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From the Sofia Richie-approved Mermade Hair Waver to cult fave brands like ghd and Dyson, these are the best hair curlers for effortless waves at home. Image: Mermade Hair via Facebook.
When it comes to hair tools that deserve a spot in your arsenal, hair curlers are up there with straighteners.
Perfect for creating everything from tousled curls to subtle waves, a hair curler or wand is a worthy investment. And if you struggle to create the perfect wave at home, leading Australian hair stylist and creator of his eponymous award-winning haircare brand, Kevin Murphy, says there’s a trick.
“You really want to try and avoid curling the roots or the ends, this is really important if you want to create a modern wave,” Kevin tells. “Stick to the mid-lengths for a contemporary look.”
BEST HAIR CURLERS
BEST WAVE HAIR CURLER
Mermade Hair PRO Waver 32mm, Adore Beauty, $89
Mermade Hair PRO Waver 32mm. Image: Mermade.
Perth mum and businesswoman Tara Simich came up with this unusual looking triple barrel hair waver when she realised how hard it was to get the perfect “mermaid wave” that’s all over Instagram. The clever design makes curling easy for those who’ve never mastered the twisting technique – with the Mermade, you simply clamp and hold for 10 seconds for the perfect beachy look. The larger PRO 32mm is ideal for big and bouncy waves, and if you’ve got shorter hair or prefer a tighter wave, the Mermade Hair Waver Mini 25mm is ideal.
The editor of few practice runs and some help from the experts this was her take on the Mermade Waver: “I’m not going to lie, I absolutely loved the finish of this product. It looked just like it did on Instagram and was also like nothing I’ve ever rocked before:” she wrote.Beauty Diary, Rebekah Scanlan, put the waver to the test on her own super fine hair last year for a day at the races. After a
“I was headed to the races — so it was the perfect place to put my waves under some stress. And I am thrilled to report back that after hours standing outside in the elements, the waves lasted. Even the next morning they were still locked in, albeit a bit looser and softer, something I was still digging.”
Backed by modern beauty muses including Sofia Richie and Rita Ora, and used by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin to create Hailey Bieber’s laidback waves at the 2021 Met Gala, adding something to cart has never been more of a no-brainer.
Muk Curl Stick V 2.0
The Muk Curl Stick V2.0 comes with four removable wand attachments of varying sizes, offering a multitude of curl styles to suit your mood. It’s currently the #2 bestseller on Amazon Australia, and with good reason – the adjustable temperature option means you can use the heat needed on your hair type – avoiding excess damage from overheating – and the titanium-finished barrels mean static-free, smooth curls.
BEST GHD HAIR CURLER
ghd Curve Creative Curl Wand, The Iconic, $250
ghd Curve Creative Curl Wand. Image: ghd.
From textured curls to beachy waves, this wand from ghd does it all, earning it the top ranking among the brands other highly-rated curlers. It features a revolutionary round 28mm to oval 23mm tip to give you the most effortless, natural, “woke up like this” waves. The ultra-zone technology helps to lock in those curls for longer while preventing damage, and it’s super quick to use. The sleep mode switches the device off if not used for 30 minutes (great for the forgetful among us), and the ergonomic cool tip ensures you won’t burn your fingers.
Reviewers say that despite the high price tag, it’s definitely worthwhile, with one calling it the “perfect wand” and another wrote, “This curler is amazing, was so surprised at how easy and quick it was to curl my hair! Curls lasted 3 days without hairspray, so many different ways to curl and brushing the curls out changed the look too, I love the beach wave style!”
BEST PREMIUM HAIR CURLER
Dyson Airwrap Styler Complete, $799
Dyson Airwrap. Image: Dyson.
The Dyson Airwrap comes with six attachments. Image: Dyson.
Gentle on your hair thanks to its low heat, this Dyson is a do-it-all hair tool that will wave, curl and dry your hair all at once. The Aerodynamic Coanda effect attracts, wraps and curls hair in one swift motion and the clever heat control checks the air temperature over 40 times every second to ensure it stays below 150°C, protecting hair from heat damage. Perfect for those who love big, bouncy curls (think Kate Middleton’s signature wavy blow dry), this tool comes with 30mm and 40mm curling barrels, as well as a firm smoothing brush, soft smoothing brush, round volumising brush, and pre-styling dryer – so you’re really getting your money’s worth.
