The best curling irons to replace your old one
It’s time for some shopping
Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / February 14 2020
When you’re looking for a curling iron that’ll give you killer texture, opting for any old curl wand just won’t cut it. In this game, size (and shape) *definitely* matters. Having the right barrel can mean a world of difference when you curl hair – smaller barrels will give you tighter curls, large barrels will give you loose waves, while tapered, conical and clamped versions will give you every curly hairstyle in between.
Yep - there’s a hell of a lot to consider when you’re in the market for a new curling tong. But that’s why you have us! No matter what kind you’re looking for, or what type of budget you’re working with, there’s one out there for you. We’ve pulled together a list of recommendations and user reviews to bring you the best curling irons, at a range of different price points.
#9 / DryBar The 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron
This is the only kind of three-day bender you’ll actually feel good about. The innovative DryBar The 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron is a jazzy little device that features a unique rotating barrel, to create perfect curls and waves in half the time. It’s also ionic (read: less frizz, more shine) and has infrared technology to heat hair from the inside out (better for your hair).
The review: “I've had a few hair curlers over the time, and have most recently been using my hair straighter to do the job. But the 3-Day Bender is a game changer! The rotating barrel makes it so much quicker and easier to curl my hair, especially at the back. It really cut down on time, and my arms never got sore like they usually do wrangling a straighten iron around! I was also really surprised by how soft my hair felt. I love the way I can get a loose choppy wave, which I couldn't get with a straightening iron.” Marissa, DryBar customer.
#8 / Remington Keratin and Argan Oil Nourish Curling Wand
Remington Keratin and Argan Oil Nourish Curling Wand has been kicking around for a while and there’s so much to love about it. It’s pretty much everything you’d ever want in a hair curler, and it does an excellent job without breaking the bank. It's a 13mm to 25mm conical curling iron perfect for creating a soft curl or natural waves. On top of that, the ceramic curling iron is infused with keratin and argan oil to help minimise frizz.
The review: “This is a super affordable curling wand that leaves my hair shiny, soft and frizz-free. It has a conical shape with a wider barrel at the base so it's easy to place hair along the wand depending on the size of the curl you're after. The heat settings are variable, it heats up super quick and it comes with a glove to protect your hand.” Priscilla, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Silver Bullet Fastlane 32mm Titanium Curling Iron
The Silver Bullet Fastlane 32mm Titanium Curling Iron wand heats up super-fast and gives you tousled curls or a soft wave in a flash, making the whole hairstyling game a total breeze. It features a large titanium barrel that works to preserve moisture and retain your hair’s natural shine. What's more, a rose gold curling iron just looks so damn glam sitting on your vanity.
The review: “I just purchased this baby and it is amazing. It’s easy to use and the curls came out far cuter than I expected. It’s not a skinny little wand, so gives bigger wavy style hair - and I love it! My hair also holds well.” Tara, Silver Bullet customer
#6 / H2D Ice X5 Professional Curling Wand
If you’re looking for something that does it all, H2D Ice X5 Professional Curling Wand is your guy. With five interchangeable heads, you can literally create any kind of curl. It also features ion technology and has digital temperature control, meaning you won’t fry your hair.
The review: “An editorial hairstylist friend got me onto this goodie a few years ago and I haven’t looked back. It’s super easy to use and I’ve been telling everyone about it since. It also comes with a few different attachments so you’ve got heaps of options for waves or curls.” Isobel Larkin, Digital Content Editor, Beauty Crew, marie claire and InStyle
#5 / VS Sassoon Curl Secret Optimum
While having your hair sucked into a chamber sounds utterly terrifying, the VS Sassoon Curl Secret Optimum is actually super easy to use and offers ultimate flexibility with its intuitive controls. There are six different heat settings, three heat times and three curl directions. It’s the perfect go-to for when you’re running late!
The review: “At first it looked intimidating, however once I read the instructions and watched the how-to video, I felt confident enough to use it. After playing around with the settings, I found my combination to perfect curls. I managed to get the same (if not even better) results than I normally would, and spent less time than usual. What's even better, there’s no accidental scalp burning. Woohoo!” Shezza, VS Sassoon customer.
#4 / Dyson Airwrap
There’s a LOT of hype around the Dyson Airwrap – and it’s totally warranted. This thing is an absolute beast. It comes with six different attachments, including a 30mm barrel for voluminous curls and a 40mm barrel for loose curls or waves. It basically sucks your hair around the barrel using hot air instead of extreme heat, drying and curling hair at the same time.
The review: “A Dyson-made curling iron is everything you’d expect it to be. Absolutely magical. This nifty device uses a combination of air control and minimal heat to give you volume, body and curls, minus the damage. I must admit, it takes a bit of trial-and-error, but once you get the hang of it, there’s no going back. It’s a serious investment, but it’ll literally cut your styling time in half. Plus, your hair will thank you.” Erin Docherty, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#3 / ghd Oracle
While it looks like a straightener from the outside, the ghd Oracle features a unique U-shape design on the inside, which helps you create a wide variety of different curls “with just a slight tilt of the hand”. By simply sliding the styling tool down a section of hair, you can create everything from loose and beachy waves to tighter, more uniformed curls. Our editor put it to the test and loved the results.
The review: “This innovative device allows you to create curls and waves by gliding your hair between its unique U-shaped hot plates instead of having to twist your hair around a rod. It takes a bit of patience and practice, but is well worth the effort when you are able to create attractive curls that last until the next wash. There are different techniques for different styles, from tight curls to different waves so there is plenty of potential for creativity. The device heats up in 30 seconds, isn't too heavy and there is no risk of burning yourself. Most importantly, it is FUN!” Fiona, SUPERcrew member
#2 / Cloud Nine Curling Wand
Cloud Nine Curling Wand is a super versatile styler that can be used to create everything from carefree beachy waves to perfect curls. It has a mineral-infused 25mm barrel wand and features a handy swivel cord, making curling your hair easy as pie.
The reviews: “This clamp-free, even-barrelled wand is completely unfussy. It can create rough bends and texture or defined, bouncy curls and I love that it has a temperature setting so I don’t fry my ends.” Bettina, InStyle’s Beauty Editor
“It is an amazing wand that not only curls the hair with absolute ease and precision, but also maintains healthier hair in the long term as well.” Rebecca, SUPERcrew member
#1 / ghd Curve Classic Wave Wand
True story: You can never go wrong with a ghd hair tool. We guarantee you’ll find one in every hairstylists’ kit. And judging from the reviews, the ghd Curve Classic Wave Wand is a must-have hot tool for curling hair. It boasts a tapered 38mm to 26mm oval shaped barrel, allowing you to create classic deep, voluminous curls with movement. Dreamy.
The reviews: “For really nice undone texture, you can’t go past this ovular wand from ghd. My secret trick is to curl my hair with the tool the night before, twist each curl into a small bun and hold them in place with a bobby pin until it cools, then take the bobby pins out when your hair is cold to touch. Then, the next morning, brush your hair out with a paddle brush. Et voila – large waves that look really pretty without looking OTT.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
“I prefer more of a wave than a perfect curl when I’m adding texture to my hair, so I find the shape of this barrel perfect for giving me those soft bends without too much coil. Once I’m done and cooled down, I comb through with my fingers and spray with a dry texturiser and it’s an excellent recipe for ‘undone’ waves.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
Looking for more of the best hot tools on the market? Check out these hair dryers we *actually* use, and our advice on what to look out for if you're in the market for a new hair straightener.
What’s your go-to curling iron? Share with us in the comment section below.
Main image credit: Getty
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.