The Best Flat Iron For Curling Hair: Our Top 5 Picks

The Best Flat Iron For Curling Hair: Our Top 5 Picks

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Curls are such a versatile and fun way to wear your hair. Not only are they perfect for a special occasion but they can also be dressed down for a more casual look.

Whether you have long or short hair, a hair straightener can also be a tool to help you achieve gorgeous, bouncy curls.

happy curly woman using flat iron or hair straightener isolated on white background

We know — it sounds like a contradiction. After all, isn’t a hair straightener supposed to… well, straighten your hair?

Yes and no. While a hair straightener can undoubtedly be used to achieve poker-straight strands, it can also create stunning curls.

All you need is the right tool and a little bit of practice. In this article, we’ll show you the best flat irons for curling hair so you can start creating gorgeous styles at home.

Ready to find your perfect match? Let’s get started!

CHI AirTwist™ Curling Wand
Best Overall
  • Delivers salon-quality hairstyles
  • 1 hour automatic shutoff
  • Integrated cool air vents
HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron
Budget Pick
  • Reduces frizz and static
  • Styles hair quickly
  • Ceramic and tourmaline plates that nourish and protect your hair from damage
BaBylissPro Porcelain Ceramic Flat Iron
Premium Pick
  • Porcelain ceramic plate
  • Uses infrared as heat
  • Heat settings up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

How to Use a Flat Iron for Curling Hair

While a curling iron is the best tool for creating curls, a flat iron can also be used to create beautiful, bouncy styles.

You might think, “How does that even work? Won’t the flat iron just make my hair straight?”

Yes, if you don’t know how else to use it. But if you know how to use a flat iron aside from its obvious use, which is straightening hair, you can actually create gorgeous styles at home — no professional stylist is required.

Here are steps and a couple of tips:

1. Start with clean, dry hair.

If your hair is dirty or damp, it will be more difficult to curl. For instance, wet hair won’t hold a curl as good as dry hair. 

Additionally, dirty hair can cause the flat iron to snag and pull on your hair, which can be painful. You’re already one step ahead if you start with clean, dry hair!

Pro tip: If your hair is thinner, we recommend using a heat protectant before you begin styling. This will reduce and prevent heat damage.

2. Choose the right size.

A thin flat iron with rounded edges will be the best option for curling your hair. If you have a flat iron that’s too wide, it will be challenging to wrap your hair around the barrel, and you won’t be able to create tight, defined curls.

The best size flat iron for curling hair is between one and two inches wide. This will give you the most ideal results.

3. Create small sections.

When you’re ready to start curling your hair, working in small sections is important. This will help you achieve more defined, consistent curls. We recommend using clips to keep each section of hair separate as you work.

If you have fine hair, you might be able to get away with working in smaller sections. If you have thick hair, you might need to use larger sections so your curls don’t look too “done.”

4. Curl your hair.

Flip your hair over, so the underside is facing up, and clamp the flat iron about an inch away from your roots. Slowly glide the flat iron down your hair, curling as you go.

Keep in mind that the smaller the section of hair, the tighter the curl will be. If you want looser curls, use larger sections.

Pro tip: Use a flat iron with ceramic plates for the best results. This will prevent heat damage and make gliding through your hair more manageable.

5. Lock it all in.

Once you’ve curled all of your hair, let it cool for a few minutes so the style can set. Then brush through your curls with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to break them up and give them a more natural look.

To help your curls last longer, mist your hair with a light-hold hair spray. We recommend avoiding anything too heavy or sticky as this can weigh down your hair and make it look and feel greasy.

5 Best Flat Irons for Curling Hair That Won’t Damage Your Locks

What kind of straightener is best for curling hair?

Regardless of your hair type or texture, the best flat iron curlers can give you the power to create any style you want — from sleek and straight to big and bouncy curls.

For creating the perfect curls, we’ve rounded up the best flat irons to curl your hair with the definition and hold you want, without burning your delicate locks.

1
Best Overall: CHI AirTwist™ Curling Wand

We love the 2-in-1 design of the CHI AirTwist Curling Wand, which can be used as both a curling wand and flat iron. 

Primary benefits: Delivers versatile styles with one tool, increases shine, and eliminates frizz

Features: 

  • Dual ceramic floating plates
  • 5 LED preset temperature settings
  • With cool air vents

This is a tool that you wouldn't want to miss out on, whether you have thick or thin hair!

This one is the newest addition to the CHI family, and we’re telling you that it does not disappoint.

With its ability to curl, flip, and wave all hair types, the CHI AirTwist is a triple threat that gives you salon-quality styles at home.

The dual ceramic floating plates provide a smooth glide and even heat distribution, while the flat iron also emits a high amount of negative ions to give your hair that shiny and moisturized balance we all crave.

There are 5 LED preset temp settings that give you full heat customization according to your hair type.

hand holding chi airtwist curling wand in box

After styling, integrated cool air vents provide a cool blast of air to set your style in place without overloading your hair with heat.

The one-hour automatic shut-off is a much-appreciated safety feature, and the curved ergonomic handle gives you a better grip and comfort while styling.

Overall, this excellent curling iron does it all — from big bouncy curls to tighter ringlets — without damaging your hair.

2
Best for on the Go: NITION 1-Inch Ceramic Tourmaline Pro Hair Straightener

We love the portable bag and dual voltage feature of the NITION 1-Inch Ceramic Tourmaline Pro Hair Straightener, which makes it perfect for traveling.

