Hey, guys! A lot of you have been asking about my skincare and hair routines, and I just wanted to—JK, literally no one has ever asked me about how I do my hair, because it normally looks shitty and janky. That is, until I taught myself how to finally curl my hair at the ripe age of me, three weeks ago, thanks to my new magical curling iron.
Well, to be fair, “taught myself” is a loose term, as this tool really does most of the heavy lifting, if not all the work. Enter the Chi Air Spin N’ Curl—a rotating, self-curling iron that basically curls your hair automatically. Seriously. (It just happens to be $46 off on Black Friday, JSYK.)
You just feed a small section of hair into its tulip-shaped chamber, press a button (left or right, depending on which side you’re curling your hair), and wait approximately five seconds as some air gently winds your hair around an internal rotating iron and curls it—that’s it.
And if you’re thinking, Wow, that def seems like a recipe for me losing all my hair, don’t worry—your hair can’t actually get “stuck” or snagged in the barrel (believe me, I’ve tried). If you insert a section of hair that’s too thick or tangled, the wand automatically senses an issue, stops curling, and beeps to let you know to remove that ish ASAP.
Basically, this iron was designed for someone with absolutely no skills or confidence in their hairstyling abilities. Not sure how long to hold a curl? Doesn’t matter—the wand beeps when it’s time to release your hair (although you can totally remove your hair at any time—it’s not locked in or anything).
Spin N Curl in Onyx Black CHI amazon.com $109.99 $63.99 (42% off)
Terrified you’ll burn your fingers (or neck or scalp or face…)? Don’t be—the actual iron in the Chi Air Spin N’ Curl is covered by a sturdy shell that barely feels warm against your skin. Unless you purposely stick your fingers into the chamber to touch the iron (don’t?), it’s basically impossible for you to burn yourself.
Plus, and this is the most important plus, it actually curls your hair and makes it look good. None of that limp-noodle or prom-curl BS. Proof: my coworker’s hair, which I curled in under 10 minutes.
Just look at how the Chi Air Spin N’ Curl transformed my coworker’s hair when I brought it into work to play with. MAGIC! Carina Hsieh
But if you’re still not convinced, allow me to break down why, exactly, the Chi Air Spin N’ Curl is so appealing to me, a baby-woman who has avoided all hair tools (including hair dryers) for the majority of my life.
TL;DR: The Pros
- You don’t need to know how to curl your hair. The last friend who tried to teach me how to curl my hair lasted exactly 10 minutes before my incompetence broke her and left her repeating “Curl outside in, outside in” while trembling in a corner. Thankfully, this iron takes your hair and curls it all by itself—you just need to push a button for the direction you want.
- You cannot—I repeat—cannot burn yourself. I’ve even masochistically tried, inching my finger onto the surface of the outer chamber like a surrogate patch of tender neck or scalp ready to be charred, and folks, it does not burn you. This thing is truly idiot proof.
- Your hair can’t get stuck or tangled in it, no matter how lazily you section it off. I’m not one for precision when it comes to these things, so if I can get through it without ripping out my hair, you can too.
- Your arm doesn’t get tired. I can’t even blow-dry my hair without my arms getting exhausted and me turning irritable (which is why, you know, I don’t). But you’re doing very little work here—mostly just pinching off pieces of hair to feed into the chamber.
- You don’t have to guess the temp. I assumed the fancy digital thermometer was just to make it seem more high tech than it needed to be, but it’s actually very convenient to know exactly when the iron is hot enough to use (which, in my experience, is within a minute).
TL;DR: The Cons
- It doesn’t leave my hair feeling as sleek as when I bust out my Hot Tools Titanium curling iron (yes, I own one, and I sometimes even use it). The Chi Air Spin N’ Curl’s barrel is ceramic, while my Hot Tools iron is titanium, which tends to heat up faster and make your hair smoother. Pro Radiant Blue Titanium Curling Iron, 1 ¼ Inches Hot Tools amazon.com $64.99
- It doesn’t give me a ton of volume on top. The chamber is a bit too thick and clunky to get super close to my roots the way a traditional iron can, so for curls around my crown, I’ll sometimes need to top off a few strands with my Hot Tools iron.
- The size of the curls bothers me sometimes. If—IF—I’m being nitpicky. The Chi iron is only available in a 1-inch size, so the curls can look a little sausage-y right out of the barrel. They’re still pretty, especially if you rake through them with your fingers while they’re cooling, but you do have to be willing to wait for the curls to fall to get the perfect beachy look. If Chi ever makes a 1.5-inch or 2-inch version, I’m THERE.
The conclusion is that I’m in love with this iron. And for those of you who are wondering how I could be so obsessed with the Chi Air Spin N’ Curl if I have to bust out another tool to do my crown, it’s like this: The Spin N’ Curl is like your best friend of the month—you love EVERYTHING about her, you’re both obsessed with each other, and she can cheer you up fast with shit talking and words of affirmation.
But there are times when you want serious input too. And your regular curling iron is like a stern but loving matriarch. You’re a little scared of her, but you know she’s got your back. She might not be as fun, but she’s reliable, and when you are going through it and need advice, you know you’ll feel better if you get that support ratio of 85 percent fun friend, 15 percent scary-but-loving grandma.
Ultimately, though, the Air Spin N’ Curl has changed my life. No longer shackled to the whims of the universe and random good hair days, I’ve suddenly discovered a reserve of fortitude within to create my own destiny: amazing hair days every day! Anyway, I hard-core recommend buying this curling iron—either way, I intend on claiming this story as a charitable contribution on my taxes.
