Curling Iron: Which One Do You Need?

If this is your first time choosing a curling iron, you may have a little bit difficulty settling on one. There are just so many options out there. That are available in different styles, shapes, and prices.

However, there is a way of making sure you get just what you want.

And that’s by determining the kind of curl you want. That’ll greatly help you in sifting through the endless options available.

But that might present another problem. What if you don’t plan to do a static curl? What if you like to change your hair curling style every week/month?

A Brief History of the Curling Tongs (or Curling Irons)

The Marcel Wave is a stylish hair wave that’s styled using a heated curling iron. The method/process was first invented in 1872 by Francois Marcel in France who was the first to introduce the electric flat iron.

Obviously, that’s where the name of the wave is derived from.

Also, as was usually the case with most inventors, the Curling Iron (which was used for the process itself) was called Marcel Curling Iron (in England) after the maker Marcel Grateau.

Curling Iron Handle Mechanisms

There are a few options here, each with its pros and cons…

Spring-Loaded Handle

This is the first of the many types of handles on curling irons you’ll come across.

Also, it is the most common for home use.

The clip is operated by a simple spring handle which is more user-friendly than the Marcel irons (below).

However, spring handles (especially on inexpensive models) are prone to breakage.

Also, they can be set too tight so that the clip clamps down on the hair too hard, leaving a visible mark where the hair was grasped.

This design is excellent for either pulling or lifting, which makes it easier to maneuver the curling iron.

It makes it easy to adjust and use in both extended and retracted positions.


New style curling ‘wands’ don’t have a clip to hold the hair in place. They’re simply a heated rod in a specific shape, in which you wrap the hair around.

These wands take a bit of getting used to because they are held differently than traditional curling irons.

Hold the tool at the base of the hair (near the scalp) with the barrel pointing downwards and wind the hair around the barrel, starting nearest the handle.

Most clipless irons come with a kevlar glove so that you can wrap the ends around the barrel of the iron for a finished looking curl.

Don’t worry too much about it though, the casual waves that are so hot right now are purposely not curled all the way to the ends.

These irons are perfect for creating that look.

There are a few manufacturers, but the best selection by far is the Enzo Milano collection. Of course, this doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there that you can choose from.

In fact, there are dozens of others you can choose from. And although they vary in quality, you can get a high-quality one (unless you have a limited budget).

Marcel handle

Named after the inventor of the curling iron back in 1890, Marcel Grateau.

These irons can be tricky to use on your own hair and are most often used by professional stylists in the salon.

Because there is no spring, the firmness with which you clamp down on the hair is completely controlled by you.

And because they can get extremely hot, any handle that provides a safe handle is highly welcomed by consumers.

That’s what this type of curling iron does. It provides complete control and an easy glide, thanks to its rotating mechanism.

This makes it possible to create amazing waves, flips, and spirals with ease.

The prices of these types vary from that of the other two types of handles. However, what should influence your choice is the application. Once you determine that, it shouldn’t be difficult to choose an appropriate model.

Styles of Curling Irons

It can be difficult to choose a curling iron, even if you already know what you want to do with it. Moreover, the different types see to different uses.

Typically, these tools created with barrels that come in different materials, diameters, and shapes.


When considering the size, you have to look at the diameter of the barrel as it determines how big the curling iron is.

The diameter starts from 0.5″ (1.3 cm), which is the smallest, up to 2″ (5.1 cm), the biggest.

The curling irons with bigger barrels are designed to provide shape and volume to a hairstyle while the smaller versions help in creating spiral curls or ringlets.

The small curling iron is great for short hairstyles with a tight curl. A larger one will create a more loose hairstyle and are typically suitable for medium to long hair.


Curling irons are created from ceramic, tourmaline, Teflon, or metal, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Tourmaline are a silicate. A type of metal that produces more negative ions than ceramic. And that’s basically why they’re better and more suitable for different hair types.

With the presence of tourmaline, the cuticle layer is locked up. This helps to bring out a smooth silky hair surface as hair moisture is sealed.

Maintaining moisture in the hair is very important. Not only does the tourmaline let hair moisture receive complete protection, but it also reveals the shining, color part of the hair. Isn’t that the real deal?

But ceramic isn’t bad. It’s also needed for better hair treatment.

Because they produce the highest amount of negative ions, tourmaline works better at eliminating +ve ions that hide beneath a frizzy, dry hair.

Teflon – ensures that hair slides around the iron smoothly and the product isn’t as likely to build upon the barrel.

Metals (i.e., gold, aluminum) – used for curling iron barrels due to their heat conducive qualities.

Titanium – notoriously strong but lightweight metal, perfect for hand tools of so many descriptions.


The shape of the barrel can come in a cylinder, cone, or reverse cone. Some have accessories like brushes while others come with double or triple barrels.

The cylinder model has a uniform curl, while the cone version has a loose scalp with the reverse cone having the opposite look.

Read: Does Clarifying Shampoo Remove Color?

Benefits of the Curling Iron

A curling iron comes with a host of benefits. Some of these are highlighted below:

  • They provide organic curls and can be used for achieving fullness and volume in the hair.
  • Some are suitable for long hairs, which helps to create a nice blend with your favorite styles.

Related: Hair Rollers for Men

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