There are four tools you can use to curl your hair: a flat iron, a curling iron, a curling wand or hot rollers. All tools use heat to temporarily change the physical structure of hair.
A flat iron is primarily designed for straightening hair, not setting curls. But certain brands come with a curling function. Some ingenious ladies have also figured out how to use any flat iron to create curls. But ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend a flat iron if curly hair is a frequent go-to style for you.
That leaves us with three options. There is no winner among the three. Rather, the best one for you depends on your specific hair styling needs. Let’s look at each type and what it’s best for.
1. Curling iron
Curling irons and curling wands are the two most popular curling tools. They are also the most hotly debated in terms of performance and ease of use.
A curling iron has a clamp between which you grip the roots of your hair. You then turn the curling iron to wrap your hair around it. The cord is always held downwards.
Curls from a curling iron tend to have a more polished look. They are tighter and more accentuated than those of a curling wand.
There isn’t much room for experimenting with a curling iron. No matter how you hold it, the resulting curls will largely have the same look.
Most curling irons come with the option of setting the preferred temperature level (there are usually three heat levels). You should start with the lowest option and gradually increase it depending on your hair type.
Whichever your hair type or length, a curling iron is easy to use. You will be done in no time, a big plus for those busy mornings.
- Easy to use.
- Can be used for all hair types thanks to variable heat settings.
- Fast styling.
- Less styling flexibility.
2. Curling wand
A curling wand is very similar to a curling iron with one key difference. A curling wand does not have a clamp. Instead, it’s one solid rod with a cool tip at the end.
To use it, you hold it with the cord facing upwards and then wrap a section of your hair along the wand in a spiral formation. To protect your fingers, you should always wear a heat protection glove (the curling wand should come with one).
You can easily tell the difference between curls made using a curling iron and those made using a curling wand. While curling iron curls look formal and polished, curling wand curls have a more natural wavy look.
In fact, many women prefer having both types of hair curlers. The curling iron comes in handy when you are styling your hair for the office or a formal event. The curling wand is for weekends and holiday getaways.
With a curling wand, you have more flexibility to create many different curl styles from small ringlets to larger wavy curls.
- More styling flexibility.
- Easy to use.
- Ideal for all hair types.
- It takes more time to style your hair. It can be especially challenging with short hair because it keeps slipping off the wand. Consider buying a curling wand with an anti-slip feature.
3. Hot rollers
Hot rollers (heated rollers) are not as popular as the other two tools. But they are a favourite for ladies who travel a lot.
With heated rollers, there are two important components; the main heating pouch and the rollers themselves, which can number anywhere between 6 and a dozen.
The rollers are placed in the heating pouch until they are heated to the right temperature. Then you place them in your hair as you would with traditional plastic rollers. As you wait for the hair to set, your hands are free to continue with other activities. You can lay out your clothes, apply makeup or text a friend.
In a few minutes, your curls will be ready and you can remove the hot rollers.
When it comes to results, the biggest difference between rollers and the curling iron and wand is the amount of volume they give you. If you are looking for a tool that will give you curls and make your hair appear fuller, I recommend hot rollers.
Depending on the ones you buy, you can also create different curl styles. Some brands provide differently shaped rollers, allowing you to pick your favourite style.
- They give volume.
- Hands free.
- Flexibility in style (depends on brand).
- They take longer to create curls.