6 Best Curling Irons for Black Hair – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2018)

Helping You with the Difficult Process of Finding the Best Curling Irons for Afro-American Type Hair

It’s no secret that people with black hair often get so frustrated with trying to curl it differently they just don’t bother trying anymore. That is sad because most of the time when this happens because most of the time they are simply not using the proper curling iron for that task. Don’t fret though if you have tough to style black hair because there are many good curling irons in the beauty marketplace that can effectively curl Afro-American type hair.

That is why I have taken the time to write this article. It will not only include several of the top curling irons for black hair reviews but will also give you some tips on exactly how to go about selecting one of the best curling irons for black hair.

  • 3.8 Customer Rating
  • BIO IONIC Curl Expert Pro Curling Iron
  • PRICE $$$$
  • Barrel : BioCeramic
  • Barrel Size : 1 Inch
  • Maximum Heat : up to 430ºF
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • Jose Eber Curling Iron
  • PRICE $$$
  • Barrel : Korean tourmaline ceramic barrel
  • Barrel Size : 25mm (1 inch)
  • Maximum Heat : 410F
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • Xtava Satin Wave 5 in 1 Curling Iron and Wand Set
  • PRICE $$$
  • Barrel : Interchangeable ceramic tourmaline barrels
  • Barrel Size : .3 to 1.25 inches
  • Maximum Heat : 410°F
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron
  • PRICE $$
  • Barrel : 24K gold-plated barrel
  • Barrel Size : 1"
  • Maximum Heat : up to 430°F
  • 4.2 Customer Rating
  • BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron
  • PRICE $$
  • Barrel : Ceramic coated barrel
  • Barrel Size : 1 Inch
  • Maximum Heat : up to 450°F
  • 4.0 Customer Rating
  • Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
  • PRICE $
  • Barrel : Ceramic/tourmaline coated barrel
  • Barrel Size : 1 1/2-inch
  • Maximum Heat : 400°F

Best Curling Iron for Black Hair Reviews (Newest Models)

After looking at what several users had to say and extensive research this is what I believe are 6 top model curling irons that work very well on black type hair:

1. BIO IONIC Curl Expert Pro Curling Iron

This really well-designed curling iron from the popular BIO IONIC line of products has many attributes that make it ideal to use on Afro-American type hair. Chief of which is its ultra-high 430ºF max heat. It will really help loosen up your black hair so it can be molded into a much larger and looser curl.

When you factor in such other things as its state of the art Nanotechnology that helps your dark hair retain its moisture and its even heating BioCeramic technology, you get a curling tool that will help give you an edge when it comes to styling black type hair.

Read more: BIO IONIC Curl Expert Pro Curling Iron

Check The Price on Amazon!

2. Jose Eber Curling Iron

Curling your black type hair as you are on the road traveling can sometimes be a chore but a curling iron like this one from Jose Eber surely can help. Not only does it have the high heat necessary (410ºF) to curl black hair it also is dual voltage capable and lightweight. No longer do you have to worry about how you will curl and shape your hair no matter where you travel.

Other factors such as its preferred 1” barrel size, moisture retaining tourmaline ceramic infusion and its absolutely incredible limited lifetime warranty make this a very good curling iron to own if you have Afro-American type hair.

Read more: Jose Eber 25mm Clipless Curling Iron

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3. xtava Satin Wave 5 in 1 Curling Iron and Wand Set

If versatility is what you are looking for when you go to put curls in your Afro-American type hair then this may be the perfect curling iron for you. It has 5 interchangeable barrels that will allow you to create all different size and shape curls.

The xtava Satin Wave Curling Iron has many other nice features too. These include such things as its 410ºF max heat which is needed to reshape and curl black hair and Ceramic tourmaline technology to help keep your hair from drying out as you curl it. Its dual voltage capability and its ability to travel with you only add to this curling iron’s versatility.

