Curling Iron Sizes: Which One Should You Use?

As a woman, I know how important it is to have gorgeous hair. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is with a curling iron. However, choosing the right size curling iron can be confusing. With so many options available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the different curling iron sizes and help you decide which one is best for your hair type and desired look.

How Does A Curling Iron Create Curl

Hairdresser using curling iron on customer's hair

Are you curious about how a curling iron works its magic to create those beautiful curls? Let’s dive into the science behind it!

Curling irons use heat to create curls in the hair. When the hair is wrapped around the barrel of the curling iron, it is exposed to heat, which breaks down the hydrogen bonds that hold the hair in its natural shape. Once these bonds are broken, the hair can be molded into a new shape. As the hair cools, the hydrogen bonds reform, locking the hair into its new curled shape.

The temperature of the curling iron is a crucial factor in creating the perfect curl. Higher temperatures are better suited for thicker, coarser hair, while lower temperatures work best for fine or damaged hair. It is important to remember to use a heat-protectant product on the hair before using a curling iron to prevent heat damage.

The size and shape of the curling iron barrel also affect the type of curl that is created. A smaller barrel will create tighter, more defined curls, while a larger barrel will create looser, more relaxed curls. Additionally, the shape of the barrel, whether it is straight or tapered, will also affect the type of curl created. A straight barrel will create uniform curls, while a tapered barrel will create curls that vary in size and shape.

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Guide to Curling Iron Sizes

different sizes of curling iron
Different sizes of curling iron by RevlonClick to see more

 

Here’s a guide to the most common curling iron sizes and what hairstyles they are best suited for.

⅜ inch curling iron

A 3/8 inch curling iron is perfect for creating tight, defined curls. This size is great for short hair or for adding curls to the ends of longer hair. It’s also perfect for creating ringlets or for creating a retro 1920s look.

½ inch curling iron

A 1/2 inch curling iron is slightly larger than a 3/8 inch curling iron and is great for creating tight curls or spiral curls. This size is perfect for adding volume to short hair or for creating small curls on longer hair.

⅝ inch curling iron

A 5/8 inch curling iron is great for creating medium-sized curls. This size is perfect for adding volume and bounce to hair. It’s also great for creating loose curls or waves.

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¾ inch curling iron

A 3/4 inch curling iron is one of the most popular sizes. It’s great for creating loose curls, beachy waves, and medium-sized curls. This size is perfect for all hair lengths and types.

1 inch curling iron

A 1 inch curling iron is the most versatile size. It’s great for creating loose curls, beachy waves, and big, voluminous curls. This size is perfect for all hair lengths and types.

1 ¼ inch curling iron

A 1-1/4 inch curling iron is perfect for creating big, bouncy curls. This size is great for long hair or for adding volume to shorter hair. It’s also perfect for creating soft, natural-looking waves.

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1 ½ inch curling iron

A 1-1/2 inch curling iron is the largest size and is great for creating big, loose waves. This size is perfect for adding volume to long hair and creating a glamorous look.

2 inch curling iron

This size is not as commonly used as the others. It’s typically used for creating large, loose waves or for adding volume to very long hair. It’s not recommended for those with shorter hair, as it can be difficult to maneuver and may not produce the desired results. Overall, a 2 inch curling iron may be better suited for experienced users who are comfortable with handling larger tools.

 

What to Consider Before Choosing A Curling Iron Size

curly haired woman thinking what to consider before choosing a curling iron size

When choosing a curling iron size, it’s important to consider your hair type and the look you’re trying to achieve.

If you have fine hair, a smaller curling iron will be easier to work with and will create tighter curls.

If you have thick or coarse hair, a larger curling iron will be able to handle your hair better and will create bigger, more defined curls.

It’s also important to consider the length of your hair. If you have short hair, a smaller curling iron will be easier to maneuver. If you have long hair, a larger curling iron will be able to handle more hair at once.

 

Tips to Follow When Using A Curlin Iron

  1. Use a heat protectant spray: It’s important to protect your hair from the heat of the curling iron. Before using the curling iron, apply a heat protectant spray to your hair to minimize damage and breakage.
  2. Use the right temperature: Different hair types require different heat settings. Fine hair requires less heat, while thick hair needs more. Be sure to use the appropriate temperature for your hair type to prevent damage.
  3. Use the right size: As we discussed earlier, different curling iron sizes are used for different styles. Make sure to use the right size for the style you want to achieve.
  4. Section your hair: It’s easier to create curls when you work in sections. Divide your hair into smaller sections before using the curling iron, starting from the bottom and working your way up.
  5. Wrap the hair around the barrel: When using the curling iron, wrap the hair around the barrel and hold for a few seconds. Release the curl and let it cool before moving on to the next section.
  6. Don’t touch the iron directly to your scalp: Keep the iron a safe distance from your scalp to prevent burns. Use the clip or wand to hold the hair in place while you curl.
  7. Use a cool shot: After curling each section, use the cool shot button on your hair dryer to cool down the hair and set the curl.
  8. Finish with hairspray: After you’re done curling, use a hairspray to hold the curls in place. Hold the spray about 8-10 inches away from your head and mist lightly for a natural look or more heavily for a stronger hold.
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Final Word

Finally, knowing the right curling iron sizes for your hair type and desired look is crucial for achieving salon-worthy curls or waves. Always keep in mind the tips we’ve shared for using a curling iron and choose a size that complements your hair length and texture. With the right curling iron size and technique, you can achieve a variety of stunning looks that will make you feel confident and beautiful.

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