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Anatomy Of A Curl


Above & Beyond Salon Stylist: Kristen Phillips 04-11-08

Tom Carson All Rights Reserved

When it comes to styling hair there are two methods you can use. The wet method involves shaping, waving, pinning or setting the hair in a variety of rollers.

The hot styling method utilizes some form of heat or electrical equipments such as blow dryer, curling irons or hot rollers.

Whether you adopt the wet or heated method of styling your hair, chances are that you will use some form of curling technique.

These can range from using small pin curls set with bobby pins to a curling iron.

Parts Of A Curl

Cosmetologists are taught that a simple curl actually consists of three different parts. All curls consists of the following basic sections:

- base - stem - circle

Base Of The Curl

The base of the curl is the foundation of the curl and determines the direction that the curl will ultimately form. Depending on the desired type of curl the base can take on many different types of shapes.

A rectangular base is most often used right at the hairline to create an upswept effect and for forming curls that flare out.

A triangular base is most often used to prevent separation in the desired style.

A square base will product a very curly, long-lasting hairstyle. A C or arc-shaped based can be used anywhere on the head to create a variety of curl types.

Stem Of The Curl

Above & Beyond Salons Stylist: Allison Randall 04-11-08

The base of the curl is the foundation of the curl and determines the direction that the curl will ultimately form. Depending on the desired type of curl the base can take on many different types of shapes.

A no stem curl means that the circle of the curl is placed directly on the center of the base. This will produce a firm curl with little movement.

A half-stem curl means that the circle is place halfway off of the base.

A long-stem curl is place completely off its base and gives the hair the greatest mobility.

Circle Of Curl

The circle of a curl is the actual curl formation. The size of the curl circle determines how tight the curl will be at the ends.

Types Of Curls

There are many different types of curls. They may be used for firmness on certain types of hair, for sculptured casualness, to create special effects, or as an aid in curling hair that is too short to place around rollers.

Methods and techniques are as varied as the types of curls. These different techniques are designed to help you achieve professionally controlled hair quickly and efficiently. They are also a source of the basic knowledge that will help you to become a successful hairstylist.

In addition to the forward and reverse curls which you will be shown on the following pages, other types of curls include:

  • Cascade curls
  • Cone-Shaped curls
  • Flare Curls
  • Pin Curls

A skip wave is a combination of pin curls and finger waves. To do a skipwave place the pin curls in every other finger-wave formation.

Fill in curls are used in the areas between shaping that frame the face and run around the crown.


Not only does each curl have three distinct parts, there are many different types of curls that can be created.

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- Revised Publication Date: 05/03/10

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