Gone are the days of long, hard-to-manage tresses that take so much effort to maintain. Having short hair can make you look younger but it can also give you some challenges, especially when you want to curl it.
When you have short hair, you have so little to work with so you need to have the right kinds of tools. The good news is that it’s not an impossible feat to make short hair look amazing. Just because your hair is short doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to your dreams of whimsical curls and beachy waves.
This post contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
With a great curling iron, you can make your short hair look as stylish as you want. If you’re looking for the best waving iron for short hair, one of the most important things you should look at is the barrel size. For instance, you can’t have a jumbo-sized barrel if you’re looking for a curling iron for a pixie cut. Pick the smaller barrel sizes because you’d want to distribute the heat evenly. You should also look at the temperature controls and how fast the curling iron heats up. Additionally, look at how it is designed and whether it’s easy to use or not.
There are literally hundreds of curlers to choose from but we've narrowed it down for you. Here are some really good curling irons for short hair that you can take your pick from:
With a nano-titanium barrel and sol-gel technology, this Babyliss curling iron is a tool that can give you smooth and shiny curls. It is designed to give off advanced surround heat, and this makes it the ultimate styling tool that you can use to achieve the curls that you want. The barrel is also silky smooth so you don’t have to worry about hair snagging.
What Makes It Work Well for Short Hair
This Babyliss curling iron is perfect for short hair because it has the ability to produce turbo heat boost temperature. This means it can instantly heat up to as high as 450 degrees, and because of the nano-titanium technology it has the ability to maintain stable and ultra-high temperature the entire time you’re using it. It also has a barrel that’s 3/4” (0.75 inches) in diameter, a perfect size for short hair because it means you can wrap the entire length of your hair around the barrel.
What Users are Saying:
Those who have already tried out this Babyliss iron are quite satisfied with its performance. They love the fact that it can curl hair without damaging it because the heat seems to penetrate from within. Many of the positive user comments also mention the fact that this iron can produce extra-smooth and manageable curls. One downside that some people mention is the placement of the on/off switch and this makes it prone to accidentally turning it off.
This curling iron has a gold surface, and this gives it the ability to distribute heat evenly and produce curls without the frizz. You also get four heat settings that you can customize based on your hair type: fragile (280 degrees), normal (330 degrees), wavy (380 degrees), and thick (430 degrees).
This mini curling iron can give you salon-type curls that are perfect for short hair, and this is largely due to the small size of the barrel. The ½-inch diameter gives you the ability to produce small and tight curls so this works even if your hair is really short. It also comes with pulse technology, so it gets hot really fast and stays hot when you need it to.
Pros and Cons
Those who have used this mini salon curling iron before are quite happy with its performance and the way it’s designed, with an extra long soft-grip handle and 8-ft swivel cord. While it has a safety stand, you just need to be really careful because it can get really hot really fast and that could be something you need to watch out for especially if you’re the accident-prone type.
This instant curling iron from Conair comes with 25 temperature controls, making it versatile enough for all hair types. Whether you have thin or thick hair, you can use this as long as you pick the appropriate heat setting. The instant heat feature also means that the curling iron reaches the desired temperature in as fast as 60 seconds.
One of the most important features that sets this curling iron apart from the rest is its ergonomic design that contributes to overall ease of use. First, you get electronic on/off touchpad as well as an auto shut-off function. To add to this, the barrel size is also perfect for short hair, because the ½ to ¾ diameter allows you to fully wrap your hair around the barrel and distribute the heat evenly.
What Users are Saying:
Users love the dual voltage settings especially for those who love traveling. The only con some people have mentioned is that the barrel can get extremely hot in just a short time, so if you’re not extra careful this could cause some accidents. It's best to use gloves when handling this iron.
This ceramic curling iron from Babyliss emits negative ions and far-infrared heat, which allows you to curl your hair effectively without causing damage. Because it’s ceramic, it’s a lot more gentle to the hair compared to other options such as chrome, and this means you’re really getting value for money.
