Have you ever had a hair appointment where the stylist has curled your ends to perfection, only for your bouncy waves to drop out as soon as you step outside? Yep, we’ve all been there. If you’re not blessed with naturally curly or wavy hair, then sometimes the mere thought of turning your curling wand on can seem like such a chore. Here at Who What Wear, we know the importance of a quick and easy beauty routine. Let’s face it, none of us have hours to spend on our hair and makeup in the morning, so we’ve made it our mission to find the most efficient products out there to share with our readers.
When it comes to curling wands, we’ve all tested our fair share over the years, so we thought it was only right to put together our ultimate guide to the best tools out there for you to shop. These curling wands are easy to use, keep your waves in place, and won’t cost you a fortune. Intrigued? I thought so. Keep on scrolling for all the information you need, and get ready for your best hair yet…
First things first, which curling wand should you go for? This really depends on what result you want. Those of you who prefer a tight curl will want something with a really thin barrel, whereas those of you who want more voluminous waves will want to opt for a larger barrel. However, if you like beachy waves then you might want to try a waver which comes with three barrels to get that relaxed finish.
Once you’ve decided what sort of curling wand you want, it’s important to know what specifications to look for. I’ve outlined the key ones below:
Shape: As mentioned above, the first thing to consider is the shape. Most curling wands will come with an individual barrel, and larger barrel sizes will create larger curls and waves.
Heat: You also want to consider what heat settings your curling wand comes with. Those of you with thicker hair will benefit from higher heat settings, however it’s important to note that higher heat will mean more damage to the hair, so make sure you are using a heat protectant.
Special features: Lastly, think about if you want any special features. Do you want an extra long cord so that you can use your curling wand on the opposite side of the room? Do you want a fast heat up time for those busy mornings? Do you want your curling wand to come with a heat protective glove to make styling even easier? I’ve popped each curling wand’s specifications below to help you choose which one to go for.
Beauty editor, Eleanor Vousden, testing one of the curling wands in this roundup.
Barrel size: 28mm. Heat settings: 6 heat settings up to 210°C. Special features: Fast heat up, heat protective glove and mat included and automatic safety shut off. “This affordable curling wand from BaByliss has given all of my more expensive hair tools a run for their money. It creates the perfect, bouncy curls that last all day long. All I do is wrap sections of my hair around the barrel in the direction I want the hair to go in (using the heat protective glove of course) then hold the curl for a few sections to help it set. Then I comb the curls out and spray with hairspray and I’m good to go!” Grace Lindsay, junior beauty editor
Barrel size: Medium. Heat settings: 3 heat settings. Special features: Heats up instantly, delivers quick, automatic curls, has a built-in cooling system and comes with a heat-proof bag. “As someone with thin, straight hair I’ve tried a lot of products, but this one really stood out for me. I recently had the chance to try out the new Hersheson Wavemaker tool and was immediately impressed. Taking a small section, you simply slot the hair between the two barrels, press the button of the direction of curl and it does the rest! The barrels quickly heat and curl, and after a few seconds you can see the hair slacken meaning you’re ready for the next section. The casing ensures you won’t end up with burnt tops of ears or fingers (we all know the pain), and it works quickly to create bouncy curls. They initially are tight so I let them cool, then loosen with my fingers for a defined, natural looking curl.” Florrie Alexander, commerce writer
Barrel size: Small, medium and large sizes to choose from. Heat settings: 1 heat setting. Special features: Can choose whichever curling attachment you want to attach to the handle, comes with heat protective glove and swivel cord. “Having tried a lot of hair curling wands as a beauty editor, I’ve concluded that while the expensive ones are good, the affordable ones are actually the best. Mark Hill’s Pick ‘n’ Mix has become my go-to for long-lasting, bouncy curls. Whenever I use this, everyone thinks I’ve had a blowdry! The handle allows you to swap in different styling barrels, but my favourite is the medium sized curling wand. It gives the perfect curl, which you can brush out for soft yet long-lasting curls that last for days on end. For £35 for both the handle and the wand, it’s a steal, and means you can add the other curling and waving barrels to your collection without having to buy a whole new curling iron.” Eleanor Vousden, beauty editor
Barrel size: 3 attachments to choose from. Heat settings: 3 heat settings and a cold shot feature to set your curls in place. Special features: Can style hair from wet to dry using airflow instead of extreme heat. “Ok, I know this isn’t technically a curling wand. but the barrel attachment is great at creating bouncy, voluminous waves. When I first used this I couldn’t seem to keep my curls in place for longer than ten minutes, however I’ve now found a routine that works. I make sure to use the cold shot setting to keep my curls in place, and I use a curling cream when my hair is wet and hairspray once the curls are dry. If I have a bit of extra time in the morning, I will pop the curls into rollers while I do my makeup too. This tool is definitely more of an investment, but the fact that it styles from wet to dry is game changing for me.” Grace Lindsay, junior beauty editor
Barrel size: 38mm – 26mm. Heat settings: 1 heat setting. Special features: Comes with a safety stand, has a sleep mode and an extra-long swivel cord for ease of use. “You simply can’t go wrong with a GHD curling wand. The brand make some of the best hair tools on the market, and this one is no exception. The oval barrel heats up to 185°C, and it has a cool tip for you to hold when using. The curls stay in my hair all day long and it really gives me that salon-worthy finish.” Grace Lindsay, junior beauty editor
Barrel size: 25-13mm. Heat settings: 5 heat settings. Special features: Curls last longer thanks to Advanced Ceramics™ technology, longer barrel and heats up in 30 seconds. “Despite the really affordable price, this curling wand has lasted me for years. It’s seen me through times with a chin length bob to now when my hair is getting long again. I love that you can really play around with how tight you want the curls and I use it to create both full curled looks and much more relaxed bends and texture when I’m in a rush.” Emily Dawes, affiliate editor
Before curling my hair, I always apply a heat protectant spray.
If you have naturally curly hair, this cream can help to hydrate and hold your style in place.
Struggling to make your curls last? This spray from L’Oréal can be used as a styling primer.
Another great product for naturally curly hair. The Pattern Curl Gel will nourish and define your waves.
I always have claw clips on hand to section my hair when I’m using a curling wand.
If you want a more relaxed finish, brush through your curls with a wide tooth comb like this one.
Don’t forget some hairspray to set the look in place.
This is one of the best purchases I have ever made. The heat mat is great for resting your curling wand on as it cools down, and the carry case is perfect for travelling.