A woman using a curling iron on her hair

A Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

Which Curling Tool Is Best for Me?

Hair tools can be intimidating. There seem to be so many different shapes and sizes on the market that it can be pretty hard to figure out what shape is going to give you the look you’re after, especially when it comes to curling tools. Curling tools probably come in the most forms out of all hair styling tools. You have all different widths, different shapes and different styles promised. Knowing whether to go with a curling wand vs curling iron is an important place to start so let’s break things down.

The Categories

When it comes to curling your hair, there are two general categories; curling wands and curling irons. You’re probably googling the two right now and thinking we’re insane for claiming there’s a difference, but trust us on this one. A curling iron has a clasp while a curling wand stands alone but the differences don’t end there.

Curling Wand

Curling wands are typically less commonly used. They’re often dedicated for professionals. The truth is we all generally avoid them in fear of the lack of clasp, but there’s really no need to stress.

Depending on the finish you’re after, a curling wand can actually work much better for you than an iron. Curling wands create the most natural kind of waves. Rather than tight curls, you can easily achieve bigger and bouncier beach waves.

Oh, and by the way, when using a curling wand it is actually recommended to hold it with the cord facing up. This is just the safer way to use it and the best to achieve a curl.

The lack of a clasp pressing down on the hair allows the want to just slightly give your hair that curl shape without really sealing it in place. You can try to hold your hair on the curling wand for longer than usual to get a more defined look, but if you’re really after tight curls it might not be the tool for you.

Curling Iron

On the other hand,  a curling iron is created for the sole purpose of achieving precise curls. The clasp is there for a reason after all, and that reason is to really seal the curl in place and keep it looking tight and right.

Curling irons generally create tight and polished ringlet curls, but that doesn’t mean they only give one uniform finish. You can still use a curling iron for beach waves. It’s just a matter of getting your ringlet curls all over, and then brushing through them with your fingers or a hairbrush to loosen them up.

You should generally use a curling iron with the cord facing down. The clasp is there to keep your hair in place and so it’s fine to hold it that way. Whereas as we mentioned, with a wand it’s best to have the cord facing down for the base of the wand to keep the curl held in place.

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A Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

It’s probably becoming clear by now that the difference between the two is in the finish. Each tool gives its own kind of curl. Sure, the method of use is also different. But really, it’s all about the curl.

However, there are a few other differences to keep in mind. For example; heat. A curling wand heats up much faster than an iron, so it’s important to be super careful when using it. Since there’s no clasp to hold your hair in place, you might find yourself fiddling in fear, so it’s also best to buy a heat protectant glove when using a wand.

Barrel sizes are not a factor to consider here. Each tool comes in varying barrel sizes so your decision can’t really be based on that. What you can consider is durability. Considering how much more intense the heat in a wand can be, the curl of a curling wand will generally last you longer. So if you’re trying to keep your style for a few days that’s worth considering.

The Verdict

So, really, what is better? A curling wand vs curling iron? The truth is, it is all about preference. Are you a beachy wave kind of gal or the tighter the curl the better? Both tools do an amazing job at giving their dedicated finishes. As we said, they’re also both kind of versatile. Deciding which tool you should go for depends entirely on the style you’re generally after. A good rule we choose to live by though is deciding based on your hair length and your hair thickness.

If you have the length to work with, then a curling wand can work great for you. Shorter hair types can struggle to keep their hair wrapped around a wand, and that’s why the clasp in a curling iron can be very necessary.

As for thickness, thicker hair can often already have a natural wave and can also hold a style for longer. A curling iron can work great for thick hair types. If you have thinner and flatter hair though, you might find that a curling wand keeps your curls bouncy and intact for longer.