These Are the 8 Best Curling Irons to Fake Thicker Hair (Really) (2024)

These Are the 8 Best Curling Irons to Fake Thicker Hair (Really) (1)

(Image credit: @mishti.rahman)

I’ll give you the bad news first. Here it goes: There’s no magic potion for thickening hair that’s naturally thin. I know this better than anyone. No matter how much I’ve wished it to be true, my naturally fine hair hasn’t transformed into the super-voluminous ’90s-supermodel ’do of my dreams. Now for the good news: We fine-haired people aren’t powerless. In fact, there are a variety of things we can do to support our strands and give the appearance of body and density.

First, we can treat our strands well, providing them adequate moisture (I collecthair masks like it’s my job) and protecting them from unnecessary damage (whether that’s from excessive heat styling, aggressive brushing, tight hairstyles, or a combination of all three). We can also choosestrategic haircuts andhairstyles to boost the appearance of thickness (or go a step further and get volume-boosting extensions). Finally, we can use the right products and tools.

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(Image credit: @joannacoops)

That last one is of the utmost importance. The right products and the right tools will maximize the appearance of volume and density while minimizing damage. Take the humble curling iron, for instance. Did you know that the type of curling iron you use matters? As does the heat setting and technique you use.

Take it from celebrity hairstylist and R+Co Collective memberSami Knight. "Fine hairis usually delicate and needs a little extra care whenbeing styled with heat to avoid breakage. Fine hair is also not as good at holding a curl as its thicker relatives, but it can be done!Using heat protectant and curling irons with a lower heat setting are a must!”Keep scrolling to see the eight best curling irons for faking thicker hair, according to hairstylists and editors.

1. T3 Curl ID 1.25" Smart Curling Iron

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T3

Curl ID 1.25" Smart Curling Iron With Interactive Touch Interface

"It's very important to use acurlingironthat has a lower heat setting ifyour hair is fine," Knight says. "Too much heat will damage the hair and make it susceptible to breakage, as well as making it even more difficult to achieve acurlnexttime you style. Not all hot tools have heat settings. I love the T3CurlID 1.25" Smart curling Iron, which not only has nine heat settings but also auto-adjusts its temperature based on your hair texture and condition."

2. T3 SinglePass Curl 1" Professional Curling Iron

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T3

SinglePass Curl 1" Professional Curling Iron

The brand also makesasimilarironin a one-inch barrel called the T3 Single PassCurl. This has five heat settings, and the thinnerbarrel will make a tightercurlthat's more appropriate for shorter hair or really silky hair that has a moredifficult time holding onto shape.

3. GHD Creative Curl Tapered Curling Wand

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GHD

Creative Curl Tapered Curling Wand

"I love using GHD irons on fine hair," says Clariss Rubenstein, hairstylist and R+Co Collective member. "They're so effective, heat quickly and evenly, and come in a variety of sizes. (Often, you have to use a smaller-size iron for hair that falls easily.) The GHD irons also automatically default to the safe hair temperature of 365ºF and heat perfectly evenly, which helps damage hair much less."

4. GHDClassic Curl 1" Curling Iron

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GHD

Classic Curl 1" Curling Iron

Leo Izquierdo is a hairstylist and co-founder ofIGK Hair Care. He also recommends GHD curling irons, calling them his "go-to" hot tools. "Not only are they sleek-looking, but they also maintain the heat all day in the salon with tons of clients coming in daily, last a long time through wear and tear at the salon, are easy to use and don't have any complicated buttons or instructions, heat up quickly, and have many different sizes so I have options based on my clients' length and density of hair."

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Harry Josh Pro Tools

3-in-1 Ceramic Curling Iron

Who What Wear's senior beauty editor, Erin Jahns, swears by this three-in-one curling iron from celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh. The detachable clamps mean you can create defined barrel curls, beach waves, or a tousled look with a single tool.

6. Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron

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Hot Tools

Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron

My favorite budget-friendly curling iron to use on my fine hair is this one from Hot Tools. It has variable heat settings up to 430ºF (although, I never go past 380ºF so as not to risk damage), a swivel cord, and a 24-karat-gold-plated barrel with a cool tip for holding while styling.

7. Dry Bar The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron

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Dry Bar

The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron

Another three-in-one, this hot tool can act as a curling wand, a traditional curling iron, and a waver. It also works on all hair types (including fine hair). Who doesn't love an interchangeable product?

8. Dyson Airwrap Styler

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Dyson

Airwrap Styler

The Dyson Airwrap uses a digital motor to style hair without excess heat. Yes, it's an investment. (A hot tool that costs over $500 is nothing tosneeze at.) However, if you style your hair every day, and you want to do away with as much damage as possible, this might be your best bet.

How to Keep Curls From Falling Flat in Fine Hair

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(Image credit: @cassiskovic)

Knight, Rubenstein, and Izquierdo all have the same expert tip for keeping curls in place in fine hair: Use hair spray before reaching for the curling iron. According to Knight, this gives the hair some "memory" so it keeps bouncing back instead of falling flat.

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R+Co

Outer Space Flexible Hairspray

"You wantsomething that won't become crispy or flaky," Knight says. He recommends R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray for this step. Just be sure to follow up with another coat of hair spray after you're done curling each section. This will lock in the style and shape.
One more thing: Refrain from touching your hair until it's completely cooled down. "After youcurl the hair or add a wave pattern, let the hair cool off before touching it or running fingers through it to allow the cuticle to shut and seal the style," Izquierdo says.

