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Curling iron is now one of the few essential hair accessories women use almost every day. Whether you’re going for a beach wave vibe, a curly girl night out, or a retro-chic duo, you can turn to the curling iron.
It’s not always that easy, though. You need to pick the right curling iron size. Now there are endless choices in the world of wands, making it hard to find your way. If you’re a newbie to curling your hair in the first place, it’s no secret that recreating hairstyles can be challenging. Like most things, though, you can learn. So, have no fear, my curly girl, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve created the definitive guide to picking the right curling iron, so you can scroll through Pinterest with the confidence to recreate!
Curling Irons of Different Sizes and Uses
The first step is picking the right size. If you want to keep it classic with your curling iron but still find the right one for you, focus on size. It’s the easiest way to get the type of curl you want without getting lost in the endless choices.
To put it simply, the bigger the barrel, the bigger the curl. Here a breakdown of what look each size will give you:
1. MiroPure Curling Iron – Best for Beachy Waves – 1.25 inch
Summer isn’t summer without the picturesque beachy wave look – the smell of sunscreen, the sun on your face, and the sound of the waves. The sunny scene isn’t complete without a head full of beachy waves.
Try this MiroPure 1.5-inch curling wand to achieve that summer feeling. Heating up to 410 degrees, the iron barrel heats up in 30 seconds, so it is sure to give you the salon-style wave you’re looking for. The handle isn’t exactly ergonomic, though, making it easy to slip up and burn yourself, so watch those hands!
Pro tip: Curl your hair a bit tighter than you want it, and spray on some hairspray. Let it cool before brushing it out. That will create looser curls that will last all day long!
2. KIPOZI 1 Curling Iron Hair Curler – Best for Loose & Tousled Curls – 1 inch
If you want to look like you just woke up looking fabulous, go with a 1-inch size barrel. You can create that chic, devilish, tousled look easily!
If you’re a first-timer, this inexpensive iron is the way to go. With a 60 minute auto-shut-off that keeps you safe and a heat-resistant glove included, you don’t lose out on quality. It does tend to take a tad longer to heat up – so be mindful if you’re in a rush!
Pro tip: Try to curl each piece in a different direction to create more texture and bounce in the curls.
3. Hoson 3/4 Inch Curling Iron Professional – Best for Corkscrew Curls – ¾ inch
If you want some tight corkscrew curls for more of a bouncy look, try out a ¾-inch wand. It can give you that retro look, especially if you curl all the pieces away from your face.
This Hoson curling iron comes with nine heating settings to fit your specific needs (always go for a lower heat setting if you have more damaged hair) and a three-layer design to reduce frizz. The downside is that it only goes down to a 225F heat setting, which isn’t very low for anyone looking to reduce heat temperature on delicate strands.
4. RED by KISS Ceramic Tourmaline Professional Curling Iron – Best for Ringlets – ⅝ inch
Looking to tame your head of curls or create tight uniform ringlets? This ⅝-inch curling iron can give you that tightly wound look. Its ceramic barrel is perfect for creating silky curls with less damage.
The separate On/Off switch on this one is also a plus, making it a bit easier to remember to turn it off before running out the door (no mid-day fear about if you left it on!).
This curler doesn’t have temperature labels, except for the max 450F marker, which makes it difficult if you want an exact gauge on the temperature you’re using, an important factor depending on your hair density.
Pro Tip: Add some hair mousse after styling to give it some extra texture and make it last morning ‘till night!
5. Hoson 9mm Curling Iron Professional – Best for Enhancing Natural Curls – ⅜-inch
If you love your natural voluminous curls but want to enhance them a bit, try out this ⅜ inch wand. The long barrel is designed to do more curls simultaneously, and the swivel cord allows the wire not to get tangled.
The super-thin barrel also makes it perfect for locking in your natural ringlets.
Tame your curly hair by focusing on any rouge sections, then use some product to bring it all together. This curling iron for fine hair does only go down to 225F, and some prefer a 180F low setting, so keep that in mind!
Type of Curling Wands
Now, let’s take your hairstyle to the next level. There are a ton of different curling iron types out there beyond size. Each hair curler was created for a specific style.
Finding the right styling tool for you can help you personalize your look- giving you that signature vibe. If you’ve mastered your curls with the classic curling iron style and found your perfect size, now it’s time to find your type.
1. Bubble Wand – Bed Head Rock N’ Roller Curling Wand for Tousled Waves and Texture
Perfectly uniform, Pinterest-perfect, loose curls. It’s the kind you want to walk into picture day at school with, everything right where it’s supposed to be.
Bubble wands are a fantastic trick to achieve this look. It makes it easy, as the bubbles in the rod create creases to indicate where to wrap the hair.
Bed Head’s wand gives you perfectly tousled waves. The only downside is that it works best for long hair, so you have enough hair to wrap around the bubbles.
2. Tampered – INFINITI PRO BY CONAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand
A tapered wand gets narrow towards the end-, literally tapering off. It’s great if you want a curl that’s less voluminous and more natural since the curliest part is towards the end. You simply wrap your strands around the wand and hold them until you find the perfect curl.
This Conair wand is a go-to for creating that natural flowy hair, with tourmaline material for extra shiny hair. It can be tricky using an iron with no clamp like this one, though, so hold on tight!
3. Multi-Barrel – Conair Double Ceramic 3 Barrel Curl Styling Waver
For the triple barrel curling iron, be prepared to think a bit outside of the box. Unlike your traditional curling iron, you simply clamp the tool in sections of your hair and let it do its magic.
It’s insanely easy to use, and this Conair iron has 30 different heating settings, so it works for all hair types and gives you the perfect S waves result.
Make sure only to get it, though, if you have at least medium-length hair, as it is hard to clamp close to your face and head!
4. The Curl Machine – BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Professional Curl Machine
BaByliss does just what the name implies; it gives your hair bliss. Their curl machine takes it to a new level, curling your hair for you. It takes the guess-work out of it and gives you perfect curls with little work.
Your hair goes into the chamber, is timed, and then curled. It has three directions you can set, so you don’t have to curl everything in the same form to make it more free-flowing.
Downside? It only creates one type of curl. And let’s be honest, that can be a bit boring.
Wanna be like a professional? A Marcel Wand is what you’ll find in all the best hair salons. The clamp itself has no spring, so it is manually released and clamped. It’s great for a more controlled curl, allowing you to shape it throughout by adjusting the clamp.
This Sam Villa iron allows you to take the clamp off altogether to create a simple wand, too, definitely a pro. If you’re not sure how to use a Marcel wand, though, leave it to the professionals. If you don’t know how to unclamp it probably, it could damage your hair.
6. FoxyBae 7-in-1 Curling Iron Set – Best Overall
If you’re looking for a one-and-done situation, it’s best to go with a set. This set has interchangeable curling wands, letting you go from ringlets to waves in minutes.
The only downside is that the set’s largest one is 1.2 inches, making it tricky to get that luscious big curl look.
There it is, everything you need to know about picking the right curling iron for yourself! Just choose your size, select your type, and get your curl on!
Make sure to always use a heat-protective spray before doing any type of heat styling, though, and never exceed 450F. Check out the Best Silicone-Free Heat Protectants that’ll prevent your hair damage.
The thicker and more coarse your hair is, the higher the temperature you’ll need. For medium-thick hair, try to stay between 300-380F.