Best Curling Iron

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2018

A good curling iron can give you perfect curls or the straight hair that you want. With our shopping guide to the best curling irons, you can get all the help that you need.

BEST CURLING
IRON 2018

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to far-infrared heat and nanotechnology, this curling iron provides the exact texture that you want without damaging your hair. It has a built-in rest to keep the hot barrel from burning your counters too.

PROS

This pro model can help you create curls that last for three to four days at a time. It also has multiple heat settings that curl your hair without leaving behind dry or frizzy spots.

CONS

Some women thought this curling iron used too high of a temperature. A few reviewers even burned their fingers and hands when using it.

Kiss Products Ceramic Instawave Automatic Curling Iron

BOTTOM LINE

With this product, you can get the amazing curls that you want in less time. It has two settings and will remove tangles as it works with your hair to create perfect curls.

PROS

An instant shut off feature lets you use this curling iron freely while keeping your home safe. You can use this tool to create loose waves or tight curls.

CONS

Some women had a hard time using this curling iron. It tends to work better with longer sections of hair than with shorter strands.

Jose Eber Pro Series Pink Zebra Curling Iron

BOTTOM LINE

With a fun look and a great design, this curling iron is perfect for most women. Instead of using a clip that can leave behind a ridge, it lets you wrap the strands around the entire barrel.

PROS

The ceramic barrel on this iron lets you wrap your hand around it without using a clip. It lets you curl all sections of your hair without drying or damaging the roots.

CONS

This iron works best when creating flatter hair than when creating tight curls. Its barrel was larger than some shoppers expected.

Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Unclipped 3-in-1 Curling Iron

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to the three included barrels, you can create the exact type of curls that you want. Those barrels easily pop in and out of place to let you mix and match looks too.

PROS

From tight curls to loose waves, this curling iron really can do it all. The interchangeable battery lacks the clip that can leave behind marks in your hair also.

CONS

A few women wished this model had a clip attached to the barrel. Some of the reviewers complained that it burned their hands.

John Frieda One-Inch Curling Iron

BOTTOM LINE

It takes just 30 seconds for this curling iron to come on and heat up, which helps you get ready in a flash. You can use it at a temperature as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

PROS

A titanium barrel coated in a ceramic material that retains heat is just one nice feature of this model. It also uses a ceramic heater for fast heating.

CONS

Some reviewers thought that this model ran too hot when they used it. A few women also found that this hair caught on the barrel.

Shopping Guide for the Best Curling Iron

If you ever watched your favorite actress walk the red carpet with picture perfect curls and wished you could rock the same look at home, it might be time to invest in a good curling iron. The best curling iron for 2018 that will help you get the look you want is one of the top five products on our list. Our list gives you five great curling irons for 2018 that you can use when getting ready for a day at work or school or a night on the town. The absolute best curling iron for you will depend on factors such as the size that you need.

Shopping Guide for the Best Curling Iron

We know that you might have questions such as whether you need a curling iron or a curling wand and how you should use the tool when doing your hair. Our shopping guide to the best of these products will go over all the information that you need, including how to choose the right size and how much one costs. You’ll also find tips on using a curling iron that will help you look your best. We recommend reading all the sections in this shopping guide before you look at curling irons.

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Selection Criteria

Buying a new curling iron sounds easy, especially if you used one before. You might assume that you can purchase the first one priced at the amount you want to spend. This can result in you buying a curling iron that leaves your hair looking flat or one that makes your finished curls look too tight. When we decided to design a shopping guide around curling irons, we knew that we wanted to include as much information as possible and to find tips that our readers could use. Located near the bottom of this page are a few sections on tips you can use when creating curls or a straight look.

To find the five best curling irons now available, we consulted with experts and also turned to real shoppers who love their hair. Not only did we take into account the products recommended by experts and professionals, but we also looked at the irons with the highest reviews online. Each of the five curling irons we found has the highest reviews out there from women just like you. Once you finish reading through this shopping guide, you’ll know exactly how to buy a new curling iron and how to use it.

