There are lots of features to consider when choosing a curling iron. It can be hard to know what to go with when they all claim to heat up quickly, curl hair easily, and reduce frizz. The main options – temperature control, barrel size and shape – are pretty self-explanatory and easy to understand.
But what’s the difference between a ceramic vs. a titanium curling iron? Let’s go over their individual properties and identify each material’s specific benefit so you can decide which is best for your hair.
Properties of Ceramic and Titanium
Ceramic is a non-metallic material that’s usually associated with clay pottery and china (traditional ceramics). However, with modern-day technology, advanced ceramics are used in a wide variety of ways – for tiles, bricks, electrical components, and of course, hair styling tools.
It’s a smooth, hard material that conducts heat evenly, which is one of the main reasons it’s used in heat styling. Ceramic is safer on fine or damaged hair because it produces far infrared heat, which heats strands from the inside out. Doing so allows you to use lower temperatures and protects your hair from overheating and drying out.
Most curling irons and wands are ceramic-coated, which usually means there’s metal underneath. Solid ceramic barrels are best for your hair because the entire rod heats evenly, not just the surface.
My Ceramic Curling Iron/Wand Picks
Budget: INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand
Mid-Range: HOT TOOLS Professional Nano Ceramic Curling Iron
Luxury: T3 SinglePass Professional Curling Iron
Titanium is a naturally-occurring metal used in multiple applications from airplanes to medical devices and sporting equipment.
It’s a low-density, high-strength material, making it both lightweight and strong. It’s excellent at conducting, maintaining and transferring high heat – which makes it ideal for styling coarse or resistant hair types. Additionally, titanium is anti- corrosive, so it doesn’t rust or deteriorate from exposure to chemicals or product residue.
Lastly, titanium is very durable and less prone to cracks and damage if you drop your curler.
My Titanium Curling Iron/Wand Picks
Budget: INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Rainbow Titanium Curling Wand
Mid-Range: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
Luxury: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Curling Wand
Ceramic vs. Titanium Curling Irons
✔ Ceramic provides gentler, even heat all around the barrel. Hot spots are pretty much non-existent on ceramic rods. Ceramic also functions well at lower temperatures for fine or damaged strands.
✔ Titanium can heat to higher temperatures than ceramic very quickly. It also recovers faster for consistent temperatures as you style. The efficient heat transfer to your strands means you can style in less time, and have longer lasting curls too.
✔ Ceramic produces infrared heat that warms strands from the inside out, retaining moisture. It also produces negative ions that smooth the cuticle layer, leaving hair smooth and silky.
✔ Tourmaline, a semi-precious gem, is often infused into ceramic curling irons for even more negative ion production to fight frizz and produce shine.
✔ Titanium is more powerful and efficient in transferring heat. It heats up in a jiffy, easily reaching temperatures over 400°F in a matter of seconds. You can create curls or waves in less time, as well as giving you maximum hold, particularly on thick hair.
Durability and Ease of Use
✔ Ceramic is very smooth and doesn’t snag or pull on hair. It’s appropriate on most hair types, thus you’ll find many different brands and options available from budget to high end.
✔ Ceramic-coated barrels may wear off over time, which can create uneven hot spots on the rod. 100% solid ceramic barrels are best for providing consistent, even heating throughout.
✔ Titanium is lightweight and strong, making it a workhorse that can withstand frequent use. It’s high heat capability allows you to get through your curling session more quickly, and it’s anti-corrosive nature prevents rust and discoloration from setting in.
✔ Titanium is less prone to cracking or breakage if you drop your curler.
✔ There are inexpensive and expensive curling wands in both materials. However, titanium is generally cheaper. (Interestingly enough, the opposite is true for ceramic and titanium flat irons.)
✔ You can usually find a good mid range ceramic curling iron because they’re very popular.
✔ Cheaper ceramic wands are ceramic-coated, whereas solid ceramic is more expensive. Likewise, titanium-plated barrels are cheaper than 100% titanium rods.
✔ Overall, the main difference you’ll see with the higher end irons are longer lasting results. Budget curlers can certainly produce beautiful curls too, but they tend to fall out more quickly, especially in hot, humid weather
✔ There’s also a difference in the quality of the curler itself, which affects how your hair feels, looks, and even smells after use. Quality refers not just to barrel material, but overall design and build, which affect ergonomics, safety, and ease of use. Cheap curling irons often chip or crack and lose heat over time.