By Andrea Douglas, nwaMotherlode Beauty Editor and mama of 3
Now that summer is over and my hair is not instantly destroyed by sweat or humidity, it’s actually worth my time to straighten and curl my coif. Unfortunately, sometime during my styling hiatus, my favorite curling iron succumbed to old age. So, now it’s time to start digging through reviews and finding a replacement because this frizzy-haired girl can’t go without her hot tools for long.
The first step when looking for a new curling iron is determining what size you need. Your hair length can affect your needs, but mostly it’s the type of curl you are hoping to achieve. I have always gotten by with a 1-inch for my fancy curls and a 1-½ inch for a more casual, loose wave. This helpful chart from Medium.com shows the difference between sizes. You can also change the results of a certain size by using more or less hair per section that you curl.
If you have fine hair and have trouble getting a curling iron to grip, sea salt spray works wonders for adding just enough texture for the curling iron to grab on to. This works really well in a little girl’s baby fine hair.
The material of a curling iron is also important. When ceramic straighteners rose in popularity in the ‘00s, it was a game-changer for achieving a sleek look. It wasn’t long before curling irons were improved upon using new materials. The affordable and popular ceramic works great on most hair types and is a great option for a household that caters to many hair types but doesn’t have the storage for a full salon’s worth of appliances. Hot Tools Nano-ceramic curling iron is a great choice, and it’s the one I own. They can often be found on sale when they change the colors or come out with a special edition, which is how I got mine and I love it.
For coarse, thick hair, a gold curling iron like Hot Tools Professional Extra Long Barrel Curling Iron heats evenly and quickly, and the extra length will make it easier to tame those locks.
If you strive to get a professional level curl, a titanium curling iron, like the Aquage Curling Iron with attachments, is the most lightweight option and reaches the highest temps. But be careful not to scorch your hair, which is more likely if you use a lot of products or have damaged hair from processing in the past. We’ve all laughed at YouTube videos of girls burning off a chunk of hair, and karma is just waiting to get us.
I have focused on traditional curling irons because I’ve tried wands before and was underwhelmed with the results. It just wasn’t worth owning a fourth hot tool, in my opinion. That said, using a wand instead of a clamp does result in a softer, beachier curl.
Here’s the secret: you can use your curling iron as a wand! What? Is your mind blown?!? Just kidding, this is probably obvious, but if you haven’t already discovered the hack, give it a try and see if you like the results. Especially if you struggle with flat roots; the way you hold a wand tends to give a little more lift at the roots.
After a trip this weekend to Eureka Springs in the rain, with a broken curling iron, no hair brush and no rubber band (those last two were on me though), even my husband agrees that buying a new curling iron is now a necessity and not just a want.
Happy curling, mamas!
Got a beauty or hair question for Andi? Send it to us so she can write about that topic in an upcoming Beauty Buzz. Email it to mamas[at]nwamotherlode[dot]com. Click here to read more beauty posts by Andi.