No time? My pick for the best curling iron for fine hair is the BaByliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic Curling Iron.
If you have fine hair, you know that curling your hair without damaging it can be a challenge. The biggest culprit when it comes to hair appliances is, of course, heat. The more heat you apply, the more likely it is you’ll dry out, burn, or fry your hair. If you’re going for curls or waves, it’s important to make sure you find a curling iron that reduces the damage inflicted on your hair.
We’ll be reviewing the following curling irons in this article:
- BaByliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic Curling Iron
- Remington Pro Curling Wand with Pearl Ceramic Technology
- INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand
- Conair Double Ceramic Curling Iron
- NuMe Octowand
Best Curling Irons/Wands for Fine Hair
Babyliss Pro is well-known for their hair products, which are frequently found in salons as well as beauty supply stores. Some women swear by the brand and only use Babyliss hair appliances – from hair dryer to flat iron.
BaByliss Pro has irons made of porcelain ceramic, which are even better than standard ceramic for even heat distribution and for producing negative ions to control frizz.
Their irons also produce infrared heat, which is better since infrared has a longer wavelength to penetrate the hair shaft and heat it from the inside out.
Translation: you don’t need as much heat to curl hair with infrared.
The BaByliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic Curling Iron has adjustable heat settings from 200°F to 430°F, which should be more than plenty for most fine haired gals. If you don’t know what temperature works best for your hair, start off around 250°F and gradually raise the heat til you get to a setting that works for you.
There are a couple of downsides that should be mentioned. The tip of the barrel gets really hot and the placement of the On/Off button isn’t ideal because it’s where you naturally place your thumb while holding the handle.
- Porcelain ceramic barrel conducts heat more evenly and provides more damage protection than standard ceramic
- Large range of heat settings from a low of 200°F to a high of 430°F
- Glides easily through hair
- Smooths hair while it curls, leaving a high shine
- Tip of barrel gets rather hot
- Power button located where you place your thumb – can accidentally turn off while in use
The Remington Pro Curling Wand is a tapered wand, meaning the tip of the barrel is narrower than the base. It comes in 2 barrel sizes – the skinnier ½” – 1”, and the wider 1” – 1 ½”, so if you want a tighter wave, get the smaller one. The larger diameter is ideal for creating loose waves.
As a wand, there is no clamp to hold your hair against the barrel. You take a section of hair by the ends with one hand, wind it around the barrel, and then hold a few seconds before releasing.
The barrel itself is about 6” long. It heats up quickly and allows you to set the temperature from a range of 266°F to 410°F.
Heat settings are controlled with the “+” and “-” buttons. I like that you can lock the setting at a specific temperature by pressing and holding either button until you see a lock icon in the digital display. This is helpful so you don’t accidentally change your heat setting if you inadvertently press a button while curling your hair.
- Digital Temperature Display
- Large Range of Heat Settings from 266°F to 410°F
- Pearl Ceramic Technology
- Temperature Lock Mechanism
- Tapered cone-shape barrel can be difficult for some to use
- Not ideal for ringlets or tighter curls
The InfinitiPro Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand is another tapered wand that comes in a ½” (tip) – 1” (base) barrel size. For a budget pick, this one is hard to beat.
I like that it’s coated with both tourmaline and ceramic to protect your hair and smooth away frizz.
It has 5 pre-set heat settings that go from On (doesn’t indicate what the lowest temperature is) to 400°F. It doesn’t have the most customizable settings, but it’s usually enough for fine to medium hair.
It comes with a 3-finger glove to protect your thumb, index, and middle finger on your twirling hand. It’s a little odd and only protects from heat on one side, so if you want to wear it on your right hand, you have to turn it inside out. Not the best design, but also not really necessary as the black barrel tip stays cool when the wand is heated.
It also has an auto shut off after 60 minutes, which is nice if you forget to turn it off.
Overall, I like the InfinitiPro Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand because it’s very affordable and has simple controls.
