Despite the many "easy" and "fast" hair curling tutorials on YouTube, figuring out how to actually use a curling iron can be difficult and time-consuming in the beginning. Even after you get the hang of working a curling iron, there's still learning which tool you need for the type of curl you want to create, and which iron will work better for your hair type. Finding the best curling iron for long, thick hair can be a struggle, whether you're just learning to curl your hair or you're a seasoned pro. That's why it never hurts to check in with an actual professional, like Kérastase consulting hairstylist Jennifer Yepez, who regularly creates an array of beachy waves and volumized curls on long-haired models like Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Winnie Harlow.
"I like curling irons that are ceramic because it has a protective layer against the heat," Yepez notes of her own preference when she's curling long, thick hair types. "They really allow you to get more shine and are less harsh on the hair," she adds. Yepez also explains that for thicker hair types, it's okay to crank the heat up to 400 degrees. "I'll use the highest temperature setting because I don't want to leave the hair on the iron for long and I want to make sure the style stays put."
When using the higher heat setting, Yepez notes that it's important to use a heat protectant spray or cream on your hair before you start curling to help further shield it from any damage. "I love Kérastase L'incroyable Lotion because it helps protect the hair while also maintaining the style," Yepez recommends. "Prepping the hair is the most important part of making a style last, so I also like to mix the Mousse Bouffante and Densifique Densimorphose to give volume and some hold."
For your best tousled curls, Yepez shares that she likes to "start close to the root and then wrap the hair around flat over the barrel and continue to twist." To give the curls a more natural and less prom-like finish, Yepez says to leave the ends out — something that's especially important if you're going for beachy waves.
If you're not sure which wand is right for you, here are some of the best curling irons for long, thick hair, to help get you started.
1. The Best Curling Iron For Long, Thick Hair
For longer, thicker hair types, the Bio Ionic Long Barrel Styler boasts a barrel that's 2 inches longer than your typical iron to curl hair faster and allow you to use wider sections. The barrel is infused with the brands Nanolonic Mineral technology, which infuses moisture into the hair to leave it hydrated and shiny. Though the iron can heat up to 430 degrees in just five seconds, it has a multi-level heat controller, so you can adjust it to the exact temperature you prefer.
Amazon users with long hair agree that it's easy and quick to use, with one reviewer noting, "[It] can curl large sections of my long hair, and within 15 minutes." Another user adds, "My hair is thick and wavy/frizzy, [and] this curling iron gives me the best curls ever and amazing shine."
2. Best Clamp-less Curling Iron For Long, Thick Hair
If you're one of those people that hates having a clamp on your curling iron (raises hand), the GHD Curve is clamp-less so it won't leave behind any creases in your curls. The one-inch to 0.9-inch tapered barrel uses the brand's patented tri-zone technology to curl your hair at 365 degrees (which is said to be the optimal temperature to curl hair without leaving it damaged). Best for creating long, beachy waves, this iron also has a sleep mode that automatically turns off after 30 minutes of inactivity, in case you've ever had to run back home in a panic that you left your curling wand on (raises hand again).
3. Best Budget-Friendly Curling Iron
For the price point, it really doesn't get much better than the Bead Head Curlipops Curling Wand. I've been using this wand for my own long hair for years, and even with the more expensive options I've been given to try, I find myself coming back to this one because it works so well and is so easy to use.
The Bead Head Curlipops line has nine different curling irons to create everything from spiral curls to barely-there waves, but this 1-inch iron is perfect for creating loose, tousled curls in just minutes. The tourmaline ceramic iron helps fight frizz and heats up fast to 400 degrees (the only heat setting). And because it's a clamp-free iron, it also comes with a heat-protective glove so you don't burn your fingers.
4. Best Curling Iron With Interchangeable Barrels
If you curl your hair regularly and constantly switch up your curl pattern, the T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand lets you experiment with every style, from spiral curls to tousled waves. The multi-tasking tool comes with three barrels that you can change out depending on the look you want — a 1-inch straight barrel, 1.5-inch straight barrel, and a tapered barrel. No matter which barrel you're styling with, you can choose from five different heat settings, and the barrels are tourmaline and ceramic to help give your curls a smooth and shiny finish. This iron also contains a special electronic circuit that allows it to automatically convert to the current no matter where you travel, and you can even buy more detachable barrels from the brand once you're in need of new styles to master.
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