Updated: November 2017

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.
curling iron

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.

Best Curling Iron:

The top rated curling iron on Folica.com as rated by actual users is the Wigo Digital Ceramic Curling Iron ($50) and comes in barrel sizes of 3/4" and 1 1/2 inches. You get 12 heat settings so all users are happy, a 50-second heat up time, an 8 foot tangle proof swivel cord, and a flat screen digital display readout. The Wigo features 100 watts of power and the ceramic barrel won't damage your hair. Customer feedback includes comments like "would buy again", "curls hair in minutes", and "perfect curling iron". Almost all reviews point to consistent results with the Wigo curling iron which make it the best buy in this category. There may be a few comparable models offered by T3, but the price difference compared to performance sets the Wigo apart. You can find it online at Folica.com and other beauty stores. BEST - See the most popular curling irons online here.

Professional Curling Iron:

The CHI Turbo Professional Ceramic Curling Iron ($110 to $150) is considered a high end curling iron that gets great reviews on almost all websites we found. It came highly recommend from beauty experts like Ying Chu of Marie Claire and the results are consistent across all users with this product. You get quick heating to adjustable levels and the ability to create waves or curls for any look. The product comes in 1/2", 1", and 1 1/2" sizes. Available in most cosmetics and hair departments of department stores or online at Amazon.com, Folica.com, or Sleekhair.com. RECOMMENDED - Check out the CHI Ceramic 1" Auto Digital Turbo Spring Curling Iron with digital technology, an ergonomic design, and flash quick heating. The ability to get curls and waves is what sets the CHI curling irons apart from the others.

Budget Curling Iron:

The Infiniti by Conair CD106 Professional Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron ($25) is a well recognized product line that receives praise from many owners as posted online. Top stylist recommend this Conair curling iron and the price can't be beat for the occasional user. The Infiniti will heat evenly, not damage hair, and eliminate frizz. The tourmaline technology will protect your hair from damage. Other features include a 30 second instant heat, auto shut off, LED temperature settings, 9 foot professional swivel line cord, and a 5 year limited warranty. You can find it online at the Conair website HERE. RECOMMENDED - The Hot Tools Curling Iron Springgrip 1 1/2 on Amazon is a consistent top seller with 85 watts of power and Pulse Technology. The Rheostat heat controls are what owners like the best allowing you to pick the heat setting. You will get plenty of life from the heavy duty heating element on the Hot Tools curling iron.

How To Use a Curling Iron:

Much like putting on makeup, it's take a little practice when using a curling iron properly and safely. The barrel will heat up to some pretty hot temperatures, so you want to know what you are doing before you jump right in. There are 2 sites we found that really give excellent instructions on how to curl your hair. If you prefer written directions, then go to a buying guide on MSN with step by step instructions that you can follow. For those of us that like to see with our own eyes how to do it, we suggest the Wikihow website HERE where you can watch a video of a women showing you how to curl your hair. You get tips, warnings, and things you'll need to curl your hair at your house. It's not that difficult as millions of women own these products, but you will need to experiment a bit before you get the process down perfect.