curling iron curling hair

Finding the best curling wand for your hair

From barrel sizes to materials, knowing which is the best hair curler for your tresses can be puzzling! But fret not, because we're here to solve the mystery...  

As you probably know, the most effective way to create beautiful, curly or wavy hairstyles is to use the best curling wand for your mane. Curling wands and tongs have become styling staples for many women, but did you know that it’s not a one size fits all situation?

With the many varieties available on the market, it can be pretty difficult to find the one that will perfectly suit your styling needs and hair type. That’s why we’ve created a simple guide to help you select the best curling iron for the results you want.

Your guide to the best curling wands and irons


light brown blonde hair being curled with a curling iron
Consider this your curling iron lesson 101. Credit:

Barrel sizes

Ultra-small: 0.5-0.75 inches

This ultra-small barrel size is great for curling shorter hair, thanks to its very slim dimensions. Lovers of vintage hairstyles are likely to fall for this curling iron, as it’ll help make recreating Gatsby-inspired waves and retro pin curls as easy as pie.

Small: 0.75-1 inch

If you have medium or long-length hair, the best curling wand size is a small one, which will help you achieve tight, ringlet-like curls.

It can also be a great choice for anyone with wavy hair who wants to add definition, as its width is very similar to the size of natural curls. But if you’re after softer-looking spirals, then think about investing in a tapered iron.

Medium: 1-1.75 inches

For effortless waves, we recommend a medium barrel. With this curling iron, you can look forward to casual, beach-inspired locks, pretty and polished waves or a relaxed and tousled ‘do. It can also be a great option if you have very long tresses, as the in-between size makes curling lengthy hair less time-consuming.

Large: 2 inches

Don’t overlook large curling irons. They are versatile styling tools that can create big, bouncy curls and add volume.

Editor’s tip: Cheat your way to wavy tresses by using this jumbo barrel on larger sections of hair. Then add flicks to the ends of your locks so they don’t look unnaturally bone straight. We bet it’ll have everyone wondering if you’ve just had a salon blow out.

model with short blonde brown hair using a curling iron to curl her hair
Din’t think you can curl short hair? Think again, ladies!



Thought all the best curling irons were made from the same material? Nope, they also differ and give different results depending on the material you choose.

Titanium is a really popular and cost-effective material for curling irons. It’s highly durable, lightweight and transfers heat evenly and quickly. But be warned: unlike new materials (like tourmaline), it won’t help you fend off frizz


Ceramic is another common material that – just like titanium – offers fast and consistent heat. But, as you’ve probably noticed, the latest curling irons boast a mixture of ceramic and tourmaline.

So what is tourmaline? It’s a semi-precious stone with great properties that will limit damage while curling your hair. The material produces negative ions, which counter the positive ions in dry and damaged hair. This ionic technology also helps to retain your tresses’ moisture and shine, as well as fight frizz.

Curling iron extras

We know everyone has different abilities when it comes to hair styling – so, if you want to make the process as easy as possible, we have some suggestions that’ll definitely make it less stressful.

Most curling iron barrels are smooth, but you might want to opt for one with a spiral shape, as it will act as a guide for curling and reduce hair slippage. Also, look out for spring levers – they’ll clamp and secure your hair while you’re curling it, making styling a total breeze!


Now you know your curling iron basics, it’s time you learnt which one is right for your hair type. Luckily, we’re here to help with that too – so keep reading to get all the insider know-how.

The best curling wand for your hair type


model with blonde wavy hair and blue eyes
Boost volume in fine locks with the right curling wand!

Thin or fine hair

The best curling irons for you are those that have an adjustable heat dial, as you may need to experiment with different temperatures if you find that your fine hair doesn’t hold curls well.

And while you try different settings to find out which one works best for you, ensure that you always use a good heat protectant, like the Toni&Guy Prep Heat Protection Mist, especially if you’re upping the heat!

brunette model with long thick hair in ringlets
Getting neat ringlets in your thick mane is oh so simple!

Thick and coarse hair

The best curling wands and irons for thick manes are those that are lightweight, and can reach high temperatures. It can take a while to curl thick or coarse hair, especially when you have a lot of it! So, investing in a lightweight curling wand that can work fast is essential if you don’t want your arm to hurt every time you style your tresses.

Editor’s tip: Try the VO5 Smoothly Does It Heat Protect Serum, as this serum protects against heat damage, tames frizz, helps to define curls and leaves your hair with a beautiful shiny finish.

brunette model with long wavy hair against a blue background
Say goodbye to frizz-prone locks!

Frizz-prone hair

Can’t seem to tame those darn frizzy strands? Sounds like you need a a ceramic-coated curling wand, as it will help to create gorgeous curls that look gorgeously smooth. Now that’s what we like to hear!
Whether you’re an avid curling iron user or a total rookie, we hope this guide will help you to pick the best curling wand for your hair type! And now that you have all the insider know-how, head on over to our Curly Hairstyles page, to put it to the test.

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