Our Picks: The Best Curling Iron for Fine Hair

By: | Last Updated: May 21, 2019

Curly hair is like icing on top of a cake. If you know how to achieve those romantic waves, tousled tresses, or pretty ringlets, you can spice up any look that you have. Whether there’s a special occasion that you need to prepare for or you just want to change things up a bit, curls are the way to go. After all, why keep your hair straight, stiff, and boring if it can look like it’s styled every day?

When you have really fine straight hair, however, it’s often hard to find the right styling tool to achieve those beautiful curls. In fact, a lot of people with fine hair complain that with the type of hair that they have, most styling tools can’t even seem to hold a curl. But while fine hair is a little difficult to curl, it’s actually not impossible to do so. All you need is the right kind of curling iron, and once you have the right tool, you’ll have the tousled waves that you want.

The good news is, the best curling iron for hard to curl hair is not that hard to find. You just need to know what kind of features to look for, because not all curling irons are made the same way.

How to Shop for the Curling Iron That Works Best For Fine Hair

So how exactly does one look for the best curling iron for fine hair? First, you need to remember that fine hair is very delicate and thin. All curling irons have heat settings, but these settings differ from one brand to another. While it’s easy to ignore this, what people fail to realize is that heat is a very important part of the curling process. For fine hair, you need to ensure that the curling iron you get has a low heat setting that won’t ruin your hair.

1 – Heat

You must also look at the heating technology that the curling iron has. Does it have an instant heat-up and recovery feature? You want a curling iron that can heat up pretty fast, because if it takes too long, your fine hair will get damaged faster. Heat damage is something that you need to take into consideration, especially when you’re choosing your curling iron.

2 – Barrel Size

Another thing you need to look at is the diameter of your curling iron or the size of the barrel. The barrel size differs from one curling iron to another, and this will affect the way the curls will set. With fine hair you need to use the curling iron for the shortest possible time, so you need to make sure you can wrap your hair in the entire diameter of the barrel.

3 – Material & Quality

The quality of the barrel itself is something that you should also look at. Fine hair is often smooth and silky, so it tends to slip away from the curling iron easily. This is one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to style. You need to ensure that the curling iron you get can hold your hair and that it won’t easily slip away.

Our Top Picks: 5 Best Curling Irons for Fine Hair

Now that you know what to look for when finding the best curling iron for thin hair, styling will be easier for you. When picking, you need to look at the product quality and features, but you also need to look at what others are saying. What are the pros and cons of the product from the perspective of those who are already using it? Based on all of these considerations, below are some of the best curling irons that you can choose from:

1. Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Curling Iron

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

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This Babyliss model has a nano titanium barrel (available in different sizes, ranging from 3/4″ up to 1 1/2″) that can instantly heat up to a temperature of 450 degrees. Its sol-gel technology and advanced surround heat will suit your styling needs, and it only weighs 13.6 ounces. With dimensions of 14 x 1.5 x 3.2 inches, this curling iron is ideal for your fine hair no matter what length it is.

What Makes It Work Well for Fine Hair

The best part about the Babyliss is that there are many settings to choose from, making it ideal for fine hair. There are also different barrel sizes available, so this curling iron will work no matter what type of curl you want for your hair. The barrel size is also silky smooth, so it won’t snag on your hair cuticle. The tip is textured and tapered, so it’s easy to grip and you can easily remove the barrel from the curl when you’re done styling.

What Users are Saying:

Users love the fact that this curling iron is ergonomically designed, so it’s quite easy to use. The handle is also long enough to prevent you from straining yourself when you’re styling your hair. One con that users have mentioned is that the tip tends to get too hot, so you just need to be extra careful. Another downside is that the barrel is too short for those who have long hair. So if you have really long locks (waist level & below), it’s better to choose another model.

2. Infiniti Pro by Conair Ceramic Curling Iron

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron

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Available in 5 different barrel sizes from 1/2″ to 1 1/2″, this curling iron from Infiniti Pro by Conair has a powerful ceramic heater that can reach very high temperatures (up to 395 degrees Fahrenheit) in as fast as 30 seconds. Even with this very high temperature, this curling iron has a protective heat shield to ensure that you can store it safely and easily.

What Makes It Good for Fine Hair

This stands out from the usual curling iron because of its tourmaline technology that can emit natural ions. This eliminates the frizz and protects your hair’s natural luster. This technology also protects hair against damage, and this is very important for fine hair, which is quite prone to it. You get uniform heat recovery with an auto shut-off feature. You can also monitor LED temperature settings easily.

