The 11 Best Curling Irons for Short Hair That Make Styling Easy

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Half Bun for Short Hair
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If you're blessed with naturally curly hair, don't take it for granted. The rest of us are dying for cool-girl beachy waves or bouncy, beautiful curls. There are so many tools—curling irons and wands, rollers, scrunching creams, crimpers, and more—that it can be confusing to find the right way to achieve the look. And since it's difficult to loop short hair around a long curling iron, it can be even harder for short-haired girls to get glamorous curls. Lucky for them, we found the best curling irons for short hair. These curling irons are lightweight and easy to use, and they range in price to fit every budget. A few tips for using a curling iron with short hair: Keep the heat on the lower side since you have less hair covering the barrel, especially if your hair is thin or damaged. If you do have damaged, thin, or fine hair, it's smart to pick a curling iron with multiple heat settings so you can adjust it. Remember, the tightness of the curl will depend on the width of the barrel.

When buying a new curling iron, remember that size matters. "Barrel size is the most important factor to consider when choosing a curling iron for short hair," explains celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko. "A larger barrel works best on longer hair types, while the smaller the barrel, the better it is for shorter hair types." You don't want to go larger than a 1-inch or 1.5-inch tapered barrel if you have short strands, or the curl won't really hold or make an impact. With short hair, a smaller barrel will be easier to handle and help you prevent accidents, so even if a 1.5-inch barrel promises perfect beachy waves, it will be harder to get short hair around the barrel. In the same way, even though .75-inch barrels offer tighter curls for longer hair, you can simply use bigger pieces of short hair as you curl to get the same beachy look. Mini curling irons are also a great option for short hair, as they're lightweight and can easily have a short piece of hair wrapped around it.

Don't let your short strands hold you back from getting flawless curls—these are the best curling irons for short hair.

Editor's Choice: Bed Head Curlipops Curling Wand

Bed Head Curlipops Curling Wand for Loose Curls, 1"
Amazon

We've written praise for this curling iron before, and we stand behind it. Thanks to its 1-inch barrel, short hair easily achieves bodacious curls that are loose and ready for play. The curling iron heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for fast styling and uses tourmaline ceramic technology to minimize frizz and flyaways. Not only is the price amazing, but the cool tip and heat-protective glove make it easier to get short hair wrapped around without fear of burns. "This 1-inch non-tapered wand is perfect for my barely-shoulder-grazing hair," one reviewer said. "My hair is shorter in the back as well and I can still get it wrapped around this wand. My curls are uniform but still beachy."

Best Ceramic: Sultra The Bombshell Rod Curling Iron

Sultra The Bombshell Rod Curling Iron
Amazon

Ceramic curling irons are known for producing a more uniform curl with their even heat-distributing plates. They're preferred by those with easy-to-curl hair and recommended to those who suffer from damage, as their smooth-gliding material is more gentle. Although this 1-inch curling iron will set your wallet back a bit, its advanced ceramic technology is much less damaging to hair than other materials, which makes it ideal for those with thin or damaged hair. In fact, the brand's infrared and ionic technology smooths the cuticle and protects your strands from breakage by strengthening the follicle from within. And it has an auto shut-off feature, so you don't have to worry about burning down the house from forgetting to turn it off. "I have really straight, fine hair that is impossible to get volume with," an Amazon shopper shared. "When I got it, I had long hair and I cut my hair short, just to my shoulders and it's awesome!"

Best for Thick Hair: Hot Tools Signature Series Gold Curling Iron

Hot Tools Spring Curling Iron 24K Gold 1 Inch
Amazon

The gold 1-inch barrel works to make silky smooth curls, but if you have thin hair, be sure to put it on a lower heat setting—it gets hot, hot, hot. But it maintains a consistent temperature for even curls and easy styling; users have their choice of seven temperature settings, with the highest being 430 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat range suits a variety of hair types, but reviewers agree that it works best with thicker strands. "Hot Tools have always worked great for me because I have thick wavy hair," one customer wrote, adding, "I could see how this might be too hot [for thin hair]." Another shared, "If you have short hair, it's the best. I've actually tried a few and this one is a holy grail."

Best Titanium: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron 1 to ½ Inch
Amazon

Titanium curling irons offer faster heating with minimal damage to your hair by preserving the moisture of the strands, which translates to a salon-quality shine. They also glide more smoothly across your tresses, resulting in fewer tangles and breakage. These typically reach higher temperatures, making them better suited for thicker strands. The tapered shape of this curling iron will create loose curls that get narrower at the bottom. It's made with the brand's Nano Titanium technology to promote an even distribution of heat, while negative ions smooth the cuticle and give hair a silky sheen. This is a great curling iron if you have thick or coarse hair, as the titanium barrel reaches high temperatures very quickly. "I really like this wand; it is not difficult to use," assured one Amazon shopper. "My hair is just short of my shoulder. [The] first time I tried it, my hair looked great. No learning curve."

