Behold: The Best Curling Irons for Every Hair Type

Lea Michele

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I have naturally stick-straight hair, but, since you always want what you can't have, I never wear it that way. I always have some kind of curl or wave in my hair. Obviously, a curling iron is an integral part of my beauty routine. A curling iron has been with me through all my major beauty moments, all the way back to high school dances where I sported the overly curled hairstyle that dominated formals in the early aughts. But though my love affair with curling irons has remained the same, the size of my barrel never has. That's because I would buy whatever had good reviews when I needed a new iron. But, turns out, you get the best results if you pick an iron that's best for your hair type. (Shocking, I know.)

We spoke to Clayton Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist (his clients include Elizabeth Banks and Elizabeth Olsen) to get his advice. Here, the best curling irons for every hair type. 

Straight Hair

"Straight hair tends to be limp or flat, so it's important to get as much volume as possible when styling," Hawkins says. He recommends a large-barrel curling iron—two-inch if you can find one—to create wave, bounce, and shine.

For added volume at the crown of your head, coat a paddle brush with dry shampoo and then brush it through your hair at the crown.

"I'm obsessed with Dove Refresh + Care Unscented Dry Shampoo ($5) because the starches in the product coat each strand and build tons of height," he says. 

Hot Tools 2" Ceramic Tourmaline Curling Iron / Wand $38

A two-inch ceramic barrel creates soft, bouncy curls. 

T3 Bodywaver $149

An easy-to-use option that also happens to look incredibly good on your vanity. 

Wavy Hair

"Wavy hair tends to be the easiest to style because you can get it straight with minimal effort or add even more curl for a sultry look," Hawkins says. He likes to use a large barrel wand, like 1.75-inch size, on wavy hair. "Simply wrap your hair around the wand going away from your face for that perfect tousled look! Product-wise, a good shine spray or serum is perfect to rake through your mid-shaft to ends."

Pentacle Deep Waver and Curling Wand
NuMe Pentacle Deep Waver and Curling Wand $99

This wand also opens up into a waver that has V-shaped plates. 

Curve Classic Wave Wand
GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand $199

This oval wand maintains a constant temperature of 365ºF. 

Tigi Bed Head Curlipops Ceramic 1.25" Wand $28

A budget-friendly ceramic option. 

Curly Hair

"When it comes to curly hair, I say lean in to the texture," he says. "Invest in a quality one-inch curling iron for everyday use." He recommends curling your hair in different directions for an effortless look.  

The 3-Day Bender 1" Barrel Digital Curling Iron
Drybar The 3-Day Bender 1" Barrel Digital Curling Iron $145

This iron features a rotating clamp and ionic technology (which helps smooth hair). 

Curve 1" Classic Curl Iron
Harry Josh Pro Tools 2-in-1 Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron 1 Inch $175

This iron is a tad tricky to get the hang of (as are all marcel curling irons), but once you do, it really can't be beat. 

Long Barrel Styler Pro Curling Iron 1"
Bio Ionic Long Barrel Styler Pro Curling Iron 1" $140

The super-long barrel of this iron makes it ideal for long hair. 

Coiled Hair

"It's important to get as much moisture in this type of hair, so apply a generous amount of moisturizing cream like Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Cream Serum ($6) to damp hair and let it air-dry," he says. He recommends using a rectangular curling iron to define your coils. "Coils tend to be more rectangular than circular, so while this iron might look strange when you buy it, it will work wonders!" 

You can also try a curling iron with a half-inch barrel to help define your coils. 

Remington CI96Z1 Silk Ceramic Elliptical Waving Wand, 1-Inch $24

Like Hawkins says, the rectangle barrel may seem strange at first—but it works like magic. 

Conair Instant Heat 1/2" Curling Iron $11

An ultra-affordable, highly rated option. 

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