Reviewers agree that it’s pricey, but well worth the investment, with one raving, “I’d seen the Dyson Airwrap on Instagram and thought it could be a gimmick BUT I THOUGHT WRONG and now I don’t know what I did without it. I’m continually preaching it to all my mates and slowly converting them to put the dollars behind it and purchase. The smaller barrels are my favourite and the brush is just fab. The ‘straightening’ of it is a much more natural look than using a straightener and it definitely doesn’t feel like it damages my hair like a straightener does”.
BEST AUTOMATIC HAIR CURLER
VS Sassoon Unbound Cordless Auto Curler, The Good Guys, $159
For some people, curling prowess comes easy – and for others, you have to work smarter, not harder, by getting on board the automatic hair curler trend. This one from VS Sassoon is cordless and rechargeable, making it great for on-the-go use. It has three heat settings, and all you need to do is insert a small section of hair, hit one of the multi-directional curl buttons, and release to reveal your perfect curl. Not only does it take all the hard work out of hairstyling, it also speeds up the process so you can get out the door quicker – winning!
Reviewers have proven that it’s not just a gimmick, with one leaving a five-star rating and commenting “Love the product! I have never been able to curl my hair with a curling iron or straightener and when I’ve got it done professionally it has never lasted more than a couple of hours, where as this product was so easy to use and I could curl it to my liking and to make things better these curls lasted the whole night and I still had a slight wave the next morning”.
BEST CURLING IRON
Hot Tools 24k Gold Curling Iron 32mm XL. Image: Adore Beauty.
Curling irons differ from wands in their design, as they come with a clip on the barrel that allows you to clamp onto a section of hair and wrap it around without getting your fingers too close to the heat. This 32mm curling one has 13 variable temperature settings (of 140° to 220°C) which allow you to pick a heat that best suits your hair type. The luxurious 24K gold styling surface heats evenly to create well-defined and long-lasting curls, while pulse technology ensures that the iron heats quickly and maintains that heat as you curl. There’s an automatic sleep mode after two hours for safety, a safety stand, and a three metre cable with swivel for ease of use.
A five-star reviewer called it a “lovely curling iron, so easy to use to make nice natural waves or big curls”.
BEST CURLING WAND
H2D Black X5 Professional Curling Wand. Image: H2D.
Perfect for curling beginners, this curling and styling wand features five different barrels so you can create your dream curls with ease. Digital temperature control ensures that you can select a heat setting that best suits your hair type, and its lightweight, ergonomic design means your arms won’t tire as you use it. Plus, the smooth, Tourmaline barrels leave your curls looking glossy.
A reviewer who gave it five stars commented “such a great tool, simple and easy to use would recommend to anyone.”
BEST CONICAL WAND HAIR CURLER
Babyliss Pro Glam Titanium 32-19 mm Ceramic Conical Wand, Adore Beauty, $109.95
Babyliss Pro Glam Titanium 32-19mm Ceramic Conical Wand. Image: Adore Beauty.
With a whopping 25 heat settings, this conical curling wand allows you to select the perfect heat that works best for your hair. The tapered 32mm to 19mm barrel wand offers you plenty of choice when it comes to what curls you want to achieve on any given day. It comes with a heat-proof glove to protect your fingers, and its ceramic coating means that you’ll protect your hair from heat damage and enhance shine. Win-win.
Five-star reviewers commented “I am so impressed with this wand – it is such great value and does exactly what it should!” and “This gives super natural, almost “beachy” curls, love it! And it’s super easy to use”.
BEST HAIR CURLER FOR DAMAGED HAIR
Remington Conical Curl Styler Keratin & Argan Oil, The Good Guys, $39.95
Remington Conical Curl Styler Keratin & Argan Oil. Image: The Good Guys.
If you’re attached to the curly look but you’ve got bleached or damaged hair that’s not quite up to the intensity of heat styling, this oil-infused Conical Curl Styler is for you. The ceramic barrel is infused with nourishing Keratin and Argan Oil to create shiny, frizz-free waves with ease. There are variable heat settings to suit your hair type, and an automatic shut-off as well as a heat protective glove for safety.
