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If you think that your hair straightening products and tools can only be used to straighten your hair, do think again. In the interest of gorgeous hairdos, we’re going to tell you several different ways you can use hair straighteners to create crimps, curls, and chic ponytails.

Casual curls are easy to achieve

Making casual, tousled curls with your favorite flat iron is an eight-step process. Start by gently brushing or combing your hair. This all-important first step ensures that your tresses are tangle-free and ready to take a curl. Next, gather the top half of your hair and twist it up and out of the way. Secure a bun with a chopstick or hair scrunchy while you work with the bottom half of your hair. Now, heat your iron as you take a one-inch wide section and spritz it with a few sprays of heat protectant product. Place the iron near the roots, the twist the section toward the back. Twirl the iron a time or two, until the last inch of hair is flipped downwards.

Gently slide the flat iron downwards, all the way to the tip of your hair. Repeat for each lower section of hair. When all of the bottoms are curled, undo your topknot and repeat the aforementioned steps to create gloriously simple curls with the top half, too. If you desire more volume, this is the time to gently tease your hair toward the scalp, recommends Good Housekeeping magazine. Bend over, shake your hair, add a spritz or three of styling spray, flip your hair back, tousle with your fingers, and get on with your curly-headed day.

Rock ‘n’ roll ‘dos or sleek hairstyles: you decide

Cosmopolitan magazine notes a number of clever ways that you can utilize your flat-iron style to craft coiffures that range from grunge rock casual to plated crimps to sleek, polished ponytails suitable for day or night. To make sporty beach waves, work with wide vertical sections and move in the direction opposite your face. Angle your heated flat iron with the bottom half facing up. Grasp a section of hair near the root, spritz with heat protectant spray, twist the strand 360 degrees, and end with the iron facing downward. Hold in place for several seconds. Remember, the longer that you press your hair in the iron, the stronger the curl will be. Tousle curled hair and spritz with salt water for a super casual beach look, or use a paddle brush to apply shine spray for a sleek, finished appearance.

For crimped waves, select random sections from the top of your head and braid sections beginning about two inches from your scalp. Spray a plait with argan oil to protect hair from heat, and press between warmed flat iron. Clamp tightly for several seconds. Allow plait to cool before unwinding, then shake things up with your fingers. Grunge style rock ‘n’ roll hair starts with big random sections curled in a vertical iron. Hold at a 45-degree angle for several seconds, then slide the iron down an inch or two and hold at a 180-degree angle. Continue to alternate angles as you move down each wide section of hair. Leave the ends uncurled for a super-hip do with plenty of attitudes. Complete the look by going matte with a salt spray or a few spritzes of dry shampoo.

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The science of curls

There’s science involved in the way your hair is naturally curly, stick-straight, or somewhere in-between. It’s mostly genetics, but the real kicker is the shape of your follicle. That’s the living part of your hair that’s on the scalp. If the follicle is symmetrical, the hair that comes from it is round and straight. Follicles that are asymmetrical provide a hair strand that’s oval shaped and curly, explains Mental Floss.

Selecting the right flat iron for your hair

There are a lot of different irons to choose from. Ceramic and titanium plates are among the most popular and provide an easy to work with a smooth surface that can be used to curl or to straighten your hair. Once you have selected your professional flat iron, argan oil is the next thing to add to your shopping cart. Originally from the north African nation of Morocco, argan oil adds sheen, strength, and bounce to your beautiful hair.

The most important thing about doing your own hair is the have fun with it. It’s only hair, right? And if you do something kooky, it will always grow out again.

Jay Bell works as a hair stylist and loves to talk about hair and beauty with clients. He and his partner live by the ocean and have 2 small dogs – their over spoiled fur kids!