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Whether you’re after tight curls or tousled waves, we’ve got you covered with our pick of the best curling wands and tongs to transform your locks
Just as your best hair straighteners are key to that sleek and smooth do, the best curling wands and tongs are your go-tos for beautiful tousled hair, sleek, mermaid waves, and bouncy, corkscrew curls alike. The trouble is there are so many to choose from and it’s tricky to work out exactly which one will do what you want it to.
That’s where we come in. We’ve rounded up the best curling wands and tongs for all hair types and styles – so all you need to decide, is which curly hairstyles you want to opt for. From professional grade tongs, to cheap and cheerful options for a quick spruce, here are the curling wands to have on your radar this year.
How to choose the best curling wands and tongs
Shape of the barrel
There are typically three different types or shapes of curling tools, each one creates a different shape in your hair.
Straight – This is the most common of curlers – it’s the same width along the entire barrel meaning that your curls will also be the same from root to tip. If you’re after a more classic look, then look for a straight barrel.
Tapered – If you’re after a more natural and relaxed curl, then the tapered tool is the one for you. Using this means that the curl will be tighter at the root, getting looser as it gets down to the ends.
Bubble – This is the strangest looking curling wand – if we’re honest it looks like something quite different to a curler, which is probably why they’re not as common. A bubble-shaped wand creates super loose waves – something a little more beachy than a done do.
The width of the barrel is important, because that will determine the look you’re after.
< 20mm – The thinner the wand the tighter the curl. If you’re after a disco, Studio 54 look then keep an eye out for one of these. Think Kate Moss on her 30th birthday.
20mm – 32mm – These widths create your classic, well defined, polished looking curls. If you want your hair too look as close to perfect and as far away from a festival as possible, then look no further.
32mm > – Large barrel curlers are the way to go if you’re after gorgeous, super-smooth bouncy waves. Brand-wise, ghd and Cloud Nine are high up there on our wish list and well worth the investment for their long lasting benefits and salon-worthy finish.
Is a curling wand or a curling tong better?
Is it a wand or is it a tong? In all honesty, both do the very same thing. The difference is a tong has a clamp to hold the hair in place, which makes them a bit better for beginners, whilst the wand doesn’t. So it’s really more about personal preference.
Best curling wands and tongs in 2022:
Best does-everything curling tong
Shape Tapered | Barrel Size 23mm – 28mm | Tong vs Wand Wand
ghd’s Creative Curl Wand is one of the most versatile curling wands out there. It allows for everything from tight curls to loose bouncing waves, depending on how you use it. Whether you’re a quick curl everyday kind of gal, or a special occasion bouncy waver, these ones really are worth every penny.
Best curling wand for tight curls
Shape Straight | Barrel Size 10mm | Tong vs Wand | Wand
If it’s lots and lots of skinny curls you’re after, this ultra-thin wand from Babyliss does the job (and does it well). Ideal for those with tight natural curls who want to give what they’re working with a bit of enhancement, don’t be fooled by their bargain price tag: they’re actually among the best curling wands we’ve tried.
Best curling wand for waves
Shape Straight | Barrel Size 38mm | Tong vs Wand Wand
Great for loose, tumbling curls (Victoria’s Secret angel, who?) Cloud Nine’s barrel wand is a great choice if you want to add a smooth, old Hollywood-esque wave to your locks. Its barrel is mineral-infused, too, leaving hair soft, smooth and shiny once you’ve finished styling. Swoon.
Best curling wand for long hair
Shape Straight | Barrel Size 26mm | Tong vs Wand Tong
Long, long hair is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it looks amazing when curled, and a curse in that it can take years of trial and error to find the right tools. Enter: the Turbo Tong. Specially designed for super-duper long locks, this longer than standard wand is a fast track to fairy tale worthy Rapunzel-style locks.
Best curling tongs for versatility
Shape Tapered & Straight | Barrel Size 25mm – 38 mm | Tong vs Wand Wand
Why on earth should you have to choose one curl style? You shouldn’t have to. And thanks to this T3 interchangeable tool you don’t need to. From loose, flowing waves, to defined spirals and glamorous curls – it does it all.
6. Dyson Airwap Styler Complete, £449.99 (currently out of stock)
Best curling wand for professional results
Shape Tapered & Straight | Barrel Size 30mm – 40mm | Tong vs Wand Wand
The Airwrap caused quite the stir when it launched, which was quite understandable. Since Dyson made their way into haircare, they’re released well-researched and well-designed tools. The Airwrap is no different. There are all sorts of barrels included to create all types of waves and curls, as well as brushes to control, smooth and volumise. The Airwrap is different from your typical curler as it uses suction to wrap the hair around the barrel, rather than you having to do it yourself. Last month the brand relaunched it with the Airwrap Multi-styler, which has smarter heads that allow for easier styling.
The trouble with the Airwrap is that it’s so popular it’s often sold out at most retailers. However, always check back on the Dyson website as it typically restocks fairly frequently.
Best affordable curling tongs
Shape Straight | Barrel Size 36mm | Tong vs Wand Tong (kind of)
Another alternative to your traditional curler. This one is very much like a tong, and yet the clamp is in itself also a heated plate.
Best cordless curling wand
Shap: Straight | Barrel Size 25mm | Tong vs wand Tong
Cordless hair tools are the latest and greatest innovation to hit the hair industry. They make on-the-go styling a doddle. Charge it before you head off anywhere, pop it in your handbag and then off you go. The beauty of this Babyliss 9000 Cordless Curling Tong is that you don’t have to scrimp on any of the brand’s iconic technology. Get all the goods without feeling tied to a wall. Also, a brilliant choice if you’re forever getting caught in knots or don’t have a plug near to your mirror.