No Time? My pick for the best curling iron for long hair is the Mr. Big Extra Long Ceramic Curling Iron.
Long, straight hair is a thing of beauty. Sometimes though, you just want some curls or waves for a fresh, new look. The good news is that most curling appliances are made for longer hair, so you’re in luck! But which curling iron is best for long hair?
We’ll be reviewing the following curlers in this article:
- Mr. Big Extra Long Ceramic Curling Iron
- CHI Air Spin N Curl Ceramic Rotating Curler
- Chopstick Styler The LONG Curling Wand
- Bed Head Wave Artist Deep Waver Generation II
- Hot Tools 24K Gold Extra Long 1-1/4” Curling Iron
Table of Contents
Best Curling Irons for Long Hair
The name pretty much says it all (ahem) – the Mr. Big Extra Long Ceramic Curling Iron has the longest barrel on the market, making it a huge time-saver if you have super long hair (i.e. down to your lower back or below).
The curler was created by a single mom who was frustrated trying to curl her own long hair with standard curling irons. After 10 years and 5 manufacturers, she was finally able to bring Mr. Big Curling Iron to the market.
The 9 ½” barrel gives you enough runway to wrap your hair around – up to 30” – and create curls in one pass, cutting your styling time in half or more.
It’s triple-coating of ceramic makes it less damaging to your hair, and the adjustable heat settings from 180°F to 430°F give you a wide range of temperatures to customize to your hair type.
It’s also got cleverly placed power and control buttons so you don’t accidentally press them while styling (hate when this happens), and is surprisingly lightweight despite the longer barrel.
The tip of the iron swivels, which may or may not be beneficial depending on your preference. If you like holding the tip with one hand while you twist the handle with the other, it can be a great feature.
However, some don’t care for it and wish it didn’t rotate. There have also been reports of the tip getting hot even though it’s supposed to stay cool.
Finally, the iron seems to work best on medium to thick hair. Some users with fine strands have experienced a less-than-ideal grip on their hair with the clamp.
- 9 ½” barrel length curls very long hair in one pass
- Power and control buttons located on the side so you don’t accidentally press while curling
- Dual-voltage for international travel
- Triple-coating of ceramic protects hair from uneven hotspots
- Lightweight despite extra length
- Counterintuitive heat dial settings go from high to low (left to right), which can cause you to lower temperature when you’re trying to raise it and vice versa
- Fine hair can be difficult to clamp securely against barrel
The CHI Air Spin N Curl is an automatic curling iron that wraps your hair with the push of a button and beeps to let you know when to release. It has an open chamber with a short rotating barrel inside that your hair winds around.
The curler actually works best on long hair even though most people initially worry about getting their hair tangled and stuck in the chamber. As long as you use small enough sections (about 1”), you shouldn’t have any problems.
However, if you do get hair tangled up in the chamber, it will beep and turn off so you can unravel it from the barrel.
To use, hold the CHI Air Spin N Curl upright near your scalp and place a section of hair close to your roots into the chamber. It draws your hair in through to the ends once you press and hold the Spin button.
You can control the direction of your curl with the arrow buttons. I like this feature a lot because it’s easy to create curls in alternate directions, which I find hard to do with a standard iron. (Takes some coordination!)
Another nice benefit with the CHI Air Spin N Curl is that the outer chamber doesn’t get too hot so you don’t burn yourself. Once you get used to using it, you’ll also save a lot of time because the curler does most of the work for you.
- Dual-voltage 110V – 220V
- Curls in both directions
- Outer shell doesn’t get hot – won’t burn your fingers or scalp
- Digital temperature controls and display
- Comes with a cleaning tool to keep barrel free of product buildup
- Can jam if too much hair is inserted into the chamber
- Can’t curl near your scalp due to the size of the chamber
If you’ve got flat, limp hair, the LONG Chopstick Styler is a miracle tool that can give you curls and volume like Beyoncé.
Invented by the famous British hairdresser Lee Stafford, the Chopstick Styler™ is a unique curling wand that comes in an extra skinny rectangular (¼” x ⅜”) barrel. (Emphasis on the rectangular rod as that seems to take several people by surprise.) It creates tight corkscrew curls with a bit of zing due to the angular barrel.
You can also create looser spirals by curling larger sections of hair at a time.
