6 Curling Irons That Won't Damage Your Hair

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by Alida Nugent and BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 

Heat styling is often a catch-22: It's the most effective way to get salon-worthy hair, but too much of it can weaken strands over time. However, there are curling irons that won't damage hair — or that will at least keep damage to a minimum — so you can achieve your go-to styles without risking breakage or brittle texture. These styling tools have wide temperature ranges and are made with materials like ceramic and tourmaline, which are gentle on hair.

What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Curling Irons


You’ll generally find three materials used in curling irons: ceramic, tourmaline, and titanium. Ceramic is usually budget-friendly, and since it doesn’t reach super high temperatures, it tends to be gentle on hair — but note that it may not be powerful enough to curl thick or coarse strands. Ceramic barrels are sometimes coated in tourmaline, a mineral that emits negative ions to smooth frizz and add glossy shine to strands. Tourmaline also acts as an extra shield against damage, and provides even heat distribution, which means it’s great for multiple hair types, from fine, thin hair to coarse, thick hair. Last, titanium offers the most powerful heat output; for that reason, it’s the most likely to be hard on strands, and should be avoided if you’re looking to prevent damage.

Multiple Heat Settings

Good curling irons will give you the versatility of multiple heat settings. As you may already know, fine, fragile, or chemically treated hair can’t withstand higher temperatures without damage, while coarse, thick hair won’t see much of a curl without a little more intensity.

Types Of Curling Irons

Standard curling irons (think: barrels with clamps) create bouncy, long-lasting curls with a more traditional, glam look. If you’re looking for the best curling iron for beachy waves or looser curls, though, opt for a wand. A wand won’t have a clamp that clips your hair while you style, and they often have tapered ends, allowing you to create various curl shapes, unlike irons which have uniformly sized barrels.

Heat styling always comes with some risk of damage, but if you're still using an old curling iron you got years ago, chances are you're missing out on a key way to keep your hair healthier. Below are some great curling irons that won't damage your hair.

Shop The Best Curling Irons That Won’t Damage Your Hair

In a hurry? These curling irons won’t damage your hair:

  1. The Overall Best: InfinitiPRO by Conair Curling Iron
  2. The Best Budget: Revlon Perfect Heat Ceramic Curling Iron
  3. The Best High-End Option: BIO IONIC Long Barrel Styler
  4. The Best For Fine Hair That’s Prone To Breakage: Conair OhSoFine Curling Iron
  5. The Best Set With Interchangeable Barrels & Wands: xtava 5-in-1 Curling Iron Set
  6. The Best Curling Iron Brush: PHOEBE Curling Iron Brush


The Overall Best

Ringing up at a reasonable price point — but still offering plenty of damage-minimizing features — the title of overall best hair curling iron goes to the InfinitiPRO by Conair. A great pick for multiple hair types, the tourmaline curling iron features a ceramic barrel and provides upgraded protection and even heat distribution. There are five settings ranging from 285 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easy to tailor output to your hair type, whether you have fine, fragile strands or thick, coarse locks. There’s no dual-voltage feature, but the cord swivels for easy maneuvering, and an auto-off function means you never have to worry if you remembered to unplug. Barrel size options run the gamut — all the way from 0.75 inch to 1.5 inch.

If you’re looking for looser curls or waves, check out Conair’s InfinitiPRO curling wand, which has many of the same features albeit in a clamp-free, tapered barrel design.

Helpful review: “Smooth finish and doesn’t damage or pull my hair like other curling irons I’ve had. I like it very much.”

Materials: Tourmaline and ceramic | Temperature range: 285 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit | Auto-Off: Yes | Dual voltage: No


The Best Budget

If you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, the Revlon Perfect Heat curling iron is a great choice — and it costs less than the price of brunch. The barrel is triple-coated in ceramic to reduce the risk of damage, but it doesn’t have the extra layer of tourmaline, which means slightly less protection. The 30-step temperature dial lets you tailor the amount of heat to your hair type — the highest temperature setting is 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but note that the lowest temperature isn’t listed. The dual-voltage iron heats up within a fast 60 seconds, shuts off automatically, and has a cool tip at the end to protect fingers. The one drawback? The cord doesn’t swivel.

Choose from a handful of barrel sizes, ranging from 0.75 inch to 1.5 inch.

Helpful review: “I bought this as a cheap throw away for vacations and it ended up being my favorite curling iron. Be very careful about high settings! They’re for thick, coarse hair! I have med-fine hair with minimal damage (beach wave perm about a year ago), and I use it on the lower setting and it holds in my hair until I wash it. Great curling iron for the price. Best best best part about it is the auto shut off…otherwise I will wonder all day if I shut it off.”

