3 Best Curling Irons For African American Hair

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While experts are giving suggestions on selecting flat iron for your curly or kinky hair, we found it challenging to select the best curling iron for African American hair of various types. People often think that curling irons are made for fine to wavy hair to style those types of hair. But curling irons have tremendous impacts on fashioning African-American Hair. An experienced professional, I come forward to helping you choose the best curling iron for your African-American hair, keeping hair length, style, texture, price of the product for performance in mind.

When I had my first curling I was in a dilemma, but after great research, I got the right direction. Since then I took the responsibility to educate others to have best curling irons for them regardless of hair types.


Hair types and specialty of your Afro hairdo

God has gifted us with various hair types in which we take pride. Hair types are from fine hair to kinky hair, which is defined by number 1, 2, 3 and 4 with subcategories of a, b, and c of 2,3 4 types. Let’s look at the following charts.

Type-1, Type-2, Type-3, and Type-4 are respectively called Straight, Wavy, Curly, and Kinky. You may have got the natural hair of the following types or relaxed hair.

01 – Naturally curly or kinky hair

Generally, African-American natural hair is of four types: 3c, 4a, 4b, and 4c. Sometimes your hair is termed as curly hair when it is of type 3c while kinky when you have of 4a,4b or 4c.

For better clarification and understanding please look at the following pictures and subsequent descriptions.

Figure-3c hair
Figure-3c hair

This type of black hair has tight curls with fine texture and high density.

Figure-4a hair
Figure-4a hair

4a hair type is almost “s” shaped. Though this type can retain moisture fairly well, hair of this type is prone to dryness.

Figure-4b hair
Figure-4b hair

4b-hair type is “z” shaped and has a fluffy appearance. As natural serum cannot reach to ends, this type of hair is more susceptible to dryness and breakage.

Figure-4c hair
Figure-4c hair

This type of black hair is somewhat similar to 4b but more tightly coiled.

02 – Relaxed natural Afro Coiffure

You have got your relaxed hair using a relaxer or thermal reconditioning and sometimes you want a bit of wavy or curly look of your hair for a short time.

To curl your Afro hair, why do you choose curling iron rather than flat iron for Afros?

  • Unlike flat irons which have acute angles on plates, curling irons has bigger angles on barrels which are effective for your African-rooted hair while getting curled.
  • Using flat iron you can curl your hair at ends but using the curling iron you can spirals from roots to ends, giving the flexibility of having shape and volume to curly hair.
  • Curling iron takes 2 to 5 seconds while your flat iron takes longer.

Why do you curl you curly, kinky or relaxed African American hair?

Sometimes many of you asked me why you need a curling iron when you have genetically curly or kinky hair or why would you use a curling iron when you have invested a lot of money and time to relax your African-American hair.

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  • Redefining curl or taming or touching up unruly natural kinky hair.
  • To style your relaxed hair into various stylish waves or loose curls for a short time to suit various events.

What else if you have

Straight natural or synthetic hair and you want to have some waves or curls to match events, seasonal, or occasional looks. As these types of wigs are straight, you need different sizes of barrels of your curling iron to have various wave and curl types. Having wigs of natural or synthetic hair means freedom of styling.


Three must characteristics of Curling Iron of any brand for African-American hair

Rule#1: BARREL SIZE MATTERS, Should be of 5/8 for natural hair and 1.5 inches for the relaxed mane

Bigger barrels mean bigger curls and vice-versa. As your hair is already curly or kinky with short to the medium length you cannot use the bigger barrel for your natural hair. Moreover, your relaxed hair is somewhat damaged so you cannot use one inch less than one-inch barrel.

Rule#2: MATERIALS PLAY, Ceramic, Porcelain, Titanium, or Tourmaline ( PURE or COATING )

All four materials produce fairly even infrared heat while Tourmaline generates more negative ions and provide a smoother surface than other three. Negative ions protect from further damage while preserving natural oil of hair by sealing off the cuticles. But as Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone, it is treated with other materials to maximize the benefit at a moderate price. However, a coating of any form is in cheaper items rather than solid or pure ones found in very deluxe products.

Any combinations of the barrel made of these materials either in SOLID or COATING is the best.

Don’t forget ANY OTHER METAL BARREL is damaging to your hair.

