There are a lot of curling irons out there. Some have clips, others spin on their own. Some cost $300, others $30. So how do you even begin to know which one you should get? We got you, fam. Here, the three most important things you should look for when purchasing an iron.
1. The material: In general, we prefer either ceramic or tourmaline plates because they provide the most even heat distribution (crucial for uniform curls) and emit negative ions to make your hair shiny. Plus, the smooth surface means no painful snags while curling.
2. The barrel size: The larger the barrel, the looser the curl. A three-quarter- or five-eighths-inch wand will give you tighter spirals, while anything above one inch will give you a more relaxed curl. If your hair is on the shorter side (that is, shoulder length and up), consider a smaller size so you can wrap your strands around the barrel comfortably. (And if you're still on the fence, most stylists recommend a one-inch barrel for maximum versatility.)
3. The temperature settings: Most irons come with adjustable heat settings (and some even have microchips in them that monitor and maintain a consistent temperature). Frills or no frills, never put your iron at higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit (lest you want to singe your strands like that one YouTuber). Have fine or chemically-processed hair? Stick to 200—max 250—degrees. Thick, coarse hair can handle between 300 to 350 degrees.