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Batiste

Original Dry Shampoo

Another tip from Knight is to put your scalp's natural oils to good use. Don't curl your hair after washing it, as it won't hold the shape as well. "I'd say freshly washed hair isn't ideal forcurlsin fine hair, so make the most of a second-day head," he says. "Touch up a little with dry shampoo first. Then, start the curl process."
As for a more extreme but "very useful" tip, consider getting a perm. "If you want to sport waves orcurlsevery day and justcan't make them stay, a perm is agreat way to add some bite and texture intoyour hair before you begin styling,"Knight says. "Modern perms have come a long way since the very drying perms of the ’80s and ’90s. Find a salon that specializes in perm processes, and give it a try. You’ll find thecurlsyou later add in with acurlingironstay inuntil thenext wash!"

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R+Co

Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist

There's another thing all three hairstylists agree on, and that's that heat protection is key, especially when it comes tofine, damage-prone hair. "Heat protectant is soimportant for all hair types, but especially for fine hair," Knight says.

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IGK

Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Anti-Frizz Smoothing Spray

As for Izquierdo, he recommends this IGK heat-protectant spray. "IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Sprayhas 450-degree heat protection and should be used before any heat-tool styling," he says.

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(Image credit: @allisonho)

Shop5 Other Styling and Treatment Products for FineHair

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Drybar

Hold Me Hair Clips

These are my go-to clips for sectioning and styling.

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Verb

Detangling Brush

Avoid breakage with a gentle, flexible brush.

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Moroccanoil

Root Boost

A little extra root boost never hurt anyone.

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Dae

Prickly Pear Hair Oil

My hair soaks up this moisturizing oil.

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Kristin Ess

Extra Gentle Shampoo

I'm not-so-secretly obsessed with Kristin Ess products.

Next, I'm obsessed with protecting my fine, damaged hair—these flat irons pass the test.

These Are the 8 Best Curling Irons to Fake Thicker Hair (Really) (2024)

FAQs

What curling iron is best for thick hair? ›

Titanium Iron

Titanium is the most durable and lightweight curling iron material, and it can hold high heat settings for longer. A popular choice among professional hairstylists, titanium curling irons are ideal for thick hair types.

What curling iron do hair stylists use? ›

What curling iron do stylists use? There's a lot of debate around whether ceramic or titanium is better for heat styling tools, but when it comes to the in-salon choice, Toye says, "Titanium would be the most preferred by stylists, and tourmaline and ceramic are more popular among the average consumer.

What is the best tool to curl thin hair? ›

The best curler for fine hair is one that has adjustable heat settings, a ceramic or tourmaline barrel, and a small barrel size. Some popular options include the T3 SinglePass Curl, the Dyson Airwrap, and the BabylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron.

What size curling iron for fine thin hair? ›

3/4 inch. Transform your hair texture to create glamorous Hollywood waves using a ¾-inch curling iron barrel. This curling iron size is great for those with thin or thick hair. It also works best if you have shoulder-length hair to create perfectly polished curls.

How do you curl really thick hair? ›

If your hair is extremely thick, divide it into three or four sections. Clip up the sections of hair separately, leaving the bottom section loose and down. Once you curl all the hair in the bottom section, you can let down the other sections of hair one at a time and begin working on them.

Is tourmaline or ceramic better? ›

Ceramic is an excellent choice for shine, protecting the hair from heat damage, and shielding against frizz. It does this through sealing moisture within the hair leaving a shiny finish. Tourmaline is a gem; it helps provide moisture also and enhances shine. Your hair will appear healthier, bolder, and sleeker.

Is ceramic or titanium better for hair? ›

Ceramic is slightly more expensive but better for hair health and longer lasting styling results. You will get much smoother, shinier results than you would with titanium. Better still, if the ceramic plates are mineral infused you will get ultimate glossy, frizz free styles.

Which is better ceramic or titanium curling irons? ›

While titanium curling irons may be the way to go if you're in a rush (since they heat up faster), consider reaching for your ceramic tool on all other occasions; your strands will thank you in the long run.

Should I use hairspray before curling iron? ›

In fact, spraying your hair with hairspray before you curl is likely to result in more damage and a crunchy, stiff texture. If you're going to use hairspray, wait until after you're done with the curling iron.

What is the least damaging curling iron for fine hair? ›

All of our experts recommend a ceramic barrel for fine hair. “Ceramic plates distribute the heat more evenly than titanium, so there are no 'hot spots' on the iron that could cause more heat to be applied on one spot of your hair than others,” says Hayes. “This minimizes potential damage and produces a more even curl.”

Is titanium or ceramic better for curling hair? ›

While titanium curling irons may be the way to go if you're in a rush (since they heat up faster), consider reaching for your ceramic tool on all other occasions; your strands will thank you in the long run.

How hot should a curling iron be for thick hair? ›

HEAT MATTERS

For those with fine or thin hair, keep your iron set below 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher and your strands may burn. For those with coarse or thicker hair, have your curling iron set between 200 degrees and 300 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal curls.

What type of curling iron is the least damaging? ›

“Ceramic creates an even heat distribution and is the best option for more fragile or chemically treated hair because it doesn't reach temperatures as high as the other materials do,” she says. For those with coarse or textured hair types, Reslan recommends using a tourmaline curling iron.

Why does my hair not hold a curl? ›

Poorly-rinsed Hair

"Not throughly rinsing out the conditioner creates an oily residue which doesn't react well with heat, and it also creates a barrier that stops the heat from activating the hair curl," says Laura Courtie, bridal hair expert from Laura Courtie Hair.

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