Finding the best curling iron doesn’t just involve separating the good wands from the ones that never get hot enough to curl hair. It’s all about finding the right hair styling tool for the job. If you’ve ever bought a curling iron to create effortless Victoria’s Secret Angel waves but ended up with full, disco queen curls, you know what we mean. To prevent buyer’s remorse, there are a few essential tips to know when selecting the right tool.
From wands to tongs, skinny barrels to fat ones and everything in between, there are many options when it comes to curling irons. One easy thing to remember is that the width of the curling iron or wand directly correlates to the size of the curl. So, the bigger the curling iron, the bigger the curl. Celebrity hairstylist Johnny Lavoy further explains that closed barrel curling irons generally produce tighter, more polished curls, while wands result in more relaxed waves. (But remember, it’s possible to soften any wave with fingers or a comb.)
There are irons with variegated shapes and even twist or bubble attachments, but Honey Artists hairstylist Michael Thomas Lollo finds that the classic straight barrel iron is best. “The straight barrel provides even heat, which [will] help create consistent waves for a more professional result at home that will last much longer.”
It’s also important to remember that even if you buy the right curling iron for the style you’re after, the final look will vary depending on how the hair tool is used. Celebrity hairstylist and Beachwaver founder Sarah Potempa points out that the angle the iron is held and the amount of hair left out will also impact the final curl.
Keep those basics in mind, scroll through some wavy #hairspiration photos, then click through the gallery to see the best curling irons and wands to get each look.