Alright, it’s confession time. The real reason I decided to learn how to use a curling wand or step up my curling iron game was because I have been using my flat iron to curl for a long time, and I was ready to try something new.
I am a pro at putting big waves in with my flat iron, (as backward as that seems). I’m not sure however, that I’m doing my hair any favors by putting the amount of heat on it required to curl with my flat iron, and the curls I get are not always perfect.
I was getting ready to buy a flat iron small enough so I can get tighter curls in my hair, and I stopped myself. While I like the way my hair looks with flat iron curls, not all of them are created equal when it comes to styling. Some can do a great job of straightening but make really uneven curls.
One of my flat irons has a particularly square body, and when I curl with it I look like I have square ringlets running through my mane. They are blocky, boxy and out of place. I have one other iron that does a really good job with curls, but I’m stuck to pretty much one size and style. That’s when I decided to look for a curling wand or iron instead of a flat iron for curling.
Beyond that, if I wanted anything smaller than the 1-2 inch body of my flat iron, I was pretty much out of luck. Curlers and irons offer much more flexibility in size than flat irons do, and that’s a big deal when you’re trying to get the perfect style.
Curling irons and wands tend to let you adjust the heat you’re using more than flat irons do, and that makes a big difference if you have sensitive hair. I don’t, so my hair can pretty much get away with anything, but my mother has really troublesome locks that can only withstand a very small amount of heat before it starts to fry. Keeping that in mind, I try to curl her hair with a curling product rather than a flat iron because it helps to ensure she is only getting the heat she needs and no more.
Curling with your straightening iron is counter intuitive, and it can take a lot of practice to get it right. Many curling irons and wands are designed to skip the practice step and guide you along while you’re curling for the first time.
Models like the Professional Spiral Hair Curler (reviewed here) have a guide on the barrel that lets you wrap your hair through the angles so you know you’re making the right moves. Once you get used to that, you can move on to more flexible irons. Either way, you leave the house with hair curled the way you wanted it to.
Curling is a lot faster with a curling tool than it is a flat iron. It only takes between 2-5 seconds to get the curl you’re after with a curling wand, while flat irons can take a few seconds more. This doesn’t seem huge on a single attempt, but when you have a head full of curls to make in a short time, you’re probably going to regret the extra time the straightener takes.
Even though you can get a good curl style out of your flat iron, if you aren’t looking for an all-purpose tool it’s better to go with a dedicated curler. Flat irons are very useful, but they not as versatile with curling as wands and irons are.
You can make it work, but it isn’t likely to be perfect. Irons are so inexpensive now it almost doesn’t make sense not to spring $20 to get a good model that will replace the blocky and boxy curls you can get from a flat iron.