How To Choose The Right Curling Iron Size

Curling hair with curling iron

Styling hairs with a curling iron seem to be easy but more often you may find it tricky to get the perfect curling iron for you as they come in countless shapes, sizes, and features. Also, the most crucial part is to find the right-sized product to accomplish your desired hairdo.

When you are up to choosing any barrel size, you have to consider your length and hairstyle that you assume to achieve. The rest of the content will show you the right size barrel according to your hair length and according to your desired hairstyle. Besides, I will give you a bonus concept of how exactly the barrel size relates to hair length and hairstyle. Stay tuned with me.

What does barrel size have to do with hairstyle and hair length?

Choosing the right size of the curling iron is the most crucial part of the whole styling process but once you are successfully done with a part you are all set to rock the red carpet with your mesmerizing strands. Let us see how barrel size is related to both hairstyle and hair length:

The relation between Barrel Size and Hair Length

If you have short hair, you will have to choose short barrels (3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″ or 3/4″). Short hairs look ineffective with long barrels. To curl short hairs in a perfect way you will need short barrels for sure.

Just imagine you have chin-length hair and you applied 2″ large barrel to curl. You cannot even notice any change let alone any kind of curls. Therefore, for short hairs, you will need short sized barrels.

Now, if we talk about long hairs, the theory will be the same. For long hairs, you will surely need large barrels (1.25″, 1.5″, 1.75″ and 2″). If you try to style your waist-length hair with a 1/2″ barrel, you will probably need a whole day to style them, as it will consume so much time. Again, long hairs cannot hold short curls for a long time. Therefore, you will not get long-lasting curls.

However, shoulder-length or medium length hair is an exception, as it looks great on any sized barrel. Both short and long barrels are effective on medium length hairs. Medium-sized hair is the perfect hair length that can handle every barrel. It is kind of a universal hair length.

Again, the 1″ barrel is suitable for every hair length hairs (short, medium and long). This ideal barrel size is suitable for every hair length.

The relation between Barrel Size and Hairstyle

Before going with any particularly sized curling iron determine the type of hairdo you are opting for. For different types of hairstyles, you may need different sized barrels. As in if, you are up to creating messy beachy curl and you have a 1/2 inch barrel sized curling iron, your entire look will slam a great disaster. Again, if you want sculptured ringlets and you are using 1.5″ barrel sized curling gadget, you will surely end up having nothing but a hilarious look. The curling iron size does not only matter for creating the right type of curl but it also has a significant influence on different types of hairs.

Barrel size has a slight relation with hair type as well. However, the theory may not be applicable for each time. As you use a 1″ barrel sized curling iron that creates curls that add volume to your hairs so if you apply this sized curling iron thick hairs, it will appear excessively thick or unkempt. Again the types of curls produced by a 2″ barrel sized curling iron, do not add volume. Therefore, if you use it on thin hairs, it will not be that appealing. In short, curling iron size is very much influential in our hairstyles and hair types.

Curling Iron Size Guide

There are several sizes of barrels are introduced. Let us check out the available sizes of barrels in the trade market and an overall guide to choosing them for most appropriate hairstyles:

3/8 Inch

Suggested for: Thin, short, shoulder-length hair

Achievable Curls: Kinky, spiral curls

Tight curls

This barrel is for making kinky curls. Yes, you heard it right. Is there any girl who has never dreamt of a head full of bouncy kinky girls? 3/8 inch barrel size is the dream catcher wan for you that can lead your dull hair to attain those full kinky curls. This barrel is the ideal one for touch up. Like if you have natural curls, you may keep this curling iron for taming some strands for perfection or so.

3/8 barrels are good for short or shoulder-length hairs but if you are using this for touch up, you may apply it on long hairs also. It adds volume so thin hairs will be benefited but thick hairs will appear extra thick or messy. These sized barrels work great on both straight and curly hairs but styling straight hairs with these barrels may consume extra time.

HOT TOOLS Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand, 3/8 inch
  • Soft grip handle
  • Powerful spring clamp
  • Includes two extra, easy-to-replace springs
  • Comes with micro mini 3/8 inches barrel
  • Ideal for all hair types

1/2 Inch

Suggested For: Thin, short, bob cut hairs

Achievable curls: Retro curl, ringlet curls, finger waves, spiral curls

Finger waves

Finger waves

This tiny barrel is ideal for creating ringlet curls or tight curls. You can re-create the 1920s retro curls and the finger waves of the 80s. 1/2 inch barrels create tight and short waved curls.

Long hairs do not hold these shortest curls for a long time. Again long and thick hairs with short curls may not look so appetizing at all. Thus, this barrel size works great on short or bob cut hairs. Again, the springy curls add extra volume to hairs and so thin hairs look good with 1/2 inch barrel but thick or extra thick hairs look quite unkempt. If you have curly hairs this barrel will perform very well for a simple touch up. However, curling straight strands with this sized barrel can be time-consuming.

Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand, 1/2 inch
  • Professional spring curling iron, 1/2 inch barrel size
  • Patented Pulse Technology for Gets Hot, 10 variable heat settings with built-in rheostat control
  • Powerful spring clamp, 24K gold-plated barrel. 8 feet. Professional swivel cord
  • Fast heat up, Heavy-duty long-life heating element, On / Off switch
  • Foldaway safety stand, Soft-Grip textured handle, 85 Watts

5/8 Inch

Suggested for: Thin, medium or shoulder length hair

Achievable Curl: Springy, spiral curl, perm curls

Classic curls hairstyle

This sized barrel is ideal for creating springy curls on straight hairs. Girls with straight hairs often face problems with styling their stubborn strands into kinky tight curls as it consumes a lot of time. However, a 5/8 inch barrel is just perfect for straight strands styling. This size is short but not too short. Therefore, it does not consume much time rather creates perfect springy curls on straight hairs. Medium length or shoulder-length hairs apply to this barrel size. Again, this sized barrel adds volume to hairs so thin hair is more preferable. Again, if you have naturally coiled hairs, a 5/8 inch barrel is great for a simple touch up.

HOT TOOLS Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand, 5/8 inch
  • size:5/8 inches
  • patented pulse technology for fast heat-up
  • maintains constant, even heat, from low to extra hot while you style
  • soft grip handle
  • fast heat up to 428 degree

3/4 Inch

Suggested for: Thick, thin, shoulder-length hair

Achievable curls: Vintage curls, corkscrew curls

Curly hairstyle

3/4 inches barrel gives a uniform look to naturally curly locks. These barrels are best for creating Carrie Bradshaw curls. This sized of barrels creates relatively looser curls than the other short sized barrels. This barrel ensures more polished curls. The signature feature of this iron is to create perfect vintage curls. This sized barrel works great on both straight and curly strands. However, long hairs fail to hold the curls appropriately rather shoulder length hairs look mesmerizing. 3/4 inch barrels add a little volume to hairs so both thick and thin hairs are applicable.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
  • The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron uses Nano titanium technology to produce gentle, even far-infrared heat, heating the hair shaft from within for styling without damage.
  • The Nano titanium barrel offers even heat distribution without hot spots. Negative ions leave locks smooth & shiny.
  • Use this spring barrel curling iron for tight curls or loose waves. Far-infrared heat leaves hair shiny & smooth.
  • Instant heat up and recovery up to 450 degree
  • Nano titanium barrel

1 Inch – The Universal Barrel Size

Suggested for: All hair types

Achievable curls: Defined curls, mermaid curls, uniform spiral curls, beachy waves, natural waves,textured waves, loose curls, tousled curls, glam waves, full-bodied waves, flipped ends, volume curls with bends

Hollywood curls

This particular size is the legendary size among them all. This ideal size of the barrel is an overall go-to product that creates most types of curls. This one is a one-man army and a mandatory styling product for your collection.

This barrel size is not too small and not too large. Long barrels look ineffective on short hairs, on the other hand, short barrels are time-consuming on long hairs. However, the 1-inch barrel is a medium-length barrel and thus it is applicable for every hair length. Therefore, you can use it in short medium and long hairs.

1 inch curling iron creates messy beachy waves. It can also create beautifully defined curls and those old Hollywood curls. The 1-inch barrel provides more polished and textured curls. You can create cool waves in your short chin lengthen hairs with this barrel size. Again, your medium length hairs can be dressed in beautiful beachy waves.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
  • The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron uses Nano titanium technology to produce gentle, even far-infrared heat, heating the hair shaft from within for styling without damage.
  • The Nano titanium barrel offers even heat distribution without hot spots. Negative ions leave locks smooth & shiny.
  • Use this spring barrel curling iron for tight curls or loose waves. Far-infrared heat leaves hair shiny & smooth.
  • Instant heat up and recovery up to 450 degree
  • Nano titanium barrel

1 1/4 Inch

Suggested for: Long, medium, shoulder length

Achievable Curls: Almost every type of curls and waves

Beachy waves curly hair

This barrel creates almost every type of curls and waves. You just need to determine your curl and set your hairs to the needed size and you are ready to have magnificent curls. However, this curling iron is recommended for bigger curls. Users need long or at least shoulder length hairs to hold the bigger curls. However, this sized barrel does not add any volume to hairs so both thick and thin hairs are appropriate for this curling iron.

