If you have fine hair, chances are you've spent a considerable amount of time wishing you had thicker, more luxurious locks.
Fine hair has a tendency to fall flat and lack volume. Curling your hair is one way to add body to your fine hair, but it's imperative that you find the right curling iron.
We've put together a definitive guide to help you choose the best curling iron for fine hair.
Why do I need a different kind of curling iron?
Fine hair is easy to damage
Fine hair is characterized by very thin individual strands of hair. These thin strands are extremely susceptible to heat damage. Overexposure to heat can fry thin hair, causing split ends and leaving hair feeling straw-like.
When you have fine hair, it's important to choose a curling iron with a wide range of heat settings so that you're not stuck at a high temperature.
It can be hard for fine hair to hold a curl
Many women with fine hair complain that their hair doesn't hold a curl well. It often falls flat after just a few hours, no matter how much hairspray they dump in it.
The right curling iron will not only give you gorgeous locks without damage, but it will leave long-lasting curls even in fine hair.
What to look for
While you might think words like "tourmaline" and "ceramic" are just fancy buzzwords, these technologies make a significant difference in the quality of a curling iron. The material that makes up the iron's barrel is extremely important.
Tourmaline is a semi-precious mineral that interacts with the iron's ionic technology to eliminate static and frizz. Ceramic is a composite material that preserves your hair's moisture by emitting non-damaging infrared heat.
Both of these materials evenly distribute infrared heat throughout each strand of hair. They also seal the hair cuticle for a long-lasting, frizz-free style with minimal damage.
To avoid damage and breakage, fine hair shouldn't be exposed to extremely high heat. Look for an iron with a range of settings so that you can lower the temperature as needed.
Consider starting at the lowest temperature and increasing if necessary. Most people with fine hair find that a temperature between 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable for curling without causing damage.
The smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl. If you want tight, spiral curls, you'll want to use an iron around 3/4". Loose beachy waves can be achieved with larger barrels up to 1 1/2".
In general, since fine hair often struggles to hold a curl, smaller barrels are more effective. If you want loose waves, try one that falls right in the middle, around 1" or so.
Some barrels are tapered, meaning the base starts out wider and narrows toward the tip. This creates a natural-looking curl, and many women with difficult-to-curl hair find that a tapered barrel helps their hair hold a curl better.
Clip vs. no clip
Traditional curling irons have a clip that is used to hold the hair in place while curling. Curling wands typically don't have any clip; instead, the user holds the end of the hair and wraps it around the wand to get a curl.
Some find irons easier to use since the clip keeps hair in place. Others prefer the "wrap and go" that a wand allows. In the end, it's just a matter of preference.
Most of us have accidentally burned ourselves with a heat styling tool at one point or another. Some irons have additional safety features to prevent burning.
A "cool tip" is a common feature. This is just a plastic tip on the end of the barrel that doesn't heat up like the rest of the barrel, so you can touch the end without burning yourself.
Since curling wands typically have no clip, many come with a heat-protectant glove to be used on the hand that holds the hair. It's important to note that these gloves will not completely stop you from being burnt if you touch the barrel for too long.
It's fairly common for curling irons to have a auto-off feature, so you never have to worry about whether you turned it off before you left the house.
Best Way To Use A Curling Iron
- Bobby pins or metal alligator clips
How to curl your hair
Begin by separating the hair into at least 2-3 sections.
Grab a two-inch section of hair at the front and wrap it around the barrel, using the clip if it has one. Curl this section away from your face.
After you release the curl, clip it to your head with a bobby pin or metal clip. This will allow the hair to cool and set completely, helping them to last longer.
Move on to the next two-inch section, curling in the opposite direction of the first. Repeat until you have finished each section.
When all the curls are pinned to the top of your head, use hair spray all over. Allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before removing the clips.
Our top 5 picks
CHI Pro Auto Rotating 1" Ceramic Curling Iron
Hair gurus everywhere swear by CHI's revolutionary heat styling tools and products. Their 1" rotating curling iron makes quick work of curling fine hair while alleviating wrist strain and discomfort.
The adjustable heat settings allow you to choose the right heat for your hair to prevent damage. An LCD screen displays your chosen temperature, with a max heat setting of 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even users with hard-to-curl hair were able to achieve long-lasting curls with this curling iron. It's best used with a hairspray to help the curls maintain their hold.
- The rotating barrel cuts styling time nearly in half while providing gorgeous curls.
- Ceramic technology provides long-lasting curls with no frizz and minimal damage.
- Adjustable heat settings allow you to choose the right temperature for your hair, minimizing damage on fine hair.
- The LCD screen is convenient and easy to read.
- It only takes 30 seconds to heat up, so you can plug it in and start curling right away.
- It takes some practice to get used to using this curling iron.
