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Hair Styling Irons Shopping Guide
With natural hair, every morning is a surprise hairdo. Are you going to have curls that look like they've been struck by electricity? Are you going to have a mysterious, creased wave that looks like pleated pants? While we're grateful for those natural waves, curls, or straight strands, it's also nice to know exactly how your hair will be looking for the day.
Hair styling irons have come a long way in the fashion industry. Lucky for us, we don't have to get the clothes iron out just for that straight-hair look. We can forget about those insane curling techniques too, which are both expensive and simply ridiculous.
Now we have portable, easy-to-use hair styling irons that can be used anywhere at almost any time. Whether you're an on-the-go professional or just want to spend the day splurging on yourself, hair styling irons are the tools you can easily add to your beauty toolkit.
Picking out a curling iron that's right for your hair should be fun and simple. After all, you're choosing the exact curl that will make your hair stand out the way you want it to.
When looking for a new curling iron, you'll find out that each one is a certain barrel size, a different heating material, and a different shape. Your choice will depend on the specific look you're going for, which can be exciting and daunting all at the same time.
Since curling irons are distributing heat to your hair, you want to make sure they're coated in a material that gets the job done.
For fine hair, ceramic is an inexpensive, easy-to-find option. Since it doesn't reach intolerable temperatures, it won't commit heat crimes against your hair. Titanium barrels can get paired up with thicker hair since it gets consistently hot. For the fancy, pinkies-up, thick hair folks, you can get a gold-plated curling iron that lasts longer and distributes a high amount of heat while in use.
Tourmaline is a common material used in curling irons, and you might see it as a hybrid with ceramic to make it suitable for more hair types than just thick hair. Alone, tourmaline works best for thicker hair thanks to its infrared technology that counteracts frizz.
Use the type of your hair as well as the kind of curl you want to determine the best barrel size of your curling iron. Luckily, barrel sizing is pretty intuitive: The smaller the ringlets that you're wanting, the smaller the barrel size. Bigger barrel sizes are better for longer hair, while smaller barrel sizes work best for shorter hair.
As for types of hair, smaller barrel sizes work better for fine hair, while thicker hair works best with bigger barrel sizes.
Want a styling iron that isn't so particular about hair type or length? A one-inch barrel size is the most universal choice and will give you the waves or curls you want on whatever type of hair you have.
Similar to barrel size, the heat settings all depend on the type of hair you have. Thin or chemically treated hair can't deal with higher heat, so you won't need to shop for a high-heat pick.
For thick, coarse, or curly hair, hit those strands with higher heat and your hair should be able to handle it.
Curling Iron Shapes and Clamp Types
The last variance you'll see between curling irons is their shape. You'll be able to find a wand, clamp, conical shape, and more. This all depends on the shape of the curls you're looking for, as well as your budget. Some are more advanced, while others are perfect for beginners. This all depends on your preference and your know-how with curling irons.
The same heating principles used for curling irons should be applied to flat irons. So, ceramic for thick hair, titanium and higher heat settings for thick hair, etc.
Because you're looking to do the opposite of a curling iron, you'll be looking at different plate shapes to get the look you want. For curlier hair, you'll want a plate that's wider. This should cut down the time you're spending putting each section of hair in the iron since you'll be able to straighten more hair at a time.
If you'll be tackling frizzy hair, tourmaline can once again come in handy due to its infrared technology and ability to counteract those crazy frizz ions.
One feature that can easily be overlooked with a straightener is its edge.
A rounded edge gives your straightener a little more versatility, allowing you to use it to add a curl or two into your hairstyle without whipping out a curling iron. This type of edge is also ideal for fine or damaged hair since it allows your hair to flow off the iron rather than snagging on any flat corners.
Straight edges allow for a stricter straightening, so if you're wanting your flat iron to really straighten out those tricky curls, a flat, straight edge is ideal.
Traveling With Your Styling Irons
Whether you're looking for a flat iron or curling iron, you'll likely be taking it with you when you're traveling. After all, you've gotta be Instagram-worthy when in front of the Eiffel Tower.
You might see that a specific iron has dual voltage capabilities, which means it can convert any foreign electricity source into the appropriate power for its use. In other words, you can easily plug it into a wall in other countries (but make sure you do have an adapter, though).
Without a dual voltage capability, you can still take your iron with you, but you'll need a power converter, along with an adapter. You can easily find an adapter and converter at an electronics store.
Remember this for your next international business meeting, vacation, or whatever else brings you to another country with different outlet types.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of curling or flat iron you need, check out our top iron picks and start getting that perfect wave or straight-hair look today!
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