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Buying a Curling Iron

Are Curling Irons Safe for Your Hair?

Because heat dries out hair, excessive styling can cause split ends that make your hair look fried. But you can control the damage by limiting the use of hair straighteners or curling tools, being careful not to leave the tool in one place for too long, keeping your hair hydrated, and using conditioners and heat-protecting sprays. You can also use high-tech hair curling tools with ceramic, infrared, ionic or titanium technology to protect your hair.

Types of Hair Curlers

Two devices used for curling hair are the curling iron and the curler wand. Generally, a curling iron, which clamps hair, creates tighter curls and more polished ringlets. A curling iron can be easier to control but can also crease or kink your hair. Wand curling creates more natural waves and polished ringlets, won't crease your hair, and allows you to get closer to your roots.

Ceramic and tourmaline curling irons maintain a consistent temperature throughout the barrel. They release negative ions to smooth the hair's cuticle, eliminate frizz, and make hair appear smooth and shiny. Titanium barrels, which also have negative ions, are good for coarse, hard to heat, or unmanageable hair. Chrome barrels, though cheaper, can have hair-damaging hot spots.

Curling Iron Considerations

Select the best-sized curling iron for you based on hair length and the desired amount of curl. Generally, the shorter your hair, the smaller the curling iron you should use. Select a curling iron that's the right size for your hand, with a comfort grip, in order to make easily curl or wave your hair, especially if you have a lot of hair. A curling iron or curling wand set with adjustable temperature settings can be changed based on a specific hair type. Set it for 300–340 degrees for normal hair, or as low as 175 degrees for fine, thin hair. Temperatures as high as 400 degrees can damage hair and should be used only by professional stylers.

Types of Styling Wands

Straight barrels, found on typical curling irons, give a uniformed shape to curls, ringlets and coils. Cone shaped wands have a small end that widens to a thicker base (or vice versa) to create precise curls of different sizes. Spiral curling irons have barrels with ridges to guide hair into the large-to-small curls used in S-waves or vintage waves. Pearl barrels provide lustrous curls that look more like natural curly hair, without a defined shape. Double or triple barrels, great for longer hair, group two or three barrels together to create waves instead of curls. In addition, curling brushes, modern hair curlers, and a wide variety of hair dryers are other hair curling tools that can be used with, or instead of, traditional curling irons and wand curlers.