Materials: Ceramic | Temperature range: Up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (lowest temperature not listed) | Auto-Off: Yes | Dual voltage: Yes


The Best High-End Curling Iron That’s Worth The Splurge

If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, the BIO IONIC professional curling iron has a few upgraded features that make it worth the cost — and it’s one of the top-rated curling irons, boasting a near-perfect 4.8-star average after 1,400 reviews. The 1.25-inch ceramic barrel is infused with nano-ionic minerals, which, according to the brand, work to hydrate and condition hair while styling. (Note that one reviewer reported the conditioning effect results in looser waves than most 1.25-inch barrels produce.) Furthermore, the barrel length is about 2 inches longer than most barrels — this makes it easier to style longer hair and also makes back-of-head styling easier on shorter hair. The temperature adjustment ranges from 250 degrees to 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

Like most of the options on the list, the swiveling cord offers maneuverability, and the cool-touch tip protects fingers while styling. Last, the iron automatically turns off after about an hour.

Helpful review: “The longer barrel is a game changer. So much easier to curl my ( shoulder length ) hair without having to ‘double’ coil. Reduces time as well as damage. Also the amount of times accidentally touching the hot part of the barrel has been drastically reduced.Besides that - the shine of my hair after curling is amazing. Worth every penny.”

Materials: Ceramic infused with minerals | Temperature range: 250 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit | Auto-Off: Yes | Dual voltage: No


The Best For Fine Hair That’s Prone To Breakage

If you have fine hair, you’re probably well aware of how easily it can break. Well, Conair has designed this unique curling iron with fine hair in mind. Instead of a metal clamp, which can be harsh on fragile strands, this clamp is coated in soft silicone and features flexible edges that are gentle and won’t snag. To boot, the silicone clamp holds fine strands in place, so they actually curl — as opposed to just slipping out from betwen the clamp and barrel. The 1-inch barrel is made from ceramic, and the adjustable temperature dial features five settings ranging from 266 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. A cool-touch tip safeguards hands, while the swiveling cord makes it easy to use, and an auto-shutoff feature kicks in after use. So what’s the con? There’s no dual-voltage for overseas travel.

If you’re in the market for looser waves, Conair also offers a curling wand designed for fine hair.

Helpful review: “I’ve become a big fan of silicone for all kinds of things, but I wasn’t sure that I would want it on my curling iron. I just imagined it would pull my very fine hair. Nope. It’s grips well, but zero pulling. It’s not too hot, but hot enough for a great curl. I don’t feel like I’m damaging my hair with this! 5 stars!”

Materials: Ceramic and silicone | Temperature range: 266 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit | Auto-Off: Yes | Dual voltage: No


The Best Set That Comes With Interchangeable Barrels & Wands

Why settle on one barrel size for your curling iron? This curling iron set has five interchangeable barrels of all different sizes, as well as some clipless wands, so you can create tight ringlets or simply opt to give hair shape and volume. Ceramic and tourmaline technology help prevent damage and enhance shine, while the adjustable temperature dial ranges from 250 degrees to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that there’s no cool tip on the wand attachments — this ensures that no strand is left uncurled, but you’ll want to be sure to wear the included heat-protectant glove to protect your hand.

The dual-voltage feature makes this pick suitable for travel, and the auto-shutoff helps ensure safety. The swivel cord helps enhance ease of use while you’re styling.

Helpful review: “These are the best curling irons I have ever owned. I have very fine hair which is prone to damage, but on the lowest setting (250 F) I get perfect damage free curls in just a few seconds. I travel a lot so having interchangeable wands is very convenient. The only drawback is that there is no handle on the tip, but a heatproof glove is included.”

Materials: Ceramic and tourmaline | Temperature range: 250 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Auto-Off: Yes | Dual voltage: Yes


The Best Curling Iron Brush

A great alternative, this curling iron brush is outfitted with nylon bristles that smooth strands and help hair maintain its natural oils while styling — and reviewers have reported it’s great if you’re looking to avoid damage. The ceramic-tourmaline offers great protection and works for all hair types, and the temperature is adjustable from 265 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit. Maneuverability is easy, thanks to the swiveling cord, and an auto-off function kicks in after you’re done using the iron. The barrel features a cool-touch tip at the end to protect fingers, but note that there’s no glove included — but since the tool works largely as a brush, you should do fine without one. Last, this pick has dual voltage, so you can take it along when traveling abroad.

Helpful review: “I love this curling brush as an alternative to a clamp style curling iron as it does not damage as much. It gives me big waves and takes out massive frizz. quick heating up and make my hair smooth!”

Materials: Ceramic infused with minerals | Temperature range: 265 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit | Auto-Off: Yes | Dual voltage: Yes

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