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Best Curling Iron For Long-lasting Waves



Purchased by Me

I've been using a lot of curling irons lately and I keep coming back to a good old-fashioned curling iron with a clip. Boring, huh? However, the plain-jane Conair I've had for 10 years wasn't doing anything extra special. The curls would last for 6 hours if the weather was perfect and then it was gone overnight. My hair is naturally straight and really hates to hold a curl. Especially since my hair is now so long and heavy. But I wouldn't be deterred from finding the perfect iron.

After testing the arsenal in my beauty closet, I've been able to determine that ceramic irons with tourmaline are the key to long-lasting curls. This isn't shocking to anyone, but when you compare the results, day after day, the tourmaline/ceramic combo wins by miles. The proof is in the photo.


This is me two full days after I've curled my hair. And slept on it. Seriously.

And it didn't cost me a ton of money. I used a 1" Hot Tools iron from Ulta that was less than $40. I do think that the one inch barrel is too small for the waves I want, so I ordered a one and a quarter barrel for slightly larger waves. To get the waves in the photo above, immediately after curling, I twisted the hair and pulled it straight down to remove the corkscrew curl the iron had given me. I then blasted it with a cold shot from the hair dryer to seal it into place.

No hair spray. No mousse. No bull.

What works best for you? Share and tell me in the comments!

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27 comments:

  1. Hi - I have the exact same curling iron and I used to have the conair one too! The hot tools one blows it out of the water. I have had it for a couple of years now, and finally had to replace the little spring b/c the roller on it had worn flat and it wouldn't work right! Love this thing - I think I was even able to get it with one of the 20% off coupons when I bought it! I'm all about the cheap... :D

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  2. I've never had any luck with standard clip curling irons because the clip always leaves a horrible crease in my hair. Do you use the clip or do you use it as if it were clipless? I've never tried a Hot Tools iron but would prefer to find a clip iron because I am always burning myself with the clipless.

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    1. I am using the clip. I burn myself on the other irons as well! Think of the clip as a mini flat iron. Be careful when you clip your hair that aren't bending your hair against the clip, which will cause a harsh crease. If clipping is still an issue, you can experiment with barely lifting the clip up when your hair is wrapped around the barrel. Too much lift and all of your hair will fall out of the iron. Just a tiny bit of lift will reduce any creasing.

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    2. Thanks! I think I may try the Hot Tools to see if I can get the clip to work. I love your waves!

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    3. I should do a quick video on how I did them to show you! I started curling them from the top down, not from the bottom up.

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  3. Yeah, if your hair hates to hold a curl but curls that well with a Hot Tools curling iron....well then my hair absolutely DESPISES & SPITS on curls. LOL!!! My hair would laugh a Conair curling iron right of the house. I have a hot tools 1" & I used it last week. I had perfectly Shirley Temple curls (but didn't touch them or pull on them) & 1 hr later when I got to work my hair was straight. My coworker refused to believe that I had spent 20 min curling my hair that morning. I use mousse & a light spray too.
    I'm still searching for that perfect tool that will give me long lasting curls. Until then, I have to use those pink sponge curlers & sleep in them to get any type of long lasting curl in my hair. Oh well.

    So Kelly, do you think your Hot Tools gives you better curls than that Conair contraption you showed us last week? The one that sucks the hair into it & curls automatically. I was kinda interested in that one.

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    1. Your hairs sounds like mine when I try hot rollers!! UGH. I think the hot tools holds better, but the curls aren't as perfect. Have you tried an iron wroth tourmaline? I swear that makes a huge difference!

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  4. I have a Revlon stainless 1 1/4" iron that I have yet to master. My hair really doesn't like to take a curl and curls with my Revlon fall after a few hours unless I use half a bottle of hairspray. I'll have to try a new iron with tourmaline. That said, I watched a video on the Small Things Blog which made me think I was using the iron all wrong. I had always started from the bottom and rolled my hair up to the root and held it there in order to curl. She started close to her head and turned the iron in small increments to gradually wrap the hair around the iron. When I did that - I haven't mastered the technique but I'm getting better - the curls held a little longer with less hairspray. I do not get corkscrew curls that need to be "let out" so to speak, though. They start loose and stay that way generally.

