Instructions for the Hot Tools Marcel Curling Iron

Written by carrie burns
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Instructions for the Hot Tools Marcel Curling Iron
Be careful! Unlike consumer curling irons, there is no cool tip on the end of a Hot Tools Marcel iron. (haircare items image by Pix by Marti from

Marcel curling irons are used to create bouncy, even curls. Traditional curling irons require the stylist to wrap the entire length of hair over itself, meaning as you get to the end of the hair shaft the curl will get wider than it is closer to the root. The heat won't penetrate the ends as well with a traditional iron because they are farther away from the heat source. While Marcel irons can be tricky to learn to use, they will provide an even curl from root to end that is longer lasting than traditional curling irons.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Comb
  • Hairspray

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  1. 1

    Read the instructions included with your Hot Tools Marcel iron, especially the safety information. The Hot Tools Marcel iron does not have a cool tip on the end, meaning you cannot grab the end of the iron to stabilise it. For additional safety, consider buying a hot tool glove, which is worn on your non-dominant hand and allows you to grip the hot iron without burning yourself.

  2. 2

    Look at the iron and try the lock settings. Marcel irons are traditionally used with a freely spinning handle, allowing you to rotate the iron using just the palm of your dominant hand. For consumers used to working with static curling irons, you will be more comfortable with the Hot Tools iron switched in the locked position, which prevents the spinning action in the handles.

  3. 3

    Practice with a cold iron. Since there is some skill involved in using a Marcel iron, and even more skill in using one safely, practice with the cold iron until you have the hang of the movements involved. Spin the handle in your palm until you can rotate the iron smoothly and with control both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Practice using different fingers to lift and release the clip and find which one feels the most comfortable. When you feel confident you can safely operate your Hot Tools Marcel iron with one hand, or if you have purchased the glove, you are ready to add heat.

  4. 4

    Plug in the iron (away from water) and set to the appropriate temperature using the small temperature dial on the handle. Lower temperatures are better for fine hair and higher temperatures for coarse hair. Use lower temperatures for chemically processed hair to prevent unnecessary additional damage.

  5. 5

    Pick up a 2-inch section of hair that is approximately the width of the barrel of your iron. Comb the hair smooth and straight out from the scalp. Hold the end of this section of hair between the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand.

  6. 6

    Place the iron around the sectioned hair 1 inch from the scalp. Hold for a few seconds to create a base for the curl. Wrap the remaining length of hair once around the barrel in the direction of the curl.

  7. 7

    Rotate the iron toward you, allowing the ends to move toward the side of the curl. Rapidly open and close the irons while rotating, allowing the ends of the strand to pull into the centre of the curl as you rotate. When you reach the end of the strand of hair, remove the iron. This procedure will create smooth, even curls for the length of the hair.

  8. 8

    Repeat steps 5 to 7 until the desired number of curls are complete. Set with hairspray. Don't get discouraged if it takes a couple of tries to get a perfect set of curls. This technique and tool take time to perfect.

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