Curling your hair should not be a hassle; the whole process should be just as effortless as it can be, where you can style your hair to your heart’s content and be done with it. You can though, by using proper tools and the right curling iron size so you don’t have to waste time making adjustments while styling. The key is to find the right curling iron size, with the style that you always wanted.
In fact, choosing the right size can be the most important part in the whole styling process, mainly the barrel size of the iron, in relation with hair length and curls. And generally, the barrel size chosen is directly proportional to the hair length, otherwise, it won’t be effective and takes a lot of time.
As a general guide, long hairs will do with large barrels ranging from 1.25 inches to 2 inches while short hairs need short barrels for their curling iron, ranging from 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch or 3/4 inch. The exception is with medium length hair as it can work with any barrel size (yay). As a tip, the one-inch barrel is what you need for a start as it’s suitable for any hair length.
Now we get the basics out of the way, we dive down into the explanation of each barrel size, an example of curling iron that we curated from our research.
The Different Size Of Curling Irons
This barrel size is made for creating full kinky, spiral curls as well as a perfect iron for anyone having either thin, short, or shoulder-length hair (in no particular order). The 3.8-inch size adds volume to thin and sparse hairs but the same effect can’t be said for anyone that already have a healthy, thick, and luscious curls as it’d make your whole hair in a mess.
Keep in mind, fora small barrels size curling iron like this one, it’s not intended to use fully for long hair types unless you plan to use it as a regular touch-up.
We love Helen of Troy 1538 Spring Curling Iron as it’s exactly what anyone with spiral and small curls needed. The main component – the barrel – is made with triple-plated chrome and for safety measure, the iron comes with a cool tip for protection while styling and a built-in safety stand when not in use.
The heating mechanism in this curling iron is considered to be superior with its lifetime heating element control that the whole styling process is a breeze.
Users love this curling iron as it not only adds volume and keep the curls in shape and tames any frizzy hair; it also gives a natural bouncy effect to your whole look.
Bigger size than 3/8 inch, this one is ideal if you have a straight hair and love to have some springy curls for a change with a healthy bounce and volume, and this size is just perfect. If you have a naturally springy hair, this size also is just right for you to use it as a touch-up.
Gold ‘N Hot Professional Spring-Grip Curling Iron is what you need. The curling iron measures at four inches, a clamp-release style that holds locks in place when styling and a cool tip for safety measure.
This model is indeed a professional; it heats up rather quickly that you can style your hair in a quick minute. Keep in mind to avoid the temperature gets too hot with adjustment ring attached at the handle unless you want to fry your hair.
This barrel size is suitable for both thin and thick hair, either straight or curls, but the length is more specific to a medium/shoulder-length. It will give you looser, natural-looking curls — similar to what Carrie Bradshaw has in Sex and the City — compared with other short size barrels. And we think that PARWIN PRO Curling Iron is the perfect tool for the job.
One of the features that we love in this model is their PTC Heating Hair mechanism that creates an even, constant heating temperature for a thorough styling covering all the bases. This also serves as a safety measure, as it prevents your hair from getting fried unnecessarily based on what we see are the most common accidents when using hot tools for the hair.
And yes, the curling iron heats up quickly for speedy styling, thanks to the ceramic coating for quick and consistent heat for a long-lasting style. The ceramic coating also means that your hair is unlikely to get snatched during styling, so there’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Considered to be the standard of all curling irons, the one-inch barrel is suitable for all types of hair and to create most types of curls that we think is the must-have if you want to start to committing to style and curl your hair on a regular basis.
Create loose beachy waves, uniform curls flipped ends or polished ala vintage curls, the styles are endless with this go-to size. And we think PHOEBE Curling Iron Brush is exactly what you need.
PHOEBE Curling Iron Brush works as a multifunctional hair tool – you can use it to straighten, to curl, or even as regular hair brush for your hair. Come with a Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Technology, this feature will protect your hair from heat damage to the tresses, while giving your hair the curl that you always wanted.
The curling iron (or hair straightener or hairbrush for that matter) comes with an adjustable temperature that suitable for all hair types and textures, ranging from 265F to 430 F. the tool heats up quickly in mere 30 seconds and you can get straight to style your hair.
And we love that this curling iron comes with LCD display that you can choose which temperature and ode suits for your hair (there’s always a chance it’ll be slightly different in each individual.), plus with an automatic shut off feature after 3 seconds that we think it’s a good safety measure (just press the on/off button to get it started again.).
And the best part is he curling iron comes with a dual voltage that you can use it anywhere; a feature that you need if you love using this curling iron and travels a lot.
1 1/4 Inch
The slightly bigger 1 1/4 inch barrel is excellent for shoulder-length hair and upwards. The size creates almost every type of waves and curls, although it’s more leaning to bigger-size ones. Unlike other sizes we reviewed above, this one does not add any volume to the hair so it’s suitable for thick hair types where you only need some heat to create some healthy curls.
Of all curling iron that we reviewed for this barrel size, Anjou Curling Iron is the most perfect all-around curling iron for being the most versatile and worth for every buck spent. The curling iron heats up in a matter of seconds and it’s suitable for all hair types and textures, covering a wide range of temperature from 200 °F up to 410 °F
Safety measures include an automatic shut off feature that starts after 30 minutes left unused, as well as a heat resistant glove provided for you to use (we do hope that if this model also comes with a safety stand, this curling iron is definitely a clear winner.).
1 1/2 Inch
If you have long and/or thick hair, fret not as you still can achieve healthy, bouncy curls that you desire. A 1 1/2 inch barrel size is what you need as it won’t add any additional volume, just the curls that your hair needs. Think beachy waves, voluminous curls, blowout waves, any style is possible with this type of curling iron.
Beast-Looking curling iron from CONAIR tops the list with its nano-tech, ion-tech, and extra smooth tourmaline ceramic surface to reduce frizz and taming the hair while creating healthy, shiny waves. The curling iron heats instantly at 400F and evenly for thorough styling, preventing from any damage/accident to your hair. The smooth coating from the ceramic also means your hair glides smoothly and evenly while styling, reducing any chances of accidental snagging (and not to mention the coat will be easy to clean off, especially from hair products and natural oil from the hair).
Precise heating temperature with settings in the LED display that you can select according to the style you want, instead of wondering and looking up to know for sure which temperature is suitable for your air, for a specific hairstyle.
If you’ve been dreaming off curls and waves but unable to do so as you have a rather long hair, a 2-inch barrel is what you need – the whole styling process gets easier and quicker as the barrel size is the largest is the savior to your hair. And why not do it in a luxurious setting, with a HOT TOOLS Professional 24k Gold curling iron?
Yes, this curling iron is definitely luxurious. The 24k-karat comes with a unique surface and a proprietary Pulse Technology for the iron to stay hot at an even temperature for you to curl your hair effortlessly an consistently. The gold plates surface also ensures your hair stays protected while giving them an extra shine. And the overall design of this curling iron gives an additional surface you can style more hair in one go, saving you time.
You can choose variable heat setting at the dial (up to 430 F) and this feature means all types and hair texture can benefit from this curling iron.