    I have thick, fine strands that prefer to be straight rather than curled. In order for my hair not to be frizzy though, I have to do a daily blow out with a round brush. Any tips on how to work the air dried style so that I don't look like a frizzed-out mess? Anything to reduce the time it takes to get ready in the morning would help!

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    1. I need to do an entire blog post to address your questions. In fact, maybe I'll do that tonight!

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  5. "My hair is naturally straight and really hates to hold a curl. Especially since my hair is now so long and heavy." <<<--- My hair type exactly. I have to have crunchy, hair-product laden hair to get any form of wave, let alone attempt at a curl. I haven't made an attempt to curl my hair in years at this point, but after this post... I'm really tempted!

    When you curl your hair, how big of sections do you do at a time?

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    1. To make the curl hold, I use small sections- about an inch at a time and I section my hair into top, middle and bottom sections. Let new know how it turns out!

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    2. Thanks for the advice! I'll keep you posted. :-)

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  6. Does hot tools have tourmaline? I have a GHD flat iron (which I actually use to add body/waves) & it was a night & day difference compared to other flat irons (T3 & drugstore brands). Pretty sure the GHD has tourmaline...so you just might be on to something there.
    Now I just need to find a curling iron with tourmaline AND a clip. (so many of the higher end brands are clipless. I burn everything with those! LOL!)
    I wish Ulta would let customers try all the curling irons that they have displayed. =D

    Thanks for your help/advice Kelly!! I'll let you know what I end up with.
    Love your blog by the way!!!

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    1. Thank you! The Hot Tools iron I linked to have both a clip and tourmaline. Both Hot tools and Helen of Troy (sallys) have several to choose from.

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    2. Thank you! The Hot Tools iron I linked to have both a clip and tourmaline. Both Hot tools and Helen of Troy (sallys) have several to choose from.

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    3. Hmmmm, so that means that *some* of the Hot Tools curling irons DON'T have tourmaline? Ok, I may need to rethink that brand then. Maybe I have one that doesn't.
      Thanks!!!

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    4. Correct. Not all have it. The box mine cane in was marked Ti in bold letters.

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    5. Correct. Not all have it. The box mine cane in was marked Ti in bold letters.

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    6. Correct. Not all have it. The box mine cane in was marked Ti in bold letters.

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  7. I've never thought of locking in the curl with a cold blast from the hair dryer! Genius tip!

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    1. I swear it helps and keeps my head from getting so hot!

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  8. such a cool idea! Recently everyone is using the auto curl machinewhich is so cool. really wanna try out but kind of pricey..

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  9. I have the same problem. My hair is straight and it wont hold curls for long. I have to use so much hair spray to make it last just a bit longer... I've tried a few types of curling iron - expensive and cheaper ones, didn't help much. But I didn't know the importance of tourmaline before. I just checked out the curling iron you have - seems a like a good buy, they also give you 2 extra springs, definitely would come in handy. Thanks for the tip!

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  10. I have thin fine hair and cant get a chrl, is it our hair or just the way we curl because some folks can use the $10.00 ones and get curl and there's us discussing this with all random hair types.. I keep mine in a bun, for all of 3 minutes I have curls, so ive sworn off curl, a perm sounds like a great plan when Iwant curly hair cause that was the last time I had a curl that worked, 1992 and i was 12... I will definitly be waiting for all your answers for this section

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    1. Some hair is really hard to curl! I think some things really help - the tourmaline makes a HUGE difference for me. Hot rollers do NOTHING fpr me. If I do pin curls, the waves will last for DAYS. Perms! I had one constantly for about 10 years. Ahhh....the smell when you got wet.

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  11. Thanks for your advice on creating curls that really last. The photo of your hair still wavy and fab two days afterwards is enough to make me a believer in tourmaline/ceramic for long-lasting waves. Gorgeous!

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