STRAIGHTEN HAIR and TURN HEADS — Finally, A Flat Iron For That Silky, Smooth Style Without All the Damage | Shopper Advocate

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Dyson?…Chi?…Babyliss?… Find Out Which Curling Iron Favorites We Rated The Best And Why

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Skin Research Institute has a financial connection to products sold via links on our website such as our top choices.


4 hairstyling favorites were put to the test. See how each one measured up.

Is there anything more satisfying than absolutely nailing the perfect curly hairdo?

From beach waves to big glamorous curls, the secret to achieving picture-perfect hair is twofold: one is getting the curls to fall properly, and two is getting them to stay all day.

This has proved difficult for many of us, either by using the wrong products or the wrong hair tools.

Curling iron and wand barrels come in all shapes and sizes, with unique features that promise to help you sculpt the perfect curl. But in the sea of marketing campaigns all aiming to make you spend an arm and a leg on different models, what should the savvy consumer look for when shopping for the ideal curling iron?

We scoured the internet for the four of the most popular curling tools and ranked them according to what we feel is the best criteria for judging a quality hair tool.


Using the right barrel size

Finding the right barrel size is crucial to achieving the perfect curl

One of the most annoying things is spending time in front of the mirror in the morning trying to get your hair just right only to have it fall out by the end of the afternoon. While it might not be the first thing you think of, matching the barrel size to your hair type is very important for getting a curl that holds all day.

If you have finer hair, for example, a large barrel is going to create too loose of a curl and will fall out far more easily. Users with thicker hair or coarser hair can get away with using 1.5-2” barrels, but in general, we recommend a barrel size of about 1” for most hair types because it’s able to craft both loose and tight curls depending on what size sections you’re working with.

Red light to protect from excess heat

Red light can protect your hair from additional heat damage

We all know that repeated exposure to heat is not good for our hair, but did you know that it might be affecting how well your hair can hold a curl?

Slamming your hair with heat might affect the hair’s outer cuticle, pressing it down flat and making it less flexible and less able to hold that rounded curl shape. Excessive heat damage also makes hair dry and brittle, which is the direct opposite of what you need to create soft, flowing curls.

To help combat that, we recommend using a curling tool with red light, also known as infrared light. Red light heats your hair from the inside out, saving it from being blasted with intense heat from the outside and causing further damage, dryness, or split ends.

Negative ions are essential for healthy hair

The difference between frizzy and smooth curls is often negative ion technology

Negative ions are one of those things that every quality tool needs to have. Oftentimes, it’s the difference between styling hair with frizz and styling smooth curls. It’s something that helps keep hair hydrated, healthy, and looking fabulous.

Negative ions can be generated through a variety of different materials, including tourmaline, ceramic, and titanium. All three amp up your iron or wand’s potential to reduce heat damage, help seal in moisture, and help increase shine.

One thing’s for sure, if you’re going to be picky about the tools you’re using then you don’t want to skip on negative ions.

Okay, so to recap here are the most important things to look for when shopping for a curling tool that is going to work for you and your hair:


  • Choose the right barrel size; 1” barrels work well for most hair types
  • Find one with red light if you can swing it, it will save your hair from further damage
  • Buy one with negative ion technology as a rule


Now we come to the fun bit. Which of the top four curling tools on the market will provide not only the best value but do the most to protect your hair and keep it holding its curl all day?

Let’s start with our number one pick–

Our Top Choice

Infrarose Curler

Overall Rating: Excellent
Infrarose Curler

Infrared light, tourmaline barrel, negative ions

Extended Cyber Monday Sale


Our # 1 Pick: Infrarose Curler

SRI is often coming out with fresh hair tools that include cutting edge technology. Their 1” tourmaline barrel checked all of our boxes; it’s the right size for most hair types, its a fantastic negative ion generator, but the cherry on top was when we discovered that their tourmaline curling iron included our extra special hair tool must-have: red light.

We felt that it deserved first place on our list because of its combined capabilities to heat and style hair gently, while avoiding causing excess damage. The sleek tourmaline barrel keeps frizz and static at bay by providing negative ions, the 1” measurement is suitable for styling multiple types of curl, and the red light heats hair from the inside out without causing extra dryness and making hair lose its shape.

It’s pricing is unbeatable for all it offers, making it the best bang for your buck in our opinion.

  • Red light for gentle heat and longterm hold
  • 1” barrel for most hair types
  • Tourmaline for negative ions

  • Not available in stores


Dyson Airwrap

Overall Rating: Good
The Dyson Airwrap

Cold shot button, multiple heads, negative ions for taming static.


Our # 2 Pick: Dyson Airwrap

This multi-functional curling iron/dryer brush combination product is making a name for itself in the hair tools world.

While it does offer ionic technology and more than one curling iron attachment, we were sorry to discover the limitations of this tool far outweighed its value for how much it costs.

Dyson is a well-respected brand, and the quality of this appliance is unmatched. Still, because of the technology this model uses and the fact that a different attachment must be attached to curl the hair on either side of your head, we felt that this feature added more complications than one should expect from their curling tool. Therefore we could not give it first place.

Still, it is a tool with high functionality, including 1.2 and 1.6” barrels, and a round brush attachment for softer curls.

  • Ionic technology
  • Multiple styling heads

  • Requires user to change heads while styling
  • No red light
  • High price


CHI Lava 1in Spin N Curl

Overall Rating: Good
CHI Lava 1in Spin N Curl

Negative ions, pre-set temperature settings, protective heat barrier


Our # 3 Pick: CHI Lava 1in Spin N Curl

We appreciated the measures this unconventional hair curling tool took to protect the user’s hair and felt it deserved a place on our list.

This product curls hair by spinning it with 1” volcanic lava ceramic, providing it with negative ions and helping to preserve its shine and moisture.

It does not include measures to heat hair gently from the inside out as red light would do, but because it does not depend solely on wrapping hair around hot metal it does reduce the likelihood of scorching and burning which we appreciated.

  • Ionic technology
  • Less direct heat
  • Automatic timer

  • No red light


BaBylissPRO Graphite Titanium 1″ Ionic Curling Iron

Overall Rating: Good
BaBylissPRO Graphite Titanium 1in. Ionic Curling Iron

Negative ions, pre-set temperature settings, protective heat barrier


Our # 4 Pick: BaBylissPRO Graphite Titanium 1” Ionic Curling Iron

1” barrel, check. Ionic technology, check. To us, there’s not much not to love about this BaByliss curling iron.

BaByliss has been a favorite in the hair care world for a while, offering a two-year warranty on this product and offering a functional, quality tool at a modest price point.

Its simplicity earned it a spot on our list, albeit at number 4, as it’s a straightforward tool that gets the job done while posing less damage to hair while you style. We wish we had a bit more to work with as far as special features and capabilities, but if you’re the kind to want a tool where you know what you’re getting this is a good choice for you.

  • Ionic technology
  • 1” barrel
  • Affordable

  • No red light
  • No special features

Christy is a licensed cosmetologist with 10 years of experience working for one of the top 20 Paul Mitchell Salons in the US. She is also an experienced Brand Advisor, and Beauty Blogger.