Buying Guide to Styling Tools


Buying Guide to Styling Tools

3 Things to Know Before You Buy

Fact #1: Curling Irons

Curling irons can give you tight curls to smooth waves. Knowing which model to choose for your locks requires that you consider the following essential aspects.

Barrel size. The size of the barrel where you wind your hair impacts the type of curl you can create. The larger the barrel, the larger the curl. For full, bouncy curls, get an iron with a 2-inch in diameter barrel if you have long hair, and a 1-inch in diameter barrel if you have short hair. The size of the barrel varies according to hair length, because you must wrap the hair portion you wish to curl around the barrel at least 1½ times. For tight ringlet and spiral curls, use an iron that is 1/3- to 3/4--inch in diameter.

Handle/clip type. Spring-loaded handles are the most common type. These allow you to easily capture your hair and keep it in place with a clip. Clip-less irons require that you wind the hair around the barrel and hold it.

Materials. Today's curling irons come in three main materials, and each has its advantages. Ceramic distributes heat well and infuses moisture into the hair through negative ions. Tourmaline is a step above ceramic. It emits six times more negative ions, leading to smoother, silkier hair. Titanium is durable and distributes heat well. It has a smooth, slick surface that makes wrapping and curling hair easy.

Fact #2: Hair Straighteners

Also known as flat-irons, hair straighteners flatten out the frizz and create smoother locks. Consider the following components when choosing the ideal straightener for your hair.

Temperature control: If your hair is fine and thin, it may be damaged by high heat, so you want the ability to turn the temperature to low. Thick, coarse hair requires higher heat. Digital flat irons do a good job of distributing the right amount of heat.

Size: The dimensions of your straightener will depend on the length of your hair and what portion you wish to straighten. Flat-irons that are thin and small are best used on short hair, including bangs, while thick, long hair requires a wide straightener.

Materials: Ceramic flat-irons are able to reach high temperatures quickly and distribute heat well. Durable titanium also heats quickly and maintains even heat. And tourmaline, which is made from gemstone, does a good job of holding high heat. Because it is a natural material, it emits negative ions that dry hair from the inside out, leading to straighter looking hair.

Fact #3: Hair Setters

Also known as hot rollers, hair setters allow you to quickly and easily apply curls to your entire head all at once. Consider the following aspects when choosing the best setter for your hair.

Roller size: The size of the rollers affects the size of your curl. Use smaller rollers for short hair, and larger ones for longer hair. The only exception to this rule would be if you have short hair but desire especially loose curls, in which case you should choose a large roller. Many hair setters come with rollers in several sizes.

Roller shape: While many hair setters feature traditional round rollers, some have geometric patterns, such as triangular shapes that create a distinctive look.

Heat settings: Opt for a hair setter with varying heat settings and steaming capability, which avoids over-drying the hair. Ceramic hair setters often feature adjustable settings.

Now that you know the basic components of these hair styling tools, you can make every day a great hair day.