The Best Steam Curling Irons

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One of the easiest ways for me to tame bedhead in the morning has always been to spritz a bit of water on my hair before brushing it.

So when my best friend complained about how difficult it was to get curls to stay in her hair, I suggested she try a steam curling iron to see if it would make a difference.

Lo and behold, it was just the thing she needed to get the flowy waves she loves, and nowadays I actually prefer her in curls because it gives her hair so much movement and volume.

But which product out there is the best steam curling iron to use? Here are my picks:

Table of Contents

Best Steam Curling Iron Reviews

YITRUST Automatic Curling Iron Steam Hair Curler

Features

This YITRUST iron is an automatic steam curler, which makes it a double duty steam and automatic curling iron in one. 

Unlike traditional curling irons or wands, you don’t have to manually wrap hair around the barrel yourself. The chamber is equipped with a motor that sucks hair in and wraps it around the ceramic barrel inside once you place a section of hair between the two sides and clamp it shut. 

There’s a water compartment at the top of the unit that you can fill with a small amount of water for steam. It also comes with a small squeeze bottle for filling the compartment.

The Yitrust has three temperature settings from 380°F to 450°F, and three timer settings – 8, 10 or 12 seconds long – for the amount of time to hold the curl before releasing. For a more defined, longer-lasting curl, use either the 10 or 12-second setting to ensure the curl sets properly.

You also have the option to turn the steam function on or off, as well as control the curl direction – right, left, or alternate. 

While there is a bit of a learning curve, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it makes pretty short work of making pretty spiral curls.

The steam function also gives hair a nice sheen as it’s more hydrated while setting.

One thing to be aware of is which side of the iron you hold towards your head. There’s a label that indicates which side should be facing you while using.

Lastly, you’ll also need hair that’s at least shoulder length or longer for good results. Anything shorter won’t work well.

Pros:

  • Can be used for natural, soft or tight curls
  • 60-min auto shut-off
  • Timer beeps alerts user to release hair
  • Customizable temperature, timer, and curl direction settings
  • Includes a barrel cleaning tool that inserts into chamber

Cons:

  • Not effective on short hair
  • Doesn’t come with instructions for use

BaBylissPRO Miracurl Steamtech Pro

Features

If you’re not into automatic curling irons, you can just go ahead and skip this one. The BaByliss PRO Miracurl Steamtech Pro is another automatic steam curling iron, which just goes to show how well steam and automation go together. 🙂

Like Yitrust, the BaByliss steam curler also has three heat settings, three timer settings and three curl directions (right, left, and alternate). 

The nice thing about the BaByliss is it heats up very quickly, and the titanium barrel maintains a constant temperature that doesn’t damage your strands.

And if you’re worried about getting your locks caught up in the contraption, it has a safety feature where the iron beeps if you try to insert too much hair at a time. You’ll need to use a smaller portion before it will suck your hair into the chamber.

However, if your hair still gets caught, don’t panic. Slowly release the handle and pull the section out.

The steam function is optional, but it’s quite useful for longer-lasting curls. And though the water tank looks really small, it holds enough water to curl a full head of hair.

You can create everything from loose beachy waves to perfectly sculpted spirals depending on the settings you use.

Of course, there are a few not-so-great things about the Steamtech Miracurl. It’s kind of heavy, and can tire your arms out after a while if you’ve got a lot of hair to work through.

Also, since you have to work with small sections at a time, it doesn’t actually save you much time if you’re in a hurry. 

But if you’re not good at curling your hair with a traditional curling iron, you may just love the perfect ringlets it can create without a lot of skill or effort.

Pros:

  • Water tank holds enough water to curl a full head of hair
  • Barrel cleaning tool included
  • Auto shut-off, energy saver, and motion sensor safety features
  • Nano-titanium barrel
  • Effective on stick straight hair 

Cons:

  • Can’t curl large sections of hair at a time
  • Kind of heavy to hold after a while

Infiniti Pro by Conair Steam Waver

Features

Enough with the automatic curlers. Let’s talk about the Infiniti Pro by Conair Steam Waver now.

Despite the fact that it’s called a waver, it’s actually more of a crimper. It’s similar to a 3-barrel curling iron but with smaller barrels, so you’ll get more of a tight wave or crimp than a loose, beachy wave.

If you like the 90’s crimp that’s making it’s way back into style, you’ll want this one. 

It comes with ceramic plates and has a fancy ion generator that produces negative ions to tame frizz into smooth and sleek strands. 

The middle barrel has 5 small vents where steam emits from, and you can customize your steam level to none at all, low, or high. The water tank is easy to remove, fill, and replace into its slot between the two sides of the handle.