The 7 ¾” length gives you ample surface area for long locks and the rectangular shape grips hair so the curl holds for days. It’s ceramic-coated and infused with avocado oil to protect and moisturize hair, though honestly I don’t know how much of a difference the oil actually makes.
There are 5 heat settings from 250°F to 410°F as well as an auto shut-off function, which is always nice for peace of mind. Controls are simple with one button to power on/off, and for cycling through the different temperature settings.
On the downside, it does take a while to curl your entire head, especially if you’ve got thick hair. But it’s worth it for that head-turning va-va-voom look every so often!
- Creates tight corkscrew curls that last for days
- Great for creating volume out of thin, flat hair
- Rectangular barrel can create an afro-type curl with smaller sections of hair or wider spirals with larger sections
- Heats up quickly
- Extra long barrel
- Not that versatile – only good for creating small curls
- Takes a while to do your entire head
On the opposite end of the curl spectrum, the Bed Head Wave Artist Deep Waver Gen II is great for creating glamorous, natural-looking beach waves. And they last for days to boot.
Technically, the Bed Head Wave Artist isn’t a curling iron so much as a large crimper. It’s got 2 panels – one with a deep barrel and a second molded plate on top. You place a section of hair between the two plates, clamp and press to create waves.
It’s especially great for long hair. Starting at your roots, you clamp a section, hold for a few seconds while it sets, then release. Repeat down the length of your hair until you get to your ends.
For a uniform wave, line up the outer wave with the first barrel as you work your way down (so you’re essentially re-crimping the 3rd wave with the 1st barrel each time you move the waver down).
You can adjust the heat from low to high (400°F), but there’s no temperature gauge so you don’t know the exact temperature you’re setting the heat to.
The other thing to be aware of is that the unit gets very hot, so do be careful handling the waver when doing your hair.
- Creates natural-looking beachy waves by crimping instead of curling
- Tourmaline ceramic technology creates shine and reduces frizz
- Dual-voltage for international use
- Auto shut-off for safety (Gen I does not have auto shut-off, Gen II does)
- Adjustable heat settings do not specify actual temperature
- Bulkier than a curling iron
If big, flowy beach waves are what you’re after, the Hot Tools 24k Gold Extra Long 1 ¼” is an excellent tool for the job. The gold metallic barrel is great for especially thick, long hair that resists styling, and the quarter inch extra width is just the right size for a loose, natural wave.
The rod is 2″ longer than standard-length irons, for a total of 7 ½” of length to wrap your locks around. It stays at a consistent temperature due to Hot Tools’ built-in smart technology that senses and adjusts the heat while you use it, making recovery and styling time more efficient.
The easy-to-control heat dial at the base of the barrel has temperature settings from 280°-430°F, and an 8′ long swivel cord gives you plenty of freedom and maneuverability to curl around your entire head. It also has a cool-to-the-touch swivel tip that you can hold onto without burning your fingers.
A couple of things to keep in mind: the gold plating makes this iron best for coarse, thick hair. I wouldn’t recommend it for fine or damaged hair because metal holds high heat well and can be too hot for fragile hair.
For those who’ve tried and failed to get the perfect beach wave with other curling irons, this one should help you get them once and for all.
- Barrel is 2” longer than standard curling irons
- Embedded smart technology senses and keeps temperature consistent
- Adjustable heat settings up to 430°F is effective on hard-to-curl hair
- 24k gold barrel plating heats quickly and is able to curl coarse, thick hair
- Long 8’ swivel cord
- No auto shut-off
- Metallic barrel isn’t as safe for finer hair types
3 Things to Think About Before Getting a Curling Iron
- Your hair type and condition. This is the number one thing to consider regardless of your hair length. Is your hair fine, medium, or coarse? Is it healthy, damaged or chemically-treated? These factors will determine the barrel material you should get for the best results and the least amount of heat damage.
- The Type of Curl You Want. The type of curl you’re looking to achieve will determine the barrel size you should get. Tight ringlets will require a small barrel while loose beach waves will need a larger width.
- Your proficiency (or lack thereof) with hot styling tools. This will help narrow down the type of curling iron or wand that will be easiest for you to use. If you don’t have a lot of experience using a traditional curling iron – or heck, are just plain lazy – there are various options such as automatic curlers and double or triple barrel irons that do most of the heavy lifting for you.
