As a professional in the hair industry for 18 years, and as a non-professional for 10 years before that, I have used a lot of irons. They not only come in many shapes and sizes, but may also differ in ways you may not think, or may not even realize would pose an issue.
For example, that little plastic end at the end of the iron for a cool grip. Sometimes, if not long enough for a decent grip, will allow you to burn the crap out of your unsuspecting fingers. Ouch, didn’t see that coming.
What about technology? Every year technology is making huge strides, salon tools are no exception. There is always new technology when it comes to tools; auto shut off, tourmaline (negative ions), heating consistency, etc.
Have you ever noticed little hairs pulling from the iron? The metal the iron is made from makes a huge difference in the quality of the iron. Ceramic and Titanium are best (not just dipped or coated), and allows for less pulling. Also, the type of metal affects the way the iron heats up and can mean damage to your hair.
Lastly, a huge difference in the way an iron curls is the clamp pressure. Every iron has a spring that makes for harder or softer clamping. An iron with a soft clamp, in my opinion, has a looser curl because the hair is not as heated from being tight to the iron. A tighter clamp will really drive the curl in and give a tighter curl depending on the size of the iron.
I was sent the Revlon Curling Iron and I must say I really like it. Hot tool preferences have many variables. Skill, price and is it user friendly. Some may have one of these but it is rare to find a tool that encompasses all three. In my 18 years I have come to realize that usability is a determining factor in which products I buy. Price comes into play too, of course, and skill is a given, hence the 18 years.
My go-to in the salon is my Jilibre that I discovered after breaking a few. I’ve tried dozens but I have a few I prefer, a few that work in a pinch, and a few that I would rather grab my flat iron or try my luck with a warm shower rod.
My personal preference in order of favorite to least-favorite (out of ones I have personally used remember)
Jilibre – not pro, cheap, good quality, lasts forever if you treat her properly.
Revlon – not pro, great quality (tourmaline, ceramic, ion technology) lasts forever with good handling
Hot Tools – there’s a range here from pro to non-pro, good to great quality and I’ve never had good wear with these
BaByliss – pro, great quality (titanium, tourmaline) lasts forever BUT clamp issues so not the highest on my list
One N Only Argan – not pro, cheap quality, not sure about longevity BUT no good ‘cool grip’ and burned my fingers – so nope.
Conair – not pro, cheap quality, not great longevity also major clamp issues (especially with longevity)
For a modern curl technique I use check out my video here.
Another type of iron is the Curling Wand. This also gives a great curl but is a little trickier to operate. The only difference between a wand and a curling iron, is that the wand has no clip. All you do is twist the hair around the wand and it creates a beachy-er curl pattern.
You could also unscrew the clip off any curling iron and undo the spring to make a wand, although when you buy a wand, it usually comes with a glove so you don’t burn your fingers. That hurts, trust me.
My favorite wand is The Clipless Wand by Karmin.