Pros and Cons

Those who have tried this curling iron have many positive things to say about it. It’s designed with the users in mind, and they do love the tangle-free cord that makes styling easy. Even those with hard-to-style hair find this curling iron really effective, with curls that last long. The price is another big advantage because this curling iron is relatively inexpensive when you compare it to others in its caliber. While user experience is generally positive, some have just remarked that the placement of the on/off switch could be improved.

3. Xtava Satin Wave 5-in-1 Curler

Xtava Satin Wave 5 in 1 Curling Iron Set

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If styling flexibility is what you’re really after, this curler by Xtava is most likely what you need, because you’ll get 5 interchangeable tourmaline barrels. This means you get a choice of a clip and clipless, as well as sizes ranging from 0.3 to 1.25 inch. Whether you want beachy waves, tight ringlets, or everything else in between, you can have it all. So even if you only have this curling iron, it’s like having five curlers in one.

What Makes It Work Well for Fine Hair

This curler is perfect for fine hair because of the rapid heat technology that makes it heat up to a preset temperature of 410 degrees, in just a few seconds. The tourmaline heating also helps seal in the moisture, prevent heat damage, and decrease the frizz. Two of the five barrel options are perfect for fine hair because they’re in wand design.

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Different curls made by the interchangeable barrels of the Xtava Satin Wave

What Users are Saying:

Users are happy because this curling iron is actually quite ideal for travel, given that it has a universal dual voltage as well as a storage bag that’s easy to carry and resistant to heat. The 8-ft. 360-degree swivel cord also makes it easy to handle. The only con is that with the clip style, it doesn’t have a cool touch tip and you might burn yourself if you’re not careful.

4. Hot Tools Professional Curling Iron

Hot Tools Professional Spring Curling Iron

This 85-watt professional curling iron comes with a patented pulse technology and variable heat settings that go up to as high as 430 degrees. It has a heavy-duty long-life heating capability, so you get a curling iron that gets hot fast and stays that way for as long as you need it to be heated. With its 8-ft swivel cord, styling is made easier and you don’t have to worry about tangles. There’s also a foldaway safety stand that you can use.

What Makes It Great for Fine Hair

This curling iron has three different heat settings, so it works for fine, regular, and thick hair. This gives you flexibility, but it also ensures that even if you have fine delicate hair, this curling iron will do wonders for you. The built-in rheostat control gives you uniform heat but it also ensures that with its ultra fast heat-up, your fine hair won’t get damaged and you get the curls you want instantly.

Pros and Cons

The soft-grip textured handle makes it easy to use, and this is one of the pros that users are quite happy about. They’re also happy that it heats up pretty quickly and can produce long-lasting curls that keep hair perfect all day long. One drawback, however, is that it doesn’t have an automatic shut-off feature, so this means that you’ll have to be extra careful in ensuring that you really unplug it before you leave.

5. Amika 5P Titanium Interchangeable Curler

Amika 5P Titanium Interchangeable Curler

Amika gives you 5 clip-free barrels that can create curls in various sizes and styles. With just one snap, you can use any of the lightweight titanium barrels interchangeably. The sizes you get are the 13mm root lifter, 19, 25, 25-18, and 32mm. So whether you have short, medium-length, or long hair, Amika’s curler is good for you.

What Makes It Work Well for Fine Hair

The digital display allows you to control and monitor the temperature with precision. With fine hair, this is critical because you need to maintain a low heat setting and keep the temperature precise. Consistency is important for you to get the results that you want, and one more thing is that when you use this curling iron, you get far infrared heat that has a longer wavelength. This means that you heat your hair from inside out.

What Users are Saying:

Users who have already tried this out are very satisfied with its performance. Even for those with very thin hair, there’s no problem at all with frizz. The curling iron is able to produce curly and silky hair, and it also gets hot pretty quickly. The only con with this curling iron is that it’s a little pricey compared to the others.

How to curl fine hair and make it stay

Once you have the right curling iron for your fine hair, you can use it to achieve your desired curls and waves. The problem though is that even if you are able to curl it successfully at the beginning, the curls may not stay as long.

If you don’t know how to use the curling iron properly, the curls may not remain, and this is especially true for fine hair. The delicate quality of your hair and the thinness of the strand makes it extra hard for the curls to hold. This means it’s not just about finding the right tool, but also knowing how to curl fine hair and make it stay.

Another problem is that it’s quite easy to get fine frizzy hair. Frizz is a problem you always have to contend with especially when your hair is thin and delicate.

