Byrdie June 5, 2024



The 12 Best Curling Irons for Fine Hair Types to Give Impossibly Voluminous Curls


With top picks from TYMO, Conair, and ghd

While they might not look a whole lot different to the untrained eye, today's curling irons are a lot more effective than their decades-old counterparts. Still, fine hair is notoriously hard to style with heat tools, even with today's advancements. The best curling irons for fine hair have adjustable temperature settings to avoid frying fragile, thin hair.

"Temperature is key," celebrity hair artist Sally Hershberger tells Byrdie. "Fine hair is more susceptible to heat damage, so finding one that allows you to keep a steady temperature is major—310 degrees Fahrenheit (F) is ideal for fine hair."

To find the best options, we conducted extensive research on popular and highly-rated options, as well as took our editor's experiences into consideration. Each option was evaluated based on attributes like heat settings, materials, design, and ease of use. We then compiled our findings and tapped the expertise of professional stylists to bring you our comprehensive list of the best curling irons for fine hair.

Best Overall
TYMO Cues 3-in-1 Interchangeable Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Comes with 3 interchangeable barrels
  • Features 5 heat settings
  • Clamps are smooth and don't tug hair
  • Automatic shut-off

What We Don't Like

  • Clamp could hold hair more securely

Temperature Range: 280 to 430 degrees | Size: .5, 1, 1.5

Not every hair tool works for every hair type but this one by TYMO does, thanks to its five temperature settings. When we tested this one on several hair types, it particularly shined on those with thin hair. The curls looked smooth, and defined, and lasted—they looked good for almost two full days. So we awarded it best for fine hair in our extensive curling iron test.

The affordable tool comes with three interchangeable barrels of different sizes, offering versatility and customization, while also boasting an automatic shut-off and a wide range of temperatures (and the temp you set stays consistent due to an intelligent temperature control system). The ceramic barrels also help protect hair and boost shine. All that to say, if you have fine hair and are looking for a curling iron that gives you plenty of options (at a fair price point), we wholeheartedly recommend this one.

Best Overall, Runner-Up
Hot Tools Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Heat sensor technology
  • Marcel-style clamp
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Not ideal for beginners

Temperature Range: Up to 430 degrees | Size: 1 inch

"I like the Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Marcel Iron," says Hershberger. "It's lightweight, creates a great curl, and can hold a steady temperature at 310 F that won't damage the hair." As its name suggests, this 1-inch wonder is coated with 24-carat gold to deliver optimal shine.

The brand's Pulse Technology senses heat loss and then restores it to the barrel. And unlike traditional spring irons, the marcel-style clamp offers more control when styling. (If you've never used a marcel iron, it'll take a little practice, but before long, you'll be a pro.) Not only that, but Hot Tools backs this iron with a seven-year warranty.

Best Budget
Conair Double Ceramic Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Great value
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Moderate heat range
  • 30 heat settings

What We Don't Like

  • Relatively short barrel

Temperature Range: Up to 375 degrees | Size: 1 inch

With a moderate heat range (but tons of heat settings) that doesn't go above 375 F, Conair's budget-friendly Double Ceramic Curling Iron was designed with fine hair in mind. Though as Hershberger notes, you're wise to keep it around 310 F. The non-tapered ceramic barrel evenly distributes heat while helping to smooth frizzy hair. Though not ideal for people with super long hair as the barrel is pretty short, we love it for those with short or mid-length strands who don't want to invest in an expensive tool.

"This ultra-affordable option has been my go-to curling iron for the past eight years. It heats up quickly and simply works in a way other, more expensive models haven't for me. The double-ceramic barrel protects against damage, and it means you can also use the tool like a curling wand if you don't want to clip in for tight curls." —Kathryn Vandervalk, VP of Commerce, Dotdash Meredith

Best Drugstore
Remington Pro Ceramic Curling Wand

What We Like

  • Temperature lock functionality
  • Digital temperature control
  • Comes with a protective glove
  • Fast heat-up time

What We Don't Like

  • Limited curling options

Temperature Range: Up to 410 degrees | Size: 0.5 to 1 inch

This affordable drugstore pick holds its own against fancier devices. Featuring a tapered ceramic barrel, ten digitally controlled heat settings, and an auto-shutoff feature, the quick-heating Remington Pro Curling Wand checks all the boxes. We also like that it comes with a protective glove and heats up in just 30 seconds.

