16 Stylist-Recommended Curling Irons for Effortless Curls and Waves

16 Best Curling Irons 2022 To Add Body and Bounce

Photographed by Micaiah Carter, Vogue, May 2021.

Of all the hair tools on the market, few are as polarizing as the curling iron. Choosing the best curling iron is just as important as learning how to use one properly—whether you’re creating subtle waves, tight coils, or flatiron curls.

“What makes a great curling iron is heat-protecting technology, so that the hair isn’t burned or damaged, [as well as] ergonomic control so that it’s comfortable and practical for the user,” says celebrity hairstylist Erinn Courtney, who adds that high enough temperatures are key too.

Celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims, who counts Gabrielle Union, Regina King, and Kerry Washington as clients, shares guidance on choosing the right model for you: “To sum it up, go for a ceramic curler if you have hair that holds a curl easily or is fine and prone to damage. A titanium curling iron is better for coarse, thick, or curly hair.” According to Courtney, a ceramic barrel takes longer to heat up and heats hair from within, so it’s gentler on thin or damaged hair.

While both Sims and Courtney prefer traditional curling irons over wands or other tools, it’s worth exploring all the options available for your post-shampoo look. In fact, Courtney says that finding the most suitable iron is all about trial and error.

To help inform your buy, we’ve curated this edit of the best curling irons to add to your beauty arsenal.

Dyson Airwrap Styler

“I love the Dyson Airwrap Styler. It works like magic,” says Courtney. “It gives the bounciest curls and waves with so much body. I’ve never experienced heat damage using this iron.” The styler uses the brand’s airflow technology to attract and wrap the hair around the barrel to curl, wave, smooth, and dry without extreme heat—much like the coveted blow-dryer. Stay tuned for its next generation launching summer 2022.

T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Clip Barrel Curling Iron Set

The T3 Whirl Trio, the wand or clip barrel version, is another model acclaimed by the industry’s top stylists. Celebrity hairstylist Nikkia Nelson says it glides through the hair with ease: “The T3 curler comes with three barrel sizes [for] different size curls, which is super important when you don’t want to carry around a bagful of curling irons”—a convenience that celebrity hairstylist Mideyah Parker agrees with.

Harry Josh Pro Tools Travel Curling Iron 1.25”

On-the-go styling requires a tool that makes traveling that much easier, like the Harry Josh Pro Tools Travel Curling Iron, which is lightweight and features a ceramic tourmaline barrel that’s visibly shorter than traditional models. Even more: It heats up in only 30 seconds, with adjustable temperature settings from 325 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

Nelson also likes the BaBylissPRO curling irons, calling the temperature settings “phenomenal” in delivering an amazing curl. It’s made with a titanium barrel to heat the hair from within, creating everything from loose waves to tight curls.

Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver PRO 1

Invented by celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa, the Beachwaver is a rotating curling wand that’s particularly simple to use—especially for a novice. The tourmaline-infused, extra-long barrel can rotate to the left or right for glam waves, defined curls, and everything in between.

Drybar The Wrap Party Styling Wand

For a tool your stylist would use during your routine blowout appointment, consider the Drybar The Wrap Party Styling Wand. The professional wand features a no-slip barrel, which heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, notably to create the beachy waves of your dreams.

GHD Classic Curl – 1” Curling Iron

Those with color-treated hair should look to the GHD Classic Curl—a model designed to intensify hair color and create curls that last. The ceramic iron uses the brand’s Tri-zone technology to guarantee the perfect curling temperature of 365 degrees Fahrenheit, which celebrity hairstylist Graham Nation says “makes the hair easy to manipulate without overheating the hair” and maintain it across the entire barrel.