Our top picks for your new hair styling go-to

Who doesn’t love a curly ‘do? From romantic ringlets to beachy waves, curling your hair can be the cherry on top for your look. But we’ll admit – it can feel super overwhelming finding the right curling wand for you and your budget. That’s why we’ve rounded up our top picks for curling wands, irons and air stylers, all available at Boots.

Ready to become a curling pro?

So, how do curling wands work?

A curling wand has a heated metal barrel that you wrap your hair around to curl. You can get curling wands in a range of different shapes and sizes, which all help create different types of curls.

There are two types of curling wands: ceramic and titanium. Ceramic curling wands are typically easier to use at home, because they distribute heat evenly and are less likely to cause heat damage. Titanium curling wands are normally used by hairdressers, because they’re lightweight and can hold heat for longer with a lower fire risk.

How is a curling wand different to a curling iron?

The main difference is that a curling iron has a metal clamp attached to the barrel, which you clamp down onto the ends of your hair before twisting upwards, curling your hair. A curling wand is just the one barrel – so when you curl your hair, you use your hands to manually twist pieces of hair around the wand. Because of this, there’s a higher chance of burning your fingers, so you may want to wear a protective glove.

Is a curling wand better than a curling iron?

Curling wands and curling irons create equally fabulous looks, but the curls are slightly different so you may find you prefer one to the other.

Curling irons shine in creating glamourous classic curls, but curling wands are more versatile, perfect for trying a range of looks from waves to ringlets. Plus, if you have naturally curly hair, a curling wand is perfect for touching up curls.

Because curling wands don’t have the metal clamp, you’re applying less heat to your hair which means that you’re less likely to experience heat damage. (But you should still use heat protection!)

Curling wands also don’t leave creases like curling irons can do. Once you get the hang of it, curling wands are normally quicker to use, so you can get a full head of curls within 15 minutes.

Choosing the right curling wand for your hair type

Your hair is just as unique as you, so different curling wands can work better on different hair types and adjusting your technique can help you find a style that suits yours.

Fine hair

Fine hair can be more prone to heat damage, so it’s really important that you prep your hair with heat protection.

You should also try to stick to lower temperatures when using a curling wand. Some wands come with different heat settings, so you’ll know exactly how much heat you’re applying to your hair and can pick the best setting for creating curls without the damage.

You might want to try curling your hair on the lowest setting, and working your way up if the lowest temperatures aren’t keeping a curl. Aim to avoid heat settings over 150 degrees Celsius, and you should try to hold hair around the barrel for five seconds or less to avoid any burning.

Thick hair

Thick hair can sometimes struggle to hold a curl unless you’re using a high temperature. Luckily, when using heat protection, thick hair is less prone to heat damage than fine hair.

Work in small sections, so all your hair is being heated thoroughly. While you can leave thick hair around the barrel for longer than you can fine hair, you should still avoid using unnecessary heat where possible. You might want to experiment with different timings, to find out the minimum amount of time needed to achieve your desired curls.

Our top picks for the best curling wands
Best for fine hair on a budget

Try: Remington Botanicals Curling Wand

With a barrel coated in aloe vera, jojoba and rose extract, this curling wand gives you a range of heat settings and delivers extra shine, making it a great choice for finer hair. Plus, the automatic shut-off feature after 60 minutes makes this fab for a safe curling experience.

Best for long hair on a budget

Try: BaByliss Titanium Brilliance Waves Wand 28mm

BaByliss’ curling wand has an extra-long barrel, perfect for longer locks. Create a range of waves and curls with six heat settings from 160 to 210 degrees Celsius that heat up super quickly.

Best for short hair

Try: Drybar The 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron 1.25 Inch

With ionic technology that helps reduce frizz and maximise shine, Drybar’s curling iron is worth the hype. Create a salon bouncy blow, or wrap your hair around the barrel and clamp to use as a curling wand. Plus, the clamp allows you to easily curl short hair without accidentally burning yourself.

