New York Post February 10, 2022

New York Post


20 best curling irons and wands for every budget and hair type in 2022


Whichever way you curl or twirl it, your hair gives serious props to the heat tools that help produce Victoria’s Secret model-like bounce.

From cultivating cascading curls and wondrous waves, it may be time to invest in some of the best curling irons and wands that beauty aisles and online retailers offer.

So, we cut the guesswork out for you. We consulted a professional hairstylist and experts at Sephora and Ulta Beauty to give you the 411 on all things plug-in, heat-up and style-away.

“Choosing the right curling iron will save your time, money, and hair,” Melinda Solares, Sephora Beauty Director, told The Post. “Curling irons are for all hair types but there are a couple of things to consider when searching for the perfect iron for you.”

And, while curling irons and wands come in every size and type under the sun, learning how to safely and properly style your hair with one of the 20 best models we rounded up is just as important. If you’re on the market for more hair products, too, check out the 30 best shampoos we tested this year for every hair type, too.

How should I curl my hair with a curling iron?


The heated question (pun totally intended). Here’s a step-by-step guide, as explained by David Lopez, an Ulta Beauty Pro Team Member.

“First, you’ll want to grab a clean section of your hair, open the clamp of the curling iron and then place the iron about midway down the section of hair you’re using,” he notes. “Then, slowly wind the hair into the curling iron until you have all the hair fed into the base. Hold it clamped on the section of hair for five to 10 seconds.”

When curling, the saying “the larger the section, the longer you want to hold” actually holds true, while smaller sections require less holding-in-place time. Finally, all you do is release the curl.

And, before you curl — whether you’re using an iron or a wand — be sure to use a good heat protectant.

“It can protect your hair from 450°, minimize frizz, enhance shine and hydrate the hair,” Solares notes. She recommends Briogeo’s Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream ($24) if you’re blow-drying, amika’s The Shield Anti-Humidity Spray and Heat Protectant ($26) if you’re styling dry hair and Mizani’s Heat Screen Hair Protectant Spray ($22) for naturally curly hair.

How should I curl my hair with a curling wand?


After assessing the health of your hair type and choosing the correct heat temperature for safety, grab a section of hair you’d like to curl that is approximately the width of your wand for best results,” Amy Abramite, hairstylist, salon educator and creative director at Maxine Ltd. in Chicago, told the New York Post. “Pick up the curling wand with your free hand and begin wrapping the section of hair by spiraling down and around the barrel in a circular motion.”

She suggests using a heat-protecting glove to prevent your fingertips from getting burned when wrapping the ends, too. “A good technique is to begin at the root and work down the length of the tool until reaching the bottom,” she adds. Allow the hair to heat up and then release the curl allowing it to cool. Move onto the next section and repeat.”

What size curling iron or wand should I buy?


A 1” curling iron will result in a classic curl that’s bouncy with a defined spiral, whereas a 2” will be a relaxed beachy wave or loose curl.

What temperature should I curl my hair at?


“Sometimes if the temperature of the curling iron is too high, your hair doesn’t hold the curl as well because you’re overheating the hair,” Lopez said. “Typically, I tell people to use it on medium heat (if you have a dial temperature, then set it around 370°).”

Additionally, Abramite has “heat rules,” so to speak, depending on your hair type. “Fine, fragile, dry or chemically treated hair should stay on the low end of the heat spectrum at 100°to 200°, healthy normal virgin hair on average at 200°to 300° and coarse, wiry hair on the high end at 300°to 400°.” Extra caution should be used on any hair type beyond 400° left to a professional stylist, too.

And, as mentioned, be sure to use a heat protectant.

What’s the best way to make curls last?


“I recommend setting the hair for style longevity,” Abramite said. “Setting is a technique where hair is heated up and then left to cool down to lock in the shape.”

How to do it? After forming and heating the curl with an iron, release it from the hot tool. Allow the curl to stay undisturbed and cool down completely before brushing it out or finger combing through. This will give the curls more bounce and extend your style.

Moreover, Lopez advises against overheating the hair and stretching it out too much when drying.

Best Curling Irons

1. Moroccanoil Everlasting Curl Titanium Curling Iron, $150

A hair expert’s favorite curling iron

A personal favorite as well as an expert one, Moroccanoil’s Everlasting Curl Titanium Curling Iron “has an extra-long barrel to accommodate longer hair lengths,” Abramite notes. “It gets the job done quicker by handling more hair with each section.”

Plus, titanium curling irons work best “on coarser textures that require hotter temperatures to smooth the hair for glassy results,” she adds.

2. T3 Twirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Curling Iron Set (1″, 1.25″, 1.5″), $285 (originally $335)

A hair expert’s favorite that’s interchangeable

“If you’re looking for classic, 1″ to 1.5″ curls, look no further than the T3 Twirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Curling Iron Set: 1”, 1.25”, 1.5,” Solares notes. “This set comes with three interchangeable irons that will take you from tight and bouncy to loose and effortless.”

This trio is one of our favorites, too, and achieves that blowout look in one of the simplest ways. Plus, we love the brand’s Airebrush Duo Interchangeable Blow-Dryer Brush, which we reviewed.

3. Trademark Beauty Mood Interchangeable Iron Styling Kit, $99

Another great interchangeable curling iron

“This does it all with three interchangeable pieces,” Abramite said. “It can be used as a singular curling iron, wand, or three-barrel waver.”

The kit comes with a glove and two clips as well to create everything from glam curls to tousled beach waves and leaves the hair perfectly crease-free. 

4. Drybar The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron, $199

Another great interchangeable curling iron

“With three options it has everything you need to create any type of curl and texture you want,” Danielle Keasling, an Ulta Beauty Pro Team Member, told The Post. “If working on reconfiguring your curl, try starting with the Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Blow Down Smoothing Leave-In Cream ($21).”

Plus, Drybar’s Cure Liqueur Strengthening Shampoo ($32) is one of our favorite shampoos we tested this year.

5. GHD Unplugged Styler Cordless Flat Iron, $299

The best cordless curling iron

“When curling hair, sometimes, we don’t think to use a flat iron — but guess what? It’s one of the healthiest ways to get the job done,” Keasling said.

With just a flick of the wrist, you’ll have perfect curls (and pin-straight hair, if so preferred) with this splurge-worthy tool. As a personal favorite, we like that it’s compact for easy travel, too.

6. Hot Tools Professional Gold Curling Iron, $54.99

The best 1″ and 1.5″ curling iron

Enter the curling iron that everyone and their mother has owned at one point (ourselves included). Abramite enjoys Hot Tool’s Curling Iron as it comes in 1″ and 1.5″ options — along with others — and because it’s the “industry standard for professional stylists” working every day in the salon creating curls.

“It’s tried and true, durable, and has an 8-foot-long swivel cord for more range of motion,” she adds.

7. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron, $59.99

The best 1.5″ curling iron

“There aren’t many 1.5” irons on the market out there but coming in at my first pick is BaBylissPro’s Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron,” Keasling recommends. “It has great heat distribution and the nanotechnology makes this iron lock in curls like no other.”

Plus, this model also comes in 1″ and 1.25″ sizes.

8. Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Extra Long Curling Iron, $49.34 (originally $59.99)

The best 2″ curling iron

Similar to Hot Tools’ original curling iron in this edit, Abramite likes the extra-long barrel feature of this model for accomodating longer-length hair.

“This oversized iron will produce loose beach waves with consistent heat with a firm grip that won’t slip out of your hands when maneuvering,” she adds.

9. GHD Curl Thin Wand, $199

The best curling iron for tight curls

“You may have tighter, natural curls that you simply want to touch up,” Solares said. “The ghd Curl Thin Wand is perfect because it has a 0.5″ thin barrel wand that creates tight curls from three seconds with up to 24-hour results and no extreme heat.”

Plus, it’s one of GHD’s newer curling irons that can create flirty date night curls that you can leave deeply coiled or brush out for a Marilyn Monroe factor.

10. amika High Tide Deep Wave Hair Crimper, $120

A hair expert’s favorite for crimping

“Maybe you’re looking for a more modern take on curls,” Solares adds. “For this, my go-to is the amika High Tide Deep Wave Hair Crimper; in my opinion, this is the easiest to use.”

Not to mention, you get more bang for your buck with amika’s High Tide Deep Waver Set ($120). It’s the same price as the tool, but you also get a free full-size texture spray and travel-size repair cream.

Oh, and amika is one of our favorite brands (especially for shampoo). We also stand by the brand’s Brooklyn Bombshell Blowout Volume Spray ($28) and Curl Corps Curl Defining Cream ($26), the latter for no-heat days.

11. Conair Double Ceramic 1″ Curling Iron, $19.99

The best budget curling iron

For $20, you can’t beat the price of Conair’s Ceramic Curling Iron. “It definitely competes with a professional lookalike that’s a much higher price,” Keasling adds.

Abramite also recommends this curling iron as it “gives you 30 multiple heat settings with a turbo button for an instant heat boost when needed.”

12. Bed Head Curlipops 1″ Tourmaline Ceramic Styling Iron, $29.99

Another great budget curling iron

Though not as much of a steal as Conair’s model, Bed Head’s Styling Iron is just $30 and comes with a heat-protecting glove too, which none of us are complaining about. Plus, it’s one of Keasling’s favorites.

13. Trademark Beauty Babe Waves Three-Barrel Curling Iron, $59

The best curling iron for beach waves

Similar to the brand’s interchangeable iron, the Beauty Babe model creates sought-after beach waves, per Abramite. “It makes crease-free waves with this easy-to-handle jumbo iron,” she notes. “Press from section to section on long hair for perfect beach waves every time.”

14. Gisou Curling Tool, $129

The best curling iron for versatile styling

Gisou’s Curling Tool is just as good as its critically acclaimed Honey-Infused Hair Oil ($87) and its limited edition, so it’s best to pick it up ASAP.

“I recommend the Gisou Curling Tool for those of you who want a bit more styling customization,” Solares said. “You’ll notice that this tool does not have a clamp like the others; I love this because it gives an experienced user the opportunity to customize the curl, using their free hand to style the ends of the curls as desired.”

15. Bio Ionic Long Barrel Curling Iron, $140

The best curling iron for thick hair

“When dealing with thick hair, nothing beats the Bio Ionic Long Barrel Curling Iron,” Keasling said. “Pair this with the Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Iron Smoother Defrizzing Leave-In Spray ($21) to tackle the thickest of hair and protect your curls from frizz.”

Interestingly, Bio Ionic boasts moisturizing heat technology for healthier styling.

16. T3 SinglePass Curl 1″ Professional Ceramic Curling Iron, $149.99

The best curling iron for thin hair

According to Abramite, T3’s SinglePass “keeps unnecessary heat off fine hair by protecting it with this ceramic iron that gets results in just one pass.” Much like its name, too.

But, for a value-packed option, consider the brand’s interchangeable curling iron Solares recommends above.

Best Curling Wands

1. BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Curling Wand, $69.99

A hair expert’s favorite curling wand

Much like the brand’s curling iron (which is also a favorite in this edit), its wand is a premium beauty offering on Amazon and is one of Abramite’s sworn-in favorites.

“It dips and tapers in the middle for multiple curl options and sizes,” she explains. “It’s effective for natural-looking curls with variety in shape.”

2. L’ange Le Cinq Blush Curling Wand Set, $150

A hair expert’s favorite curling wand

“With one base and five attachments, you can’t go wrong with this wand,” per Keasling. “The versatility is endless.” Plus, its titanium barrel provides fast and even heat distribution and the set comes with a leather roll-up pouch for storage and a heat-protecting glove for safety.

We also enjoy the brand’s Le Reve Straightener ($109) if you’re seeking one with a thick plate that’ll offer fuller-looking, pin-straight hair.

3. Conair InfinitiPro Tourmaline Ceramic 1″ to 1.5″ Curling Wand, $19.99

The best budget curling wand

For $20, why not pick up Conair’s InfinitiPro Curling Wand? It has the perfect middle-of-the-road barrel, too, and is adored by Abramite.

“This wand heats up to 400° with a tapered barrel from 1” to 1.5” for a variety of sizes and comes with a glove for a great budget buy,” she notes.

Plus, since this tool is made with tourmaline, “more negative ions will be produced for extra smoothness, shine boost and hydration for all hair types,” per Abramite.

4. L’ange Le Perle Bubble Wand, $109

The best bubble curling wand

“The L’Ange Le Perle Bubble Wand is my fave!” Keasling declares. “This rockstar wand creates beautiful bouncy voluminous curls.”

She recommends pairing it with your favorite dry texture spray to really pump up the volume, too.