Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Thermal Waving - How To Create Left Directed Waves With Marcel Iron


Professional Stove Flat iron

Thermal waving is quite simply the technique as well as the art of waving hair using a conventional Marcel iron.

When using the conventional Marcel iron there is the potential to create an amazing and unique waved hairstyle.

This method is not used as often anymore because of the invention of the new electric irons.

Using a traditional professional stove flat iron requires no special styling products such as creams, lotions or similar.

Since Marcel Grateau invented the thermal iron for waving and curling in 1875, the technology has advanced dramatically.

Whereas Marcel used stove irons, modern technology has created similar irons which are electric and have a different design. The Marcel iron and the modern thermal irons are similar, but they are not identical.

While all thermal irons - stove versus electric - require some practice to leave to manipulate properly for the desired look, it's the original stove irons which some professional cosmetologist continue to utilize for unique styles.

Best Comb To Use

Complete Stove Iron System

The best comb should be about 7" long and made of a nonflammable substance such as a hard rubber.

When using a comb with a hot iron if the comb is flammable there is a chance it could melt or burn. Which is why it's best to use a nonflammable comb.

Look for a comb with fine teeth rather than coarse teeth.

When using the iron hold the comb between the thumb and all four fingers of the left hand. The index finger should rest on the backbone of the comb for better control.

One end of the comb should rest against the outer edge of the palm. When holding the comb in this manner it's provides a strong hold and firm movement.

Starting From A Straight Texture

If your hair is naturally curly, coily or kinky and you want to create loose waves you may need to either blow dry it flat with a blow dryer and a paddle brush before creating waves with the Marcel Iron. While it's possible to transform curls into waves with a thermal iron, it's best to start from a straight texture and add the waves back in.

If hair is naturally straight or naturally wavy, it will most likely be easier to add or enhance waves rather than trying to soften curls into waves.

How To Create Directed Wave With Marcel Iron

Taylor Swift

Once hair has been cleansed in the desired method with the appropriate products, conditioned, towel blotted and dried, comb the hair following it's directional growth.

In order to create the most successful waves with the iron it's important to use the iron so that it works in the same direction with the natural hair growth.

The natural hair growth will determine whether or not the first wave to be formed will be a left directed or a right directed wave. It's important to follow the natural hair growth and work with in that direction to achieve the best waves.

The beautiful and perfectly proportioned waves that Taylor Swift sometimes showcases could very well be created by a traditional Marcel iron using the steps listed below.

Creating Left Directed Waves

Listed below are the steps to create left directed waves:

1. With your comb pick up a strand of dry hair which is approximately 2" in width. Hold the hair in place with the comb while you insert the iron into the hair with the iron's groove facing upward.

2. Close the iron (squeeze the the rod handles to close the rods.) Once the iron is closed around the strand, turn it about one-quarter turn forward, which would be away from your body. At the same time, draw the hair with the iron about 1/4" to the left. Direct the hair 1/4" to the left and direct the hair about 1/4" to the right with the comb.

Taylor Swift

Keep in mind that you are using the iron and the comb in unison to create beautiful traditional waves.

3. Roll the iron one full turn forward away from your body. In doing this keep the hair uniform with the comb. You will find that the hair has rolled on a slight slant on the prong of the iron. Hold this position for a few seconds in order to allow the hair to become sufficiently heated throughout.

4. Reverse the step above by simply unrolling the hair from the iron bringing the iron back into its first resting position. When this movement is completed, you will find the comb resting somewhat away from the iron.

5. Open the irons with the little finger and place them just below the ridge or crest by swinging the rod of the irons toward you and then closing them. The outer edge of the groove should be directly underneath the ridge just produced by the inner ridge.

6. Keep the irons perfect still and direct the hair with the comb upward about 1", thus forming the hair into a half circle. You must remember that in order to perform this movement properly you do not move the comb from the position explained in movement in Step #5 above.

7. Without opening the irons, roll them one-half turn forward away from you. In this movement, keep the comb perfectly still and unchanged.

8. Slide the iron down about 1". This movement is done by opening the irons slightly (loose grip) and then sliding them down the strand of hair.

Thermal Iron

Creating Right Directed Waves

After completing the left directed waves above you will begin to create a right direct wave. A right-going wave is hair which is directed opposite to that of a left-going wave.

Joining Or Matching The Waves

After completely waving one strand of hair, wave the next strand to match.

When picking up the un-waved hair in the comb, include a small section of the waved strands as a guide to the formation of the new wave.

When waving the second strand of hair, be sure that the comb and irons movements are the same as in the first strand of hair, otherwise the waves will not match.


Taylor Swift

When you get the hang of using a traditional Marcel iron and use it with ease through your hair you can create an amazing hairstyle which is classic but unique. When using the conventional Marcel iron there is the potential to create an amazing and unique waved hairstyle.

Although no styling products are required if you wish, you can use a shine serum to add shimmer or a styling hairspray to finish the look.

Social Media Network Information

Please follow me on Twitter at: I look forward to meeting new people from all walks of Twitter and learning from their Tweets.

Visit us at located at:, on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube.

Thank you for visiting us at The HairBoutique Blog and for leaving your comments.

They are very much appreciated. We apologize in advance but must remove any direct advertisements or solicitations.

- Revised Date: 08/02/11

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

Social Media Network Information

Please follow us on Twitter at: I look forward to meeting new people from all walks of Twitter and learning from their Tweets.

New On
Active HairTalk Threads
Wanna talk?
HairTalk® is the place for you!
Recent Topics:
Quick Poll
When glamourizing a hairstyle for the holidays, what accessory is your partner in crime?
Sparkling headband
Bejeweled barrette
Crystal hair stick
Gem pony elastic
Rhinestone bobbies
I don't do glamour!
Daily Hair Tip
Don't try to style soaking wet hair. Get it 80 percent dry first.
Top Gallery Images