Rule#3: NOT TOO HOT ALWAYS, Low to High heat settings

Depending on the thickness of your hair, you don’t need to tune in high temperature on a curling iron. Moreover, natural hair requires moderate to high heat; relaxed mane, low to moderate. All curling iron measures temperatures as degree Fahrenheit or simply degree. For example, you bought a Tourmaline Titanium when you had natural Afro but want to use it after your hair is being relaxed. But how? The answer is with very low-temperature settings and care.

So, stay as low as possible for relaxed mane while don’t go beyond 400 for natural.

Before using a curling iron

  • Use the good heat-protecting product and blow-dry yours completely before using a curling iron. For this, I would recommend using Argan oil thermal shield because it is enriched with natural and healthy ingredients that protect from extreme heat and heals your hair. Moreover, it has left in conditioner.

While using a curling iron

  • Use a sectional approach with not too much hair at a time while curling
  • Curl in the right direction
  • Never get beyond 400 degrees.

And after using a curling iron

  • Use suitable hair-spray after curling and cool them down. I must say to use Osis Session Finish Hairspray because it protects from humidity and holds curls longer.

Rivals are at the battlefield to be with your curly or kinky hair

CriteriaBabyliss PRO CT58SHot Tools 1109Helen of Troy 1509
Rule#1: Barrel SizePass:5/8 inchPass:5/8 inchPass:5/8 inch
Rule#2: Barrel MaterialPass: Ceramic coating barrelFail: 24K gold platedFail: Chrome
Rule#3: Multiple heat settingsPass: 25 heat settings
Max. 400°F
Pass: 280 to 430Pass: Low and High
Cord TypeTangle free fixed cordSwivel cordFixed
Cool TipYesYesYes
Probable PriceAround $40Around $45Around $40

The winner is Babyliss PRO CT58S for your natural kinky hair (Type-3c to 4c)

BaByliss Pro CT58S - best curling iron for african american hair

BaByliss Pro CT58S

The reason behind choosing with justification and criticism:

Rule#1 Passed: Barrel size of 5/8 inch to suit your hair length and style

As you process natural curly or kinky hair of type-3c to 4c, bigger barrel size is of no use. Normally bigger barrels’ curling irons are for naturally medium to long fine hair to make gentle waves, loose waves, voluminous, and medium loose curls. You need a barrel size of 5/8 inch because you may have short to medium hair.

I found Babyliss CT58S very effective for styling African-American Hair as it heats up faster. Considering all of the suitable factors for your natural hair Babyliss PRO CT58S can fulfill your requirement for curling. With this stuff, you can have smooth, tight curls to tight, kinky spiral curls of your natural hair for various hairstyles of your gorgeous natural hair.

Rule#2 Passed: Evenly heat distribution and producing negative ions because of Ceramic barrel

If a curling iron gets hot but not evenly distributes the heat across the barrel, you must not get the desired result with your curling iron. For your type-4 hair, I advise using a curling iron which takes 60 seconds to heat up and can dispense heat evenly.

Babyliss Pro CT58S can allocate heat properly because of the Ceramic barrel that suits to your general rough hair to avoid sticking. Moreover, it produces enough negative ions to prevent further damage.

Rule#3 Passed: Low to high temperature ( 400 F) with 25 settings for a short or long time because of the thickness of hair

Generally curly or kinky hair is thick and coarse though you may have thin. To style and retain the curls for longer than usual, I recommend using high temperature setting i.e. 380 for few seconds. If you are a newbie you may start with lowest settings and get experienced with as time goes by.

Babyliss PRO CT58S has multiple temperature settings; I cannot but suggest this kit for your naturally curly or kinky hair for taming.

Salon performance at Home

In many cases, I have seen many of you usually go to the salon for having some redefined curls of your stylish natural hair. But visiting at saloons now and then requires a lot of extra money for temporary curl style. For those who want salon performance at home, I would suggest them to buy Babyliss PRO CT58S and save some money for another purpose.

