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How To Choose The Right Curling Iron Size

We’re breaking down the ultimate curling iron size guide for every curl goal. Read on for everything you need to know before you buy.

Choosing the right curling iron is the most important part of achieving your curl goals. Aside from heat protectant and styling products, having the correct curling iron at your disposal can make or break your look. With so many on the market, however, it can be difficult to know which size is right for you. That’s why we’re breaking down the ultimate curling iron size guide.

Whether you want to achieve big bombshell curls or loose waves, keep scrolling to discover which curling iron you need in your styling routine.

Good hair day by @blondegreed.

What are the different sizes of curling irons?

Curling iron sizes range from ⅜ inch barrels to 2-inch barrels.

Good hair day by @diana.bernal.blondes.

How do I know what curling iron size I need?

The right curling iron size for you depends on the style you’re hoping to achieve. When trying to choose a curling iron, keep this in mind: The larger the barrel, the more loose your curl will be. Select a thinner barrel if you want tighter ringlets and a larger barrel for loose curls or waves.

Good hair day by @haircolorkilla.

Is a wand or curling iron better?

Curling wands and curling irons are both essential styling tools. Which one you choose, however, should depend on your experience level. The clamp on a traditional curling iron can take some getting used to for beginners, so a curling wand may be the easier choice.

What are the different types of curling irons?

It’s important to note: While choosing the correct barrel to create the look you desire, you should also pay attention to the type of metal the curling iron is made from. Not all metals are created equal, and some are better for certain hair types. Most high-quality tools are made from either tourmaline, ceramic, and titanium.

Ceramic remains at a stable temperature and is the most gentle for your strands, so it’s best for fine or brittle hair types. If you have dry or damaged hair, opt for tourmaline to boost hair shine and smooth frizz. Thick or coarse hair types will benefit most from titanium since this type of metal reaches the highest heat and can help speed up styling time.

No matter which type of metal you choose, you’ll need to use a heat protectant to avoid damaging your mane. We love Redken’s Oil For All Multi-Benefit Hair Oil Heat Protectant Spray for every hair type. This weightless hair oil protects your strands from heat while helping to seal in moisture and tame frizz.

If you’re already experiencing a bit of hair damage, use a hair treatment like Redken Extreme Play Safe Heat Protection And Damage Repair Hair Treatment. This formula is made with plant protein and tourmaline to reduce damage caused by hot tools while protecting hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Best Curling Iron For Your Curl Goals

Gold ‘N Hot Professional Spring Curling Iron

For Spiral Curls:
Gold ‘N Hot Professional Spring Iron

If you want to achieve the tightest ringlets possible, pick up a curling iron with a ⅜ inch barrel like Gold ‘N Hot’s Professional Spring Iron. Pro tip: This barrel size can also be used to touch up naturally curly hair and enhance the shape of your ringlets. Be sure to use a strong-hold hairspray like L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Extreme Lacquer High Hold Hairspray to ensure your ringlets last throughout the day.

Gold ‘N Hot Professional Spring Iron, $31.99 MSRP

Ghd’s Curve Classic Curl Iron

For Tight Curls:
ghd Curve Classic Curl Iron

1-inch barrel curling irons are not only the most universal for creating various looks, but they also work best for creating tight, bouncy curls. Ghd’s Curve Classic Curl Iron features a 1-inch barrel with advanced ceramic coating for smoother, shinier ringlets.

ghd Curve Classic Curl Iron, $199.00 MSRP

Kristin Ess Soft Bend 2-Inch Curling Iron

For Bombshell Curls:
Kristin Ess Soft Bend 2-Inch Curling Iron

For those who love the look of big, voluminous curls, you’ll need a 2-Inch curling iron like the Kristin Ess Soft Bend 2-Inch Curling Iron. The smooth titanium barrel helps eliminate friction on the hair, prevent creasing, and add shine. If you want even more volume, apply a few spritzes of volumizing hairspray like Matrix Total Results High Amplify Hairspray as you style.

Kristin Ess Soft Bend 2-Inch Curling Iron, $60.00 MSRP

InfinitiPro Rose Gold Titanium 1 ¼ Curling Iron

For Loose Curls Or Waves:
InfinitiPro Rose Gold Titanium 1 ¼ Curling Iron

Whether you want to achieve loose glam curls or beach waves, you’ll want to invest in a 1 ¼ inch iron like Conair InfinitiPro Rose Gold Titanium 1 ¼ Curling Iron. Give your look an extra boost of shine with a hair serum like Pureology Style + Protect Shine Bright Taming Serum.

Conair InfinitiPro Rose Gold Titanium 1 ¼ Curling Iron, $29.99 MSRP

T3 Twirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Barrel Iron

If You Love To Experiment:
T3 Twirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Barrel Iron

If you love switching up your look from day to day, pick up a set with various barrel sizes. We recommend the T3 Twirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Barrel Iron. The set comes with three interchangeable wands so you can create voluminous curls, waves, and more.

T3 Twirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Barrel Iron, $325.00 MSRP

Interested in more expert tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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