Read more: xtava Satin Wave 5 in 1 Curling Iron and Wand Set

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4. Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron

Most curling irons do not let you choose the exact heat setting you want to style your black hair. That is not the case with the Rheostat equipped Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron. You can choose the exact working temperature you want between 280°F – 430°F. When you add to that the even heating the 24k gold plated barrel gives you then you will have no problem making great looking medium size curls.

Other nice features on this curling iron include a powerful spring clamp to hold thicker black hair and Hot Tools exclusive Pulse Technology® that helps eliminate barrel heat fluctuation.

Read more: Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron

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5. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron

This world-renowned beauty products manufacturer has made a curling iron that works really great on black type hair. It’s some 50 dial-up heat settings (up to 450°F) and a unique turbo heat boost feature will let you easily mold your black hair into the curl shape you like.

There are some other nice features you get with the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron too. For instance, you have ultra-moisture retaining Nano Titanium technology and a ceramic coated barrel that eliminates damaging hot spots. With its tapered wand barrel (1/2” to 1”) you can make a wide variety of curls with it too.

Read more: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 1 Inch ConiCurl Iron

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6. Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron

Here is a compact and lightweight curling iron that has the high heat required to curl sometimes stubborn black hair. It has 4 different high heat settings to choose from ranging in temperature from 310°F – 400°F. Incredibly for the price it also includes Nano-technology that keeps your black hair from drying out and helps make it shine too.

Its large 1 ½” barrel will help you put some big, loose curls in your black hair and the sturdy spring clip will hold your hair nicely in place as you do it. The Infiniti Pro by Conair Curling Iron is definitely one of the most budget-friendly curling irons that work well on African-American hair too.

Read more: Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron

Check The Price on Amazon!

Black/Afro-American Hair Characteristics

Best Curling Irons for Black HairAre you wondering just what it means to have what is known as black or Afro-American type hair? Most people who have it wonder exactly what makes it so tough to curl and style. If you have black type hair then you know first-hand how frustrating it can be to get it looking the way you want it to.

Here is a little bit more about why Afro-American hair is so hard to reshape:

  1. Molecularly
    First, we will look at black or African-American type hair on a molecular level. All hair is made up of a series of chemical bonds. Different types of hair have different strengths to these bonds. As you can imagine how difficult it is to shape, black hair has the strongest chemical bonds of any type hair.
    No strand of hair can be reshaped or curled unless these strong bonds are broken to allow the hair to take the shape you want it to. The molecular strength of Afro-American hair is what gives it the ability to grow up and out unlike any other type of hair (some would call this look an ‘Afro’.
  2. The Individual Strands/Texture
    Black hair is also very different if you look at the shape of the individual strands. It’s often described as being thick and kinky because of the amount of curl found in each strand. Black hair strands even though they are almost always kinky, can also be different as far as the thickness and density of them goes just like any other type of hair.
  3. The Amount Of Curl In Each Strand
    If you look closely at a strand of black hair under a microscope one thing will really stand out. That is the fact that it’s not even close to being straight. Each strand will have various amounts of tight curl in it. The different types of curl that can be found in black hair strands are often described in such terms as being spiraled, coiled, looped or zigzag in shape No other type of hair will be found with any of these characteristics in its natural state.

Buying Guide: Choosing The Right Curling Iron for Black Hair

Curling Iron for Black Hair ReviewsHere are the most important features of a curling iron to focus when you are purchasing it to use on black or Afro-American type hair:

4 Things to Look for when Purchasing a Curling Iron For African American / Natural Hair

  1. High heat
    Without a doubt, high heat is the key to reshaping and curling black or Afro-American type hair. That is why any curling iron you buy for that type of hair better have a high end working temperature of 400°F or more. That is the type of heat you need to gain an advantage when trying to curl kinky, thick and coarse black hair.
    If the curling iron you purchase has a turbo heat button even better. This is a button that lets the curling iron get even hotter for a short period of time if you have a spot in your hair that is proving more difficult to style than the others.
  2. Consistent heating
    Just as important as high heat is for that high heat to remain constant as you are using your curling. Any drop in temperature can also mean a drop in performance. Look for such things as gold, titanium and other barrel coatings that enable a curling iron to heat fast and stay consistently hot. Some companies also add other technologies that will do this into the design of their curling irons too.
  3. Multiple high-heat settings
    You may remember me mentioning that their or different types of black hair just like there are different types of fine hair, normal hair, and thick hair. Although you certainly need high heat to curl any type of Afro-American hair that does not mean every type likes to be curled at the max temperature setting of the curling iron. That means having several different high heat settings to choose from is a good thing to have on your curling iron.
  4. Proper barrel size
    Just like with any type hair the barrel size on a curling iron helps determine the size of the curl you can make with it. Here is an overview of what the common sizes of curling iron barrels are and the types and shape of the curls that you can make with them:
    Here is a quick overview of the most common curling iron barrel sizes and the type of curls they are good at making:

    • 3/8” barrel: This type of curling iron barrel produces very tight and springy curls.
    • 5/8” barrel: Produces a tight curl but without the springiness that you get when you use a 3/8” barrel.
    • 3/4” barrel: This is your barrel choice if you want a more classic style curls and spirals that have some structure to them.
    • 1” barrel: This size barrel diameter is great for making beach waves which are full, well-defined curls that are medium in size.
    • 1 ¼” barrel: Produces medium size curls that are also a little bit to the loose side.
    • 1 ½” barrel: This size barrel makes more voluminous and bouncier curls.
    • 2” barrel: The right barrel size for making gentle, loose waves in your hair. These size curls can also be brushed out in order to leave just the ends curly too.

Features Helps With Black Hair’s Moisture Retention

African-American hairHere are some great features found on curling irons that help keep your black/African-American hair from being damaged as you curl it:

  • Nanotechnology
    Nono technology for hair care products within combination with hi heat and ceramic/silver plates to create a large amount of negative ions. These negative ions counteract the harmful effects of high heat on your dark hair and help it retain its moisture and shine.
  • Ceramic Infusion
    Ceramic infusion is gentle on your hair because it tends to make the curling iron barrel it is placed on heat very evenly. This means it helps to eliminate hot spots on your curling iron’s barrel that can dry hair out and damage it.
  • Tourmaline infusion
    Tourmaline crystal infusion is another technology that helps hair retain its moisture. Although less effective than Nanotechnology it still will keep your hair moist so it does not dry out and build up unsightly static electricity or frizz.
  • Safety features
    The very first thing we mentioned to look for in a curling iron for use on black hair is high heat. Unfortunately, working with very high heat that is often in excess of 350°F poses some safety concerns also.

Here are some great features that manufacturers will sometimes add to help make working around a curling iron’s high heat much safer:

  • Automatic shutoff
    This built-in switch in most curling irons does just what its name says. It shuts off the curling iron after a set amount of time in case you accidentally forgot to turn it off when you were done using it.
  • Heat shield
    This is a small round or square plate that separates the end of your curling iron’s handle from the barrel. It prevents you from contacting the hot barrel as you are using the curling iron.
  • Protective styling glove
    Most manufacturers that do not put heat shields on their curling irons will supply a protective styling glove with them. These gloves will help you keep from burning your fingers as you curl your hair and your fingers come close to the hot barrel.
  • Cool tip
    The tip of your curling iron barrel is often very hot and easy to accidentally hit yourself with as you are using a curling iron. Some companies will add a tip onto their curling irons that does not build up high heat like the rest of the barrel.

