Finding a curling iron you love can be harder than finding your perfect, grown up shade of lipstick. Finding a curling iron that doesn't damage your hair can be even harder yet.
While curling irons have been around since what seems like the dark ages, they have changed a lot since your momma’s 1980 something big hair days. Improvements in heat technology, barrel material, and safety settings are just a few of the things that make curling irons the big style mega tool of today.
Let's take a look at FAQs, what features to watch for in a curling iron, and review a few of the best curling irons that won't damage your hair.
To answer the burning questions in your mind, I've compiled a list of Q's. If I haven't addressed it, feel free to ask me by leaving a comment below!
This is perhaps the single most important question in your mind right now. It's not the "curling" that damages your hair, but the heat.
Heat styling can damage your hair if you do it regularly, and without adequate protection. It's important to use a heat protectant before using any heat styling tools. And to give your hair a break. Deep condition your hair and use a hair mask at least once a week.
We love to look great every day. Some of us may even want to have curly hair every single day. But if that comes at the expense of our hair health, then we might have to take a closer look.
It's NOT bad to curl hair every day. But daily heat styling can have permanent irreversible effects on your hair. This is why it's important to give your hair a break. You can try experimenting with no-heat curls or second day hair. Even washing your hair everyday is not good.
Any heat styling tool you use on your hair has the potential to cause damage to your delicate strands. Ceramic is a good option to help prevent some of that damage, and leave your hair healthier.
A ceramic barrel emits negative ions into your hair when you are using it. These ions work to close your hair cuticle which protects it from damage and helps it to retain moisture. This also keeps your curls from being frizzy or full of static. A material like metal will have the opposite effect on your individual strands. A metal curling iron barrel will force open your hair cuticles, robbing them of moisture and exposing them to all kids of heat damage.
READ: Guide to Curling Irons
The surface of a ceramic curling iron is very smooth and won't collect dust or debris like metal barrels do. Ceramic cleans easily, so you can regularly remove residue from your styling products. This allows even heating of your barrel and prevents the hot spots that can fry your strands.
Ceramic is also very lightweight compared to other curling iron materials. Remove stress from your arms and wrists with a ceramic barrel curling iron.
Titanium is another great material to look for when shopping for your next curling iron. Is it better than ceramic? Let's look.
Like ceramic, titanium does emit negative ions in to the hair shaft to close your cuticle and protect it from damage and moisture loss. Titanium curling irons work using infrared technology, which is huge for women with especially thick or coarse hair.
This technology tends to transfer heat much faster than ceramic, so thin haired girls need to use it with caution.
It's still great for more fragile hair, you just need to watch the heat settings to prevent frying your strands.
Titanium is another super smooth surface material. It won't collect fuzz and dust that can be transferred to your hair during styling. It is also very easy to clean, so there's no reason to fight with product build up that pulls, sticks to, and ultimately harms your hair.
Another lightweight product, titanium eases the stress hair curling can have on your body. Old metal curling irons can be heavy, clunky, and hard to manipulate around your head. Using a lighter styling tool will make your style go faster and help you keep yourself from burns.
One of the biggest differences between ceramic and titanium curling irons comes down to price point. Titanium styling tools are most often quite a bit more expensive than ceramic ones. While the added investment may be well worth it for girls with unruly, thick strands, those with thinner, shorter hair could save a few bucks and still enjoy the benefits of using a ceramic based curling iron.
Now that we know a bit more about surface type, let’s check out a few of my favorite curling irons that won’t damage your hair.
At the higher end of the price range is the T3 SinglePass Curl Professional Curling Iron, with a few really cool features.
To start, a tiny microchip within the curling iron constantly monitors the temperature across the whole barrel. This technology helps to ensure consistent, even heat and prevents unnecessary damage to hair from hot or cool spots along the barrel.
The barrel of this curling iron is made with a blend of ceramic and tourmaline material. It instantly seals the hair shaft to prevent over drying and adds shine to your style. It features 5 heat settings that start at 260 degrees. It then goes to 300, 350, 390, and finally to a max temperature of 410 degrees. A smartwist dial adjusts temperature quickly without having to wait to release a curl or interrupt your style game.
For those with fine, thin hair or damaged hair, the lowest 2 heat settings is perfect. The same goes for those with chemically treated hair (those who’ve had your hair relaxed or underwent any hair straightening/curling treatments).
Made to be super lightweight, this styling tool is easy on your arms. Curling all your hair takes time, and the weight of this product takes stress off your arms and wrists. The T3 SinglePass Curl has dual voltage capability as well, making it a great travel companion. It is compatible with 100-240v power sources but you will need a plug adapter for it.
This curling iron by HOT TOOLS stays hot with Pulse Technology that senses heat loss in the barrel and restores it quickly, so you don't lose time or effectiveness when creating your curls. Consistent heat helps to close your cuticles which allows hair to retain its natural moisture and protects your hair shaft against heat damage.
The Professional 24K curler features heat settings from 280 degrees to 430 degrees. Because the temperature control is so efficient, even if you have long thick hair, it may be best to start at a lower setting and test a few sections of hair. Finding the right temperature for your hair is one of the keys to long lasting curls without excessive heat damage.
