How to Buy a Curling Iron

Buying A Curling Iron

Buying A Curling Iron


A Curling Iron is a must have tool in any woman’s beauty basket, no matter if they have short or long hair lengths. By owning a curling iron, you will be able to create volume, bend, curl, waves or add movement to your hair. While it can be a easy and quick styling option, by knowing how to use it correctly, you can maximize your results as well as avoid causing damage to your hair.

When looking to purchase a curling iron make sure that you know the difference between the three different clamp types: Marcel, Spring and Clipless Wand. I recommend that you purchase a spring loaded or clipless wand, because these two styles are easiest to master. The Marcel Iron, is designed for quick styling for salon professionals and will be hard for a non professional to operate.

Important Curling Iron Features


Heat-Up Speed

Curling Irons that get to temp fast are nice because it helps you to get ready quickly. Look for one with an indicator light which will display when the iron reaches temp.

Temperature Range

Choose a curling iron that offers variable heat settings. This way apply the optimum temperature for your hair type and texture. By using the wrong heat setting, two things can happen. If you use a setting that is too low your hair won’t take and hold the the curls. Too high and you can severely damage your hair.  Always start out on a lower setting and work your way up.

  • For Fine Hair:  Use a lower setting under 280 degrees.
  • Normal Hair:  Stay around 280 – 300ish. Only adjust the temp, if your hair is not taking the curl.
  • Course, Thick, Resistant Hair:  Your hair can handle high temps, from 350 – 450 degrees.
  • Note: If the iron has a dial temperature control that goes from 1 -28, use the same guide lines. For example, fine hair 1 – 10, Normal 10- 20, course 20 – 28.


Barrel Size

The barrel size will determine the outcome of your curl.  A smaller barrel size will give you a tighter curl where a bigger barrel size will give you larger curl or wave. But remember, the length of your hair will greatly determine the type of curl you achieve.

Short Hair

  • Small Curls:   1/4″ to 3/4″
  • Loose Curls or Waves:   1? to 1-1/2?


Medium to Long Hair

  • Small Curls:  3/4? to 1-1/2?
  • Loose Curls or Waves:  1-1/2? to 3?


Barrel Material

There are many technologies to choose from: Ceramic, Porcelain, Tourmaline, Titanium and Metal Plated. Ceramic, Porcelain, Tourmaline and Titanium are all great choices because they help reduce heat damage by utilizing a gentle, less intense heat called far-infrared. Be careful when using metal plated and only purchase a high quality model. Metal Plated irons get very hot and can cause thermal damage easily.


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I love everything beauty, personal care and fashion! I'm the editor of, and have been a professional cosmetologist for over 12 years.

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