Which curling iron is best for your needs?

galleryblondehairSo many options! New shapes of barrels, new materials for minimizing damage, and some downright crazy looking contraptions.

How do you figure out which one to get?

That’s what this page is all about. Check out all the different styles of curling iron available and learn which will deliver the results you want.


DIAMETER OF BARREL

The diameter of the barrel determines the size of the curl. Barrel size for conventional curling irons ranges from 1/2 inch to 2 inches.

  • SMALL (1/2-3/4 inch diameter)
    Best for very short hair or creating tight spiral curls
  • MEDIUM (1 inch diameter)
    Ideal for short to long hair. Creates a nice, long lasting but not-too-tight curl
  • LARGE (up to 2 inch diameter)
    Will create a loose, lived-in wave on medium to long hair. Or give a gentle curve to the ends. Build volume on short hair or large, “barrel rolls” which can then be separated by running fingers through the hair with a wax or putty product.

SHAPE OF BARREL

There are several shapes to choose from, depending on the type of curl you want to create. Keep in mind that the size of section you work with and the way you wrap it around the barrel will determine the outcome of the curls.

  • CYLINDER – uniform spiral curl or wave
  • CONICAL – looser near the scalp, slightly tighter toward the ends
  • REVERSE CONE – tighter near the scalp, slightly looser toward the ends
  • BRUSH ATTACHMENTS – soft waves
  • DOUBLE BARREL – beachy waves on very long hair
  • TRIPLE BARREL – undulating vertical wave pattern

GET MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!


This versatile curling iron with 5 interchangeable barrels is the ideal tool for anyone who likes to experiment with curly hair. The different shapes and widths of barrels will allow you to create any type of curl from a tight, bouncy spiral to a loose beachy wave. Use a few different ones throughout your hair to mimic the look of natural curl!

FOR VERY LONG HAIR


Wind hair around both barrels in a figure 8 pattern to create loose, beachy waves on very long hair. This iron doesn’t work well on shorter hair as it doesn’t have the length to wrap around the two barrels sufficiently for a distinctive, repetitive pattern, so it just looks kinked and messy. But on long hair, this creates a loose, natural looking wave.

FOR CASUAL, UNDULATING WAVES


These waving irons are so much fun! And they’re easy to use, despite the unconventional design. As with all curling irons, the size of section you work with and the length of time you keep the iron in the hair will have an enormous effect on the outcome. Short times on large, thick sections will result in a very loose, lived in wave. Longer times on finer sections will result in a very distinctive, mermaid-esque wave pattern.

CREATE OR ENHANCE NATURAL WAVES


A large barrel conical curling iron produces big, loose waves that taper nicely toward the end, rather than being too uniform. This gives the curls a more natural look and a casual, lived-in feel. Allow the hair to twist as you wrap it around the barrel for more wavy curls or make sure it doesn’t twist for a springy spiral curl. This particular iron (by Remington) comes in two sizes. Check out all the photos in the reviews section to see what kind of result you can get!

SMOOTH FRIZZ AND CREATE BODY


Build fullness and volume in fine hair, smooth frizzy hair and add shine with a curling brush! Such a great tool for those who just want to add a little oomph to their hair, without a lot of curl. Or for those with unruly frizz who want to tame that down while maintaining a natural look. Run the iron through the hair, holding the ends taut for smoothing and loosening curls. Wrap hair around the barrel and down to the scalp to create a more defined wave pattern or build body.

FOR VOLUME AND SHINE


A jumbo barrel (this one is 2″) will create a nice, glossy finish to the hair while adding body and creating a slight wave at the ends. Using a curling iron isn’t always about creating tight, noticeable curl. When the goal is a more refined, straighter look with a beautiful sheen and fullness, this is the tool to reach for. Take sections about the same width as the barrel and wrap them down, then pin in place and allow to cool before removing the pins.

FOR ORGANIC, IMPERFECT CURLS


The funky look of these bubble wand curling irons is a hint at what a unique and versatile tool it is! Hair can be carefully spiral wrapped in small sections within the grooves between bubbles for a tight coiled curl. For a loose, organic wave, work with larger sections and allow the hair to twist as you work around the barrel. Make sure the hair wraps around both the bubbles and grooves as you wind so you’ll get a slightly inconsistent wave pattern which is what lends that natural feel.

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