Selection Criteria - WITH TEXT

The top choice for those looking for a one-inch curling iron is this nano model from BaBylissPRO. Thanks to the combination of nano and far-infrared technology, this curling iron produces both tight and bouncy curls that will last for days. Some reviewers even found that their hair still looked curly a full four days after using the iron. This model has a more classic design that includes a clip on the barrel. You can push down to open the clip and wrap your hair around the barrel before releasing the clip, which will then hold the hair as you curl it. The longer that you use this iron, the longer your curls will last.

Best Curling Iron Review BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

With 50 settings to choose from, this curling iron lets you pick the amount of heat that you want to use. It works at temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and has an instant boost heat setting. This setting will actually hold the look that you create. You will also find an eight-foot-long cord that allows you to work on your hair from anywhere in your bathroom or bedroom. That cord also swivels wherever you go and however you move to give you complete freedom.

Curling Iron vs. Curling Wand

Before we look at the top features of the curling irons today and what you can do to pick the right one, we wanted to look at some similar tools that you might use. One of those is a curling wand. While a curling iron has a barrel that is the same size from the base to the tip, a curling wand looks more like a magic wand. The tip is generally much smaller in size than the base of the barrel. Most women find that a wand is better for creating natural waves than an iron is but that an iron does a better job of creating great curls.

With a wand, you risk burning your hands and fingers each time you use it. Wands do not have any type of clip or attachment that keeps your hair secured to the barrel. You must physically manipulate the hair around the barrel. As the tool heats up, your chances of hurting yourself increase. Curling irons have a clip attachment that holds your hair in place. You will usually use a curling iron when creating curls of the exact size and shape. A curling wand is best for creating waves of different sizes and shapes.

Benefits of a Curling Wand

  • Creates waves that look more natural
  • Works well on sections that are longer or shorter
  • Often has different temperature settings
  • Can use the tapered tip, the wider base or the whole barrel
  • Suitable for making tight curls
Curling Iron vs. Curling Wand - WITHOUT TEXT

Curling Iron vs. Flat Iron

Many women who have flat and straight hair wish that they had curly or wavy hair, while those with curly or wavy hair wish their own hair was straighter. You may not realize that you can actually use a curling iron to completely straighten your hair and get rid of your natural curls and waves. We’ll give you some tips further down on this page that shows you how to use that tool for this purpose. You’ll also find a tool called a flat iron that works well for straightening hair.

Unlike a curling iron, which has a barrel attached to a handle, a flat iron consists of two plates attached to a handle. Those plates can use a ceramic material or a metal such as titanium, and many of the more popular designs use a combination of both. Once the iron comes up to the right temperature, you can place a section of your hair on one iron and close the other top. As you pull the iron through your hair, the plates press down to smooth out your hair. You can use a similar motion with a curling iron to remove tangles and make hair lay flatter against your head.

Benefits of a Flat Iron

  • Leaves hair looking perfectly flat and smooth
  • Safe for use on both thicker and thinner types of hair
  • Easy to use
  • Works at a range of temperatures
  • Comes in different sizes
Curling Iron vs. Flat Iron

Other Types of Curling Irons

When you decide to purchase a new curling iron, you probably have an idea in mind of what you want. The basic design doesn’t vary much across manufacturers. You may not know that there are some special types of curling irons that you can buy and use though.

  • A curling iron brush is a tool that combines the benefits of a brush with a curling iron. While it still has a rounded barrel, this barrel will look similar to the brush you use every day on your hair. Though some designs feature a barrel with a full series of bristles that wrap around the sides, others have a smooth barrel with a small number of bristles across the top. You can actually use one to remove tangles and make your hair look smoother or flatter, but you can also use one to create some nice curls.
  • A travel curling iron is one that you’ll use when you’re away from home. These models are often smaller in size and will easily fit into your overnight bag or suitcase. Some models come with an adapter that you can plug into your car, and others run on batteries and let you curl your hair when you don’t have access to a power source.

