Large barrel curls from Paula Kelly

Courtesy Paula Kelly AHF Awards 2007

Large barrel type curls are very now. Use medium to large sections of hair wrapped around a very large centred tong (normally found at professional suppliers only) or thin ceramic irons which the hair can be wrapped around and the iron twisted as you slide it from the hair.



Emiliano Vitale from Sydney's Esalon created this curled and tonged hair style
Above image from Emiliano Vitale at eSalon, shows tonging used as a partial technique to give a fresh finish to an up style.

Styling with Tongs

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A curling iron/hot tongs or hot rollers can help you achieve body and curls, ringlets or swirls. Similar curled hair style effects can also be created with your hot styling tool (e.g. GHD type iron) the difference between the finished curl effect is that with tongs (which have a round barrel) the curls are more uniform and ringlet like.

Hair Tips and Techniques:

  • For added volume on fine hair begin by spraying a volumizer in at the roots before you dry off.
  • Make sure hair 100% dry before you begin to tong it.
  • To get the look to last longer, spray each section of hair, with hair spray before you curl it.
  • For something different curl close to the root, rather than rolling hair, the traditional way, up from the bottom. (Caution: Don't place the iron so close to the scalp that you burn yourself!)
  • For a spiral look to your curls twist the section of hair before wrapping it around the roller.
  • For a wave, use the tongs across the hair and don't roll hair around them at all. Repeat down the hair inserting the tongs in opposite directions to create the in and outward curve of the wave.
  • Experiment with your thin ceramic irons as they are not just for straightening your hair. Wrap sections around them and slowly slide them out for a curled effect or simply twist your wrist as you slide down a section of hair for a loose curled look.
  • After curling use a little bit of gel or oil and your fingers to loosen up too-tight curls. Tight ringlets or the "Shirley Temple" is not what you are after unless you want your hair to look too set or old-fashioned.


Remember tongs or curling irons or any direct heat appliance will damage your hair if used too often, especially if you don't use a thermal protector. Alternatively you could try making old-fashioned rag ringlets.

  Image from NOK, Newtown Sydney

Courtesy of Noddies on King, Sydney Australia

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