Updated: June 5, 2015
Curling Iron Reviews:Curling irons have been around a long time, perhaps their most popular time period was in the late 1970's into the 80's when women were creating waves and curls in their hair. Flat irons have taken over in popularity, but curling irons still have their uses. Hair salons still use curling irons to style hair for women and they can be quite useful for certain "looks" that women are trying to achieve. Curling irons range in price from around $20 all the way up to $100 and as you can imagine there is a wide range of features between the low end models and the professional curling irons that stylists use. Most peoples hair can be quite delicate and if not treated properly, you can experience splitting, drying, and other significant damage due to curling irons. For those of you that plan on using a curling iron on a regular basis, the more expensive (high end) models are the way to go - those with ceramic barrels and features designed to protect your hair from getting damaged. Keep in mind that curling irons aren't just for women with straight hair, many curly haired women use them for styling purposes.
The main thing to consider when buying a curling iron is what type of material the "barrel" is made out of. The barrel coating on a curling iron determines price and quality in many instances. The barrel coating will also have an influence on how fast the curling iron heats up and if it might burn your hair. The cheapest curling irons have barrels made from chrome and are recommended only for those curling their hair periodically. Gold barrels are slightly better than chrome ones and you will find that they heat more evenly. Some salons carry velvet barrels (rarely seen in stores) since they help protect hair from snagging and heat. Teflon covered barrels can be found in stores and are similar to the velvet type. The most popular ones are made with ceramic barrels and the ceramic coating has tourmaline (negative ion) technology which produces even heat and a smooth finish. They also work much faster than the infrared technology found in the gold and chrome coated irons. Ceramic curling irons are less damaging than the other types and most hair experts say anyone with frizzy, colored, or dry hair should use this type. Other features on curling irons include things like barrel size, swivel cords, adjustable heat settings, automatic shut off, dual voltage, indicator lights, and brushes. The barrel size determines the size of the curl produced - hence small barrels produce tighter, smaller curls and larger barrels make waves in your hair. Owning 3 different curling irons with various barrel sizes is a common practice amongst women. Make sure the curling iron has an adjustable heat setting so that you don't damage your hair. The general rule of thumb is that anyone with thinner hair should less heat while those with thick hair will require a higher heat setting to hold a curl. Look for a model with an indicator light so you know when the curling iron has heated up to the right heat level. A good safety feature is a curling iron with a grip tip on the end. This allows you to use your other hand to steady the curling iron while you curl your hair and not burn your fingers/hand. A tangled cord is always a problem, but a swivel cord will allow for freedom of movement without the tangling. Automatic shut-off features are critical so that the unit will shut down even if you forget to do it. If you are going to be traveling, sometimes having a cordless curling iron is a benefit, although they are not as readily available as you might think. Travelers going overseas, especially to European countries where the voltages are different, should look into a dual voltage curling iron that will function at 120 or 240 volts. The top brands include CHI, Babyliss, T3, Hot Tools, Braun, Jilbere, Revlon, Wigo, Enzo Milano, and Remington. The new ceramic digital curling irons are the most expensive ones we could find. In our search for curling iron reviews, we found the best ones online at Folica.com with dozens of owner comments posted to the website with positive and negative feedback. Certainly the most expensive curling irons didn't always score the best and the cheap models weren't always the worst in terms of ratings. Folica.com allows you to compare all the curling irons for features and customer opinions. We did not find any current articles from Consumer Reports on curling irons, although we will update this article when they publish any reports. Totalbeauty.com also lists customer reviews on their products from Conair and Vidal Sassoon which are informative. Ying Chu, the beauty director of Marie Claire recommends trying the T3 Bespoke Labs Medium Duality Iron, Infiniti by Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, or the CHI Turbo Professional Ceramic Curling Iron. About.com has some excellent reviews from their online guide, although sometimes their product selection isn't always up to date. You can browse the top selling curling irons online here.