I’m hoping that this easy to follow tutorial can help me! Her curls look […]

  63. Atiqur Rahman Sumon says:

    Its really lovely transformation I must say. Otherwise people just need the masking technique to make their images look good with hair. Good one.

  64. Kathy Ruggles Eslick says:

    I have very similar hair as you. But I curl away from face them alternate next curl toward face all throughout the process. To me it’s a more natural look.

  65. Jessie Palmer says:

    What products do you use to keep your curls. My hair is exactly like your and I’ve been straightning it for 7 years. But when I curl it. It doesn’t stay

  66. Anais Gomez says:

    Look so nice!!! =D

  67. Yasmina says:

    We are totally hair twins! Same natural texture and curls thanks for the excellent tutorial and pics.

  68. Soon Garner says:

    This really answered my problem, thank you!

  69. Makenzi Headden says:

    Kind of looks like Jana Duggar. That’s what my mom does uses the blow dryer and makes her hair all messy lol

  70. Ashley says:

    Okay, this is awesome. I have one question. We have very similar hair types. I always blowdry and flat iron–but more often than not, I use a curling styling gel and let it go/put it up. So if I blowdry my hair and it gets frizzy, the top is frizzy. Would I have to flat iron that part?

  71. Kristi says:

    Do you think a wand works just as good?
    I have a 1 and 1/2 inch that goes to a 1/2 inch..

  72. Mary S. says:

    I think God is trying to tell you something ” do not blow dry your hair”. Get in touch with your curly natural hair. Stay away from heat. It is so damaging. Good you do not wash your hair every day! Not needed for curly wavy hair as it tends to be more on the dry side. Your hair is beautiful! Count your blessings

  73. […] Selfies with your beautiful luscious lips! If you want to see more of my Make Up Tutorials, Curling Hair Tutorial and Fashion, visit those […]

  74. Beth says:

    Your natural hair is very pretty. I would go with that for everyday and this for special dates etc. Nice tutorial but would be even more helpful if you could answer some of the posted questions.

  75. Nlee says:

    This is great! I can testify that this does the job even with super curly hair. My curls are about 1/2″ wide or smaller and I did exactly what you did except I used heat protector and a 1″ flat iron because of my tight curls. Thanks a million. I’ve never had big soft curls before

  76. Amanda says:

    We have the SAME hair I swear!! And I always straighten it first! I need to try this!! Looks great!

  77. Angela says:

    This is the first hair tutorial for me that worked beautifully – thanks for sharing! The key was not using the clamp at all (which I still have no idea how to use), but this method worked great for my very thick, tons of hair. For the first time, I love curling my hair!

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