The Best Curling Irons For Thick Hair

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You may find your thick, luscious locks to be a blessing and a curse. While your hair undoubtedly looks great, it may be harder for you to find styling tools that can work with your stubborn strands. When it comes to shaping your thick hair into smooth, bouncy curls, it can help to know what to look for in a curling iron.

In general, the thicker the hair, the higher the temperature needed to hold curl. That's why Byrdie recommends a curling iron that can go up to 450 degrees. It is also often better to opt for a curling iron made of either ceramic or titanium. "I like curling irons that are ceramic because it has a protective layer against the heat," celebrity hairstylist Jennifer Yepez told Bustle. "They really allow you to get more shine and are less harsh on the hair." And don't forget about barrel size — the larger the barrel, the quicker the process will be for thick hair. That's why Byrdie typically recommends choosing a barrel that's 1 to 2 inches in length.

Now that you know the basics, which specific curling iron should you pick? Whether you're looking to style your thick locks into beachy waves or cutesy ringlets, here are the curling irons up for the task.

T3 Micro Whirl

Although it may be on the more expensive side, the versatile T3 Micro Whirl ($325) comes with three interchangeable barrels. This means you're basically getting three products in one, making the price totally worth it in the long run. With this product, which can heat up to 410 degrees, you can go back and forth between a tapered wand, a 1-inch barrel, and a thick 1.5-inch barrel, which works great with thick hair. Its multiple styling options mean you can choose between beachy waves, tousled curls, and more. According to Byrdie, it also comes with a custom blend of ceramic and iron material, which is ideal for controlling thick, frizzy hair and adding some serious shine. 

As one Amazon reviewer wrote, "LOVE this. It was pricey so I was hesitant but I have really thick hair and my hair does not hold curl very well but that has all changed with the T3. I get gorgeous beach hair that lasts all day and even after I sleep on it my hair looks amazing the next day."

CHI Lava Spin N Curl

This curling iron from CHI ($130) is ultra unique, because it has a chamber that's literally lined with volcanic lava that improves heat conductivity, according to Byrdie. Warming up to 410 degrees, it's made with ceramic, which is the ideal material for minimizing damage to your locks because it distributes heat more evenly.

There's also not much of a learning curve for this one, as most curling irons can be difficult for beginners to use. This is because the CHI Lava Spin N Curl comes with a distinct 1-inch spinning chamber that allows you to simply put sections of your hair into it, press a button, and have the device do the work for you. The rotating barrel also prevents tangles and creates gorgeous bouncy curls. Better yet, it also has many different heat settings that work on different textures, including a special option for those with thick or coarse hair.

Drybar The 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron

If you're a busy person who's not a fan of doing their hair everyday, then The 3-Day Bender 1.25" Digital Curling Iron by Drybar ($149) may be for you. It is ideal for long-lasting results, according to Byrdie. Not only does this curling iron minimize heat damage, but it saves you some seriously valuable time. And what makes this tool great for thick hair? It heats up to a whopping 440 degrees and has a fast-acting rotating clamp that allows you to work through dense strands in a shorter period of time. It also makes use of infrared technology that heats hair from the inside, and ceramic barrels that warm up in as little as 60 seconds. Although many say that there is a learning curve with this curling iron, the results are worth it once you get the hang of things.

"Initially, I hated this curling iron because my hair got caught in the twisty part," one Sephora reviewer admitted. "I went to the DryBar and watched them do it. After a few tries, I produced the most perfect curls that seriously lasted for days. It never leaves a crimp and leaves my hair so soft and bouncy. I will never use another curling iron again!"

Bio Iconic Long Barrel Styler

The Long Barrel Styler by Bio Iconic ($140) is a great option for those with long, thick hair, according to Bustle. This is thanks to the barrel, which is 2 inches longer than your typical curling iron. You can style your super thick hair quickly with this bad boy because it heats up to 430 degrees in a mere five seconds for your convenience while letting you adjust the temperature as needed. It also allows you to work with wider sections at once to save you some serious time. But the best part of this curling wand is perhaps the fact that the barrel is made with Bio Iconic's own "Nanolonic Mineral" technology, which reportedly adds hydration to your locks for a shiny effect, according to Bustle.