7 Tips On How To Keep Curls In

To prevent these things from happening and to ensure that your curls last, you need to take note of these tips:

1. Use the proper styling products.

If you’re worried about how to curl thin hair to make it look thicker, the curling process itself will already add some volume to your look. With really fine and thin strands the problem is usually your hair will look limp and stiff, but you can solve this by using the right styling products. You need to go for the trusted brands, and you can also go for the options that add extra volume and hold.

The proper products are important during the prep period because it sets your hair up for curling. But aside from these prep products, you should also make sure that once the curls are done, you should finish off with some texturizing spray.

2. Prep your hair properly.

When it comes to styling, preparation is always half of the battle. No matter how good your curling iron is, it doesn’t really matter much if you haven’t prepared your hair properly. The right prep products will ensure that the curl lasts long.

First, the curl will hold better if you use day-old hair, so it’s better if you don’t wet it on the day you plan to curl your hair. You could also use some volumizing dry shampoo to help your preps. If you’re pressed for time, however, you can use volumizing shampoo and conditioner.

Just be wary that you shouldn’t use too much conditioner because sometimes curls actually hold better when you lay off the conditioner. To give your hair extra texture as well as grip, you can also use a curl-boosting spritz for your damp strands before roughly drying it with your hands.

You can also prep with volumizing mousse, saturating either dry or damp hair starting from the roots all the way to the ends. Of course, you should also make sure that you use a heat-protectant spray to keep your hair away from damage. There are heat protectant sprays that can protect your hair from the damaging heat but also give it extra hold.

3. Use the right curling iron.

If you want your hair to hold a curl, you should, of course, pay attention to the curling iron that you’re using to style it. Make sure that you have the right barrel size that suits your hair. If you go for a bigger barrel size, this will result in waves that are bigger and they also tend to be a bit loose, which means it will straighten up faster as well.

If you want your curl to last the entire day, then perhaps a smaller barrel size would do the magic better. Smaller ringlets tend to last longer because yes they will loosen up as the day progresses but at least even if it’s already later in the day the curls are still guaranteed to be there.

4. Divide your hair into smaller sections.

When using the curling iron, you can’t just apply it to the entire length of your hair randomly. For the curls to hold, you need to make sure that the curling is properly done, and this begins by dividing the hair into smaller sections. This may seem like a natural thing to do when your hair is thick, but even when your hair is extra fine and thin, you still need to work on the sections separately.

You can use some clips to separate your hair, then curl the sections one at a time. By dividing your hair into smaller sections, the heat from the curling iron will be applied evenly, and this helps in ensuring that the curls last longer.

5. Pay attention to temperature.

If you have really thin hair, you need to make sure that you use the right heat setting so as not to damage it. If your heat setting is too high, you might damage your strands, and this is something you don’t want to happen. The curls will hold if you pick just the right temperature, which is around 300 for fine hair. If you have a curling iron wherein you have a digital display that can set the heat to a precise temperature and keep it this way all throughout, then this could be quite beneficial.

But even if you have a curling iron that just has three pre-set temperatures, just make sure that you choose the lowest setting for curling your fine hair. The important thing is that you should have the right heat setting and you should endeavor for an even heat distribution in order for the curls to be styled properly.

6. Allow enough time for the curls to set.

Not giving your curls enough time to set is another reason why they don’t last long. Every time you twirl the smaller sections of your hair using the curling iron, you need to pin it and allow enough time for the curls to set before touching it.

Basically, while your curls are still hot, you should use your fingers to clip each coil of curl onto your head using a metal prong. While the curls are clipped onto your head, you need to blast it with hairspray. Use the strong-hold version, and allow it to sit until it cools completely.

Once the curls cool completely, you can then take it down one at a time, but touch it as little as possible. Just allow the curls to settle down because it will eventually fall due to gravity.

7. Take care of your hair.

When your hair is naturally straight, it will always want to be straight again no matter how much styling you do to it. This is why we use curling irons and styling products, and as much as possible of course we want our hair to follow. However, there are times when hair is already too damaged and it doesn’t hold a curl no matter what you do.

You must remember that it’s easier to style healthy hair, and you need to take care of your hair even during the days when you’re not styling it to be curly. Maintain the health of your hair by taking of it properly. As much as possible, don’t apply too much heat to it on normal days. Also, you’ll be surprised to find that it will be much easier to style when you need it to hold a curl.

1 thought on “Our Picks: The Best Curling Iron for Fine Hair”

  1. FYI – The Conair package says it goes up to 440 degrees, but it truly barely gets hot enough to curl my fine hair. It also doesn’t recover very quickly, in spite of the “quick heat up” feature. Actually, sometimes I get better heat mid-style by turning it off and on again… otherwise it just doesn’t recover well. This one is a disappointment.


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