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 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.
A two-inch ceramic barrel creates soft, bouncy curls.
An easy-to-use option that also happens to look incredibly good on your vanity.
"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."
This wand also opens up into a waver that has V-shaped plates.
This oval wand maintains a constant temperature of 365ºF.
A budget-friendly ceramic option.
"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.
This iron features a rotating clamp and ionic technology (which helps smooth hair).
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.
The super-long barrel of this iron makes it ideal for long 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.
Like Hawkins says, the rectangle barrel may seem strange at first—but it works like magic.
An ultra-affordable, highly rated option.