By Isobel Bryant
Whether you’re after soft, tousled hair or tight, long-lasting curls, creating a voluminous, wavy hairstyle that looks effortless is notoriously difficult to do, and can easily go wrong when using the incorrect tool, a high heat or too much hairspray.
We’ve tested a wide range of curling tools to see which ones will give you the hairstyle you’re after. We considered how simple they are to use, how quickly they heat up, the type of curl the wand creates, as well as if each style lasted throughout the day. We also noted how close we came to burning a hand or ear.
When choosing your tong, always remember that the bigger the barrel, the larger and looser the curl. And if you’re worried about heat damage, go for a tong that has an adjustable heat setting – we found that most tools have at least a “low”, “medium” and “high” option.
1. Cloud Nine The Curling Wand
We loved this easy-to-use and beautifully designed curling wand. It’s ideal for creating that sought-after beach wave look, but it can also be used for styling smaller, tighter curls or larger waves, making it a great all-rounder. Best of all, this wand comes with a heat resistant carry case, which is ideal for storing, as well as for use when you’re on the go or travelling. It has a 25mm mineral-infused barrel, which ensures your hair remains soft and nourished. However, there’s a larger barrel size available if you know you’ll only want to create bigger, bouncier waves. A protective glove is also included and is particularly useful in preventing any burns to your hand, while the fold-out stand that the wand rests on while it cools down is unobtrusive, unlike on others we tested. It automatically turns off after 30 minutes if it has not been used too, which means you don’t have to worry when you inevitably start doubting yourself once you’ve left the house. Our tester had thick, long hair and was happy to find that the curls kept their shape and looked glossy all day, making it a great option if you’ve got a big event after work and don’t want your hairstyle to go flat.
2. Trevor Sorbie Keratin + Argan Magnetic Multi Wand
If you chop and change your hairstyle often, or just want to have the freedom to style your hair differently whenever you fancy, this Multi Wand is a great choice. With three magnetic attachments – a curling wand, waving wand and drop curl wand – we found each one easy to use and switch between. Our favourite was the drop curl attachment as it created glossy curls that held well – ideal for any glamorous events. We also liked the heat resistant storage bag and protective glove it came with, both of which came in useful and were small enough to fit into a weekend bag. This wand even worked well on naturally curly hair; the argan infused barrel helped to tame existing frizz and curls to create smoother, sleeker waves.
3. Tresemme Salon Shine Waves
You really get value for money with this curling wand. We were impressed to find a bottle of Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shine Spray included in the box too, which you apply before curling your hair to help protect it from heat damage – we also loved the smell of it. A heat protection mat is included so you don’t have to worry about leaving the hot wand on your table or floor, as well as a glove to protect your hand from heat while styling your hair. The curling tong is easy to use with three heat settings – the highest being 200 degrees, and we found that it heated up almost instantly. The wand has a width that goes from 32mm down to 19mm, making it possible to create more natural-looking curls. We did notice our curls start to lose shape after a few hours though, so we would recommend a bit of extra hairspray after styling to ensure they last longer. This wand is a great buy if you don’t often curl your hair or want to start experimenting with a new look.
4. Hershesons Tourmaline Professional Waving Tong
Hershesons has a cool-girl reputation and is the go-to choice for many professional salons. And this Waving tong did not disappoint – we loved how simple it was to use, while its sleek white and silver design stood out compared to other products we tested. This tong has a large barrel and an extra-long handle for easy manoeuvring, making it simple to creating natural, loose curls. It’s also great if you’re mindful of protecting your hair from heat damage – it features an adjustable temperature so it can go as low as 130 degrees and as high as 230. We found it was quick to heat up too, as it was ready for use within 30 seconds. There’s also a travel bag included for when you’re on the go, as well as a heat resistant mat.