Best all-rounder

Try: CLOUD NINE Hair Curler The Curling Wand

Whether you have thick, thin, or long hair, CLOUD NINE’s curling wand has a range of versatile heat settings to style any hair type. Make styling simple with a 360-degree swivel cord, and a mineral-infused barrel that’s kind on hair.

Best for fuss-free styling

Try: Revamp Progloss Hollywood Curl Automatic Rotating Hair Curler

Revamp’s automatic hair curler is a game-changer for fuss-free styling. Simply insert a small section into the styler, and with a push of a button, your hair is wrapped around an inside barrel. Perfect if you don’t want to risk burning your fingertips!

Best for curling hair without heat damage

Try: Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler and Dryer

The legend, the icon, the moment – the Dyson Airwrap is a trailblazer in haircare for a reason. The Airwrap curls your hair using Dyson’s Coanda airflow instead of extreme heat, and it comes with different attachments for drying, curling and styling. 

Best for curly hair

Try: Shark FlexStyle 5-in-1 Air Styler & Hair Dryer with Storage Case

Similar to the Airwrap, the FlexStyle uses air to style your hair, and features five attachments including a hair dryer, an auto-wrap curler and a curl-defining diffuser. It’s perfect for all hair types, but the diffuser attachment makes this a great addition to a curly girl’s hair styling routine.

How to use a curling wand for perfect curls

Our step-by-step guide and top tips

Achieve gorgeous curls with our simple steps:

1. Section and tie the top half of your hair on top of your head, so you can focus on the bottom pieces of hair first

2. Pick up a small, two-inch section of hair and wrap around the barrel, making sure that the curl is directing away from your face (this helps frame your face!)

3. Hold in place for a few seconds, before letting go of the hair – the right timings will change depending on your hair type

4. Repeat until you’ve curled your entire head of hair, then spritz some hairspray and have a fab good hair day!

Maximise your locks with our top tips:

• Curl your hair the second or third day after washing; slightly dirtier hair has more oil and product build-up than freshly washed hair, making it easier for your hair to hold a curl

• After using hairspray on your curls, wait a few minutes before brushing it out. Sometimes, brushing your hair too quickly after curling makes your curls drop

• You can change the way you wrap your hair around the barrel for different curl types. For ringlets, wrap your hair tightly together around the barrel, whilst for beachy waves, keep some space so the curl is looser

• If you want some extra help setting your curls, try pinning them whilst they’re still hot, so they set in place for longer

Safety tips when using a curling wand

Most curling wands come with an automatic shut-off feature after a certain amount of time, but always try to remember to switch them off when you’re finished curling your hair. Wait for your curler to cool down before putting away.

Hairspray is super flammable, so you should avoid curling hair that’s been freshly spritzed with hairspray. (We want you to have a hairstyle that’s on fire, but not literally!)

Looking after your curling wand

Cleaning and storing your curling wand

We all know that you should turn your curling wand off after use, but we’ve got some extra tips on how to look after your curling wand so it lasts.

Let your curling iron cool down before putting it away, and make sure that you don’t wrap the wire around the wand because this may damage the wires. Also, try to place your curling wand on a heatproof mat or surface whilst it’s switched on – curler marks in the carpet are not cute, and it could become a fire risk.

From one wash day to the next, you’ll probably use a bunch of different hair products – heat protection spray, hairspray, maybe even some dry shampoo or texture spray. All of this builds up in your hair, and in turn, on your curling wand. Make sure to regularly clean your curling wand using a damp cloth whilst the wand is off and unplugged to help avoid any unnecessary product build-up.

When should I replace my curling wand?

It really depends – different curling wands have different life expectancies, and if you’re using your curling wand daily, it’s probably going to need replacing faster than if you only use it occasionally. If you find your curling wand isn’t working as well as it used to, perhaps it’s time to have a look for a new one.

Now that you’ve gotten all tangled up with our low-down on the best curling wands, why not take your haircare routine that one step further and discover the best heat protection sprays? Or, take a look at our run-down on our hair tool top picks to help make every day a good hair day.