- Tourmaline Ceramic Technology for even heat and frizz reduction
- Light weight
- Heats up quickly
- Cool barrel tip when heated
- On/off button placement makes it easy to accidentally turn off while styling hair
- Limited heat settings
The Conair Double Ceramic Curling Iron is a traditional curling iron with a full-length clamp. It’s available in 5 barrel sizes in ¼” increments from ½” to 1 ½”. The heated portion is 4 ½” long, which should be enough for most hair lengths. If you have short hair, select one of the smaller barrel widths.
It has 30 heat settings you can set with a dial around the base of the barrel. However, it doesn’t specify the actual temperatures. My best guess is that setting 1 is around 200°F, and goes up to around 400°F at the highest setting (30).
For practical purposes, there are really 7 marked settings in increments of 5 from 1-30. For fine hair, a setting of 10 or less should work well.
The iron heats up pretty quickly, but if you want a super quick heat up, there’s a Turbo heat boost option.
You can also use this iron internationally as it is dual voltage (120/240V), plus it comes in a clipless version if you prefer a wand style iron.
- Extra ceramic coating around the barrel to protect hair
- Auto shut-off feature
- Variable temperature control with 30 heat settings
- Cool tip for safe handling
- Comes with a protective pouch for the barrel
- No temperature indicator – lowest setting is 1, highest is 30
My favorite all-in-one curling appliance for fine hair is the NuMe Octowand. Not only can you get anything from tight, bouncy curls to loose, beachy waves, but it is the best at protecting your hair from the damaging effects of heat styling.
The 8 interchangeable barrels are all made of 100% tourmaline ceramic. Heat settings are digitally controlled in 20° increments from a low of 170°F to a high of 450°F. I love that the heat setting can go below 200° for super fine, thin hair.
The wand uses far infrared, or radiant heat, to heat your hair from the follicle outwards to the cuticle layer, protecting strands from being damaged.
The infused tourmaline also helps keep your hair from drying out and looking frizzy.
There are four straight barrels that come in ½”, ¾”, 1”, and 1 ¼” widths, plus there’s a ¾” and 1” cone, a reverse cone, and a pearl (or bubble) barrel.
The only thing I wish NuMe would do is offer a version with a spring clamp for those who prefer the traditional curling iron over the wand.
- Digital temperature control from 170°F to 450°F
- One wand with different barrel sizes and shapes to create any type of curl or wave
- Low temperature settings + solid tourmaline ceramic = least amount of damage to fine hair
- Kit comes with a heat resistant glove and a carrying case
- On the high end of the price range for curling appliances
- Comes as a wand only – no curling iron with clamp available
Definition and Characteristics of Fine Hair
Ok, before we go on, let’s just make sure we understand what fine hair actually is. Fine hair means the thickness, or diameter, of each individual hair, is small. It does not refer to the amount or number of hairs you have on your head.
You can tell if you have fine hair by rubbing a single strand between your thumb and index finger – if you don’t feel anything, you have fine hair.
The opposite is coarse hair, which feels like a piece of thread between your fingers.
When someone has thick hair, it means they have many hairs. So, you can have fine, thick hair. Likewise, if you don’t have a lot of hair, you can have fine, thin hair.
Because it’s more naturally fragile, fine hair breaks more easily and can be challenging to style without damaging. It can also be more difficult to hold a style for an extended period of time.
Things to Consider
Besides your hair texture, you should also consider the following:
- Your hair length. Long hair is easier to wrap around the barrel of an iron or wand than short hair. A curling iron has a clamp that clips your hair to the barrel, which can help if you have shorter hair.
- How big or small you want your curls to be. You’ll want a wider barrel for loose beachy waves and a smaller one for tighter curls.
- Your hair type. Straight hair is more resistant to curling but is usually shinier because the smoothness reflects light better. Wavy and curly hair are naturally drier and can frizz easily.
