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Essential Hair Styling Tools, The Curling Iron

1 inch barrel curling iron

Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Curling Iron

If you need information about the things to look for in a curling iron, then this article is for you. I hadn’t realized how many people have a difficult time using a curling iron until it started coming up again and again in my class Finding the Right Hairstyle for You! Many women have trouble in maneuvering the tool to get a curl with smooth ends and consistent curls.

Does an curling wand call for more dexterity than other hair styling tools? I think it does and that it is a learned skill, after listening to those who just can’t make a iron work. Watch and ask how your hairdresser uses the tool to create a hair style, then you may need to practice, practice, practice.

The many types of curling irons may surprise you…

  • Ceramic
  • Brush
  • Marcel
  • Travel
  • Steam
  • Triple barrel
  • Cordless

 

Ceramic curling irons

The end result using a ceramic hair styling tools is a smoother, less frizzy, shinier look to your hair. Also, it is better on your hair because it leaves more moisture in the hair and heats up more evenly.

 

Brush curling irons

These are the easiest to use. They are both a hair dryer and a curling iron in one device. Some are plastic or bristle brushes around the barrel for ease of use. The key is getting the right size barrel for your hair style.

 

Marcel curling irons

The Marcel is mostly used by professionals and also the hardest to master. Rather than the traditional clamp that stays closed, the Marcel handle needs to be tightened and loosened with your fingers as you roll the hair. This is particularly good for creating long spiral curls and for creating lift at the roots.

 

Travel curling irons

Many women wouldn’t be without their travel version of this important styling tool. They are cordless, butane filled irons that work especially well for people who travel and may not have access to electricity. They heat up quickly and are not expensive. You can buy a Braun travel curling iron for $7.00 to $25.00. Some people report having trouble firing them up, however, if they are full enough that usually isn’t a problem. You can buy replacement canisters from the manufacturer.

 

Steam curling irons

Use distilled water in your steam instrument for best results. A steam iron is best for hard to curl hair.

 

Triple barrel curling irons

Three barrels create a wavy result. Reviews are mostly good for the triple barrel iron. Works for all hair types. It may take a little time getting use to maneuvering, but some report liking the long lasting results better than perms.

 

Cordless curling irons

These are also called travel irons. Some cordless styling tools will fit in your purse. They are run by butane and you can buy refills from the manufacturer. A cordless version is good for the traveler as well as those who might like to “touch up” on the go. Cordless irons heat up very quickly.

 

Things to look for in a curling iron:

Barrel size – Your hair should be able to wrap around the barrel at least 2 times.

  • 3/4 inch barrel iron is good for short hair and for creating tendrils
  • 1 inch barrel is good for short to medium length hair styles, good for creating tendrils
  • 1 1/4 inch barrel is the most popular for mid-length and longer hair styles
  • 1 3/4 inch barrel is good for smoothing out waves and tipping ends under or out
  • 2 inch barrel is good for smoothing out waves and giving just a bend to the ends

Temperature control – gives you more control on getting a stronger or softer curl as well as control over burning your hair.

  • Thin and fine hair need less heat to curl than heavy thick hair.

Price – Avoid the low cost manufacturers, but there are good bargains out there.

I would suggest buying the new ceramics but most don’t need to pay top of the line prices for the same results.

Brands – Some of my favorite brands are:

  • Hot Tools
  • BaByliss

The problem I see for those that call themselves,”styling impaired,” is when they can’t wield a curling iron, they may give up easily on trying other methods of hair styling, and think they can only handle a hair style that is wash and wear. If you find the tool just isn’t doing the job for you, don’t give up. Take a look at some other methods of styling your hair. See my other posts on essential hair styling tools.

 

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3 Comments »

  1. I LOVE my triple barrel iron! and the first answer is yes – it’s like a big crimper. You place a section of hair in it for 5-10 seconds and release and slide the iron so that the barrel that is closest to your head is now in the spot where the barrel farthest away is. You have to interlock the waves as you go using part of the wave from the previous clamping to build the next wave – just like using a traditional crimper. It only makes waves/texture in your hair and will not give you spirally curls like a traditional iron. Just keep playing or go on YouTube and look around for some videos show you how it works – that’s how I learned!

    Comment by eclectic lauren — July 21, 2007 @ 1:45 am

  2. i love using hair gadgets but i cannot understand how to work the professional triple barrel curling iron? i need help please!!!!!

    Comment by shpresa — April 12, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

  3. Hopefully, this question is not stupid…but, …with a triple barrel curling iron, do you still wrap the hair around the barrels, or do you just “crimp” a section and move down the shaft of hair.

    thanks,
    Joyce Barnts

    Comment by joyce — March 14, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

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