What Makes It Good for Short Hair
The Babyliss Pro curling iron is also available in 3/4” barrel size, and this makes it ideal for short hairstyles. The ceramic barrel gives you maximum heat transfer, so you don’t have to keep it in your hair for a long time and you don’t have to worry about frizz or damage.
Pros and Cons:
Users love this curling iron because it heats up fast and is a really good tool, especially for travel. One of the cons that people mention though is that the numbers on the temperature dial are too small, and it’s easy to accidentally touch the dial and therefore change the temperature. There are also instances when some users have experienced a sticky or gummy residue in the handle after using it.
Revlon’s Perfect Heat curling iron has 30 heat settings for you to choose from, so you can customize it depending on your hairstyle needs. You can pick from these heat settings and go as high as 400 degrees, which you can use if you have short thick hair.
What Makes It Great for Short Hair
The triple-baked tourmaline ceramic barrel gives you the curls you want but also ensures that your hair stays healthy and smooth. The ¾-inch size makes it ideal for short to medium-length hair, and because of the tourmaline and ionic technologies that make it work, you get soft curls without the frizz.
Pros and Cons
Users love the auto shut off, which makes it less accident-prone, as well as the dual voltage that makes it ideal for international travel. They also love the protective silicone heat shield that adds to its user-friendliness and safety features. However, some users have commented that the heat settings could be located in a better place.
This 1/2” curling iron from Helen of Troy was really made for short hair, wisps, and bangs. It has a triple-plated chrome barrel which gives off the desired heat but also keeps your hair away from heat damage. It also has a cool tip so you can handle it with ease.
This curling iron is particularly effective for short hair because of the size of its barrel. With a diameter of only 1/2”, you can use it to make small and tight curls, which is guaranteed to give your short hair that much-needed volume and style. Even if you had medium length to long hair you can still use this because it’s perfect for bangs, as well as extra wisps to add some character to your hairstyle.
What Users are Saying:
This is one of the user favorites because it’s really designed for short hair. Users are really happy because of the fact that unlike any other curling iron in the market, this could produce the best version of short and tight curls. But that advantage is also a disadvantage, especially for those users who are looking for a little more styling flexibility.
The Nume Titan comes with 3 titanium wands, measuring at 19mm, 25mm, and 32mm. This gives you flexibility in terms of the size of your waves and how your hair will look like after you use it. This versatility is something that this particular curling iron has going for it, and with infrared heat technology that emits negative ions, you can get the curls that you want without worrying about the frizzy look.
With short hair, you only need a short time to get it right because the curling iron will produce those curls right away. This is why it actually works that this one uses the latest in digital and titanium technology, and you can set the temperature to 122 or 392 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what your hair type is and what temperature you need.
Pros and Cons
Users love the styling flexibility they get with this tool. They love that you can increase or decrease the temperature settings at any point in time and that it comes with barrels of different sizes. The only con is that even if the temperature is adjustable, it can get really hot and you really need to wear protective gloves and be extra careful if you don’t want to burn yourself.
This brush iron from Helen of Troy is the ideal tool for hair styling because the curls that it produces are beautiful and long-lasting. The curls will also be wonderfully tight, thanks to the ½-inch barrel size. Also, you can be assured that you can bring the curling iron to the heat level that you want really fast.
The small barrel size makes this perfect for short hair as well as for bangs, and the soft ball-tipped bristles are there for added comfort. The cool tip also gives you added style control.
Pros and Cons
Users are saying that this curling iron was really designed ergonomically. It’s quite light and has a handle that’s easy to use and control. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t have an auto-shutoff function.
With ceramic barrel, cool tip, and soft silicone bristles, this professional hair brush iron is definitely different from most curling irons you’re used to. The 1" barrel is perfect for styling because you can curl your hair while keeping it soft and manageable, and the fast heat-up means you can use it almost right away.