Anatomy of a Curling Iron

  • Power switch
  • Barrel
  • Handle
  • Temperature guide
  • Power cord
Other Types of Curling Irons - WITH TEXT

Not all women feel as confident using a curling iron as others do, but you’ll feel confident and comfortable with the Instawave, which does all the hard work for you. This tool actually works as an automatic curling iron. You simply place a section of your hair inside and press a button on the side before pulling it straight through your hair. Not only will it leave behind nice curls, but it will also brush and comb your hair at the same time. The Instawave will also remove any tangles that it encounters. You can choose to curl your hair in one of two directions based on which feels most comfortable to you.

We also like that this curling iron uses a ceramic ion technology that curls your hair without causing any damage. You can choose from two temperature settings and choose a lower setting or a maximum setting that climbs to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. An automatic shut off feature causes the curling iron to turn itself off after a set period of inactivity. Even if you left the curling iron on when you headed to work, you can keep your home safe because it will shut down. This model has a two-year warranty also.

Best Curling Iron Review Kiss Products Ceramic Instawave Automatic Curling Iron - OPT 1
Kiss Products Ceramic Instawave Automatic Curling Iron

How Many Heat Settings Does the Iron Have?

If you’re like most women today, you probably like changing things up every now and then and trying out new styles. Unless you plan on relying on the same style day after day, you’ll want to look for a curling iron with more than one heat setting. Many of the cheaper models have just a single setting. When you turn on the curling iron, it will immediately come up to the maximum temperature. This is usually around 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Women who have lighter or thinner hair will want to use a lower temperature. That higher setting can cause significant damage to your strands.

There is no rule of thumb regarding how many heat settings you should look for in a curling iron. We generally recommend models that have at least two settings. You can use the lower setting when creating loose waves and then use the higher setting when you want tighter curls. That higher temperature can also “set” the curls and make them last long after you created them. A number of the more popular curling irons have a temperature range of between 100 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit up to more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can experiment with those settings to see which temperature is right for your hair.

Temperature and Hair Texture

  • 175 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable for fine or thin hair
  • 300 degrees Fahrenheit works for most other hair types
  • You can go up to 340 degrees Fahrenheit or higher if you have thicker hair
How Many Heat Settings Does the Iron Have - WITHOUT TEXT
Best Curling Iron Review Jose Eber Pro Series Pink Zebra Curling Iron
Jose Eber Pro Series Pink Zebra Curling Iron

The problem that many women have with curling irons is the clip that works with the barrel, but this Jose Eber model lacks that clip. It features a long and wide 25mm barrel that lets you wrap larger or smaller sections of hair around the barrel to get the curls that you want. You can also use this model to flatten and straighten your hair in less time. The manufacturer includes an ironing glove that you can wear and use to straighten fly away sections and move strands too. This glove is also great for adding some product to your hair.

Many shoppers like the fun design that this model has, which features a hot pink handle with black zebra stripes across it. The larger barrel helps you create large and bouncy curls that move as you move and the natural waves that make you look like a Hollywood celebrity. As the barrel lacks a clip, you can move the iron all the way from your roots down to the tips of each strand. It also features a convenient power switch that lets you instantly turn it on and off. Once turned on, the curling iron will quickly come up to a temperature of 410 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ceramic vs. Metal Barrels

You might look at a curling iron that costs less than $10 and one priced at more than $100 and wonder which one is better for you and how the two are different. One major difference that can affect the overall price is the material used in the barrel. The cheapest material used is metal. While metal comes up to a high temperature quickly and will retain that heat, it doesn’t protect your hair the way other materials can. A metal barrel can cause some serious damage to your hair, especially if you use the curling iron every day.