Buying Guide: What To Look For in a Curling Tool for Long Hair
Once you’ve determined the considerations above, you’ll have a better sense of the features you’ll need in a curling iron. Below are the main things to look for:
- If you have fine or damaged hair, get a ceramic curler. Ceramic distributes heat evenly across the barrel, eliminating hot spots that can cause uneven curling and damage to your tresses. For even more protection, find one that also has tourmaline mixed in.
Tourmaline is a crystal that gets ground into a fine powder and is infused into some ceramic curlers to create shine and smoothness. It does so by emitting negative ions to counteract frizzy hair’s positive ions.
- Metallic irons like gold or titanium are good at heating up quickly and holding high temperatures. They’re best for healthy, coarse hair types that are resistant to curling.
Titanium is also very lightweight, but usually more expensive. (The cheap chrome ones available at drugstores are not recommended because they’re the most damaging.)
Adjustable Heat Settings
- Another important feature of any good curling iron is the ability to adjust the heat setting to the appropriate temperature for your hair.
For fine, fragile, or color-treated hair, you’ll want one that allows you to set a temperature between 200-300°F. If you have coarse or difficult to style hair, a curling iron that gets up to 400+°F will be in order.
Clamp or No Clamp?
- Traditional curling irons usually have a clamp along the length of the barrel to keep your hair clipped on while you curl.
It’s normally a spring clamp that opens when you press the lever and shuts when you let go.
They help hold your hair against the barrel while you twist it, which some people prefer.
However, they can create a crease or kink where your hair has been clamped against the iron.
- A curling wand, on the other hand, is just a barrel that you wind hair around with your free hand and hold until you release the curl.
They come in either cylindrical or tapered cone shapes, where one end is narrower than the other.
Barrel Size, Shape, and Length
- If you’re looking to create even curls down the length of your hair, a regular cylindrical rod is what you’ll need. Small curls will need a barrel size less than 1”, and large waves anywhere from 1 ¼”-2”.
The 1” diameter is the most versatile and popular for all hair lengths. For loose natural waves, some people like the conical or tapered barrel, which gives you a less symmetrical, more flow-y wave.
There are also extended length curling irons available for very long hair so you can curl it in one pass, as well as spiral irons that help guide your hair between the built-in swirl of the barrel.
Manual or Automatic Curler?
On top of all the options available for regular curling irons, there are also automatic curlers that twirl your hair around the barrel for you. These work particularly well for long hair and come in a few different formats.
There’s the chamber curler, which looks like a torch when you hold it upright. Your hair gets zipped into the round chamber surrounding the hot barrel and stays there til your curl sets.
Then there’s the auto-rotating open barrel, which is similar to a regular curling iron except that it rotates with a press of a button.
The other style of open-barrel auto-curler has prongs around the base of the barrel that rotates and wraps hair around while it spins.
Tips & Tricks for Curling Long Hair
- Always start with clean, dry hair. Prepping your hair for curling is important for getting good results, in addition to keeping your hair healthy. Wash, condition, and dry your hair thoroughly. (Never use a curling iron on wet or damp hair!)
Spray heat protectant on your locks before you do any heat styling to protect from damage.
- Brush or comb your hair to get rid of any tangles before curling. It’s important that you don’t have any kinks or knots for the best results.
- Work with 1” sections. Using smaller sections, usually around 1” at a time, gives you better results as well as hold.
- Start near your roots, curling as you work down. This applies to both spring clamp irons as well as wands. It’s less physically awkward (and less damaging to your ends).
- For a well-defined spiral, twist your hair from root to ends before wrapping around the barrel. This will give you a more piece-y look with thin spirals. If you’re doing this with a traditional clamp iron, open the clip and wrap the section around the barrel without clamping down.
- To create waves quickly, pull hair into a high ponytail before curling. You’ll get natural, flow-y locks in a jiffy.
- Allow your curls to cool before tousling them! If you give your curls a chance to cool before brushing or running your fingers through them, they’ll set and stay longer.
If you’ve got hair for miles and want to create luscious curls or waves, it’s hard to go wrong with the Mr. Big Extra Long Ceramic Curling Iron. With it’s 9 ½” barrel, you’ll be able to curl your locks in one pass and save yourself a ton of time.
Its ceramic barrel heats evenly, leaves your hair shiny and frizz-free, and has the largest temperature range settings I’ve seen around.
It’s single-handedly one of the best curling irons for long hair because it was designed and created by someone who experienced all the frustrations of curling her own tresses with standard irons that just couldn’t keep up.