Those fine, poker straight, gorgeous locks of yours may make you the envy of your friends. That is until it comes time to curl them. Then it’s another story.
No matter how much coaxing, crying, or complaining you do the results are ALWAYS the same.
Even if you do get the desired results they often don’t last.
Thinking it’s the tool you can hit Google in search of the best curling iron for fine hair. Surely there must be some surefire styling tool that’s up to the task? But with all the choices how do you decide?
That’s our cue!
By time you’re done here you should have a good idea of techniques to try – yeah it’s not always the fault of iron.
Plus you’ll have some solid picks you might want to take a closer look at if your heart is set on a new curler.
Because pulling off curls that last, even if your hair is straight and fine, isn’t exactly Mission Impossible. Or at least shouldn’t be. You just need some little known tips and useful product comparisons which is what you’ll find.
Quick Section Navigation
- Features Q&A: Nice to Have or Must Have?
- 7 How-Tos No One Ever Told You For Creating Perfect Curls
- How to Make Fine Hair Hold a Curl
- Why Not Check Out These Two Highly Regarded Iron Options
Features Q&A: Nice to Have or Must Have?
Regardless of hair type, judging by the questions asked on Amazon, Target or Ulta some features on curling irons have become almost must haves. So beyond barrel diameter and length you want dig a bit so you don’t miss out.
Given all the high quality choices it’s easy to see the reasons for the raised expectations.
Because if the Hot Tools curler you have your eye on doesn’t have what you’re looking for most likely there’s an equally fine option from BaByliss, Conair, or Remington that does.
But is it nice to have or must have?
Well, it all comes down in knowing what you need. So when trying to decide what you need vs what you want maybe it would be helpful to have some questions to get answers to before placing your order.
QUESTION: What’s on the barrel?
ANSWER: Bare metal is least expensive. But it’s also the riskiest – for the health of your hair.
Which is why most favor having something in ceramic or tourmaline coating the barrel.
Ceramic coatings offer the advantage of steady consistent heat distributed the length of the barrel.
In the case of tourmaline negative ions cut down the frizz by calming down the cuticles.
Obviously only you can decide whether this is must have or nice to have. Most put it on the first list however.
QUESTION: Can the temp be set to be just right?
ANSWER: Not to go all Goldilocks on you but curling iron success can sometimes come down to being able to set the heat over a wide temperature range that can be fine-tuned enough for your specific texture.
In other words if your only options are only on or off that doesn’t leave you much leeway to calibrate the iron to a temperature that works best with your hair type.
But going to the other extreme of too many choices isn’t necessarily that much better. Or that much more useful.
Oh and what’s just right?
The site TotalBeauty.com suggests lower temps around 200 degrees F for fine hair. Something between 200-300 F for thicker or coarser strands – 350 is a good starting point there.
Just don’t let the dial setting veer into the red zone or 400 F degrees as that’s simply too hot.
QUESTION: Is a long cord important to you?
ANSWER: Might be since there is nothing like being tethered right next to an outlet when in a rush to get your locks all curled up. To minimize that frustration many models now come equipped with an 8 foot cord. More and more I’m noticing that’s kinda standard. To make it better still a swivel end is included so you don’t get tangled up in all that added length.
QUESTION: Is auto shut off more than a nice to have?
ANSWER: It may be if you tend to forget to turn such things off as your stove, styling tools or heating pads.
That would make auto shut off more than just a convenience feature and more of a life saver.
It can also help avoid that panicked feeling when running thru any mental checklist as you approach the exit ramp for work that leaves you wondering if you really did turn off the curler.
Although it’s always smart to unplug such styling tools when you’re finished auto shut off can give you extra peace of mind that your house will not be reduced to smoldering cinder due to your forgetfulness.
QUESTION: Are heat resistant gloves really optional?
ANSWER: Yeah do you need a glove or have you developed asbestos fingers that are practically immune to high heat? This is all the more important depending on the size of the cool tip. Or if there is even a functional cool tip to grab onto when using your tool of choice.
QUESTION: Travel out of the country much?
ANSWER: If so dual voltage capability would be a must have. As instyle.com points out it can be hard to style your frazzled mane if your travel iron has a meltdown the day after you unpack. Dual voltage appliances would help you avoid all that unpleasantness.
QUESTION: Does it really matter how fast the tool hits operating temps?
ANSWER: It might if a microwave seem like a slow cooker to you?
In that case you’ll want to ferret out how fast the tool heats up. Nothing worse than hitting crunch time only to discover you didn’t plug the device in and now have to wait for the darn iron to heat up.
Having clarified some of what you might want to watch for perfect curls require more than the perfect styling tool. That’s why we have put together this quick list of hacks you may find useful.
7 How-Tos No One Ever Told You For Creating Perfect Curls
Sitting in your stylists chair doesn’t it seem like OMG curls fall off the iron effortlessly at times?
Yet at home it’s like your baby fine hair is allergic to curls.
Your strands don’t naturally take to texture.
It’s almost like your locks have a strong desire to run and hide from styling tools. Crazy. Which also means too often you have to sweet-talk, plead, or threaten with scissors almost to get anything close the results you seek.
What’s up with that?
Hey, no one promised trying to live the curly life with straight fine hair was going to be easy.
Still fact is the curls your iron generates often comes down understanding the best techniques and approaches to use. And that’s on you – not your mane.
Luckily it isn’t hard. It all comes down to understanding a few basics.
So let’s see if we can’t clear up some common misunderstandings.
Not understanding where you want to first start curling matters.