Another option is a curling iron that has a ceramic barrel. Ceramic is a popular choice for many hair tools and supplies because it retains heat well. A curling iron with a ceramic barrel will hit the temperature you want to use quickly but will also protect your hair from that heat. A similar material to look for is something called tourmaline. Both tourmaline and ceramic materials will add to the overall cost of the curling iron though. You’ll rarely find one with this type of barrel priced at under $50. Those irons are worth the cost though because they do less damage to your hair.

Popular Celebrities with Naturally Curly Hair

Ceramic vs. Metal Barrels - WITH TEXT

What Size Barrel Do You Need?

As we created product reviews for each of the top five curling irons, we added information on the size of each one. Size is important because it determines the look of your final curls.

One of the smallest sizes that you can get is 3/8 of an inch. This type is really best for those who want tight curls. This curling iron will produce springy curls that bounce as you move similar to the curls rocked by Kerri Russell during her days on the hit television show “Felicity.” If you want curls that have a slightly vintage and traditional look, you’ll want to pick an iron with a 3/4-inch barrel. Your curls will still have some good definition but will hang down loosely from your face.

If you never used a curling iron before or you don’t feel confident in your curling skills, look for one that has a one-inch barrel. This helps you create looser curls that still have some definition. Those with a 1.5-inch barrel are best for women who want to create a more casual look with looser curls or waves. When you get to barrels in the two-inch range, you can use one to create flat and straight hair.

Barrel Sizes and Your Curls

What Size Barrel Do You Need

If you’re one of those women who keeps multiple curling irons around your home because you like changing up your look, you’ll really like this 3-in-1 curling iron from Paul Mitchell. It lets you throw away those old styling tools and use just a single curling iron to get all the looks that you want. This model comes with a simple handle and three different barrels. Each of those barrels attaches easily to the handle and allows you to create a different type of look. One is suitable for making those tight curls that make you look like Hollywood royalty, while another creates looser waves for a more natural look. You’ll also get a barrel that lets you create a look that features elements of both.

Best Curling Iron Review Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Unclipped 3-in-1 Curling Iron
Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Unclipped 3-in-1 Curling Iron

No matter which barrel you choose, you’ll find that the curling iron uses something the manufacturer calls an Express Ion Complex. This leaves your hair feeling soft and smooth and prevents the iron from frying those strands. As an added bonus, this curling iron is compatible with other attachments from the company. You’ll find barrels of different sizes and types available for sale today. None of those barrels feature a clip that can prevent your curls from sticking.

Choosing a Curling Iron Based on Hair Length

A good way to decide which type of curling iron to buy is with a look at the length of your hair. While you can base your choice on the look that you want to achieve and the length of the barrel, you also need to consider your own hair.

We recommend the shortest barrels for women with shorter and medium length hair. If you have hair that falls to your chin or just below your shoulders, you can confidently use one with a 3/4-inch to one-inch barrel. If you use an iron with a larger barrel, you risk burning the skin on your face and neck. A larger barrel will require that hold the iron closer to your face. If you don’t have long hair, you might burn yourself as you simply wrap the hair around the barrel.

Curling irons that have a larger barrel are better for women with longer hair. As long as your hair falls down to your shoulders or back, you can safely use one of these models without burning yourself. A curling iron with a two-inch barrel will help you create loose waves that use each strand from the root to the tip, even if your hair falls lower down your back.

Looks You Can Get with a Two-Inch Barrel

  • Rounded tips that curl towards your face
  • Looser waves that make it look like you just spent a day at the beach
  • Feather looks similar to those rocked by women during the 70s
  • Bohemian chic styles
Choosing a Curling Iron Based on Hair Length - WITHOUT TEXT

Curling Iron Barrel Types

The basic type of barrel used on most curling irons today is a straight barrel. Also called a rounded barrel, it has smooth sides and helps you make sure that each strand of hair you curl looks exactly the same as the next. If you want curls that look more defined, you should look for those with a spiral barrel. This type of barrel has ridges that wrap around the sides. When you wrap your hair around the barrel, those ridges will create tight spiral curls that last for hours or longer.