“The added touch of Keratin and Argan oil leaves my hair feeling so soft,” wrote one reviewer. “The curler is by far the easiest to use and provides curls based on your needs – you can have the tight curls or the beautiful beach waves. This curler is my go to and always get compliments on my hair when I have used this amazing curler. Best money a girl can spend!”
BEST ALL-IN-ONE HAIR CURLER AND STRAIGHTENER
VS Sassoon Straight to Curl Brilliance Hair Styler. Image: Myer.
If you like to alternate between silky straight hair and luscious loose curls, a straightener like this one that can double as a curler is your best bet. With advanced Sol-Gel straightening plates, you get ultimate glide and longer lasting results. The heated and contoured tongs create flawless waves or curls, and with the unit’s ability to heat up in just 15 seconds, you won’t have to wait long to get styling. There are five heat settings, and a hinge lock and automatic shut-off for safety.
A five-star reviewer said “Creates a curl easily and it holds. I use as a straightener and a curler and it’s great for both”.
BEST CHEAP HAIR CURLER
Remington Pro Curl Wand, Harvey Norman, $19.95
Remington Pro Curl Wand. Image: Harvey Norman.
Setting you back less than $20, this hair curler from Remington may not have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done effectively and on a dime. The 19mm barrel tong design makes it easy to clamp, twist and curl. The unit heats up to a maximum of 200°C and takes only 30 seconds to do so, and there’s two variable heat settings to suit your hair type. It also comes with a brush sleeve attachment for creating volume.
Reviewers say it’s surprisingly good for the price, with one writing, “Was buying this one as a make do till getting a good (expensive) one, but it works really well and I don’t see the need to spend more when I am happy with the results this one is giving me”.
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While you’re shopping for your next curler, you might want to invest in a few products to keep those waves in place for longer while keeping your hair protected from heat damage. Check out these top-rated picks:
KEVIN.MURPHY Doo Over. Image: Adore Beauty.
evo icon welder heat protection mist. Image: Adore Beauty.
This versatile dry finishing hairspray offers the holding power that allows you to mould, form and shape your hair into your desired style, while still allowing freedom of movement and avoiding that icky “crunchy” feeling left by regular hairspray. It blends the cleansing power of dry shampoo with the shaping and smoothing of a pomade, making it the ultimate all-in-one. A reviewer said “I am sad I started using this because I will never be able to go back to supermarket hairspray. It’s exxy but so worth it. Doesn’t leave the hair dry or brittle and holds style really well”.
If you want to keep your hair in top-notch condition, a pre-styling thermal protectant is essential. This one from evo comes in a convenient spray form that’s super easy to spritz through before you wield your curler, straightener or blow dryer. It’ll protect your strands from heat damage while also extending the lifespan of your hairstyle and enhancing shine – triple whammy! A reviewer wrote “I was extremely impressed with this heat protector. I have found other heat protectors heavy and can leave you hair oily. This one super light weight, smell amazing and genuinely feel as though my hair is protected from all the heat styling!”
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A HAIR CURLER?
“The most important thing to look for when purchasing a curling iron is that it has a high to low heat variant,” Kevin advises. “Using high heat on fine or dry hair can snap the cuticle so it’s important to change the level depending on your hair type.”
WHY DO YOU NEED A HAIR CURLER?
“Hair curling irons are a really good tool to have – not only do they cut down on the time it takes you to get through your early-morning styling routine, the heat is going to give you longevity and create curls that aren’t going to drop by the time you get to the office (or zoom meeting),” says Kevin. “The high heat distribution diffuses quickly into the bonds of the hair to help seal the cuticle for all-day, salon-quality waves.”
HOW DO I USE A HAIR CURLER?
“The best way to use a hair curler is to wind it back and away from the face to give you nice framing,” says Kevin. “This isn’t only the most simple way but will also give you a modern wave. When you are styling the sides of your head, hold the tong in a vertical direction but when you are styling the front or back of your hold the tool in a horizontal direction and always avoid the roots.”