No Time? My pick for the best curling iron for thick hair is the Hot Tools Professional 24k Gold Curling Iron.
There are people who would kill to have thick hair. Who doesn’t want a full head of voluminous, gorgeous tresses? And yet…there are some definite downsides to styling and curling heaps of hair. You often need extra time, product, and patience to get your locks to curl and stay put.
With the right tools and techniques, it’s absolutely doable and well worth the effort. I’ve got you covered with my picks for the best curling irons for thick hair.
We’ll be reviewing the following curling irons in this article:
- Bed Head Curling Wand for Loose Curls
- ATMOKO 5 in 1 Curling Wand Set
- Hot Tools Professional 24k Gold Curling Iron
- BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Spring
- REMINGTON Conical Curling Wand
The 5 Best Curling Irons for Thick Hair
This curling iron screams out cool with its design, colors and more. Given the brand name, it has features to back up the solid reputation.
What it excels at is giving you those carefree loose curls that’ll add volume and soul to your hair. It packs a load of power, reaching a temperature of 400°F in around 30 seconds.
It’s a clamp-free curling iron, which may take some getting used to for beginners. Once you have the hang of it, though, you’ll appreciate the crease-free look it leaves behind.
The 1” wide barrel is constructed from a mix of ceramic and tourmaline, offering an even heat distribution, while reducing frizz and locking in moisture. For loose beach waves, hold a section of hair on the barrel for 5 seconds. For a more defined curl, use a bit of hair spray and hold it for 10 seconds.
A tangle-free swivel cord aids in a less frustrating styling experience. As a bonus, the company also throws in a heat-protective glove, so you don’t have to worry about burning yourself in the process. Last but not least, there’s an attached rest stand to protect your counter, too.
- Super-fast 30 second warm-up
- Tourmaline-ceramic barrel
- Tangle-free swivel cord
- Trusted consumer brand
- Efficient and effective on thick, stubborn hair
- Only one temperature setting
If you like to switch up your look from time to time, this 5-piece curling wand set has you covered. The 5 interchangeable barrels come in different sizes, which you can simply screw in and out.
You get three conical (tapered) barrels and two cylindrical ones so you can get nice even curls or a more natural wave. The 2 cylindrical wands are 1” and 1 ¼” in diameter, plus a super skinny, medium, and large conical barrel:
- 0.35 to 0.71”
- 0.71 to 1”
- 1 to 1.25”
Each barrel has a tourmaline-ceramic coating that helps tame frizz and avoid hot spots, heating up to 410°F in just 30 seconds. The lowest option is 374°F and, unfortunately, you can only choose between these two settings. For very thick and coarse strands, the highest choice will be your best bet.
It’s also dual-voltage (110 to 240 volts), which is perfect if you travel internationally and can’t be separated from your styling tools.
On the downside, the interchangeable barrels seem to attach less securely after a year or two of use.
- 5 interchangeable barrels in both cylindrical and conical shapes
- Budget-friendly multi-wand set
- 360° swivel cord
- Dual voltage (110-240V)
- May take longer to heat than it claims
- Not as durable as non-interchangeable wands
Talk about bling bling, this curling iron has a 24k gold-plated barrel and it’s not just for flashing around. Supposedly, it’s this feature that provides constant and even heating, avoiding hot spots that can damage areas of your hair.
This consistency gives you bouncy yet smooth curls that feel natural and last longer. There’s a proprietary Pulse Technology that also enhances its ability to maintain a high heat level. If the sensor detects a dip in temperature, the technology will kick into gear and boost it back up.
The easy-to-use dial temperature ranges between 280° and 430°F, which is pretty darn hot at the max (honestly you should never use the highest setting for any type of hair).
Other useful features include the 8’ swivel cord and a soft-touch handle for comfortable gripping. The isolated on/off switch means you won’t accidentally cool it down during your styling process. Last but not least, you can have peace of mind with the auto shut-off feature.
- Comfortable handle
- Long 8’ swivel cord
- Sensor technology that monitors and keeps consistent heat
- Adjustable heat settings for all hair types
- Somewhat fragile, so do be careful
As a well-known brand, BaByliss has many different curling irons to choose from. Their nano-titanium curler is best for taming and styling thick, frizzy hair. It comes in a variety of widths, so you can get tight, defined curls or large, flowy waves depending on the size you choose.
You get the best of both worlds with the combination of ceramic and titanium in this appliance, which conducts high temperatures well while ensuring consistent, even heat across the surface of the barrel.
BaByliss also claims the Sol-Gel technology makes the coating 37% stronger and 22% smoother than others on the market.
This curler will reach up to 450°F, which is the highest I’ve seen on any iron. Be careful with the heat setting – some gals have managed to burn some of their locks off!
The temperature dial on the side has a turbo-heat function if you press it, which will instantly boost the temp if you’re struggling with a stubborn section that doesn’t want to budge.