This might be a big tip so please pay attention. You see some will start clamping from the ends and roll the iron up to the roots. That’s never a good idea. Much better to work your way down to the tips.
And the best place to start is generally about eye level. But if that doesn’t produce long lasting curls for you then what Seventeen magazine and others have pointed out just might. The rule seems to be “the closer to the root you start your curl, the longer it will last.”
So if you usually start mid shaft or like eye level or lower see if curling closer to the roots helps you get curls that hold longer.
Not understanding how much hair you curl at one go matters.
Another reason for droopy curls is you’re curling too much hair at a time. Try splitting your hair into smaller, one inch sections to see if that produces the results you seek.
Yes it may take longer. But if the tousled tendrils last longer isn’t it time well spent?
Not understanding how you hold the iron affects the final product.
In case you didn’t get the email if you hold the iron more horizontally you’ll end up with tighter curls. If loose and lanky curls are more what you want, going at your hair with the iron more vertical is the way to go.
Not understanding how long to leave your strands on the barrel.
10 seconds. Maybe less. With an emphasis on using only enough heat to style your tresses without damaging them. That means starting at around 250 degrees F and going up from there depending on the results.
Not understanding what to do with the ends.
It’s simple. Redken.com suggests if more bohemian, beachy waves are what you have in mind then don’t curl ends. If a more finished or polished curl is the goal then carefully wrap the ends around the barrel to help them get their curl on.
Not understanding how to clamp to avoid creating creases.
Too many make the mistake of clamping the clip on their hair too soon.
Instead try not to release it until you are ready to start to turning the tool. Then gently clamp as you rotate the iron.
No one says you ever have to clamp down your hair hard against the barrel either.
Yeah, this may take some practice. But soon enough it will be second nature to you as will crease-less curls.
Not understanding your curl may need time to set.
This is probably the most important point.
While the curls are hot off the iron, coil them up and clip them against your head to let them cool as you work the rest of your hair. If needed, blast each with a little strong hold hair spray to help seal the deal.
Then as Allure magazine says, leave them alone for maybe 15 minutes or longer. This gives the curl plenty of time to set.
Beyond that here’s a little bit more about …
How to Make Fine Hair Hold a Curl
Sometimes what determines how well curls hold happens before you plug the curler in.
Yeah, prep matters.
In other words the outcome often has nothing to do with the brand name found on the iron. Or the array of nifty features it offers. But it’s more dependent on what the person holding the tool knows about hair care. Fine hair in particular can come down to all the little things that end up making a big difference in your fine hair.
For instance most of us eventually figure out fine hair curls hold best with day old hair. Because believe it or not your mane can be too healthy, too clean or too well conditioned to hold a curl decently.
Yeah any of that results in smooth shiny strands which aren’t ideal for styling. So you either want to start with 2nd day hair or rough things up with product first.
TeenVogue seconds this use of products. They suggest such a cocktail adds some substance to your fine locks which can help that much more. For instance volumizing dry shampoo can work double duty – sop up any excess 2nd day hair oils, if that’s a worry, plus add some grit.
Styling mousse would be another good move. Plumper strands always hold curls better.
While one more secret weapon you could turn to is a little curl enhancing spray. One popular option to try would be something like TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier.
One final and simple fix is to skip the conditioning step entirely on days you plan on curling but have to shampoo – lathering up with a volumizing cleanser if possible.
Now that your armed and dangerous with more about techniques and products that might help those fine locks better hold a curl …
Why Not Check Out These Two Highly Regarded Options
xtava 5 in 1 Professional Curling Wand
Anyone craving curling flexibility has to love this curling 5 in 1 curling iron package from Xtava. With three barrel sizes, three quarter inch, 1 inch and one and a quarter inch you can create pretty much any curl type you wish. Plus there are two tapered wands. All interchangeable. So from tight ringlets to big voluminous waves or anything in between you can do it with this “system”.
It also checks many of the boxes of desirable features. As you now know ceramic tourmaline barrels offer even heat which in this case is produced from 9 heat settings.
There are many mentions of how the tool heats up quickly. Comes with a digital readout too so you know exactly how much heat you’re strands are being exposed to.
It also has a 60 minute auto shut off and dual voltage making it great if you have overseas travel plans.
Know that it does lack a cool tip but the thermal glove might offset that some. And some reported how switching from barrel to barrel wasn’t exactly obvious – but the video below shows how easy that is actually.
Regardless there’s a lot to like here for the money. Which may be why it’s hard to find users with much to quibble about.
If you need to see more here’s a short video that shows what you get.
Just note that the product has been updated some since this video was uploaded. Thermal gloves come standard issue now and there are nine heat settings.
Then let’s look at the second option.
Anjou 1 inch Curling Iron
Admittedly this is a brand I hadn’t heard much from. Or if you have heard of them it’s more for their skin care line than styling tools. But this lightweight curler seems to have winner written all over it.
As with all ceramic coated curling irons you should expect consistent even heating.
Looks too like they got the word that long cords are in. 8 feet should be plenty long enough.
Auto turn off after 30 minutes is comforting.
While your fingers should appreciate the cool tip but just in case a heat resistant glove to shield your hand and fingers.
What I’d call super fast heat up (60 seconds) makes for a tool you’ll be able to depend on when seconds count. Oh and the power button is not easy to accidently shut off.
On the downside while the tool is of a dual voltage designed the plug would require and adapter for use outside the US.
Also you’ll have to reset the heat setting each use because there is no memory function which can be a bit of a pain.