Curling Irons

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Those of us in search of volume and waves often use a curling iron in our daily hair regimen. We take look at some curling irons to see if any one can give us more good hair days than another.

The Basics

  • The barrel size is an important factor to consider. Sizes range from ¾ of an inch to 1½. The wide the cylinder the larger the curl. Smaller cylinders create tighter, ringlet-like curls.

  • Look for an iron with a variety of heat settings for more control and adjustability for your hair type. 

  • Curling irons are typically made out of metal or ceramic:

    • Metal is less expensive, but are heavier and take longer to heat up. Often hair sticks to metal, so look for gold-plated or Teflon-plated options rather than plain.

    • Ceramic-coated barrels heat up faster and provide a smooth, frizz-free finish, even though they’re typically more expensive.

Other Considerations

  • A stand (built-in or separate) provides a worry-free holder during heat-up.

  • Automatic shut-off is another great worry-free feature.

  • A cord that swivels where it attaches prevents it from becoming tangled.

  • A ready light is a handy temperature indication feature.

  • Some barrels are brushes instead of tongs, or some irons come with a brush attachment. Brushes can add a light amount body.

  • If you travel a lot, consider a cordless iron, but be sure to check airline regulations for bringing butane or other fuel sources on board.


We tested these different curling irons on women with different hair types to see how they each worked:

  • Conair spiral curler (ceramic barrel): $15.99
  • Revlon (one-inch ceramic barrel): $19.99
  • Braun (cordless): $33.99
  • Hot Tools (metal barrel): $90

Curl Test

Results varied mostly by hair type: each appliance curled differently.

  • Hot Tools reached high temperatures (up to 220°F) so it was good for otherwise uncurlable hair, however some found it too hot for their hair type, resulting in frizz.

  • The Conair Spiral curler was a hit with testers sporting already wavy hair.

  • The Revlon with its big barrel provided a lot of body and a smooth finish.

  • The cordless convenience of the Braun with its brush attachment was also popular.


We went with the one-inch ceramic barrel iron by Revlon for its high success rate for good hair days. The Braun receives honourable mention for its cordless convenience.



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  • Laura Waters

    Karmin is the best 😉