The tip of the barrel gets pretty hot too, so you’ll want to be careful not to hold onto it or wear a heat resistant glove to protect your fingertips.
- Ceramic and titanium barrel produces plenty of heat for styling and taming frizz
- Large range of heat settings
- Turbo-heat button boosts temperature on demand
- Smooth barrel doesn’t snag hair
- Tip gets very hot to the touch
Remington is another well-known brand for hair care and the company doesn’t short us on this curling iron.
It’s the only conical-shape curler on our list. This makes it a great choice if you want a more natural-looking curl that goes from wider up top to skinnier at the ends. You can get it in either a ½” – 1” or a larger 1” – 1 ½” barrel size.
There are 9 heat settings to choose from, which you can monitor on the LCD temperature display. It can reach its max high of 410°F in under one minute.
The company boasts that the ceramic-pearl coating will produce even heat distribution and help combat frizz or flyaways. You shouldn’t find yourself in a tangled-up mess either, thanks to the swivel cord.
Safety features include an auto shut-off feature after 60 minutes and a heat-protective glove to keep your hand safe while styling.
- Ceramic-pearl coating is smooth and helps hair retain moisture
- Easy to read LCD display and digital controls
- Conical barrel produces natural-looking waves
- Auto shut-off after 60 min
- Comes with a heat resistant glove
- Hair can slide down the tapered barrel while curling
What Hair Type Do I Have?
A lot of people use the term “thick hair” when talking about strands that aren’t actually as they’re describing them. The confusion here is widespread, so there’s no judgment from us. Let’s clear things up, though.
Technically, thick hair refers to density. That’s to say, a woman with thick hair is one that has a larger number of hairs on her head. If the strands themselves are thick on their own, this is what we’d call “coarse”.
Are you wondering how to figure it out?
Thick or Coarse?
Gather up your hair into a ponytail, and measure its circumference.
Low-density hair (thin hair) should have a circumference of fewer than 2” Up to 4” would be medium density and anything above that could be considered thick.
If your hair isn’t long enough to put into a ponytail:
Look in a mirror and check if you can see your scalp without touching your hair. If you can easily see your skin, you have thin hair. With medium or thick hair, you’ll generally need to divide your hair apart to see your scalp.
Pluck one strand from your head and compare it to a piece of sewing thread. If your hair is about as wide as the thread, then you have coarse hair. Otherwise, medium hair is a little narrower, and a single fine hair is so thin that it might be almost invisible.
If you don’t want to pull a strand out, simply take one between your thumb and index finger and rub your fingers together. If it feels like a piece of thread, you’ve got coarse hair. You can still feel medium textures, but if you don’t feel anything at all, you have fine hair.
Choosing the Best Curling Iron
There are a lot of choices out there and it’s not always easy to find the product that’s most suitable for you. Let’s go over some important details:
The curling surface is the heating element that warms up the barrel and each material has something to offer. Most of our top picks of the best curling irons for thick hair feature one or more of the following:
- Uniform temperature
- Helps hair retain moisture by closing the cuticle layer
- Safest for fine to medium hair types
- Releases negative ions to combat frizz.
- Good results at lower temperatures
- Reduced chance of frying hair
- Boosts damage protection when combined with ceramic
- Fast and consistent heating
- Stable at very high temperatures
- One of the strongest and lightest metals
- Ideal for coarse or style-resistant hair
There are some combinations between the above materials to provide a mix of positives. Ceramic-tourmaline is probably the best of the bunch these days.
You should try to avoid any curling irons that use chrome or Teflon. The former option overheats easily, so you run the chance of burning your hair. On the other hand, Teflon heats up unevenly and releases positive ions that suck up your hair’s moisture, which can cause frizz in return.
Many curling irons have different temperature settings to give you more customization. They also compete over which can reach the highest heat and maintain it during styling.
While higher heat may be impressive, you must first understand which temperature range is best for you. There’s no use in buying a curler that can get to a super high heat if you don’t need it.
Here are the recommended temperatures to use according to your hair type:
- Fine hair: 250°-340°F
- Medium hair: 300°-350°F
- Thick, coarse hair: 400°-430°F
As you can see, most hair types won’t need anything more than around 400°F. Depending on your specific needs, you may go slightly above or below that number.
Barrel Size and Shape
What kind of curl shape do you want? Are you going for a defined, piece-y curl or more of a beach wave? This will determine which diameter and shape you should get.
Smaller barrels (anything less than an inch wide) are ideal for thin and short-to-medium length hair. They produce tighter curls that are more like coils.
Wider barrels between 1-2” are best for long, thick hair. They will produce big, natural looking waves.
Cylindrical barrels are the most common and give you even curls from top to bottom. Conical wands are tapered and are best for messier, natural-looking waves. Finally, there are bubble or spiral wands that can give you perfectly-shaped spiral curls.
