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How to Choose the Right Curling Iron

Posted by HairSavvy on Thu, Apr 1st, 2010

Curling iron is the hair styling tool that brings your wavy or curly hair alive instantly. Among those different kinds of curling irons in the market, do you really know how to choose the right curling iron that can make your hair soft, shiny and strong without damaging it?

Basically, there are two types of curling iron: spring curling iron and marcel curling iron.


  • Spring curling iron is less expensive, easy to use and good for everyday life.
  • Marcel curling iron is designed for professional hairstylist.

Here are the things you need to learn before you make a decision on which curling iron that fits your requirements:

Technology and Barrel Material

First of all, the technology of the barrel. The most popular materials are Teflon, ceramic, tourmaline, ionic and titanium.


  • Teflon helps distribute heat evenly throughout the barrel to eliminate frizz and create soft, bouncing curls.
  • Ceramic ionic technology eliminates frizz, creates silky shiny hair instantly.
  • Tourmaline infused into the plates delivers negative ions to neutralize the hair’s positive charge and create calm smooth, shiny hair strands.

Other Features:


  • Steam: It helps lock the curls in place, especially good for hard-to-curl hair;
  • Cordless: It is handy for touch-ups just about anywhere.

Hair Types, Length and Barrel Size

Secondly, your hair type determines what curling iron the best for you. The particular curling iron only works as it is designed for the certain hair type.


  • For thin/fine/flat/bleached/damaged/fragile hair, you should choose a smaller curling iron with 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch barrel that works the best and the curls last for a longer time.
  • For normal-not too thin and not too thick, and not easily be damaged hair, 1 to 2 inch barrel curling iron are recommended.
  • For coarse and thick hair, consider a larger barrel curling iron of 1-1/4 to 2 inch which can hold the style much easier than smaller ones.

It's easy to tell why the length of you hair matters the curling iron that you need.


  • For short hair, you need smaller curling iron with 3/4 to 1-1/4 inch barrel;
  • For medium should length hair, get curling iron with 1 to 1-1/2 inch;
  • For long hair, 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 inch curling iron is for you.

Curly Hairstyle You Want to Create

Different kinds of curling irons create different hairstyles.


  • For spiral curls, proms and weddings, you can use 3/4 inch curling irons.
  • For both formal and causal styles, choose 1 inch curling iron, the in-between curling iron (3/4 inch and 1-1/4 inch), it depends on the curls you like.
  • To create loose curls/waves, a really casual look, or the beachy curl look, get a 1 1/4 inch curling iron.
  • To make really loose waves for long hair, use a 1 1/2 inch curling iron for the best result.

Temperature Setting

A high-end curling iron has about 30 different temperature settings, some models even allow the user to set the exact temperature.

Usually, thicker hair needs a higher temperature setting than thin hair. But keep in mind that, high temperature will damage your hair.


  • For bleached/fragile/damaged/thin/fine hair, you should choose a curling iron with the temperature setting below 180 degrees.
  • For normal hair, just choose a curling iron with the temperature setting between 180 - 190 degrees.
  • For coarse/thick/ethnic hair, you should choose a curling iron with the temperature setting between 190 - 210 degrees.

Curling Iron Brands

For brands, SEDU, BaByliss, CHI, HAI, Conair, T3, Hot Tools and Wigo are recommended, as their professional reputation. They can give you long lasting and bouncy curls.

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