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A Guide to Choosing the Right Curling Iron for Your Red Hair

Everything You Need to Know to Pick the Right Curling Iron

Choosing the right curling iron can make a huge difference in the way your red hair looks when you curl it. There are lots of options when it comes to curling irons like the size, the material it’s made out of, and if it has a clamp or a wand style. Read through this guide to help you determine what you should be looking for when using your curling iron: 

Barrel size

The most important thing to decide on is the barrel size. The short of it is, the smaller the barrel the tighter the curl. Often, it’s best to use a smaller barrel for shorter hair and larger barrels for longer hair. You may also want to use a smaller barrel if your hair has a hard time holding a curl. There are a lot of different sizes and a few standard, universal sizes. If you try one and it’s not quite working go up or down just a little.

  • .5 to .75 inch – These small barrel sizes are best for tight curls and/or short hair. They will create a ringlet-style curl with lots of definition. 
  • 1 inch – Probably the most common and universal size is the 1 inch. This will give you a nice formed curl that will brush out. A 1-inch iron can work on hair from chin length down.
  • 1.25 inch – Slightly larger than the 1 inch, the 1.25 inch is great for medium to long hair and a looser curl.
  • 1.5 inch+ – Recommended for long hair and a looser look, the 1.5-2.0 inch curling irons create more of a defined wave than a curl in most hair.


Curling irons can be made of a number of materials. Some materials conduct heat better than others and will give you better all-over heat distribution. Some materials to look out for include:

  • Ceramic – The most common material for curling irons to be made out of and work especially well on fine or thin hair types.
  • Titanium – A more durable material and is often used by hair stylists as it heats quickly, but for someone who is new to curling irons, it could be too hot too fast.
  • Tourmaline – A great option for those with dull, dry, or frizzy hair this material helps to leave the hair smoother and softer.
  • Gold plating – Typically found in older models of hair tools, gold plating is good for thick, coarse hair but can give you uneven heat distribution. 

Clamp or wand

Heated curling irons come in two standard styles. The clamp curling iron is the more traditional of the two and involves the use of a clamp to hold the hair against the iron while curling. The more modern style is the wand style or the clampless curling iron. This style is just the rod, often tapered in shape. You use your fingers to wrap the hair around the iron and hold it in place while it curls.

Clamp curling irons can be a bit of a learning curve for some people, but with a little practice, they are quite easy to use. Clampless or wand-style curling irons can also have a learning curve that may result in some burnt fingers.


READ: How Hot Should Your Hot Tools Actually Be?

READ: This Is Why Redheads Should Use Hair Oils As The Final Step When Styling

Rock it like a Redhead!