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.