Best Wand
NuMe Magic Curling Wand

What We Like

  • Creates ultimate hold
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Far-infrared heat technology protects outer cuticle

What We Don't Like

  • Isn't a long-lasting tool

Temperature Range: 140 to 450 degrees | Size: 1 inch

NuMe's Magic Curling Wand features a clampless, non-tapered titanium barrel, negative ion conditioning technology, and digital temperature settings starting as low as 140 F. You can choose between bouncy ringlets or soft waves without worrying about friction or breakage. If you struggle to use curling irons with a clamp, this is the one for you.

Best for Short Hair
ghd 1-Inch Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Heats evenly
  • Automated temperature control provides safe heating
  • Gets warm quickly

What We Don't Like

  • Only one temperature

Temperature Range: Up to 365 degrees | Size: 1 inch

For those rocking a shorter style, we recommend the 1-inch Curve. "GHD adapts its heat temperature depending on the section of the hair and won't go above 365 F, so it's really great for fine hair or damaged hair," explains Kim. Plus, the cool tip helps prevent burns when you're holding it near your face and scalp. It also features an ergonomic design and creates shiny results.

Best for Long Hair
CHI Volcanic Lava Ceramic Pro Spin N Curl

What We Like

  • Automated curling
  • Plates made of volcanic lava and ceramic
  • Customizable heating

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't go below 370 degrees

Temperature Range: 370 to 410 degrees | Size: 1 inch

If you have long hair, Kim says to consider styling time. You'll want to select tools that help you get the job done efficiently. With this in mind, we recommend the Pro Spin N Curl from CHI's Volcanic Lava line. This unique iron sucks up small hair sections into its heated curl chamber, then releases a bouncy 1-inch curl. It’s also made of a unique combination of volcanic lava and ceramic to create the smoothest looks. 

We like that it has a selection of preset temperature settings for each hair texture, although it doesn’t go below 370 degrees—which isn’t optimal for protecting fine hair. 

Best Barrel
Bio Ionic Long Barrel Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Extra-long barrel provides ample styling room
  • Keeps hair conditioned
  • Easy to hold

What We Don't Like

  • Hair may slide out of the clamp

Temperature Range: 250 to 430 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Unlike many curling tools on the market, this beauty from Bio Ionic doesn't skimp on barrel length. The Long Barrel Iron is 1 inch wide and roughly 2 inches longer than average, allowing you to create glamorous spirals or waves, even in hard-to-reach sections, like the back of your head. It's a fantastic choice for those with long hair, but it also would totally work for people with short or medium hair. Some complain that their hair slips out of the clamp though, which isn’t ideal for super fine hair types.

Best Features
Drybar The 3-Day Bender Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Rotating clamp
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Long power cord gives range and flexibility

What We Don't Like

  • Hair can get tangled in the rotating clamp

Temperature Range: Up to 440 degrees | Size: 1.25 inches

Drybar's 3-Day Bender pulls out all the stops for at-home styling. This all-star curling iron has a 1.25-inch barrel with a rotating clamp, transforming slick, flat hair into bouncy curls in no time. What's more, it has digital heat settings, an automatic shutoff feature, and a 9-foot power cord.

Best for Loose Waves
Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro 1

What We Like

  • Rotating barrel provides convenient movement
  • Hair stays intact all day
  • Crimp-free clamp

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't create the most long-lasting curls

Temperature Range: Up to 450 degrees | Size: 1 inch

If it's loose waves that you're after, your best bet is the Beachwaver Pro. It's got a 1-inch gold-infused tourmaline barrel with a dual-rotation feature that makes easy-breezy waves, well, a breeze. It heats up in just 30 seconds but has low enough wattage to be travel-friendly. We also like that it has a 9-foot power cord and a specially designed clamp that won't create that dreaded crimp. The curls can fall easily while you're using this, so try using mousse and hairspray to hold your curls. 

Best for Tight Curls 
Chi Lava Ceramic 3/8''-3/4'' Tapered Hairstyling Wand

What We Like

  • Extended barrel length
  • Multiple heat settings
  • 1-hour auto shut-off

What We Don't Like

  • Long barrel is a bit awkward to use

Temperature Range: 300 to 410 degrees | Size: 3/8-3/4 inches

If you have fine hair and you like creating tight curls, this wand was practically made for you. It features multiple heat settings to ensure you have an option that's right for you (and safe for your hair). The thin, tapered barrel is extra long which helps those with long hair get to the end the first time. 