There are two main types of curling irons:
The clamp iron is generally referred to as just a curling iron. It has a clasp that runs about half or three-quarters of the length of the barrel, and holds your hair against the barrel.
There are actually a couple of different clamp types – the marcel, which is mostly used by professional stylists in salons, and the spring clamp. Most at home curling irons are the spring clamp variety, as they’re easier to use and better for beginners.
A downside to the clamp iron is that it can often leave a crease or dent in your otherwise-perfect curl.
Curling wands, on the other hand, create more natural waves. There’s nothing on the barrel – you twirl your strands around it and hold them against the wand with your free hand. This does take a bit of practice to master, especially on your non-dominant hand side.
Wands come in either cylindrical or conical shape, which is just a tapered barrel that’s wider on one end. This leaves your curl larger up top and skinny at the bottom.
If you’ve never used a curling iron or wand before, it’s always a good idea to practice curling with a cool iron first. You can also wear gloves to protect your fingers from burns if you’re not comfortable working with hot appliances. Some wands come with a heat glove included.
Aside from the main components, there are a few other factors that make up the best curling iron for thick hair. These include:
Some curling irons come with an auto shut-off mechanism. This means that the device will turn itself off after a certain period, usually around 60 minutes.
If you’re a bit absent-minded or just always in a rush to get out the door, this might be your saving grace. No need to panic during your commute, thinking you left it on.
Most spring clamp irons come with a built-in heat stand, usually as a thin metal piece that holds it off the surface when you rest it on a counter or table. This ensures you won’t burn anything when you need to set it down. Some wands have a small platform where the barrel meets the handle to keep it from touching the surface.
Furthermore, some irons come with a heat-resistant glove included. If you use your curler at a very high temperature, this could save your fingers from burns while styling.
For the most part, any good curler these days will come with a swivel cord that rotates 360°. They offer more mobility when you’re making your way around your head and you don’t get tangled up in the process.
This way, you can hold the device at any angle you choose, versus letting the cord determine it for you.
This is especially useful for frequent travelers. Different countries use different voltages, from 110-120 volts or 220-240 volts. Dual voltage curling irons, automatically, and safely switch between these two options.
Word to the wise: don’t try to use an adapter alone on a single-voltage iron. This could fry your device and leave you up a creek without a paddle. The last thing you want on vacation is frizzy, untameable hair.
Digital Settings Display
As we’ve already mentioned, the majority of curling irons on the market offer at least two temperature settings, if not more. Where they tend to differ, however, is in their display mechanism.
A rotating dial is the most basic option, but it’s not always easy to distinguish the setting you’ve selected. If this bothers you, I recommend opting for a curling iron with a digital display. You won’t be stuck guessing what temp you’re at and it offers a higher-end feel to the device.
Best Curling Iron By Hair Type
Fine, Thick Hair
Tourmaline or ceramic-tourmaline works best for fine strands since the risk of frying your hair is lower. This allows you to be a bit more free with the temperature, which is a serious bonus with this challenging hair type. Otherwise, you’d be stuck with a lower setting that may not get the job done.
You should, however, avoid titanium as it can dry up your fine hair in a jiffy.
Coarse, Thick Hair
Coarse-haired gals don’t have that problem with titanium. In fact, it might be the best option for them. This material has the best high-temperature stability and can produce enough heat to curl even the coarsest locks out there.
If your hair is medium in texture, you could probably do just fine with either ceramic or tourmaline, as well.
Tips & Tricks for Curling Thick Hair
- Make sure hair is completely dry and detangled before curling
- Apply a heat protectant before styling
- For more defined curls that last longer, use a little hair spray before curling each section
- Gently release each curl and let it cool down before tousling or touching. This will allow it to set and stay in longer
- Apply some dry shampoo for more texture if you’re starting with unwashed hair
- Curl the hair framing your face away from your face
- For a more natural wave, curl each section in alternating directions so your tresses aren’t one big uni-curl
- Always start off with a lower temperature and work your way up if you’re unsure what heat setting is best for your hair
- Finish by spraying your entire head with a flexible hold hair spray
Tackling your lovely thick locks with a curling iron doesn’t have to be a never-ending battle. With the right tool, you can have beautiful curls and waves, even if you weren’t born with them.
It wasn’t an easy to choose just one, but I think the best all-around curling iron for thick hair is the Hot Tools Professional 24k Gold Curling Iron.
It’s got enough temperature settings to cover most hair types, and holds a consistent heat across the barrel, making the process more efficient. You’ll finish curling in less time, which is always a plus when you’ve got lots of hair.
For extra hold, use a hair texturing spray before curling each section, which will help your curls last all day and into the next if you don’t wash it.
What’s your favorite curling iron for thick hair?