- The clip to hold the hair in place is short and may be troublesome for those with longer hair.
- As with many CHI products, it comes at a high price point.
Remington T|Studio Salon Collection Pearl Digital Ceramic Curling Wand
The tapered barrel of the Remington T|Studio curling wand helps to create beautiful, natural-looking curls.
It's available in two sizes: 1/2" to 1" and 1" to 1 1/2". The smaller barrel is ideal for tighter spiral curls while, the larger creates looser beachy waves.
An exclusive ceramic pearl coating on the barrel eliminates frizz for healthy, shiny curls that last even in hard-to-curl hair.
It heats to 410 degrees Fahrenheit in only 30 seconds. Temperature is displayed on an LCD and can be adjusted with small buttons located near the power button.
- The pearl ceramic coating minimizes frizz and damage for silky smooth curls.
- A tapered barrel helps create long-lasting, natural-looking curls even on fine hair.
- For safety, a heat-protectant glove is included. The curling iron is also made with a 60-minute auto shutoff feature.
- It's significantly more affordable than many other curling irons on the market today.
- The ultra-smooth surface sometimes causes hair to slip out of place.
- It can be difficult to use for those who are used to curling irons with a clip. Always be sure to use the included heat protectant glove to prevent burns.
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
Cutting-edge nano titanium technology makes the BaBylissPro curling iron a serious contender for anyone who wants silky-smooth, long-lasting curls.
The infrared heat provided by the titanium ions penetrates the hair shaft to eliminate frizz.
It's available in four sizes, from 3/4" to 1 1/2", so you can achieve virtually any look.
The clip holds hair in place without crimping, so you can achieve a crimp-free look. A convenient 360-degree swivel cord makes it easy to maneuver the iron around your whole head.
- Curls are left silky smooth and free of frizz thanks to its nano titanium technology.
- The range of available sizes allows you to choose the best size for the curls you want to achieve, whether you like tight ringlets or loose waves.
- It creates long-lasting, healthy curls even on very fine hard-to-curl hair.
- Convenient 360-degree swivel cord.
- More affordable than many other irons on the market.
- The non-heat tip is very short and doesn't provide much room to hold the end of the iron safely.
- Some users found that the clip was slightly too loose and didn't hold the hair in place.
- It doesn't have any auto-off feature.
Olaxer EB201 Digital Ceramic Curling Wand with Clipper
Olaxer's EB201 model is a hybrid between a traditional curling iron and a curling wand.
Most wands have tapered barrels with no clip; this wand has a tapered barrel but also has a small clip at the base to keep hair in place. The barrel is 1 1/2" at the base and tapers to 1" at the tip.
With a temperature range of 320 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit, you can choose the heat that works best for your hair while causing the least damage. It heats up in just 30 seconds.
The temperature is displayed on an LCD screen and can be adjusted easily with the buttons, or locked to avoid accidentally changing the temperature while using.
- Nano ceramic technology creates smooth, long-lasting curls.
- The small clip keeps hair in place while curling and prevents slippage.
- It heats up in just 30 seconds.
- It's one of the most affordable on our list.
- An auto-off feature will turn off the iron after 30 minutes of no use.
- No other sizes are currently available; some users wanted looser waves than this created.
- The ceramic coating under the clip tends to wear away over time and may require the unit to be replaced.
- Some users didn't like that the clip was so short, and preferred a traditional curling iron clip.
xtava Satin Wave 5-in-1 Curling Iron and Wand Set
If you like to change up your style on a regular basis, jumping from tight ringlets to loose beachy waves, you'll love the xtava 5-in-1 curling set.
It comes with 5 different attachments, each of which creates a unique look. 2 of the attachments are wands with no clip; the other 3 are curling irons with clips.
With 22 different heat settings, you can adjust the heat for your hair type. Xtava recommends sticking between 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit for fine hair to minimize damage.
There is no cool tip on any of the attachments, which maximizes surface area but can take some adjustment to prevent burning yourself.
A heat protectant glove is included and should be used anytime you use this tool. The temperature is displayed on an LCD.
- With 5 different attachments, it's the most versatile product on our list.
- The ceramic tourmaline barrels provide even, healthy heat.
- 60-minute auto-off function for safety.
- Since there is no cool tip to prevent burning, it can be difficult to use. Always use a safety glove.
- The attachments can be difficult to remove.
- Over time, the attachments can become corrupted and no longer work.
Combining superior ceramic technology with a unique rotating barrel for easy styling, the CHI Pro rotating curling iron is our top pick for fine hair.
It outshines the competition by creating smooth, long-lasting curls even in difficult-to-style hair.
Users across the board raved about how easy it was to use, saying it cut their styling time almost in half. That combined with its quick heat-up time of 30 seconds make it the perfect pick for those on-the-go mornings.