Best Tapered Rod: ghd Curve & Wave Curling Iron

curling iron
Courtesy of Amazon

Tapered rods are preferred for creating natural-looking waves and ringlets as they're better equipped for achieving varying curl sizes. Though the price tag of the ghd Curve & Wave Curling Iron isn't little, reviewers assure that the results are nothing short of incredible. The brand recommends this iron for shorter hair because of its 1.1-inch barrel and ceramic material. This pick also uses ghd's Ultra-zone technology, which makes it able to detect each section of your hair and maintain a gentle 365-degree-Fahrenheit temperature. This minimizes damage while boosting bounce and shine. "This is the best curling iron I have used in years," raved one customer in their review. "My hair is layered, falls to the tops of my shoulders, and is very fine; the tong holds my hair securely, and the barrel is small enough to wrap even the shortest layers around. At first, I found the lack of temperature controls kinda disappointing, but I now appreciate just how straightforward and simple it makes everything."

Best for Tight Ringlets: BlueTop Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Crimper Curler

curling iron
Courtesy of Amazon

This curling iron's skinny .5-inch barrel is suitable for all hair lengths, including super short hair. The fast-heating pick creates tight spirals and offers adjustable temperature settings, reaching up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus it has an auto shut-off feature for forgetful curlers and an anti-hot tip to prevent burns. "If you have long, short, or medium hair, this curling iron will make your hair look fabulous," raved one reviewer. "[It] warms up quickly, I like that a lot. Its heat setting is divine. For safety, it has [an] anti-heat function that prevents burning [your] finger [tips]. The length of the cable is quite long and that matters. The curls are [as] tight as I like them."

Best for Thin Hair: NuMe Classic Curling Wand

curling iron
Courtesy of Amazon

NuMe recommends its original curling wand for any hair length, but its 1-inch tourmaline ceramic barrel is great for thinner hair thanks to its friction-resistant construction. Using far-infrared heat and negative ion conditioning technology, the curling wand reduces breakage, preserves moisture, and enhances shine so you can enjoy healthy, shiny curls. Since it heats hair from the inside out, the outer cuticle is protected and your strands are left frizz-free and soft. "I love this wand," shared an Amazon reviewer. "[It] heats up quick and the curls last all day—and even the next."

​​Best With Auto-Shut Off: Remington ProCurling Wand

curling iron
Courtesy of Walmart

This pretty-in-pink, under-$30 curling wand has gotten rave reviews. The .5 to 1-inch barrel and slim conical rod are best for short hair, and it's super lightweight. Ceramic material ensures even, consistent heat while crushed pearls deliver sleek, frizz-free strands with minimal damage. It has a temperature lock feature that retains your perfect temperature throughout curling, but auto shut-off ensures it won't keep that temperature after you're done. The affordable curling wand has earned an impressive 4.6-star rating from Walmart shoppers and more than 260 perfect reviews.

Best Rotating Rod: Drybar 3-Day Bender Barrel Curling Iron

curling iron
Courtesy of Amazon

Perfect for curling novices and experts alike, this curling iron from Drybar takes the guesswork out of achieving salon-quality waves with its rotating clamp, which helps you spend less time in front of the mirror. Its dual-ceramic construction helps it maintain even heat distribution, and reach curl-ready temperatures in only 60 seconds. Ionic and infrared technology come together to heat the hair from within and seal the cuticle, ensuring minimal damage to the strands and giving it a healthy looking frizz-free shine. "The best curling iron I have ever owned," said an Amazon shopper. "I can do my whole head of shoulder-length hair in less than five minutes. So easy!"

Best for Beach Waves: T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand

curling iron
Courtesy of Amazon

"My favorite curling iron to use on short hair to achieve beach waves is the T3 Whirl Trio, as the barrel sizes are great for short hair," Polko says of the versatile styling tool, which has five consistent heat settings and is compatible with the brand's various barrel options. "To achieve lived-in beach waves on shorter strands, I recommend using a 1-inch barrel. Using a barrel that is bigger at the base but smaller at the end will help to keep volume at the root."

Pro Tip: "To give the overall beachy look you'll want to keep the ends out, which is why I recommend using a wand and holding the ends out from the rest of the hair wrapped around the iron," Polko adds. "This will keep ends straighter and undone, which makes the style look and feel really beachy and lived in. I also always like to polish off beachy waves with a touch of the Aquage Beyond Shine Spray, which is perfect for lightweight hold and a high shine finish."

Best for Damaged Hair: T3 Curl ID Digital Ceramic Curling Iron

curling iron
Courtesy of Amazon

"When curling or applying any heat on damaged hair, it's important to be cognizant of the heat setting regardless of style," Polko explains, noting that it's "critical" to apply a heat protectant prior to curling if you have damaged strands. "T3's Curl ID offers HeatID technology that provides the best heat setting for your hair based on hair type, texture, and any damage factors. Many people tend to think that the higher the heat, the better the curl, which is not the case. Start on a lower heat setting, especially on damaged hair, and work the heat up incrementally as based on need."

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