Curly, voluminous hair is forever having a moment, but with a serious 80s comeback hitting the runways and the natural hair movement well in its stride, curly hair is back in a big way.
Saying that, for those of us not blessed with natural Carrie Bradshaw-esque locks, perfectly curly hair can be pretty hard to achieve.
Never fear, the ELLE beauty team are here (as always) to help. From the best curling wands, to heated rollers and beyond, we’ve tested them all so you don’t have to.
The Best Hair Rollers
Rollers have come a long way since those spongy little pink numbers. These heat up in seconds (pop them into the pod and when the ‘heat ready dot’ on top of the roller turns from red to white it’s ready to use) and come in three varying sizes so you can create a range of different curls for a more natural, modern finish (or a big bouncy blowdry if that’s your thing).
‘Rollers are good at being kind to the hair and are great at creating height and volume’, says TONI&GUY Creative Director Cos Sakkas.
Impressive results and a pretty reasonable price tag.
BaByliss Thermo-Ceramic Rollers – £50 SHOP NOW
Which hair curling tongs are the best?
If you’re not au fait with working a million noodle-esque rollers, or it all feels just a little too Coronation Street for your more modern curls, you need to get your hands on a tong.
‘Find the right sized wand to suit your natural curl and length and always make sure the curl has completely cooled down before dressing out for a longer lasting hold,’ says Sakkas.
The question is, which ones are the best?
The Best Curling Tongs
The ELLE Favourite Curling Tong
The ghd Creative Curl Wand is an all-time favourite in the ELLE Beauty Cupboard. This wand’s tapered conical shape and squared off edges deliver loose easy waves, every time. Not a dodgy bridesmaid corkscrew curl in sight and seriously easy to use.
ghd Creative Curl Wand – £139 SHOP NOW
The Best Curling Tong For Disco Curls
After several seasons making waves on the catwalk, 1980s perm-style curls (Note: the real life perm has also had an overhaul) have filtered down to the high street. This ultra-thin chopstick-style curling wand creates properly tight, disco curls, or curl and then brush out for a glossy old Hollywood set of waves.
ghd Curve Thin Curl Wand, £139 SHOP NOW
The Best Hair Curlers If You Like Options…
The width of the end compared to the base on this conical wand means you can really play around and experiment with shapes. For tighter curls use the tip, for bigger ones go for the base, and for waves wrap hair around from base to tip.
Either way, a tapered wand means you’ll avoid that weird uniform corkscrew curl that feels more Bo Peep than Beyoncé.
BaByliss Pro Titanium Expression Large Conical Wand – £65 SHOP NOW
The Most Reliable Hair Curling Tongs
If you prefer a more traditional tong with a clamp then these are up there with some of the best. Powered by Digital T3 SinglePass technology, the consistent temperature ensures you only have to use the tong once on each curl which means less heat damage and less frazzled curls. Find us a celebrity hairstylist that doesn’t use a T3 tong on their A-list clients and we’ll eat our Prada bucket hats.
T3 Singlepass Curl 32mm Professional Curling Iron – £149.95 SHOP NOW
The Best Curling Tongs For Loose Curls And Natural Waves
It might look like a daunting mix between a garden fork and a crimping iron, but this genius wave-making hair tong works a treat at delivering natural-looking waves, rather than super tight curls.
Think mermaid hair but without the sea water/XXL hair extensions/upkeep. Simply clamp a section of hair for a few seconds, release, and easy breezy uniform horizontal waves are now yours.
Amika High Tide Deep Waver – £90 SHOP NOW
The Best Hair Curler For Thick Hair
The lazy girl’s dream curling tool – so quick, so easy.
Section off a small piece of hair (this is key as going too big could mean your hair getting stuck), place it in position and watch it disappear into the device (don’t panic, that’s supposed to happen).
Here, in the ‘ceramic curl chamber’, it’ll be heated from all angles before releasing a curl. We found it to work best with sleek, straight hair or to tame coarse unruly hair into perfect curls.
Babyliss Curl Secret – £120 SHOP NOW
ELLE Lab Tested
In the ELLE beauty lab, our experts put the top curling tongs, wands and wavers to the test, asking over 100 people to try them out. Here are the tools they think are worth adding to your basket…
How we test
We asked over 100 people to trial 18 curling tongs, wands and wavers.
They noted how easy each tool was to use, how well it reached their roots and how satisfied they were with the finished results.
Our expert testers also analysed each styler in the ELLE beauty lab, judging it on how quickly it heated up and overall performance. Using a Bossa Nova Shuffle machine, they noted how much frizz occurred after styling when subjected to humidity, as well as how effectively each tool held curls.
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