Just remember to fill and replace the water tank while it’s unplugged so you don’t drip water onto a hot appliance. 

The key to using this waver properly is to not hold it in one place for too long, or else you can end up with stiff waves that don’t move too naturally. Press hair between the barrels for a few seconds before moving onto the next section down.

Pros:

  • Fast heat up
  • Customizable steam settings
  • Adds volume to flat, thin hair
  • Easy to use
  • 3 heat settings up to 437°F

Cons:

  • Not suitable for ringlet curls or beachy waves

Dorisilk Steam Vapor Styler 2-in-1 Hair Straightener and Curler

Features

As the name suggests, the Dorisilk Steam Vapor Styler is not exactly a curling iron, but a flat iron which can also double up as a curling tool. 

It has a 15ml water tank located on top of the handle, and comes with a small applicator bottle for filling the compartment with water. It’s simple to remove and produces enough steam for most styling sessions without needing to refill. 

The tourmaline ceramic plates on this flat iron curling iron combo are 1 ¼” wide, so it works best for large waves on medium to long hair. 

One of the best parts about curling hair with a flat iron is that the plates smooth the cuticle layer so your waves are sleek and shiny. Steam comes out from a thin panel of vents in the middle of the top plate, behind the water chamber.

Obviously, you can also straighten your hair with the Dorisilk Steam Hair Straightener, as well as flip out or curl in your ends for a more polished style.

It’s got a decent selection of heat settings, and you can also customize the amount of steam it produces based on your needs. 

For a 2-in-1 hair styler, it’s a very decent tool for both straightening and curling, and manages to leave hair looking healthy too.

Pros:

  • 2-in-1 steam straightener and curler
  • Dual voltage + 360° swivel cord
  • Adjustable heat settings from 300°F – 450°F
  • 60-min auto shut-off + closing lock for easy storage

Cons:

  • Heat up takes a bit longer than most flat irons
  • Steam function can cause some hair types to frizz

What Are The Benefits Of A Steam Curling Iron?

The biggest downside to curling hair with a regular curling iron is the risk of heat damage and drying your hair out. Some of this can be mitigated by adding moisture back into your strands in the form of steam, which helps hydrate and protect your strands from excessive temperatures.

At the same time, added moisture helps seal the cuticle layer to give hair more shine, and also keeps the curl or wave in longer.

For many, the extra bit of moisture is also key for styling resistant hair that won’t otherwise hold a curl.

Steam Curling Irons vs. Regular Curling Irons

closeup of woman with curls

Besides the additional moisture steam curling irons produce to hydrate hair while you style, the main difference between a steam curling iron and it’s standard counterpart is that you won’t find spring curling irons or curling wands equipped with the steam function.

As we’ve seen, steam curling irons generally come in the form of an automatic curling iron rather than a traditional wand or rod.

So one consideration to take into account is whether you’re ok with using an automatic curler or flat iron-type styler to get those luscious curls you’re after.

You’ll also generally have to wait a bit longer for a steam curler to be ready, but it’s pretty negligible. 

That said, if you find it hard to keep a curl for more than a few hours with your regular curling iron, you may find that added moisture is just the thing you need to seal the deal when creating those S-spirals or glam waves.

Is It Safe To Use A Steam Curling Iron?

Steam curling irons are generally as safe as a regular curling iron/wand or any other styling tool, as long as you take proper precautions. 

There are a few points to keep in consideration when working with steam curlers.

First, you should always take care to position the iron properly so that steam escapes on the side opposite your head.

If the steam side faces your scalp, you may end up scalding your skin.

When removing, refilling and inserting the water cartridge, always ALWAYS turn off and unplug the appliance before doing so. The risk of electrocution is small, but why risk it?

Also, don’t use a steam hair curling iron on wet hair – it’s meant for use on dry hair only.

There’s sometimes a misconception that steam irons can be used on wet hair, but it’s not a good idea because wet hair is more fragile than dry hair. If you try to curl damp or wet hair, there’s more risk of breakage.

How To Use A Steam Curling Iron

Learning to use a steam curling iron is fairly simple once you get it down. Here’s a good demonstration of the kind of results you can get plus how to use an automatic steam curling iron:

Final Thoughts

Compared to regular curling irons, steam curling irons are beneficial in curling super straight or hard-to-curl hair types hold a curl and last longer. 

They also help protect your strands from drying out too much and promote shine too. 

Your results may vary depending on your specific hair texture and condition though, as some find the steam to actually cause their hair to frizz. In that case, you’ll want to experiment with the available steam settings to see which one works best for you (which may turn out to be no steam at all).

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