Some of the best curling irons in the world today are known for their versatility. They combine functionality with flair, enabling you to create a wide range of stunning hairstyles in half the time you’d need with other products. That said, curling irons don’t all work the same. Usually, women with long and thick hair can struggle to get their desired results. If you’re in that category, then don’t worry.
We’ve put together the top 3 curling irons for fine hair on the market, taking into account ease of use, versatility in styling and quality of results. Keep in mind that this list mainly focuses on normal, straight-barrel curling irons, which use a spring-loaded clamp to grip your hair during the curling process, but there are other designs available too.
Overview: Our Top Picks
Curling Iron Buying Guide
Typically, choosing a grooming appliance should be a straightforward process, especially when you’ve narrowed your choices down to a select few options. Purchasing a curling iron, on the other hand, can be quite a complex process because you have to consider a number of equally important factors.
To simplify the process, we recommend that you start by considering your experience. For example, a spring curling iron is the best option for amateurs because it’s really simple and easy to use. All you have to do is open the clamp, place a small section of your hair in, and then remove the spring connected to the clamp so you can heat the hair inside the barrel’s surface. After a few seconds, open the clamp and prepare another section of hair to curl.
Most hair salons tend to use curling irons from the Marcel brand. These don’t come with a clamp, which means that the stylist has to keep the hair in place with manually applied pressure. Although mostly suited for professional hairstylists because it can be quite difficult to operate them, they do deliver excellent control and results.
On the other hand, you have ‘wavers’, which feature multiple barrels that make it easy to create iconic hairstyles like tight retro curls, beach waves etc. The only downside to wavers is that they’re tough to maneuver, and are mostly recommended for absolute professionals that have experience with spring curlers.
Curling Iron Materials
Generally, curling irons that are made from chrome are considered quite harmful to hair, whereas tourmaline and ceramic models are the more preferable options. However, it’s not as simple as that, because the texture and type of hair you’re styling will also have an effect.
1. Metal Steam Barrels
These cost-effective curling irons are generally considered as the worst option for your hair because the steam released from the hot metal damages hair by sucking all the moisture out of it. Another bad thing about these irons is that they release hair-damaging positive ions, but they’re often the only effective solution for people with thin hair that’s difficult to curl.
2. Chrome and Gold Barrels
These curling irons are also quite damaging to your hair, due to the positive-ion releasing hotspots found in the chrome material. Some opt for gold as the better choice because it provides a more even heat, but it doesn’t always work, and both are useless for women with frizzy hair.
3. Ceramic and Tourmaline Barrels
If you’re looking for a high-end option, then go for ceramic or tourmaline curling irons. They offer consistent barrel temperatures, which not only decrease the amount of damage done to your hair but also provide spectacular results. You can rest assured that your hair will stay smooth and shiny, thanks to the negative ions released by these irons, and they’re known for dealing with frizzy hair. Just make sure to stay away from irons with a Teflon coating, as it tends to come off and damage your hair over time.
4. Titanium Barrels
Titanium is very similar to Tourmaline and delivers pretty much the same results. It’s typically recommended for those with thick and coarse hair that doesn’t retain heat and is hard to manage. Just remember to go for models without Teflon coating to keep your hair healthy.
Best Curling Iron Reviews
The easiest way to spot a good quality curling iron is to look for whether it has heat settings or not. This is important because different hair textures require different heat levels. For example, a heat setting of 200° is recommended for thin hair because high heat levels will damage it, whereas thick hair requires at least 300 to 400 degrees in order to set the curls properly.
Check out our reviews below for what we think are the top 3 best curling irons on the market:
1. BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
This curling iron is a great option for beginners. It features an even, one-inch barrel that’s made of high-quality titanium and it heats up really fast. It also offers a versatile assortment of styling options from tight curls to looser rings, and it’s suitable for most hair types.
The iron is made from a combination of titanium and ceramic, even though it’s advertised simply as titanium, which makes it more effective at even heat transfer while releasing negative ions that leave your hair glossy and smooth.
However, the most impressive feature of this curling iron has to be the fact that it offers 50 different heat settings that go up to 450 degrees. You can also use the included turbo-heat button to immediately increase the temperature, and don’t forget to take advantage of the convenient 360-degree swivel cord.
The barrel doesn’t get tangled in hair and the clip is never too tight, although the grip is still very solid.
Things we liked
Things we didn’t like
With the BaByliss PRO, you have a user-friendly, high-quality curling iron that provides different heat levels that are evenly delivered. Granted, it’s an expensive option but it’s totally worth it if you want an iron that works for different hair types.
2. HSI Professional Curling Iron Set
The HSI model is very high-end and is considered to be among the crème-de-la-crème of curling irons according to Groom+Style ratings. This is mainly because it comes with four different barrels including a ¾”, 1”, 1½”, as well as a wand-style barrel that goes from 1 inch to ¾ inches. This gives you styling versatility like you’ve never imagined, and you can even mix and match styles if you want by alternating the barrels.
You’ll be glad to know that all four barrels are constructed from tourmaline, which is known for its quick curling and even heat, which retain moisture by releasing negative ions.
The control panel on this iron enables you to perform a wide range of actions, from changing the temperature up to 450 degrees to informing you when the barrel isn’t in place correctly. We recommend a low-temperature of 200 degrees and under for thinner and shorter hair because it heats up really quick. The HSI earns extra points for incorporating a protective glove into the kit, and its clamp-free handle makes it suitable for professionals and amateurs alike.
Things we liked
Things we didn’t like
The HSI is an ideal option for you if you want to manage your curls completely, but keep in mind that it is very difficult to use and quite expensive.
3. Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron
The barrel on this curling iron is plated with 24K Teflon-free gold, which means that it’s a cost-effective option but you will have limited curling choices, as it doesn’t work for frizzy or thin difficult hair. However, it does create better waves than curls, and the grip-friendly handle and clamp will keep your hair in place without any problem.
The best part is that this curling iron features 10 different heat settings that go from 280 degrees all the way to 430 degrees, as well as an intuitive on/off switch that reverts to your preferred heat setting when you switch it on. Also, the Hot Tools 1110 heats up quickly, making it very easy to use.
Things we liked
Things we didn’t like
The Hot Tool 1110 gives fantastic waves and loose curls for women with thick, long hair at an affordable price.
Well, there you have it! The best curling irons on the market complete with a helpful guide on how to use them. Keep in mind that the best way to get the results you want is to learn how to use your particular curling iron the way it should be used and take your time.
Overall, we think that the BaByliss PRO Nano curling iron is the ideal option for beginners, but it delivers superb results for more experienced users as well. The best part is that it’s easy to use and portable enough to keep it with you while travelling, and it’s definitely the curling iron to get if you want head-turning curls and/or waves, as it features a variety of different settings for different hair types.