- Your hair thickness. If you have a lot of hair, you’ll need to divide it into more sections when curling. If you wrap too much hair around the barrel, it won’t curl or stay curled as well.
- Your hair product (or lack thereof). Most people need to use some product in their hair before curling in order to maintain the curl. At the very least, you should apply some heat protectant so your hair is less likely to be damaged by a hot iron.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s hair is different. What works well for one person may not for another, due to the factors above. Fine hair is just one characteristic that you need to account for when choosing a curling iron.
What To Look for in a Curling Iron for Fine Hair
Fine hair is more likely to be damaged by heat than medium or coarse hair. For this reason, it’s important to choose a curling iron that allows you to control the temperature so you can set it to a lower heat setting.
Very fine hair only needs a heat setting of around 250°F to 300°F.
In addition, some materials are better than others for fine hair. Ceramic or tourmaline (or a combination of both) are great because they distribute heat evenly across the barrel and protect hair better.
Tourmaline has an added benefit of infusing hair with negative ions, which help close the cuticle layer of your hair, making it look more shiny and healthy.
One thing to note is that cheaper ceramic curling irons are usually only coated with ceramic. They’ll work fine, but your hair will be more prone to damage if the coating wears off.
Metal curling irons are not recommended because they heat up faster and can fry your hair.
Curling Iron or Curling Wand?
Aside from the regular curling iron, there are also curling wands available. The difference between a wand and a curling iron?
A curling iron has a clamp that holds your hair against the barrel while a wand is just a barrel.
Which is best for you? It depends on the look you’re going for as well as how comfortable you are with one or the other.
If you want even curls all the way to your ends, a curling iron is the better option since it clips your hair against the barrel. You’ll also be able to create a well-defined curl. Some people find irons easier to use since you don’t have to hold your ends with your fingertips while the curl sets.
However, a clamp can also create a crease or kink where it clamps your hair onto the barrel. You won’t have that issue with a curling wand.
Many wands come in a tapered cone shape and are best for beachy waves. Because you hold your strands the entire time, you’ll have straight ends. The conical shape also gives you wider waves near your head that get progressively narrower down the length of your hair.
Other Features to Consider
- Auto shut-off. This is a nice safety feature so you don’t ruin the appliance (or your counter top).
- Temperature indicator. This is important if you’re setting the heat to a specific temperature.
- Protective Glove. Some irons/wands come with a glove to protect your fingers from getting burned. Definitely useful if you’re prone to accidents like me!
- Dual-voltage. If you travel internationally and want to be able to use your curler wherever you go.
Tips for Curling Fine Hair
Now that you know what to look for, here are some tips for getting the look you want while keeping your hair healthy:
- Always make sure your hair is dry before using a curling iron.
- To prevent heat damage, use a heat protectant spray before curling your hair. It adds moisture and forms a protective barrier on the cuticle layer.
- When using the right temperature, you only need to hold your hair in the curler for about 5 seconds before releasing.
- Pick the appropriate barrel size for the look you want. Go with a ½” barrel if you want tight ringlets. 1” barrels are the most versatile and can give you a nice curl or wave depending on how you use it. Larger 1”+ – 2” widths are mostly for loose waves and volume, and longer hair is needed.
- Section your hair before curling and clip it away from the area you want to work on. Once you are done with that section, move on to the next and gently re-clip your remaining hair until you’ve done your entire head.
- If you want more volume, wrap your hair away from your face.
For healthy beautiful curls, the BaByliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic Curling Iron is my top pick for fine hair. It’s materials and heat settings allow you to create great curls or waves while reducing the amount of heat damage to your hair. I also find it easier to use a traditional curling iron with a clamp as it helps hold hair in place while you style.
If you’re going for beachy waves, the Remington Pro Curling Wand with Pearl Ceramic Technology is a great choice too. The tapered cone and digital temperature controls are simple to use, and you won’t get any crimps in your hair.