A unique type of barrel is one called a pearl barrel. Instead of using ridges, these barrels feature tiny dots along the sides that look like small pearls. Those raised areas prevent your curls from looking exactly the same and makes the finished style look looser. These curling irons help you create styles that are a little more casual.

You’ll also find some curling irons that have two or even three barrels attached together. Often called wavers, these tools are best for users who have long hair and want to create tousled curls or waves Wavers create natural waves in your hair but will only work on longer and thicker hair.

Benefits of Rotating Barrels

A curling iron with a rotating barrel is a type of automatic tool. When you wrap your hair around the barrel or clamp it into place, the iron will rotate to curl that hair for you. These curling irons have some great benefits, including:

Curling Iron Barrel Types
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for beginners and more experienced users
  • Helps you curl your hair faster
  • Will remove tangles from your hair
  • Can add some texture and height to your hair

Barrel Length

We looked at dozens of different curling irons and even more product descriptions as we tracked down the five best models. One thing we noticed was that manufacturers often talked about the size of the barrel in terms of width but not in terms of length. It’s really important that you consider the overall length of the barrel for a few different reasons.

The first reason is that the length will tell you how close you need to use the iron to your face. If you purchase one with a longer barrel, you can use just the tip to curl the edges of the hair around your face or your bands. This lets you keep the full barrel away from your skin and reduce the risk that you might burn yourself.

Many shoppers also prefer longer barrels because they do a better job of retaining and spreading heat. When you plug in and turn on a curling iron, the heating element will slowly push heat down along the barrel. Those with a shorter barrel can become so hot that you need to turn them off after just a few minutes. Curling irons with longer barrels do a better job of producing the heat that you want and of regulating that heat.

Potential Damage Caused by Curling Irons

  • Can actually burn right through sections of your hair
  • May leave behind dark areas or scorched marks
  • Curling irons can create frizzy spots and make frizzy hair look worse
  • You risk drying out your hair
  • Can significantly change the look of dyed hair
Barrel Length - WITHOUT TEXT

With other curling irons, it can take a few precious minutes after you turn one on before it comes up to the temperature you want to use. John Frieda designed this curling iron for women who want to save some time. This model actually takes just 30 seconds from the moment you turn it on until it reaches its maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. A ceramic heater inside both helps the curling iron reach this high temperature and maintain that temperature until you do your hair. You won’t worry about the iron damaging your hair because you can adjust that temperature down.

Best Curling Iron Review John Frieda One-Inch Curling Iron
John Frieda One-Inch Curling Iron

Experts often recommend that women with finer or thinner hair use a lower temperature. This curling iron has an LCD screen that makes it easy for you to pick the right temperature based on your hair. Even when turned to its highest setting, this model won’t damage your sink or counter because it has a small metal piece on the bottom. When you fold this piece down, it creates a shelf that supports the barrel and keeps it up in the air. You also get a long cord with a clip that you can lift up and push down with one finger.

How Much Does the Curling Iron Weigh?

It’s easy to find yourself distracted by temperature ranges and other features and forget about the basics. One of the most basic things you should consider before spending money on a curling iron is how much it weighs. Think about how long it takes for you to do your hair every morning. Even if you buy a tool that provides you with curls that last for a few days or longer, you’ll still spend between 10 and 30 minutes or more on your hair each time you do it. If the curling iron is too heavy, it can cause some discomfort in your hands. That weight can feel even worse if you do your hair every day.

There is a small risk that you might suffer from a repetitive stress injury too. These injuries affect people who do the same actions on a daily basis. Cashiers and writers often suffer hand injuries. Stylists may experience similar injuries because they use heavier curling irons when working with their clients. Even if you just do your hair at home, you can suffer some pain and discomfort because you bought a curling iron that weighs too much. The iron should feel comfortable in your hands after at least 10 minutes of continuous use.

Signs of a Repetitive Stress Injury in Your Hand

  • Pain that occurs when you do a specific movement or motion
  • Discomfort or pain that worsens at different points during the day
  • Pain that radiates around your hand or up your arm
  • Sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Numbness and/or swelling in your hand or arm
How Much Does the Curling Iron Weigh

What Should the Warranty Cover?

