Quick Buyer’s Guide: Curling Iron
Curling irons would never go out of style. They can transform a straight, limp hair to a head full of curls or give a Victoria’s Secret angel kind of volume. Most women own more than one curling iron depending on the feature and barrel size. Here we explore the guidelines on buying a curling iron.
Why buy a Curling Iron?
A curling iron is a tool that heats up to curl hair. It comes with different barrel sizes, manufactured by different brands and a switch that can adjust the heat setting. Because of the tight competition, each manufacturer has made efforts to make their curling irons stand out.
Buying a curling iron
Barrel coating and hair type
Today there are many plate coatings that claim to curl better. On the macro level you might not see immediate change but overtime, those with better coating can lessen the hair damage caused by heat. It is best to choose a curling iron that has a coating and not simply a bare aluminum or titanium plate. A simple metal plate doesn’t distribute heat evenly, meaning there is a part where it’s too hot and there are parts where heat is just adequate or too low. Don’t touch it to check where those parts are.
The popular metal plating for curling irons is titanium. Titanium metal plating curling iron heats up much faster and titanium barrels last much longer than ceramic coated barrels. Compared to ceramic and tourmaline coated curling irons, it is much cheaper and more widely available.
The very basic coating is ceramic. It evenly distributes heat around the plate therefore it does not fry your hair in high heat. Ceramic coated curling iron plates are smooth therefore letting your hair glide more freely. It produces negative ions immediately once it is heated. Healthy hair isn’t just a matter of nutrition. Healthy hair has a negative charge and damaged hair has a positive charge. Damage is caused by chemicals and heated metal hair tools. The positive charge opens up the hair cuticles, making each strand dry and rough to touch. To give you a picture, hair cuticles are like small scales on each hair strand. Damaged hair have lifted or torn hair cuticles. Now, the goal is to neutralize the positive charge in damaged hair or frizz caused by static. This can be done by counteracting it with negative charge. Negative ions from heated ceramic curling iron will close the hair cuticles, locking the moisture in and making each hair strand smooth. Ceramic curling iron also employs infrared technology meaning it allows the heat to penetrate the hair shaft, heating it from within instead of letting the heat work its way from the hair cuticle towards the hair medulla.
A curling iron made out of pure ceramic is rare because ceramic is soft and fragile. Without proper care, pure ceramic will break and crack. The only disadvantage of ceramic coated curling iron is that it can chip and peel overtime. Expensive brands of curling iron use a thicker layer of ceramic coating and can last up to 5 years without chipping or peeling.
Tourmaline coated curling iron is the most recent innovation in hair curling tools. Tourmaline is crushed and infused within the barrel’s ceramic coating. It possesses all the qualities of a ceramic curling iron — negative ions, even heat distribution and infrared. The only difference is that tourmaline-infused ceramic coating amplifies these qualities — it diffuses more negative ions and produces a more powerful infrared technology.
Dry, damaged and brittle hair call for either ceramic or tourmaline coated curling iron. People with thick, coarse and resistive hair would do well with any of the three, although ceramic and tourmaline offer far less long-term hair damage.
Heat setting and barrel size
Make sure it has a heat setting that ranges from low to high. For fine hair, never exceed 300°F. For normal to thick hair, never exceed 400°F. Some parts of your hair would be more damaged than the rest (i.e. the ends). Use the lowest heat setting when curling damaged parts.
Barrel size of curling irons ranges from 3/8 inch to 2 inches. They are available in 3/8, 5/8, 3/4, 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75 and 2 inches. Smaller barrels mean tighter curls.
Wiring, Cooling Tip, Clamp and Safety stand
Look for curling irons with a swivel wiring. That means that the part that connects the curling iron to the wire cable can turn 360°. This will give the user more control when curling and will reduce the stress in the wire cable caused by twisting.
Always check if the curling iron has a cooling tip. A cooling tip is usually a black knob at the end of the barrel that is made out of a heat resistive material. This is what you will hold when curling your hair to keep the curling iron stable or to keep your hair taut.
Next, check the clamp. It should be powerful enough to hold your hair in place. It should be well-built into the barrel without any loose screws. It should spring back to its place when you let go of it.
Lastly, look for a foldable safety stand. This will allow the curling iron to sit on its own without the hot barrel touching the table’s surface. Always let the curling iron cool down first before storing it away.
Curling Iron Weight
Depending on the hair type, the average curling time would take around 20-45 minutes. A good curling iron must be light enough to be held for several minutes. The handle must have a protection or cover that would shield the hand from the hot barrel right next to it.
Not everything goes smooth with some purchases and after a few years your curling iron would need repair. Check the manufacturers’ website and seller’s feedback and make sure the curling iron comes with a warranty.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to check for product ratings online. Most, if not all users blog, review or rate their curling irons. They even post their top 5 favorites. So spend a little time to browse reviews and blogs before committing to buy.