"I saw my new hairstylist using this one, and she was done with my long, thick, abundant hair really quick," one Amazon customer gushed. "I asked her what kind it was because nobody had ever been done with my hair that fast! She told me, and I had to buy it!"

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron

If you have coarse hair that doesn't tend to hold curl easily, then you won't want to miss out on this budget-friendly curling iron from BaByliss ($60). According to InStyle, it can work with the most difficult of thick locks for ultra-long-lasting curls that can reportedly last for up to two days. Its versatile tapered barrel lets you work through both small and large sections, letting you choose between tighter or looser strands. Its barrel is also made with premium titanium, which means it distributes heat evenly for healthier hair without pesky hot spots. Because it heats up to 450 degrees, it'll make your stubborn hair cooperate, leading to some of your best curls yet.

One happy customer noted, "I have very thick hair and because of that is very hard for me to find a [curler] that can give me the result I want and this one was the one that worked for me." Another wrote, "This wand is the best! I have super thick hair and I don't have to turn this up very high to use it."

Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand

The Hot Tools Professional 2" 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand ($49) is easy to use thanks to its comfortable grip. And thanks to its 2-inch 24-karat barrel, it creates luscious loose waves (via StyleCraze). Wrap your hair as quickly as possible with its rotating cool tip, and style your thick locks in an instant without having to worry about burning your hands. Unlike some curling irons, the temperature won't fade in and out, so you won't have to worry about an uneven texture while styling. And perhaps the best part about this curling iron is its low price point.

As one Amazon reviewer wrote, "I have thick hair and this iron works so fast! It warms up in less than a minute and it cuts my curling time in half!" Another customer, who described her hair as both thick and coarse, said, "I love this curling iron. ... This curling iron stays hot and doesn't fry up my hair." 

Paul Mitchell Express Gold Curl Marcel

You can get professional-looking loose waves with the reasonably priced Paul Mitchell Express Gold Curl Marcel ($77), according to Glamour. It's hard to go wrong with a trusty titanium barrel that distributes heat evenly, thus minimizing damage. Other valuable features of this curling iron include a flexible handle that allows for a quicker and easier styling experience without the need to strain your hands. And if you have pin-straight hair but have always dreamed of glamorous, voluminous curls, then this product is also reportedly great for you.

"My hair is really thick and has a lot of volume, but because it's also so straight, I have a hard time finding irons that'll hold a curl—except for this," wrote Smriti Sinha, a contributor for Glamour. "It was the quickest, easiest experience I've had in doing my full head of hair. And no sizzling or excess steam came off my hair, even at 430 degrees, its highest heat setting," she continued writing.

Bed Head Wave Artist

Want relaxed, beachy curls? Although StyleCraze claims that the Bed Head Wave Artist works with all hair types, it is especially suitable for those with coarse locks, something that many thick-haired folks commonly have to deal with. This curling iron is up for the challenge thanks to its multiple heat settings that maintain their respective temperatures consistently. The Wave Artist also features Ceramic Tourmaline technology, which will rid your locks of any pesky frizz and add some serious healthy shine.

To use, simply gently clamp sections of your hair from the roots, and hold for a few seconds, working down to the tips until your look is complete. The most budget-friendly item on our list, this item also comes in at a mere $30. What's not to like? As one happy Amazon reviewer wrote, "I love it! My hair is to my waist and very thick and naturally curly, and it worked very well. it took me about 15 minutes to [wave] all my hair."

GHD Curve Creative Hair Wand

No one likes pesky creases in their hair caused by curling irons, which is why this clamp-less product, called the Creative Curl – Tapered Curling Wand, by GHD ($199) will leave your hair smooth and uniform.

According to Bustle, the wand uses "patented tri-zone technology" to style your hair at 365 degrees, a healthy and ideal temperature for curling hair without damaging it. Its ceramic coating won't snag your strands, and it heats up in a mere 25 seconds. The product even claims it can increase the intensity of your hair color!

"This curling iron is perfect! I have thick bleached hair and was worried about the one temperature setting. As I usually set my straightener to 400, the curling wand is set to 365. That did have me worried but the set temperature is perfect," one enthusiastic customer wrote in a review of the product on Sephora's website.