Whether you spend $25 or more than $100 on a curling iron, you should still look at the basics of the warranty before spending your cash. The return policy is the policy followed by the online store or shop where you buy the product. This policy tells you how long you have to return or exchange the product and what you need to do to mail it back. The manufacturer’s warranty comes directly from the manufacturer and covers any issues with the curling iron. It will usually last for between six months and one year. The warranty may start on the day that you buy that iron or the date that you register it online with the company. A good warranty will cover:

  • Any new parts you might need
  • The total cost of a new curling iron
  • Labor costs associated with repairing the iron

You may want to find out what happens if you need to take advantage of your warranty too. While some companies will let you return the old curling iron for a brand new one, others may ask that you send it back for a repair first. Some companies give you the option of buying a new extended warranty too.

What Should the Warranty Cover

Tips for Creating Tight Curls

  • Use a curling iron with a barrel of no more than ¾ inch
  • Separate your hair into sections that are roughly ½ inch wide
  • Start at the tip of your hair as you wrap the section around the barrel until you reach the roots
  • Keep the hair held against the curling iron for at least three seconds before releasing
  • Apply a finishing spray that holds your curls and makes them last

Long Lasting Curls

No matter how much experience you have with curling irons and other styling tools, you might assume that you need to use that tool every day to get great curls. The older models once available really only lasted for a few hours. This was due to a combination of low heat and poor materials. The most popular curling irons today create curls that last longer than you ever thought possible. This gives you the chance to save some time and get some more sleep each night because you don’t need to get up as early just to do your hair.

We highly recommend that you look at customer reviews and see what real customers thought about their experiences with these curling irons. Every product we looked at had reviews that included information on how long the curls created lasted. You want to make sure that the curls will last for at least 24 to 48 hours. When you do your hair on Monday morning before leaving to work, you can wake up on Wednesday morning and find that your curls are still intact. Some of the cheaper models still produce curls that fall flat after a few hours or a single night, but some of the top irons produce curls that last for days.

What to Look for As You Read Customer Reviews

  • Star rating compared to the information and details listed in the reviews
  • Hair texture or type as it compares to your own hair
  • Any extremely negative reviews that focus on safety issues or hazards
  • Details about the packaging and/or the shipping
  • Information listed about the customer service of the curling iron's manufacturer
Long Lasting Curls

Other Things to Consider When Buying a Curling Iron

  • Handle: You shouldn’t focus so much on the barrel that you forget about the handle of the curling iron. It should have a diameter that fits comfortably in your hand and a design that gives you access to all of the curling iron’s features.
  • Wattage: Far too many women buy a curling iron with a higher wattage rating because they think higher is always better. The wattage that you need depends more on how you will use that tool than the rating of your home. Most of these small tools with work in any home. If you only need to use lower temperature settings though, you don’t need one with a high wattage.
  • Clip or no clip: Depending on how you do your hair, you might care if it has an attached clip. When you use the curling iron on your hair, this clip secures the hair in place and ensures that the entire section gets the heat from the iron. Some women prefer those without a clip because they want their curls to look smoother.
  • Cord: We highly recommend curling irons that come with a longer swivel cord. This feature allows the cord to swivel on the end of the tool and move anywhere you do.

Did You Know?

In past times, women curled their hair with ordinary metal tongs. They placed the tongs in a fire until the metal became white hot before wrapping their hair around the rounded tongs. That heat often burned through their hair and caused some serious damage.

Other Things to Consider When Buying a Curling Iron

Safety Features You Should Consider

When it comes to doing your hair and makeup in the morning, you want to feel safe. Whether you’re in your bedroom, bathroom or living room, you want to make sure that the products and tools that you use will keep both you and your family as well as your home safe. The most important safety feature to look for is an automatic shut off. Let’s say that you wake up late and get ready in a hurry. You might forget to shut off your curling iron or pull the cord from the outlet before you take off. This feature ensures that the curling iron will shut down once it realizes that no one used it for a while. Some shut down after as little as 10 to 15 minutes, while others will run for up to 90 minutes before shutting down.

You may want to look for one with a cool tip too. This is a small tip added to the end of the barrel on the curling iron. As the barrel heats up, the tip will remain cool to the touch. Even if you accidentally grab the tip while doing your hair, you won’t burn yourself. It’s also helpful to choose one with a stand that lets you set the curling iron down without the hot barrel touching anything nearby such as clothing or your bathroom counter.

Expert Tip:

When doing your hair, try wearing a heat-resistant glove. This glove will protect your hand and fingers from the heat coming off the curling iron. You can even touch the barrel without burning yourself.

Safety Features You Should Consider

Accessories You Can Use with a Curling Iron

While most curling irons come with just the basic tool inside the packaging, you can look for other accessories and supplies that will work with that tool. One idea is a heat-proof mat. These mats usually use silicone or another material. They are similar to the cookie sheets that you can put into your oven. You can place one on your bathroom counter or bedroom dresser and use the mat to stop the heat produced by the curling iron from damaging that surface.

You may want to use a crimping barrel too. Do you remember rocking crimped hair during the 1980s and 1990s? You can still rock that look today in a toned down way that would look right at home in an office setting. This barrel fits right on top of your existing barrel. As the heat moves through the inside, it eventually reaches your hair and crimps the strands that you wrap around it. We also found interchangeable curling irons that come with multiple barrels and have other barrels that you can buy separately.

You can also look for a curling iron cleaner. This cleaning product will remove debris and buildup from the barrel and make the tool last longer.

What is a Thermal Styling Glove?

A thermal styling glove is similar to a heat-resistant glove. It fits tightly on your hand and allows you to move your fingers freely. Not only does it protect your hands from the heat produced by the curling iron, but it lets you move individual strands of hair and apply products to your hair while using the iron.

Accessories You Can Use with a Curling Iron

How to Clean a Curling Iron

While you can buy a specialized cleaner for curling irons, professionals often use just a damp cloth. You’ll plug in the curling iron and let it come up to a low temperature before unplugging it or turning the tool back off. While the barrel is still hot, carefully run a damp cloth along the sides of that barrel. You may want to pick it up and roll the barrel around in that cloth. If you do this, you should wear a heat-resistant glove or a thermal styling glove while the barrel is hot. You should hear a sizzling sound as the barrel comes into contact with the moisture on that cloth. Once you wipe down the barrel, you can set the curling iron off to the side and let it cool down.

You may notice some dark marks on the barrel that can occur as hair products build up on the surface. Those marks can leave behind imprints in your hair and keep your curls from looking as tight or as bouncy as they should. While the curling iron is unplugged and cool to the touch, run a cleaning sponge across the surface to work away that build up. Do not use any type of scouring sponge as this can damage the exterior of the barrel.

How to Clean a Curling Iron - WITHOUT TEXT

Benefits of Regularly Cleaning Your Curling Iron

  • Allows the entire barrel to touch each strand and section of your hair
  • Extends the overall life of the curling iron
  • Prevents hair products from eating through the barrel
  • Keeps the curling iron from producing odd smells

How to Straighten Your Hair with a Curling Iron

  • Use a larger barrel: A two-inch barrel is the best type of curling iron to use when straightening your hair. Those with a smaller barrel may not give you the smooth look that you want.
  • Divide your hair: You can use ponytail holders or clips to divide your hair into different sections. You want to separate the top layers from the bottom layers and divide the top and the bottom into multiple sections.
  • Start at the roots: When you curl your hair, you start at the tips, but when you straighten your hair, you need to start at the roots. You can place the curling iron as close as possible to your scalp and put a small section of hair beneath the clip. Once the hair is secure, carefully pull the curling iron down until you reach the tips.
  • Repeat: You’ll repeat the above steps as you work through the bottom layers of your hair before moving onto the top layers. Most women find it helpful to work in sections of one to two inches wide at a time.
  • Applying a finishing spray or serum: You should apply a finishing serum or spray, especially if you have naturally curly hair. This product will set the look and keep your natural curls from coming out.