You’re working with a sure-grip handle that allows for greater precision and control during use, which is important for styling short hair.
What Users are Saying:
The soft-grip handle is something that a lot of users love because it makes the grip more comfortable and secure. The downside is that some users are not used to having the bristles there, so this might take some adjustment period.
The Wave Artist by Tigi Bed Head will give you waves like never before, because of the way it’s designed. Unlike the usual barrel-type curling irons where you’re supposed to just wrap your hair around, this one gives users really distinctive and masterfully sculpted waves. The tourmaline technology and instant heat recovery give you heat that penetrates from inside, so you don’t need to worry about frizz.
This works great for those who may encounter problems with wrapping the entire length of their hair in a barrel. Because this deep hair waver is designed as a clamp, you don’t have to worry about your hair slipping away and you can hold it in place while creating deep waves. You can also control how far apart the waves are.
What Users are Saying:
The plate-locking switch is best for storage as well as travel, so users are quite happy about this. The professional flexi-cord also makes it really easy to use. Because it’s a clamp, it gives you really textured waves but this also means that there will be some adjustment needed for those who may be used to just wrapping their hair around a barrel.
Once you know what curling iron to buy, you should learn how you can maximize it to style your hair properly. A small barrel curling iron will be great to use for short hair, but unlike longer hair where you have much leeway and you have a lot of length to work with, you don’t really get to work with that much when your hair is shorter. The rules of curling are practically the same, but here are a few tips that you need to consider when working with short hair:
Just because you have short hair doesn’t mean you can skip the prep. Your hair should be clean and dry but you should also add a small amount of styling gel or wax. Preparing your hair is half of the battle, and you need the right styling products to ensure that the curls will last. You will also benefit from a tiny spritz of heat protectant spray because you don’t want to damage your hair. You have to remember that even if you have short hair, you will still be subjecting it to intense heat and a protection spray will do the trick in preventing heat damage.
Separating your hair into sections is a cardinal rule for curling, and this rule remains even if your hair is short and you think you don’t need it. Remember that with short hair, you want to add some volume and you can do this better if you curl your hair in sections. If you have hair that’s separated into sections, you’ll get really defined curls and you can do more with your curling iron. This also gives you a more polished look and your curls will really be as beautiful and as romantic as you want it to be.
However, you may also choose not to separate your hair into sections if what you’re going for is a more natural look. Separating your hair makes your curls look more polished, and not all people like that effect. You can even alternate the direction of the curls so that they won’t look uniform. Some you can create by moving the curling iron away from your face, and some by moving towards it.
You need to use the curling iron by rolling the curl in a direction that’s going away from your face because this is safer and more efficient than rolling towards it. Remember the rule that if you use wider sections, you get bigger curls and if you use smaller sections, you get tighter curls. For short hair, you’ll likely benefit more from tighter curls, but having bigger curls is also more appropriate for certain occasions. A section that’s 1 to 2 inches would be best for shorter hair.
When you’re curling shorter hair, you should understand that curling it will shorten the length of your hair even more. This is, of course, okay if you’re going for an even shorter look. However, if you don’t want it too short and you’re planning to add even just a little length to it, you can curl the rest of your hair normally but try and leave the ends straight. This means that as you use the curling iron, you can stop at around half an inch from the tips so that your hair will have a more natural finish.
Having the ringlet look is more common for shorter hair because you tend to use a smaller barrel size of the curling iron. If you’re not too keen on this ringlet look and you want to avoid it, all you have to do is use your fingers to pull the curls apart but remember to be absolutely gentle. You don’t want to ruin your curls altogether, you just want to loosen them a bit. But don’t touch your hair until the curls are set, because you want your curls to last for as long as possible.
Here's a good video tutorial from Behind The Blush:
Aside from avoiding the ringlet look, you can also tease your roots in order to add even more volume. Just grab the crown area with your hands and backcomb the roots to add much-needed volume. The last spritz of hairspray will also keep your curls in place and make you ready to face the day.
Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos