How Do I Choose the Best Professional Curling Iron?

Amanda R. Bell

Choosing the best professional curling iron depends largely on your hair type and the size of the barrel. A quality professional curling iron will have numerous temperature options and be made of solid ceramic with added tourmaline. There are also a variety of different barrel types from which to choose including spring, clipless, spiral, and multiple barrels.

A curling iron with a smaller barrel is ideal for creating small, tight curls.
A curling iron with a smaller barrel is ideal for creating small, tight curls.

The length and thickness of your hair is the main determining factor in the size of professional curling iron you choose. If your hair is thin or short, a smaller size barrel will likely be best. Those with thicker or longer hair will typically find a larger barrel to be more suitable to their needs. Professional curling iron barrels range from less than a 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) to 2 inches (5.08 centimeters). In most cases, smaller barrels produce tighter, spiral curls while larger barrels are capable of creating waves or adding volume.

The best professional curling irons are made of ceramic and tourmaline.
The best professional curling irons are made of ceramic and tourmaline.

Temperature control is key when choosing a professional curling iron. When comparing models, choose one that allows you to set the temperature by degrees and is capable of reaching high temperatures. A curling iron with only low, medium, and high options will likely not retain heat well and may increase the risk of damage to your hair. This will also allow you to find the lowest heat setting that will still curl your hair, thereby reducing the amount of damage high heat can do to delicate strands.

Professional curling irons are usually made from solid ceramic. Ceramic is well known for its ability to evenly and gently transfer heat, thus limiting the damage it does to your hair. Metal or ceramic plated curling irons can fry your hair and in so doing increase breakage and frizz while decreasing shine. For those with very frizzy or hard-to-curl hair, a solid ceramic professional curling iron with added tourmaline may be a good option because the tourmaline produces negative ions when heated; this can reduce frizz and increase shine.

Curling irons of the professional variety come with several different barrel styles. The spring version, which includes a movable grip on the barrel, is the most common. This style, however, does tend to create crimps in the hair where the clamp rests.

In most instances, a clipless salon curling iron is preferred. With this style, the hair is wrapped around the barrel by hand, thereby eliminating the need for a clip; this type is best used with gloves to avoid burning. For tighter spiral curls, a barrel with indentations in a spiral pattern may be best because this provides even heating throughout the hair which is essential for tight curls. A double or triple barrel curling iron is often best for thick hair or for those looking to create waves.

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Discussion Comments


Thank you for your review. It was really helpful! I've had the opportunity to try many different curling iron brands and the one that best works for me is the Karmin Salon Pro Clipless Tourmaline Curling Iron.

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