Primary benefits: Heats up quickly, adds shine, reduces hair friction

Features: 

  • Ceramic plate
  • 10-second heat up
  • Comes with a heat-resistant glove

Carrying this hair straightener around is a breeze!

NITION’s ceramic flat iron is a great option for those always on the go. 

Travelers will appreciate the dual-voltage feature, which makes this flat iron usable anywhere in the world. 

This curling iron has six temperature settings ranging from 265 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit so that you can find the perfect heat for your hair type. 

With a rotating dial at the base of the iron, it’s easy to adjust the temperature to your hair type, with a max temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The digital LCD display lets you know what temperature you’re using so you don’t overheat the straightener.

Worried about accidental burns on your hands? This hair straightener comes with a heat-resistant glove to protect your hand while styling. 

It heats up quickly too — in just 10 seconds — and has an automatic shutoff feature after one hour of use. 

And because the ceramic plates of this hair iron are infused with tourmaline and argan oil to reduce frizz and add shine, the result is smooth, silky hair with each pass. 

The NITION 1-Inch Ceramic Tourmaline Pro Hair Straightener also comes with a heat-resistant glove, two salon hair clips, and a travel pouch for easy packing.

3
Best for Fine Hair: BaBylissPro Porcelain Ceramic Straightening Iron

Lightweight and sleek, the BaBylissPro Porcelain Ceramic Straightening Iron is perfect for those with fine hair. 

Primary benefits: Uses infrared as heat, offers even heat distribution; longer plates

Features: 

  • Porcelain ceramic
  • 8 ft. swivel cord
  • 5 temperature settings

The BaBylissPro Porcelain Ceramic Straightening Iron is a curved flat iron for curling hair that can definitely give you salon-quality results!

The long barrel on this BaBylissPro curling iron is ideal for those with long, fine hair.

Since porcelain ceramic is a very smooth material, it distributes heat evenly and prevents hotspots that can damage your hair. It emits negative ions too, which seal moisture and give your hair a healthy sheen.

These floating ceramic plates are curved, which means you can use them to curl your hair and straighten it as well.

The BaBylissPro Porcelain Ceramic Straightening Iron has five temperature settings that range from 235 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

No snagging hair here! The barrel and plates smoothly glide through your hair for a smooth, even finish.

4
Best For Frizzy Hair: HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron

The 8 HeatBalance micro-sensors of the HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron, keeps frizz at bay.

Primary benefits: Reduces frizz and static, styles hair quickly

Features: 

  • 8 HeatBalance micro-sensors
  • Ceramic and tourmaline crystal ion plates
  • Comes with a safety glove

No more bad hair days with this flat iron!

Straightening and curling frizzy hair can be challenging, but the HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron can absolutely help.

This professional-grade styling hair tool has 8 HeatBalance micro-sensors that help distribute heat evenly across the plates.

It also has ceramic and tourmaline crystal ion plates, which nourish and protect your hair from damage.

With adjustable temperature settings, HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron can be heated from 140 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The innovative, high-quality flat iron also comes with a safety glove and a pouch where you can store it when not in use.

5
Best For Long Hair: Furiden 2-in-1 Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron

We love the rotating adjustable temperature dial and extra long cord of the Furiden Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron, which is perfect for those with long hair.

Primary benefits: Easier curling for beginners; lightweight and portable

Features: 

  • One-step rotary dial
  • Extra long cord

This flat iron helps you achieve professional results at home.

Furiden has tourmaline ceramic plates, which means this flat iron can straighten even the most stubborn hair types. 

People with long hair will also appreciate the lightweight design and the extra long barrel, making it easier to curl your hair without getting tired arms. 

This top-rated hair straightener also has an adjustable temperature setting that goes up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you’re looking for a versatile flat iron that can do it all, the Furiden Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron is a great option.

a hair stylist curling the hair of client using flat iron

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Using a flat iron to curl your hair is not as difficult as it may seem. If you still have some questions, check out our FAQs section below.

What kind of straightener is best to curl hair?

The best flat iron to curl your hair has ceramic-coated plates. This kind of straightener distributes heat evenly — an essential feature when using high temperatures to curl your hair.

Another factor to consider is the barrel’s shape. A straightener with a rounded barrel is much easier to use for curling than one with rectangular plates.

What’s better: ceramic or titanium flat iron?

The difference between ceramic and titanium is that ceramic takes much longer to heat up than titanium.

Titanium plates also have a higher chance of causing damage to your hair if not used correctly. A ceramic flat iron is a safer option for those with delicate hair types.

But if you have coarse hair or need to use high temperatures to curl your hair, then a titanium straightener would be a better option.

Do curls with a flat iron last longer?

While curling irons are ideal for curling, a flat iron will actually give you longer-lasting curls.

Flat irons smooth out the hair cuticle, which is what helps your curls last longer. The ceramic plates distribute heat evenly, which also effectively preserves your curls.

There are pros and cons to using a flat iron vs. a curling iron. It depends on your hair type and the kind of curls you’re going for.

Curling Hair With a Flat Iron Gives You Long-Lasting and Stunning Curls

Start shopping for the best straightener to curl with and create beautiful styles that can make everyone jealous.

Don’t forget to refer back to our steps and tips for curling your hair with a flat iron! With these tools and techniques at your disposal, you can rock any look you want.

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