Good sides of Babyliss CT58S

Bad sides

  • Sticky handle
  • Poor location for on/off switch

BaBylissPRO Ceramic Tools Spring Curling Iron (CT58S) – Check Current Prices On Amazon

Foes for relaxed African-rooted hair

CriteriaHot Tools Professional 2102BabyLiss CT155SHelen of Troy Gold series
Rule#1: Barrel sizePass:1.5 inchPass:1.5 inchPass:1.5 inch
Rule#2: Barrel MaterialPass: Extra smooth Ceramic Tourmaline Surface with Titanium additivePass: Ceramic coatingPass: Ceramic coating Fail: Gold plated
Rule#3: Multiple heat settingsPass:280 to 430 degreePass:25 heat settings
Max. 400°F
Pass: Ten settings
Max 400 degree
Cool TipYesYesYes
CordSwivelFixed cordFixed
Probable PriceAround $35Around $40Around $45
The winner is Hot Tools Professional 2102 for relaxed African American Hair

Grounds for selection with explanation and criticism:

Rule#1 Passed: Barrel size 1.5” to match hair length and style while keeping moisturizer intact

Though you can use barrel size of curling iron bigger than 1.5 inches, I would recommend using 1.5 inches because relaxed hair is sophisticated. Moreover, voluminous or loose curls are usually desired on relaxed hair rather than full, vintage or tight curls.

As hair length is important to work with a curling iron so 1.5 inches is better than other foes. Hot tools PRO 2102 curling iron barrel is made of Ceramic, Titanium, Tourmaline which are the best material for your relaxed hair as you need smooth surface and retaining the moisturizer of your hair to look shiny and

As there are some issues related to maintaining of relaxed hair, I would recommend Hot Tools Professional 2102 for your relaxed African-American hair.

Hot Tools Professional 2102

Hot Tools Professional 2102

Rule#2 Passed: Ceramic Titanium barrel with negative ionizing which makes your hair healthy and smooth.

Relaxed hair needs types of curling iron that emit natural ions to have healthy-looking and shiny hair. In other words, your hair needs to retain natural and applied moisturizers while using a curling iron that emits more natural negative ions. Smooth tourmaline ceramic barrel together with infrared energy technology gives Hot Tools Professional 2102 an extra edge against its rivals.

Rule#3 Passed: Low to moderate temperature to protect damage yet curling on relaxed and sophisticated hair

Depending on hair thickness, it is recommended to heat up for a very short duration. Hot Tools Professional 2102 heats up quickly though you require holding it for 3 to 5 seconds. It has 280 to 430 temperature setting but for your relaxed hair with a degree of thickness, you may use 280 to 310 degrees for optimal performance.

Good sides

  • Gets hot quickly because of pulse technology
  • Comfortable rubber grip

Bad sides

  • No auto shut off
  • Single voltage only

Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium Professional Curling Iron (2102) – Check Current Prices On Amazon

Suggested curling your synthetic or natural wigs

No matter how long, thick or thin your hair is, you have different barrel sizes

For your synthetic or natural wig, you may want to fashion it with various curls, from wavy to tight curls to meet your different occasional demands. But having different barrel sizes of same or multiple brands is futile. If you want these you must go with Xtava P Satin 5-in-1 as it has 0.3 inches to 1.25-inch barrel sizes. Don’t forget the golden rule, “ The bigger the barrel, the bigger the curl and vice-versa.”

Wand and curl give you flexibility taste of both worlds

Though they do the same, there are some special uses of the wand and curling iron. I generally use wands for waves and curling barrel for curling. To get the best of both worlds, Xtava Satin 5-in-1

Xtava Satin 5-in-1

Xtava Satin 5-in-1

gives you 2 wands and 3 curling irons barrels. Moreover, those two wands are thin at top and thick at the bottom while three curling irons barrels are of uniform thicker sizes of ¾ inch, 1 inch, and 1.25 inch.

Again whether synthetic or natural you need lower to a higher temperature for various curling

Good sides

  • Travel-friendly as it has dual voltage and safe storage bag
  • Swivel cord gives flexibility while curling

Bad sides

  • No cool tip

Why is Xtava suggested?

No other curling irons on the market are so versatile to meet your needs. This brand understands your implicit requirements hence it brings such a handy iron at half price if you buy 5 lower-priced curling irons. But, to be honest, it has no cool touch tip which may run the risk of getting burnt on hand and need more practice if you a newbie.

Xtava P Satin 5-in-1 – Check Current Prices On Amazon

Final verdict:

Generally, African-American natural hair is of 4a,4b,4c or kinky types, hence to smooth away the unruly curl I recommend to buy BaByliss Pro CT58S. It is worthy of your money and performs better than pricey counterparts.

In contrast, for your African-American relaxed hair, I suggest buying Hot Tools Professional 2102 for wavy to loose curls.

Finally, for your synthetic or natural wigs, I advocate purchasing Xtava Satin 5-in-1 for on the flow curl styling.

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