How to Use a Tapered Barrel Curling Iron

How to Use a Tapered Barrel Curling Iron

How to Use a Tapered Barrel Curling Iron


At first glance, a tapered barrel curling iron – sometimes called a curling wand — can resemble a medieval torture device, and you might be wondering how this strange contraption can hold your hair in place. But the clipless structure of this novel curling iron is one of its biggest strengths. With a clip the heat is distributed unevenly over your hair, and this can quickly give rise to frizz, flyaways and damage. Even worse, you may be left with the dreaded clip bump – a dent at the top of your curl that can leave your mane looking more disheveled than luscious. Like any new product, though, a tapered barrel curling iron requires a bit of finesse, but once you master this styling tool, you’ll never look back!


Choosing Your Iron

Just like traditional curling irons, tapered curling irons with a smaller diameter will produce tighter ringlets, while larger curling wands will yield boundless volume. But because the iron is tapered, you can still get a couple of different looks. If you like a little variety, choose an iron that tapers rather dramatically, so that you can get both tight and loose curls. Read up on product safety ratings and check online reviews to ensure the iron you’ve chosen doesn’t overheat or excessively damage the hair.


Protecting Your Hair

Tapered curling irons can spice up your style, but they’re not miracle products. The heat can still damage your hair. Spray a thermal protectant on your hair before using the iron, and give the product five to 10 minutes to dry. Don’t try to curl wet hair, because this can cause burning, and avoid overusing gel and hairspray before you curl. These products can interact with the curling iron’s heat to singe your hair.


Basic Technique

As with any hair curling product, divide your hair into sections and use clips to keep the sections separate from one another. Smaller sections will help you score tight little ringlets, while larger sections equal bouncy volume.

With a traditional curling iron, you wrap the ends of your hair around the barrel first, but with a tapered curling iron, start at the roots or at the highest portion of your hair you want to curl. Begin wrapping your hair at the base of the iron, then work your way up to the iron’s tip. Ensure you’re wrapping your hair around the iron rather than around a section of hair that’s already on the iron, because wrapping hair over itself will make the iron work less effectively. Tapered barrel curling irons require a little bit of skill, and if you’re not used to using one, you could end up burning yourself. To reduce your risk of a nasty burn, wear heat resistant gloves until you get the hang of things.
Using a Tapered Curling Iron


Spicing It Up

With a tapered curling iron, your creativity is the only limitation placed on your style. If you want more than just basic curls, try some of the following techniques:

  • Craft beachy waves by varying the width of hair sections you place on the iron. Leave the bottom two inches of your hair off of the iron for a perfectly undone ‘do.
  • Try making curls close to your face tighter by using smaller sections or a smaller iron. Then work your way back, creating progressively larger curls, for a lovely natural look.
  • Use your curling iron to boost your hair’s roots by placing your roots over the top of the iron and slowly working your way around your crown. Voila – body without curl!

No matter how much money you have, there’s a great curling iron at every price point, and loads of sites offer cool tutorials for unique hairstyles. So don’t miss this great trend. Start curling!

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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