1 1/2 Inch

Suggested for: Long, extra-long, thick and thin

Achievable Curls: Voluminous waves, loose waves, blowout waves, Ombre curls, spiral curls, neat beachy curls, loose beachy waves, classic loose waves, undone waves

Tight beachy waves hairstyle

These larger barrels create large curls that need long or extra-long hairs to support those curls. This kind of curls does not add extra volume to hairs so both the thick and thin hairs are okay with this curling iron. Straight strands perfectly adopt this kind of curls. However, this kind of curls demands long hairs for a full vision and appropriate look.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
  • The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron uses Nano titanium technology to produce gentle, even far-infrared heat, heating the hair shaft from within for styling without damage.
  • The Nano titanium barrel offers even heat distribution without hot spots. Negative ions leave locks smooth & shiny.
  • Use this spring barrel curling iron for tight curls or loose waves. Far-infrared heat leaves hair shiny & smooth.
  • Instant heat up and recovery up to 450 degree
  • Nano titanium barrel and So-Gel Technology

1 3/4 Inch

Suggested for: Long, extra-long, thick and thin

Achievable styles of curls: Soft loose waves, loose beachy waves

Curly hair with Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium curling iron

These bigger sized barrels are the rarest, as it is not easily found in the market. However, this unique barrel size worth your purchase as it gives you softer loose waves. This is the only barrel in the long barrel territory that works great on short hairs. Yes, you heard it right. 1 3/4 inch barrel works great on short hairs adding extra volumes and creating soft curls.

T3 Micro - BodyWaver 1.75” Custom Blend Ceramic Iron with Hollow Clip Barrel for Professional Hair Styling Tool for Salon Worthy Blowouts & Big Polished Waves & Loose Curls White/Rose Gold
  • T3 SinglePass Radial Technology: Maintains a consistent temperature over the barrel for healthy even styling
  • Hollow Barrel Design: Allows heat to disperse evenly and consistently from the outside of barrel.Wattage: 55W
  • 5 Position Temperature Dial to 410° F: Perfectly styles all hair types and textures
  • Slim Ergonomic Handle Cool Tip & Stand: For fast effortless styling ; One hour auto off
  • 1 Hour Auto Off: For worry-free styling

2 Inch

Suggested for: Long, Extra-long, Thick and Thin

Achievable Curls: Tousled loose waves, beachy waves, defined waves

Alternating curl - Miracurl

If you have extra-long hairs and tired of using time-consuming short lengthen barrels 2-inch barrels are the real savior for you. Again, these sized barrels are capable of creating bends the latest craze of style fanatic women. Straight hairs with a little bend can be regardless with 2-inch sized barrels.

HOT TOOLS Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand, 2 inch
  • 24K gold-plated barrel with extra-long cool tip and heavy duty, long-life heating element
  • Rheostat control dial with variable heat settings up to 430°F
  • Separate on-off switch allows rheostat to memorize favorite heat setting
  • Heavy duty round 8ft swivel cord and Soft-Grip handle;
  • Professional Features Include: Heavy duty long-life heating element Built-in rheostat control Fast heatup Solid state circuitry On/off switch

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the smallest curling iron size?

The smallest curling iron size is the 3/8 inch barrel, which helps achieve the corkscrew, bouncy and kinky curls for that youthful, playful look. For straight hair, it will take a longer time to get the desired look, while for curly hair, this barrel will be great for touch-ups. The 3/8 barrel is great for short, shoulder-length, and long hair. It adds volume for those with thin strands and gives definition to those with natural curls.

Q: Curling Iron Sizes Best for Short Hair.

The applicable barrels for short hair are 3/8”, ½”, and 1” curling irons. The 3/8” and ½” barrels are perfect for short and thin hair since these achieve more volume, and are great for creating curls suitable for stylizing short hair. The 1” curling iron is the universal curling iron that is suitable for any hair length. This iron size gives just the right volume for short hair and creates defined, beachy waves for long hair.

Q: What curling iron is best for beachy waves?

To achieve the trendy, luscious, and sexy beach waves, barrel sizes 1½”, 1 ⅓”, and 2’ are the ones for you! These bigger barrels help you look fabulous by creating loose spirals that give volume and life to your hair. Section your hair into different sizes to give your hair more texture, carefully finger-comb your hair, then spray it off with a setting spray. These sizes are especially great to those with extra-long hair and on-the-go women who do not like time-consuming styling.

Q: Curling Iron Size for Loose Curls

2-inch barrels will save you time and effort. Additionally, these barrels can create cutting-edge bends that are popular among style-conscious women.

Summary Of The Best Size Curling Iron

Here, we have created a table with top-rated curling irons according to barrel size.

Barrel Size Hair LengthAchievable Hairstyle
3/8"Short, shoulder lengthKinky, spiral curls
1/2"Short or bob cutRetro, ringlet, spiral curls, finger waves
5/8"Medium, shoulder lengthSpringy, spiral, perm curls
3/4"Medium, shoulder lengthVintage, corkscrew curls
1"All hair lengthsAll types of curls and waves - Universal
1 1/4"Long, mediumAlmost every type of curls and waves
1 1/2"Long, extra-longVoluminous, loose, spiral, beachy waves
1 3/4"Long, extra-longSoft loose, loose beachy waves
2"Long, extra-longTousled loose, beachy, defined waves

This mobile world claims instant done results and to keep pace with this fast world curling was brought to limb light. With the products that are more than benediction, women found their easiest way to adapt celebs like hairdos at home without losing loads of salon cost and plenty of their valuable times. There are curling irons in different sizes but every size is meant for a definitive hairdo and most importantly, no size is beneficial for every hair length. You had better choose sizes according to your hair length and desired hairdo.

Last update on 2021-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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