At first glance, you might not think that this tool looks super versatile, but you can use small sections of hair to create ultra-tight curls, or larger sections of hair to create a looser, more relaxed look. A bonus is that it has an auto shut-off feature so you don't need to panic if you forget to unplug it before leaving home. Be warned: The long, thin barrel is tricky to use at first but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it. 

Best for Bangs
Kim Kimble Celebrity Series 1" Ceramic Tourmaline Digital Spring Hair Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Non-stick barrel and clip
  • Auto shut-off
  • Comes with protective glove

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers note the self-wrap function makes the iron hard to handle

Temperature Range: 325 to 450 degrees | Size: 1 inch

This Kim Kimble tourmaline-ceramic curling iron works especially well on thin hair and bangs by heating up quickly for less damage and static. The design delivers consistent heat across the entire length of the ceramic barrel but still has a clamp so you can either create wraparound curls or with the clamp for added support. We love the tangle-free swivel cord and tourmaline coating for a shinier, damage-free finish.

What to Look for When Buying a Curling Iron for Fine Hair

  • Ceramic barrel: When it comes to curling finer hair, hairstylist Shelly Aguirre stresses the importance of choosing a tool with a fully ceramic (read: not just coated) barrel. Curling irons with ceramic barrels heat evenly, which is key to protecting fine, fragile hair. “You need to have an even heat distribution from the top to bottom of the barrel,” she says. “If the barrel isn’t evenly heated, you’ll tend to go over the section more times than necessary because you’re not getting the results quick enough”—thus, leading to heat damage.
  • Ionic technology: To keep fine, limp hair looking healthy and vibrant, Aguirre also recommends looking for an ionic curling iron. “Negative ions will help make the hair more shiny and smooth due to the simple fact that negative ions close down the cuticle,” she says. “Your cuticle lays like shingles on a roof, so ‘laying them down’ will increase the shine and offer a healthy overall look.”
  • Temperature control: Aguirre says that it’s imperative to look for a tool with temperature control so that you can adjust it to fit your styling needs while maintaining a non-damaging temperature range. “You should keep the heat down to around 325 to 350 degrees so you’re not damaging the hair,” she recommends. “Also, using a heat protectant is necessary and not negotiable.”


What kind of curling iron is best for fine hair?

As Aguirre mentions above, fine hair is more prone to damage than other hair types, so it’s important to look for curling that will keep the hair healthy (but, of course, still work). She recommends a curling iron with a fully ceramic barrel to allow for even heat distribution, ionic technology to keep the hair shiny and static-free, and temperature control to allow you to style in a non-damaging temperature range.

She also notes that a quality iron that won’t singe your hair may be pricier, but it’s well worth the investment. This is especially true if you use hot tools on your hair consistently. “Spending a little more when investing in a hot tool will help in the long run—ask your stylist for the recommendations when it comes to these tools,” she says.

What temperature should a curling iron be for fine hair?

According to Aguirre, those with fine hair should keep their curling irons in the 325 to 350 degree temperature range to effectively curl the hair sans heat damage. It's always wise to start at the lowest possible temperature and work your way up until you find a sweet spot that works to create curls without frying your strands.

What size barrel is the best for fine hair?

When it comes to choosing the right barrel size, Aguirre says it depends on how curly you’d like your hair to be. “The smaller the barrel, the curlier the look,” she says. “This is also dependent on the length of your hair and what look you’re trying to achieve. When in doubt, talk to your stylist and get some advice.”

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a seasoned beauty writer specializing in skincare, makeup, and hair. To write this article, she conducted hours of research and considered dozens of options, judging each based on how easy they were to use and the final results. She also looked through customer reviews to make her final selections. Byrdie contributor Esme Benjamin also updated this article in December 2023 to ensure every detail was correct and each product deserves its place on this list.

Additional guidance was provided by Shelly Aguirre, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Sally Hershberger, an internationally known celebrity hairstylist with salons in New York and Los Angeles, and Sky Kim, a hairstylist of Serge Normant at John Frieda.