Finding the Right Curling Tool

Curls come in all shapes and sizes. Whether your curls are natural or homemade, there’s a tool to enhance or make every type of spiral, on every type of hair. Curling irons are the most commonly used curling tool and they’re very versatile. You can create a whole variety of looks depending on the iron type, whether it is spring like the Hot Tools Professional Spring Curling Iron or Sedu Revolution Clipless Curling Iron.
Read on to learn which curling irons create which looks.

Spring Curling Irons

Spring curling irons are easy to use and the most popular curling iron type. This is a good iron to start with if you don’t own any curling tools yet.


  • A spring-action arm or clip maintains a firm hold on hair for simple styling. Use your thumb to catch and release sections of hair as you work.
  • Available in the widest selection of barrel sizes.

Shop All Spring Curling Irons »


Clipless Curling Irons

It can take a little bit of practice to get the hang of clipless curling irons but once you do, you enter a whole new world of curling opportunities. A popular clipless curling iron is Enzo Milano Clipless Curling Iron 1″ Round. A few other clipless curling irons we recommend are the Sedu Revolution Clipless Curling Iron which offers consistent heat across the barrel for long lasting curls and shop our full line of Clipless Curling Irons.


  • The ends of your hair wrap around the barrel last instead of first so there’s less damage or split ends.
  • No arm or clamp means you curl your hair by wrapping it around the barrel. So, no creases!
  • Good for getting close to the roots (volume).
  • Available in a variety of shapes. Try conical or triangle for attention catching curls
  • Most come with a heat proof glove to protect fingertips.


Marcel Curling Irons

Marcel curling irons were originally designed for professional stylists. The extra handle and manual operation offer excellent styling control but they’re more difficult to master than spring or clipless curling irons so unless you’re a seasoned pro, we suggest working your way up to a Marcel.


  • Two handles provide exceptional styling control and speedy curl creation.
  • Hot temperatures and professional grade materials give salon quality results.

Recommended Marcel Curling Irons:

Hot Tools Professional Marcel Curling Iron

Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron

Shop All Marcel Curling Irons »


Spiral or Ribbon Curling Irons

Spiral or ribbon curling irons have raised ridges on the barrel that guide hair ’round and ’round into perfect spirals.


  • Get precise spirals and ribbon curls simply and quickly.
  • Try a tapered version to reach close to your roots and create a romantic curl that broadens as it descends.

Recommended Spiral Curling Irons:

Hot Tools Insta-Curl EZ Styler»

Hot Tools Professional Gold Tapered Curling Iron»

Shop All Spiral Curling Irons »


Double and Triple Barrel Curling Irons (Wavers)

Double-barrel curling irons create figure-eight type loops and triple barrel curling irons (“wavers”) press your hair into beachy, flowing waves.


  • Double and triple barrel curling irons actually create waves.
  • Press big sections of hair at a time for fast styling.

TIP: By the way, you can also curl your hair with a flat iron. It’s one of our favorite in-house tricks – Get Curly With Your Flat Iron

Curling Iron Barrel Sizes

Barrel size is the main feature that determines what your curl shape (and size of course) will be. If your hair is shorter than shoulder length (or has short layers), you’ll need a smaller barrel so that your hair can wrap all the way around it. We suggest no larger than 1″. If your hair is longer, you can create curls with any size barrel. For real variety and more fun, try an iron with interchangeable barrels like the Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium 3-in-1 Convertible Styler.

Many popular curling irons like the Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron come in a variety of sizes and serious stylists keep a few sizes around for versatile styling.

Here’s a handy chart to help you choose the right barrel for your curliest desires:

Curl Type Best Barrel Size Hair Length Folica Faves
Pencil Thin Tendrils 3/8″ Short to Medium
Shirley Temple Ringlets 1/2 – 5/8″ Short to Medium
Classic Coil Curls 1″ Medium
Long Looping Curls 1 1/4″ Medium to Long
Big, Round “Victoria’s Secret” Curls 1 ½” + Clipless Irons Medium to Long

Curling Iron Technology

Benefits Folica Faves
CERAMIC Heats up very quickly and maintains consistent temperatures to prevent damaging hot spots.
Produces negative ions which smooth the cuticle, add shine and tame frizz.
TOURMALINE Magnifies negative ions by up to six times to create seriously smooth, glossy, healthy looking hair.
TITANIUM Provides even heat distribution for consistent styling and its extremely slick surface means no stickiness or snags.
ADJUSTABLE & DIGITAL TEMPERATURE Lets you adjust the temp to accommodate your hair type and styling routine.
Use cooler temperatures on fine, thin or delicate hair and hotter temperatures on thick or coarse sections.

Shop Ceramic Curling Irons »

Shop Tourmaline Curling Irons »Shop Digital Curling Irons »



  1. I read the whole article and its really gives me a great idea while buying new curling iron and barrel size matters. Moreover as you guys describes that curling irons with clip and clip-less, may i know which curling iron will be great for a new user who is totally new in order to use a best curling iron?

    • Natalie@Folica says

      This depends on what type of curls you are trying to achieve, give me some details and we can help you find the right one for you!

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