The Best Curling Irons

Hair stylist with a curling iron
Photo: Yuraksil/Shutterstock
Q: What are the best curling irons or what do I need to look for when buying a curling iron?
A: When you go shopping for these curling irons you will find all kinds of options: gold & titanium coated irons, gem-coated irons, ionic irons, infra-red irons, etc. These are all available at a wide-range of prices, so you will first need to decide what you are comfortable paying (or what your personal budget will support) and shop for the best curler in your price range.
Online shopping (whether you purchase the item online or not) offers you a chance to see user reviews on different irons which lets you learn about others’ experiences with the product you are thinking of using. So be sure you take advantage of these resources.
The main things to look for when buying a curling iron are that it: A) has adjustable temperature settings, B) has a smooth, non-stick finish and C) provides even heat distribution.
Adjustable temperature settings are important to allow you to set the heat level on your iron and prevent burning the hair or damaging it overmuch through careless heat styling. It’s also important to be able to set your iron’s heat to match the needs of your hair.
Coarse hair needs more heat to reset the physical side bonds than fine hair does, simply because the fine hair is thinner. In addition, dry or damaged hair needs much gentler heat for styling to prevent further damaging the hair. So, if the iron you’re looking at doesn’t offer adjustable heat settings, pass it by.
A smooth, non-stick finish doesn’t necessarily mean Teflon-coated, but it does mean to look at the iron carefully and make sure that the heated surfaces are extremely smooth and that all edges are rounded without sharp corners and ends. These hard edges can pinch, crimp and cut into the hair strands while curling the hair and can lead to damage that has a cumulative effect.
The specific coating of the heating elements is up to your personal choices, although I do personally like the gem-coated and ionic irons, I’ve used the metallic-finish, chromed irons for years with no problems.
Finally, even heat distribution is very important. If one part of the iron heats faster than the rest you can be sure that specific areas of the hair being curled will heat up faster and MORE than other areas. Unfortunately, this leads to burning and overstressing these areas of the hair which means that the hair will become damaged.
See also:
Heat styling basics
A what's what guide to curling irons
Curling iron and flat iron damage
Thermal styling with curling irons