Whether or not you have them naturally, waves are fun, trendy, and — with the right iron — a simple way to change up your everyday look or get glam for a special event. Narrowing down the best curling irons for waves, however, isn’t as easy. If you're in the market for a new curling iron, the ideal choice for you will depend on your hair type, length, and thickness, as well as the style you want to create.
To start, let's talk specifics. Tousled, beachy waves are probably the most popular look at the moment, but depending on your preference, you may want something else — or maybe you just enjoy switching things up from time to time. But to achieve those sought-after, "effortless" beachy waves, an automatic iron, deep waver, or a one-inch curling iron is going to be your best bet. For bigger, looser waves, you're going to want a larger barrel or wand (over one-inch). No matter what type of wave you want to create, remember that your hair should always be completely dry before you touch it with an iron. You can prep hair while it's damp with a heat protection spray, but layering on any other products, especially those with alcohol, will do more harm then good once the heat from the tool touches it.
Now that you have a general idea of the size and type of hair tool you should be using, it's time to consider the other features. So check out these seven top-rated curling irons, below — from lightweight wands to super easy deep wavers, there's something for everyone on this list.
1. A Cult-Favorite Automatic Curling Iron For Easy Beach Waves
Invented by celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa, the The Beachwaver Co. S1 Curling Iron made waves (pun intended) as one of the first popular rotating curling irons on the market. The Beachwaver barrel is ceramic, which means it heats quickly and evenly for long lasting waves in three different styles: defined curls, loose beachy waves, and glam waves. All you have to do is clamp in the end of your hair and let the rotation do the work!
2. An Oval-Shaped Curling Wand For Natural Looking Waves
With its unique oval-shaped barrel, the Xtava It Oval Hair Curling Wand creates loose waves that look more natural than those that a regular circular barrel would produce. Also, because the barrel tapers, this curling iron is great for styling both long and short hair. You can use the wider end of the barrel for long hair and the smaller end to create texture and defined waves on shorter lengths.
3. A Mini, Cordless Curling Iron That's Perfect For Travel
If you can’t stand fumbling with international adapters or just want to be able to touch up your hair anytime, anywhere, the Conair MiniPRO Cordless Iron is, as its name suggests, completely cordless. Powered by a butane cartridge, this mini curling iron is made from ceramic, so it's safe for air travel, and it heats up fast for easy, on-the-go curls.
4. A Easy-To-Use Deep Waver For Loose S-Shaped Waves On Any Hair Type
Made with two powerful tourmaline-ceramic clamps, the Bed Head Makin’ Waves "S" Waver is perfect for anyone with curly, thick, or unruly hair that wants smooth, old Hollywood-style vintage waves — without having to use a straightener first. Deep wavers are also surprisingly easier and quicker to use than a barrel or wand, which makes this tool a great choice for beginners.
5. A Large Barrel Curling Iron That's The Choice Of Pros
Listed as the choice tool for pros backstage and on the red carpet, the GHD 1.25" Curve Soft Curl Iron has a smooth, ceramic-coated barrel that curls quickly and evenly and won't ever snag your hair. With its smart temperature technology (it never goes over 360 degrees Fahrenheit) the waves will form fast and stay in place all day without damaging your hair. With the 1.25-inch barrel, this particular iron leaves you with gorgeous, soft curls and maximum volume.
6. A Fan Favorite Curling Iron With A Traditional Clamp
Made with a one-inch, 24 karat, gold-plated barrel, the Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron easily creates large, loose curls on any and all hair types for under $50. The temperature control dial lets you choose different settings up to 430 degrees, and it even memorizes your favorite heat setting, making your styling routine even shorter.
7. A High-End Curling Wand With Interchangeable Barrels That's Worth The Splurge
If you like to switch up the shape and size of your waves and are looking for practically effortless styling, the T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand is for you. Made with top of the line tourmaline and ceramic technology, this trio imparts ionic, infrared heat that seals in moisture and eliminates frizz. It also features T3’s signature SinglePass technology, which means the wand maintains even heat across the barrel the entire time you are styling. Sure, the price is higher than the other wands on this list, but don’t forget — this is three professional-level tools in one.
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