5. Diva Professional Styling Intelligent Digital Oval Wand
This curling wand is ideal if you want to try out a new style but you’re not ready to commit to a more expensive model. It’s great value for money and has five temperature settings, ranging from 110 to 210 degrees. This means protecting your hair from heat damage is easy and our tester found it still worked well when using a lower temperature. The wand heated up almost instantly too, making it quick to use when you don’t have much time in the morning. We loved the big, bouncy, glossy curls the argan oil infused barrel created, plus the heat resistant glove ensured styling was stress-free. This wand worked well on both short and long hair.
6. GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong
GHD may be best known for its brilliantly effective straighteners, but its curling tong is one to try if you want to create shiny and soft waves in your hair. We found the tong worked best on longer hair that needed some volume injected into it, as it has a large, ceramic-coated barrel. It also features a protective cool tip, which means you can safely hold the hair in place while you curl. The built-in safety stand is another great feature and allows you to place the tong down securely during styling, or when you just need a little break. We found this curling tong to be quick and easy to handle and our soft curls held throughout the day.
7. Remington Proluxe Curling Wand
Another budget option but this time from Remington, this curling wand will give loose, tousled curls that are ideal for creating a beach wave look. The barrel width changes from 25mm to 38mm so depending on how tight you want the curls, you can alter where you wrap your hair. Adjustable heat settings mean you can adapt the temperature easily too but you can lock the temperature to 185 degrees (the “Pro+” setting), which is the recommended temperature to maintain healthy hair, if you wish. We found curling was less effective at this level though, so be sure to set with plenty of hairspray after use. There’s a handy heat guide in the instructions to help with haircare, as well as a protective glove and travel case in the box.
8. Windle & Moodle Wam Revolving Curling Iron 31
This curling iron designed by the renowned Covent Garden salon, Windle & Moodle, features an innovative revolving barrel that makes creating a salon blow-dry look in your own home easy. The revolving feature means your hair doesn’t get damaged while you use the tool – it slides over the barrel instead. We recommend this product if you have long hair and want soft, tumbling curls. And the LCD display flashing “off” if it’s plugged in but not switched on is a reassuring feature. You can change the temperature on this tong by one degree at a time too, although our tester found this time-consuming when she wanted to increase or decrease the temperature significantly. It doesn’t come with any styling tips, but there are some useful video tutorials on the Windle & Moodle website. This is the largest barrel size in the range but there are thinner sizes available.
9. BaByliss Curl Secret
This tool may look a little scary at first but if you take the time to read the instructions properly the results are well worth it. It works by automatically drawing hair into a ceramic curl chamber where it is held and gently heated from all directions to form a curl. You then release the styler to reveal the results. We enjoyed testing this product and once you’ve worked out how much hair can be fed into the styler and which timer setting works best on your hair (we used the 10 second timer), we were very happy with the result – curls were long-lasting and looked natural. The tool beeped when it was time to release the curl too, which made it easier to prevent hair from overheating. It can only take a 3cm section of hair at one time though, so we recommend this product for thin or short hair, as otherwise it’s quite a time-consuming process.
10. Lee Stafford The Original Chopstick Styler Curling Wand
If you want to follow the fashion pack and try out an Eighties hair style, this is the curling wand for you. Its extra skinny, ceramic-coated tong is designed to create kinky, corkscrew curls, which is a style we found definitely doesn’t suit everyone. But it created these curls exactly as promised and was also easy to handle. With a simple on/off switch and an LED indicator, the wand heated up in less than a minute. As the tool is so thin, we thought it might be time-consuming to curl all our hair but it was a pleasant surprise to find that each curl could be created within seven seconds and held its shape throughout the day. With a two year guarantee, this is ideal for creating big, voluminous tresses – just make sure you brush your hair after curling for best results.
The Verdict: Curling wands
For an easy-to-use wand that travels well, buy the Cloud Nine Curling Wand.
If you’re after a super-sleek design and happy to pay a little more, choose the Hershesons Tourmaline Professional Waving Wand.
And if you want a fuss-free product at a lower price point, we recommend the Tresemme Salon Shine Waves.