The 8-foot-long cord has a swivel feature that makes this tool convenient to use in any size space. You don't have to make sure you are right next to a power outlet when styling your hair. The swivel cord stays tangle free and helps you stay safe from accidentally burning yourself while trying to manipulate the position of your curling iron.
The INFINITIPRO by Conair is a curling iron that blends tourmaline with ceramic materials to deliver even heat across the whole barrel, preventing hot spots which can lead to hair damage. This helps it give you perfectly shaped curls every time you use it. The tourmaline coating helps prevent damage to your hair, while the negative ions released by the ceramic seal your hair cuticle.
Featuring nanotechnology, the INFINITIPRO helps fight frizz and flyaways while giving you long-lasting curls. Its smooth surface cleans easily so you don't have to deal with sticky build up of styling products that snag or pull your hair.
This curling iron heats quickly, reaching 400 degrees within 30 seconds. There are 5 available heat settings with the lowest starting at 285 degrees. The range of temperatures on the INFINITIPRO makes it a suitable heat styling tool for all hair types. An easy to read LED temperature display makes this curling iron even more convenient to use.
You can change heat settings easily with this curling iron. The soft-push temperature buttons are within thumb's reach, so you don't have to interrupt your style to change your settings. No more bumping a dial and throwing off your curl game. Set your temp and away you go!
This SwanMyst Curling Iron could be the best curling iron to prevent damage to your hair. This tool features 3x ceramic technology. It releases negative ions as you curl to seal your cuticle and help your hair retain moisture.
With 19 heat settings, this curling iron creates the longest last, best curl in every hair type. Lower settings are great for fine hair or hair that is already suffering damage from heat, color, and more. The higher settings work well for thick haired ladies or those with coarse locks. It will heat up to 430 degrees in only 30 seconds. This iron also has an easy to see digital LED temperature display.
The temperature dial and power buttons on the SwanMyst Curling Iron are easy to reach with your thumb. After three seconds the temperature will lock so that you don't need to worry about accidentally bumping that temperature dial while styling your hair. Quickly unlock it by pressing the power button twice, change your setting, and enjoy the benefit of the re-locked heat setting.
This curling iron is dual voltage compatible, so worldwide travel is stress free. The insulated tip keeps your fingertips safe while you're curling, and the product comes with a heat-resistant glove for extra protection against burns.
This 1 1/4" curling iron by KIPOZI features a 5.9" long barrel, so it's awesome for girls with long hair! The ceramic coated barrel delivers even heat and helps prevent frizz by allowing hair to glide seamlessly across it. Negative ions released by the ceramic material help seal in moisture and protect your hair.
KIPOZI's curling iron offers LCD temperature display that is easy to see, even in your mirror. The heat settings range from 180 degrees to 450, perfect for fine, fragile hair and thick, hardy strands. After 3 seconds at the desired temperature, the settings automatically lock so you don't have to worry about accidentally changing your heat mid curl. To unlock the temperature settings and change it, you just press the + and - buttons together and can adjust them up or down.
The KIPOZI curling iron features dual voltage capability. Compatible with 120v and 240v power sources, you don't have to leave this styling tool at home when traveling. This iron also has a 60- minute shut-off safety feature. Stop spending your whole day worried about whether you turned your curler off. This one does it for you after one hour of non-use so you know it’s turned off and won’t burn your house down!
Any of those products mentioned above is good for damaged hair since they all have features that prevent heat damage.
The key here is to use the lowest heat setting possible, so get a model that offers the lowest temperature.
And if you can go for a few days or weeks without heat styling your hair, then that’s even better. Sometimes, hair can get too damaged that you’ll have no choice but to grow it out and cut it. I hope this is not the case for you.
With heat settings up to 450 degrees, it's important to protect your hair from the damaging effects of using curling irons for your style. There are a few steps you can take to protect your hair from your heat tools and prevent damage.
First, always make sure your hair is dry before using a curling iron to style it. Even the safer materials like ceramic and titanium have the potential to fry your hair if it’s damp. Starting with dry, clean hair will give you the safest results when using any curling iron.
Second, make sure the heat setting you are using is right for your hair. If you have thin, delicate strands, using the highest setting on your curling iron is unnecessary and dangerous for your hair. Long, thick hair tolerates higher temperatures much better.
Start with the lowest setting possible and test a few curls. You can still create an awesome look without hellfire heat.
Third, use high quality heat styling products. Spraying your hair with a heat protector like this one that includes Argan oil will coat your strands before you add heat, providing a protective barrier between your hair and curling iron. Heat protectant serums and sprays have added benefits like preventing frizz and adding shine to your finished style.
Finally, give your hair a break. It's good to have a go-to 'do, but make sure you let your hair rest, too. Try and take a day off from any kind of heat styling, including blow-drying. Use a repairing mask to add moisture back to your hair and seal open shafts.
Give your hair as many heat-free days as possible to have strands that are fresh, not fried.
Buying a new curling iron really is a big commitment. Check out the ones I've reviewed here, and make sure you read reviews and look for the one with the best features for your hair. You'll be glad you did a little research, and your hair will love you back with high shine and a healthy look.
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