Tips for Making Your Style Last Longer

  • Avoid washing your hair until you want to change your look
  • Try wearing a protective bonnet over your hair when sleeping at night
  • Cover your hair with a loose hat anytime you go outside
  • Always apply a finishing product to set your final look
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or other activities that can cause sweat to damage your hair
How to Straighten Your Hair with a Curling Iron

How to Use a Curling Iron to Create Natural Curls and Waves

  • Choose the right curling iron: For this look, you’ll want a curling iron with at least a one-inch barrel. You can increase the size up to 1.5-inches to get looser waves. Experts also recommend a 1.25-inch barrel for this look.
  • Use a frizz serum: A common problem that women with curly hair experience is that their hair looks frizzy. It can become even frizzier because of the heat that comes off the curling iron. You can apply a dollop of frizz serum to your palm and rub your hands together before running your hands through your hair. A thermal protector product will protect your hair from that heat but won’t necessarily stop frizz from forming.
  • Separate your hair: Whenever you want to use one of these tools on your hair, you’ll want to separate or divide your hair into different sections. Most women find it helpful to divide their hair into top and bottom sections before separating those layers into different sections.
  • Work from the bottom: To create loose waves, work on one section at a time. Carefully wrap the tips of that section around the barrel, turning the barrel and moving up until you reach the roots. The looser that you wrap your hair around the barrel, the looser the final waves and curls will look. You should repeat these steps with each section of your hair.
  • Set the look: When you create loose waves, you develop a casual look that makes you look and feel like you just stepped off the beach. If you use the wrong product to set the look, you risk making your hair look or feel dry and/or sticky. A little mousse or styling spray is all you need.
How to Use a Curling Iron to Create Natural Curls and Waves- WITHOUT TEXT

Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Curling Iron

  • Using the tool when your hair is still wet or damp to the touch
  • Applying too much product to your hair
  • Choosing the wrong heat setting
  • Trying to curl too many strands at the same time
  • Immediately applying more styling products to hair that is still hot

How Much Should You Pay for a Curling Iron?

Now that you know what type of curling iron is best for you and what features are most worth your money, it’s time to get down to the most important thing: cost. No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a tool, even if it’s one that she’ll use every day or a few days a week. That is why we made sure to include some affordable curling irons on our list of the best models. Our cheapest and most affordable curling iron retails for less than $50.

We actually found that the prices start at around $10 to $20. These cheap models are perfect for kids or those who want to experiment with different styles. Once you feel confident that you will use a curling iron, you can spend more on a better model. The cheapest options usually only have one or two temperature settings and come with a metal barrel.

If you can afford to spend between $50 and $100 on a curling iron, you can easily find one with a more durable barrel that has more temperature settings. The most expensive curling irons retail for $100 and can climb as high as $200 or more. These are professional models that stylists use in beauty shops and salons.

The Prices of Our Top Picks

How Much Should You Pay for a Curling Iron - with text

Frequently Asked Questions

A: If you have fine hair or hair that is thinning, you should stick to smaller curling irons. Those with a ½ to ¾ size are best for you. When you use a larger curling iron, it can damage your hair and even burn through the strands.

A: The longer that you leave your hair on or near the curling iron, the more the heat will penetrate through the hair and set your curls. Though you might think that you need to use the curling iron for 30 seconds or more, you really only need 10 seconds or less of heat. Most of the top styles only require five seconds or less of heat to set.

A: The simple answer to this question is absolutely not. You should never use a curling iron if your hair is wet or even slightly damp. The tool does not produce enough heat to completely dry your hair. It can burn through the top layers and create singed marks while leaving behind wet layers behind.

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