5 Helpful Tips to Make Well-Defined Curls in Your Black/Afro-American Type Hair

Make Well-Defined CurlsHere are a few tips and suggestions that will help you have a much easier time trying to get the type of curl you want in your black hair:

  1. Rinse your hair with cold water before you start curling
    You may roll your eyes when you read this but it really helps when you are about to curl your black/Afro-American type hair. This tends to tame frizz and close the cuticle which helps protect your hair from heat damage.
  2. Dry your hair completely
    Make sure that your hair is as close to 100% dry as you can get it before you start the curling process. Wet hair will cool the barrel of your curling iron and counter its positive effects.
  3. Add a protectant to your hair
    Some of the technologies that are built into curling irons these days do a great job of protecting your African-American type hair but they are not foolproof either. That is why it is a good idea to add a light oil or protectant to your hair before starting to curl it.
  4. Don’t max out the heat to start
    Do you remember me mentioning that there are different types of black hair? That is why you don’t automatically want to start out using the highest heat setting on your curling iron because you may have a more sensitive type of black hair. Start out with a heat setting of around 350°F and work your way up to a heat setting that curls your hair easily but does not damage it in the process.
  5. Use your curling iron or curling wand properly
    Curling irons and wands are not the same animal when it comes to curling any type of hair so make sure you are using them the right way. Curling irons with spring clamps are meant to be used with the barrel facing up and clampless curling wands are best used with the barrel facing downward or to the side.

FAQ’s About Using a Curling Iron on Your Black Hair

Here are some questions I get all the time about curling black/Afro-American type hair:

  1. Question: Should I treat my black hair with oil before I curl it?
    Answer: It certainly won’t hurt. That is because the structure of black hair makes it have a difficult time retaining moisture. So it can use all the help it can get so it doesn’t dry out during the curling process.
  2. Question: Will I have better luck curling my black hair if it’s natural or relaxed?
    Answer: This really all depends on the final look you are trying to achieve and what you are willing to do to achieve that look. Going natural will make your hair harder to curl because you will have to do it without the aid of chemicals. Some people do not even use heat when they go all natural with their black hair too
    On the other hand, relaxed hair is just the opposite and much easier to curl usually. The problem is you don’t know what effect the use of relaxing chemicals will have on your hair or body long term.
  3. Question: Does it always take the highest heat setting on a curling iron to put curl in Afro-American type hair?
    Answer: The answer to this question is absolutely not. When using high heat to curl hair the potential is always there to damage it. This is true even if you have strong and thick black hair. Start out with a medium range heat setting and work up to one that is hot enough to curl your hair easily but does not damage it or over dry it in the process.

Best Curling Irons for Black Hair Comparison Chart

PRODUCTPRICEBARRELBARREL SIZEMAXIMUM HEAT
BIO IONIC Curl Expert Pro Curling Iron
$$$$BioCeramic 1 Inchup to 430ºF
Jose Eber Curling Iron
$$$Korean tourmaline ceramic barrel25mm (1 inch)410F
Xtava Satin Wave 5 in 1 Curling Iron and Wand Set
$$$Interchangeable ceramic tourmaline barrels.3 to 1.25 inches410F
Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron
$$24K gold-plated barrel 1 Inchup to 430F
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron
$$Ceramic coated barrel 1 Inchup to 450°F
Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
$Ceramic/tourmaline coated barrel1 1/2-inch 400°F

Some Final Thoughts on Finding the Perfect Curler for Afro-American Type Hair

As has been my theme throughout this article black hair is definitely one of the hardest types of hair to reshape and curl. It has such strong bonds on the molecular level that about the only thing that can help curl it and get it to sty is extremely high heat (in the 400°F). That is why it takes a professional curling iron to get the job done. That means a curling that not only has high heat settings but will also protect your dark hair as you curl it.
After reading this article you should have a good idea how to go about finding the right curling iron for your black hair needs. Don’t forget to follow the tips we gave you in the buying guide. You can also never go wrong by purchasing any of those products we did curling irons for black hair reviews on. The bottom line is if you put all this information together you should have no problem finding one of the best curling irons for black hair.

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