Curling Iron Buying Guide
What is a Curling Iron?
When looking for a curling iron there are a number of factors which will determine which is the best curling iron for your needs.
What type of hair do you have? Hair texture impacts the way curls take in your hair and the amount of heat required to effectively create beautiful curls. Thinner hair does not require the same time and heat temperatures as hair that is thicker. Thinning hair can be damaged by high heat, whereas thicker hair won’t be effectively curled without it. Thicker hair requires higher temperatures and it must set in the iron for a longer time in order to hold the curl effectively. The heaviness of the hair will also impact how long the curls are able to stay in place.
What is your hair length? The length of your hair will play a part in your decision on what type and style of curls you are looking for. Short, medium and long hair have different needs when it comes to what looks best with your face and what your styling goals are. Short to medium length hair can take tighter curls, where longer hair is better for bigger curls and a wavier look. Longer hair weighs more and the tighter curls will pull out faster. Those with medium length hair have a full range of style that can be enjoyed with a curling iron.
What style curls are you looking for. Curling irons can product everything from soft light wavy hair to tight spiral, Shirley Temple, curls and everything in between. Your choice of style and size of curls will determine the curling iron that will meet those needs the best. Finding the right barrel size will help give you the perfect curls. There is a styling guide below that will help you determine the right curls for your hair length and the right barrel to give you the look you want.
What is the shape of your face? Your facial shape will effect what hair styles look best on you. Faces can be square, oval, round or triangular. Curls are able to soften sharp facial features and highlight your favorite feature depending on the curling style you choose.
Features to Consider
Type of Curling Iron. Curling irons can come with springs or clips which hold the hair in place while you curl. Clipless irons do not have a clamp built in to hold the hair in place as it is rolled. Spring action irons have the widest range of barrel sizes and are the easiest to use. Clipless designs do not leave creases in your hair and is less likely to damage hair ends. Using this style generally requires using a heat proof glove to prevent burning yourself. Double and triple barrels are also available and they create specialty waves that are wavy rather than curly.
What Size Barrel Should You Use. Barrel size is essential for getting the right style as the barrel determines the tightness or looseness of the curl. For shorter or layers hair you will want a smaller barrel so the length of your hair can wrap around the barrel adequately. A maximum of I inch should be used depending on the tightness of the curl you are looking for. Interchangeable barrels give you the ability to change widths and create different hair styles.
What Material Is the Iron Made Of? Curling iron designs use different materials and each has its own benefits. Choosing a curling iron made of a material that will give you the results you are looking for. A few of the most common materials include:
- Ceramic irons which heat up very quickly and maintain an even temperature from start to finish so you have the same temperature on both the first and the last strand of hair. It also prevents damage to hair due to hot spots.
- Tourmaline creates smooth and glossy hair and is used in many professional settings. This maintains temperatures well and reduce fizziness in your hair.
- Titanium offers an even heat distribution across the iron and will not snag your hair. Inexpensive irons can end up knotting your hair as it is wound around the wand. Titanium prevents tangles because it is a very smooth surface that will not catch the end of your hair.
What Temperature Control is Offered? The temperature is important because an iron that is too hot can damage or burn the hair, where one that is too cool will not effectively curl your hair. The ability to adjust the temperature will allow you to set it based on your personal hair and what works best.
What is the Right Barrel? Based on the size curls you want will depend on the barrel size you choose.
- Pencil Thin curls are best for short to medium length hair and are most effectively created using a 3/8 inch barrel.
- Ringlet curls are best for short to medium length hair and work best with a ½ inch to 5/8 inch barrel.
- Coil curls are a classic style curl that works well on medium length hair and a 1 inch barrel. This can be accomplished with a spring or clipless wand.
- Looping curls are best on medium or long hair and need a larger barrel size of 1 ¼ inch to style effectively.
- Round curls work wonders on medium to long hair and are best with barrel sizes of 1 ½ inch or larger. Clipless curling irons handles the length better and creates beautiful wavy hair.
Much of the design choice for curling irons have to do with your personal preferences and the natural body your hair has. Is it straight or already curly? Do you have thin or thick hair and is it fine or coarse? Then decide what you want your hair to look like. Consider the shape of your face and the current styles. Curling irons are able to create beautiful flowing hair in a very short period of time. Add some gel or hair spray and it is a look that you can enjoy all day.