A What's What Guide To Curling Iron (2)

Different types of hair curling irons
Photo: Poznyakow/Shutterstock
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A good rule of thumb when wanting to know if a curling iron is the right size for your hair is to count the number of times you can fully wrap the hair around the curling iron barrel. If your hair isn't long enough to wrap around the curling iron one and a half times (at least) you should consider getting a smaller curling iron. This, of course, depends on the size of curl you want.
Multiple-barreled tools can be disconcerting, especially when most people think of the way in which a standard, single-barrel iron is used. Most two- and three-barrel irons aren't meant to create spiraled curls or overlapping curls. These are instead designed to be used to add bend and wave to the hair. They can be used in varying ways depending on the look desired, and the special features of each.
What to Look for:
There are a number of features you should look for when shopping for a new curling iron. These are things that will ensure your choice is safe for your hair and for general use:
Non-stick surface: The iron should feature a non-stick coating of some type – either a Teflon coating, or the newer mineral finishes (tourmaline and garnet are available). This helps to prevent the hair from sticking to the surface of the iron and potentially becoming scorched.
Adjustable Temperature Settings: The iron should have an adjustable temperature feature, whether it's a "low-medium-high" switch or an adjustable dial with a numeric range, since different hair types need more or less heat to be effectively curled.
Instant Heat or Ready Light: The iron may be one that heats up instantly, making it quick to use. However, having one that heats more slowly but has an indicator light to signal that it's ready is a good compromise.
Curling iron barrel
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Swivel Cord: The last thing you want is to constantly have to untangle the cord on your curling iron, especially if you have a lot of hair to curl. Choose an iron that has a swiveling cord, making it less likely to become tangled and get in the way.
Auto-Off Function: This is a safety feature that is very important. Since most of us are always in a rush in the mornings (or whenever we're getting ready) it's good to have a curling iron that will shut itself off automatically if left unattended. This can save you from melted combs and brushes, or in a worst-case scenario, prevent your house from burning down.
There are, of course, many other features that can be found on a curling iron, and these often have positive benefits, but the real determinant will be your budget. You will find curling irons that vary widely in price, so it will be up to you to do your homework.
Investigate cost versus features, read product reviews (preferably from customers who have purchased and used the same product you are considering, and not those offered by magazines and the manufacturer's websites) and choose the one you feel will work best for you.
See also:
How to use a curling iron
How to use a flat iron for curling
Burning smell when using a curling iron