Ah, the beauty of curls! Curls are a timeless way to change up your look. Today, there are so many tools to create them, it's easy to try out a variety of styles. No longer the stuff of colonial-style wigs or prom queens, curls can transform your look into an effortlessly wavy style or those tight ringlets you've always wanted.
Curling irons are one of my favorite hair styling tools. Whether your hair is stick-straight, naturally wavy or a kinky frizz-fest, there is a curling iron capable of bringing out the best in your tresses. Over the years I've come to favor a few in particular. Here are my favorites (and why I think you need them now!)
For body and bounce: Wide barrel curling iron
Curling irons come in a variety of sizes, but I think the most common are the one-inch and one-and-a-half-inch. These irons create those classic Shirley Temple ringlets, but a bigger barrel is capable of creating a totally different look. This is one of the best ways to add body to thin or flat hair and to give your ends some spunk.
Generally speaking, the larger the barrel of your iron, the looser the curls will be. Of course, the end effect also depends on the length of your hair. For long, loose waves, use a curling iron with a barrel of at least 2 inches. If your hair is shoulder length or shorter, this size will curl your ends under or out and make your tresses look bouncy and full of body.
If your hair is too short to be wrapped around this size barrel, the same effect can be achieved with a one-inch barrel.
For tight ringlets: Spiral curling iron
A spiral curling iron is the best friend of curly-que stars like Taylor Swift, since it defines curls into perfect, tight ringlets. While these graceful loops are elegant in straight hair, this is also the ideal tool to define a handful of strands in naturally curly hair.
This is the iron that has one metal strand wrapped around the length of the barrel, like a snake. It comes in a variety of sizes, but most commonly ¾ of an inch to get those tight ringlets. This iron has a small clamp at the very bottom, which you use to grab the hair before you wrap the section around it. The hair should be guided between the grooves of the spiral.
For soft, romantic waves: Double-barrel curling iron
Remember those crimpers you used back in high school to get that kinky look just like Cindi Lauper? Well, a double- or triple-barrel curling iron works the same way – but the end result is romantic, perfectly formed waves, not tight '80s crimps.
Taking sections of hair just like you would with normal curling iron, clamp the section and hold for a few seconds, then release. Work your way down the hair, following the in-and-out wavy pattern the iron creates on your hair.
The key to success for any curl is to prep your hair with a protective setting spray and always let it set and cool before you run your fingers through it. As tempting as it is to see what it looks like all shaken out, they will look better and stay longer if you let them cool before touching.