The Beginner's Guide To Buying A Curling Iron (Plus 5 To Choose From)

When you're an amateur at the art of hair styling, a hair tool as ubiquitous as a curling iron is a riddle wrapped in a mystery. That's why the best curling irons for beginners include all of the features you need to create long-lasting curls and waves — but without all of the bells and whistles that may come in handy after you've perfected the art of curling your hair.

Whether you're shopping for your first curling iron or your hundredth, Celebrity Hair Stylist Adel Chabbi, owner of Adel Atelier Salon in New York City, says you should "take into consideration your hair type and what look you want to achieve." And it's important to note that "the size and shape of the barrel determines the size and shape of the curl." But if you can't make up your mind or want to have your cake and eat it too, a curling iron with interchangeable barrels might be right up your alley.

When it comes to choosing important features that will make curls last for days (or hours — we'll take hours), Chabbi recommends an iron with a clamp, which is something not all irons have. "The advantage of clamps," he says, "is that you can create longer lasting curls."

Another thing that sets irons part? Their heat technology. "Choose an iron that heats up quickly and maintains heat level," Chabbi says. And understanding how much heat is right for your hair is important, too. Generally speaking, normal hair types that aren't thin or coarse can get away with 400-degree heat, while fine hair should stick to 350 degrees and thicker hair may need 420 degrees to really hold the style. Materials matter too: Ceramic irons do a better job of distributing heat evenly throughout the barrel — and they tend to be longer lasting.

These curling irons for beginners all feature a clamp, ceramic technology, high heat settings, and maybe an extra special feature or two for good measure.


A Set With Five Interchangeable Barrels & A Range Of Heat Setting For Different Hair Types

xtava Satin Wave 5-In-1 Curling Iron And Wand Set, $40, Amazon

This five-in-one curling iron set offers five interchangeable ceramic tourmaline barrels that you can swap out to create curls of various sizes. The large barrels can be used for long hair and thin, and tapered barrels are great for short hair. This iron features nine temperature settings that range from 200 to 410 degrees, so it's perfect for all hair types and textures. Thinner, tapered barrels produce excellent results on short hair and you'll get a heat-resistant glove and travel case with your purchase.


An Automatic Clamp Curler That Does All The Work For You & Heats Up To 450 Degrees

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Minicurl Professional Curl Machine, $130, Amazon

This automatic curling iron is definitely an investment, but for a beginner, it's one that could be well worth it. It features nano titanium technology that minimizes heat damage while ensuring every strand receives the full curl treatment. But the best part is that this tool does all the work for you: Place small sections of your hair into the curl machine and this automatic curler churns out perfect curls every time. As per Chabbi's advice, it heats up to 450 degrees to produce flawless curls every time and is designed with nano titanium technology, which is gentler on hair.


A Two-In-One Ceramic Curler & Straightener With A Clamp That Gives You Options

Berta Ceramic Hair Straightener And Curler Iron, $30, Amazon

This iron checks off all three of Chabbi's requirements for a great hair tool. It features tourmaline technology and ceramic plates, a solid clamp, a dual voltage system that makes it travel-friendly, and a heat range of 275 to 425 degrees. Beginners benefit from multitasking tools like this two-in-one curling iron and straightener, which provides two quality options and lets you sharpen your soon-to-be expert hair styling skills.


A Ceramic Rotating Curling Iron That Can Give You Three Types Of Curls

The Beachwaver, $129, Amazon

When you're a hair styling newbie, you may not yet know what you like in terms of curls and waves, but this ceramic rotating curling iron provides options. You can use it to get messy, beachy waves, tighter and more defined curls, or glamorous waves. Hold it horizontally, press the left/right arrow, and when the tool reaches the root of your hair, open the clamp and release your perfect curls/waves. It can heat up from 290 degrees to 410 degrees in 30 seconds and has a 30-minute automatic shut-off feature for safety.


A Budget-Friendly Clamp Curling Iron With Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Technology

Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, $18, Amazon

The powerful nano tourmaline ceramic technology used to design this curling iron helps your hair hold a curl faster and for longer — and it provides uniform heat that ensures your curls are even. This 1.5-inch barrel iron creates mid-size to larger curls. For tight and more defined curls, wrap smaller sections of hair in the barrel. It heats up to 390 degrees and is a solid option — especially if you don't want to break the bank.

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