Hair Care

A Guide To Finding The Perfect Curling Iron Size

A Guide To Finding The Perfect Curling Iron Size December 31, 2018

Have you ever bought a curling iron to style your hair in waves, but nothing worked out like you imagined? Or maybe it happened when you wanted to go for a kinky curly look? If you thought this happened because you lack proper hairstyling skills, stop right there. This is probably what happened – you chose the wrong curling iron! Are you aware that curling irons are available in different barrel sizes for different hairstyles and hair lengths? If not, you must read this article to find the right curling iron barrel for you.

Relationship Between Barrel Size, Hairstyle, And Hair Length

Relationship Between Barrel Size, Hairstyle, And Hair Length Pinit


Choosing an appropriate curling iron barrel according to your hair length and the hairstyle you want is the most challenging part of the hairstyling process. Let’s make this task a bit easier for you by explaining the relationship between the barrel size and your hair length and hairstyle.

  • Relationship Between Barrel Size And Hair Length

Remember this one simple rule: the barrel size of your curling iron needs to be proportional to your hair length. This means you require small-sized barrels (¾”,½”, ⅜”, ⅝”, and so on) for short hair and large-sized barrels (1.25”,1.5”, 1.75”, 2”, and so on) for long hair. Both small and large barrels are suitable for shoulder-length or medium-length hair. A 1” barrel is also suitable for any length of hair, be it short, medium, or long.

  • Relationship Between Barrel Size And Hairstyle

You need to use barrels of specific sizes to do different hairstyles. Large barrels are used to create wavy hairstyles, while small barrels are used for bouncy curls. The optimum barrel size for beachy waves is anywhere between 0.75” to 2”. For soft waves, the ideal barrel sizes are 1.5” to 1.75”. Loose waves can be obtained with 1” to 2” barrels, while big waves require a barrel that is 1.75” to 2” wide. The optimum barrel size for ringlet/spiral curls is somewhere around ⅜” to ½”. Go for 1” to 1.25” barrel sizes for tight curls, 0.75” to 1.5” for big bouncy curls, 1.25” to 1.5” for big curls, and 1.25” to 2” for loose curls. You also need to keep your hair type in mind and set the correct temperature to style your hair in the best way possible.

To get a clearer picture of the barrel sizes that are most commonly available on the market and what kind of hairstyles they are good for, check out the next section!

Curling Iron Size Guide

  • 3/8 Inch
38-Inch Pinit


This barrel size is mostly recommended for styling thin, short, or medium-length hair. If you want spiral, kinky, or bouncy curls, you should lay your hands on a curling iron of this barrel size. It works great on thin and curly tresses, adding more volume to the hair. However, styling straight hair with this barrel may take a lot of time.

  • 1/2 Inch
12-Inch Pinit


Do you have short hair? Then, you should probably opt for this barrel size to create ringlet or tight curls. Long tresses won’t be able to hold this kind of curls for a long time, and thick locks do not go well with tight curls. Therefore, this barrel size is ideal for obtaining tight, ringlet, or spiral curls on thin, short, or bobbed hair. They add more volume to your hair.

  • 5/8 Inch
58 Inch Pinit


This barrel size is perfect for creating springy spiral curls on thin, medium, or shoulder-length hair. It is popularly recommended for styling straight hair. This barrel size also helps in adding volume to your hair, and it works great on naturally curly tresses.

  • 3/4 Inch

If you want those perfect vintage curls, you need to use a curling iron with this barrel size. It can be used on thin or thick hair and is highly recommended for shoulder-length hair. This barrel size is the right choice for acquiring loose, polished, vintage, or corkscrew curls. It works great on straight hair as well as naturally curly locks.

  • 1 Inch
1 Inch Pinit


Considered as the king among all curling irons, this barrel size is appropriate for all hair lengths and for creating almost all types of curls. It is neither too small nor too large. Besides tight curls, this barrel size is also perfect for attaining messy beachy waves and glamorous full-bodied waves.

  • 1 1/4 Inches

This barrel size is recommended to be used on long, medium, or shoulder-length hair. It can be used to create almost all types of curls and waves. However, this curling iron barrel does not add volume to your hair.

  • 1 1/2 Inches
12 Inches Pinit


As larger barrels create bigger curls, this barrel size is best suited for styling long and thick hair. It is not only great for creating bouncy curls, but also for loose, beachy, voluminous waves.

  • 1 3/4 Inches

Usually rare and difficult to find in the market, this barrel size is worth having if you want to style your long hair in loose, soft waves. Interestingly, it is also the only barrel size that works incredibly well on short hair to add volume and create soft curls.

  • 2 Inches
2 Inches Pinit


Widely known as ‘The Bumper,’ this barrel size is the perfect choice for longer hair lengths. Be it loose waves, beachy waves, or defined waves, this curling iron barrel can do it all. It also adds a little volume to straight hair.

So, what are you waiting for? Follow this guide to buy the perfect curling iron for your hair. If you have any more questions, drop them in the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you.

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