Hair Curling Tongs – What You Need to Know

If you want to transform your look then going from straight to wavy hair is one sure-fire way to do that – and it does not necessitate an expensive trip to the hair salon.  Whatever the length of your hair (within reason obviously), and however thick it might, you can be assured that there is a hair curling tong that is perfect for you.

Your type of hair is not the only thing to consider before you buy.  The material the curling tong barrel is made from and the barrel size will both play a big role in how the curls in your hair turn outFor tighter curls, a small-barreled iron is your best bet. For looser waves, try a large-barreled iron..

Types of Curling Tong Irons

There are 3 main types of curling tongs available and each have their own benefits. These are ceramic, tourmaline and titanium.

Ceramic tongs are the most popular choice because of the evenness of the heat they give off, reducing the risk of accidentally damaging your hair.

Curling Tong Barrel Size

There are typically around 8 different barrel sizes, starting with a small and thin barrelled tong at 3/8 of an inch if you’re looking for really tight curly ringlets going up to the largest barrel at 2 inches if you’re looking for more relaxed and loose curls.

In fact, there is a barrel size for every desired look and you can see which ones you might need by referring to the handy graphic on the right which have produced.

If you can’t decide which barrel size is right for you then there is also the option to buy tapered wands.  These have a wider barrel near the hand grip and gradually narrow down to a thin barrel at the tip.

Getting the Temperature Right

Experts would say that you should always use a heat protector spray on your hair just to protect it from getting damaged.

However, you should also pay attention to the temperature of the curling tongs if you want that perfect look without the smell of burning.  You’re probably not going to want to hear this but it is definitely worth spending that bit extra to buy curling tongs with variable heat settings.

The temperatures settings on curling tongs will typically range between 160 and 230 degrees but, unless you have thick hair, you can keep it at the lowest end – especially if you are going over a section of hair for a second time.

How to Use Curling Tongs

If you’ve never used curling tongs before then you’ll be pleased to hear that they are extremely easy to use.  Here are the basics for successfully using hair curling tongs:

  • Taking just a section of hair at a time, spread it as evenly as you can between the clamp and the barrel.   If you use less hair at this stage then you will be able to achieve a tighter wave.
  • Make sure that you secure the hair underneath the clamp in the direction you want your curl to go.  If you don’t you’ll end up with an unsightly kink at the end.
  • Wind your hair around the barrel up to the point you want it to curl and then leave it for about 10 seconds to set.
  • All you need to do now is release the clamp and gently unwind your hair from the curling tong.  Once your hair has cooled you can gently separate the hair with just your fingers…et voila!

That’s about it and with a bit of practice you’ll find this quick and easy to do (though if you still have reservations then practice the steps above whilst the curling tongs are cold).  We’d recommend that you only curl your hair once a week to prevent damaging it.

To cord or not to cord

One final thing to consider is how to want your hair curling tongs to be powered.

      • Mains powered curlers obviously have the benefit of not needing to be charged but you may find that the cord gets in the way and you are kind of limited to where you can use it (no frantic curling in the passenger seat of a car on the way to a party).
      • At the other end of the scale there are battery powered curling tongs (often Thermacell liquid energy cells to be precise) that you can take anywhere and, although they last for weeks, will eventually need new batteries / energy cells.
      • In the middle are the cordless tongs that can be heated up by putting them in a docking station for a few seconds and then used for about 5 minutes till they cool down and need docking again.  You’re still tied to a power source but there’s no cables dangling in your face.  An example would be these Morphy Richards Ceramic Curling Tongs