Related Story Carina Hsieh Sex & Relationships Editor Carina Hsieh lives in NYC with her French Bulldog Bao Bao — follow her on Instagram and Twitter • Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder • She enjoys hanging out in the candle aisle of TJ Maxx and getting lost in Amazon spirals.
Curling Irons to Achieve Fun and Bouncy Curls
Is there any hair product more versatile than curling irons? From messy, undone waves to romantic spirals, they’re perfect for styling your hair no matter the occasion. The best thing about curling irons is that they come in so many different sizes and styles, making it easy to get just the curl you’re looking for. When you want to touch up natural spirals, reach for a barrel close in size to your curls and spend just a few minutes touching up the disheveled pieces. If you have straight hair and want to create loose waves, pull that hair in a ponytail and curl just the ends with a 1-inch barrel. You can pick up a smaller 1/2-inch iron when you want pin-tight curls or wide 2-inch one that will give you loose, beachy waves. Irons with ceramic barrels are perfect for heat protection, while many models also come with customizable heat options. Choosing the curling iron that’s right for you has never been easier – and it’s easiest at JCPenney.
Make Waves With Curling Wands
A curling wand is an iron’s laid-back sister. It’s clamp-free, allowing you to make more tousled, natural-looking curls – regardless of your hair type. They come a variety of barrel sizes as well, so you can opt for one that fits your needs best. Many even come with a glove to keep your hand protected from the heat. Be sure to grab your favorite curling wand along with one of our flat irons to tackle even the toughest of bad hair days!
Shop Flat Irons >>> Shop Hair Dryers >>> Shop Hair Styling Tools >>> Shop Styling Products >>>
It seems like hair styling tools are ever-evolving, which is good news for people who like having their hair done but hate doing their hair.
The CHI Air Spin N Curl creates flawless curls and waves and all you have to do is push a button. This time and effort-saving tool is currently on sale for $79.99 at Walmart.
This curling iron is equipped with a one-inch ceramic barrel that rotates. To use the CHI, simply position the tool where you want the curl to start, slip a section of your hair into the opening, and press the button correlating with the direction you’d like the curl to go. The CHI grabs your hair and wraps it around the barrel to give you an even curl.
Letting a machine essentially suck up your hair can sound scary. But the CHI has a timer so that you don’t overheat and burn a chunk of your hair off. It also has a safety feature that protects against tangles. If too much hair is around the barrel or it starts to wrap weirdly, the curling iron beeps and automatically stops rotating, allowing you to release your hair.
CHI wants you to keep all of your gorgeous locks.
The temperature and timer are adjustable depending on your hair type. While the Air Spin N Curl is advertised as being suitable for all hair types, we will say that it works best for longer hair. This is just because you can’t get as close to your scalp as you would be able to with a traditional curling iron, so you need enough hair to actually wrap around the barrel.
This curling iron reduces frizz and improves hair shine. It heats your hair evenly which results in less damage to your ends.
Check out the CHI Air Spin N Curl in action:
You can get the CHI for $79.99 at Walmart and save $60 off MSRP.
I like to think that I’m the Rodin of hair curling. After several years of practice, I’ve developed a routine that can transform my stubbornly straight, fine hair into sculpted, voluminous curls in an hour, tops. I use a Conair curling wand that I’ve had since high school, on the highest heat setting possible, to manually wind one-inch sections of my hair around the barrel, apply hairspray, and brush out into large waves. New hot tools have come along since the mid-2000s that could presumably make luscious curls in even less time, and without the heat damage I’ve likely inflicted on myself—but of the methods I’ve tried, my curling wand routine is the only one that works.
You can imagine my hesitation, then, when Glamour’s beauty editors whipped out the new Chi Volcanic Lava Spin N Curl in a meeting and suggested I take it for a spin. If Chi’s “Volcanic” curls were what the box advertised—tiny, defined loops that brought “Our Song”–era Taylor Swift and my look for prom in 2012 to mind—I leaned toward passing. The tool’s design only made me question it further (and elicited a collective “WTF” from our edit team): It’s a large red device with no visible curling barrel in sight. “Tulip-shaped” is the polite way to describe the open-mouthed contraption with an internal iron. I was immediately reminded of the Demogorgon’s head on Stranger Things. (I.e., not something I’d want to feed my hair to, even if it meant Karlie Kloss–like waves were waiting on the other side.)
Before potentially endangering my own hair, I did some research with an Instagram deep dive like any self-respecting millennial. I couldn’t ignore the surprisingly attractive results (prom curls they were not), or the semi-ASMR experience of watching the Spin N Curl work its magic on head after head. In brief clips from stylists who got their hands on the tool early, strands of hair are vacuumed into the tool’s curling chamber and wound around an internal rotating iron. Then they’re released as loose, spiraling waves in a matter of seconds. Women with hair types ranging from pin-straight to wavy who were part of these early previews seemed to reach general consensus: This iron looks crazy, but it actually works.
Even after watching others use it with success, I couldn’t come face-to-face with the Spin N Curl on my own without wondering: Wouldn’t this tornado-thingy tangle the hell out of my hair without a seasoned stylist to operate it for me? Despite being terrified at first, I’m happy to report the answer is no. Given my hair’s fine, straight makeup, it didn’t take much coaxing for strands to make it in and out of the tool. I sectioned my hair into one-inch pieces (smaller sections is key) that the iron wound around its internal barrel with the press of a button.
With my curling wand, I needed the smell of a faint burn to tell me my curl had set, but the Spin N Curl emitted four short beeps to let me know it was ready. The barrel automatically released my hair, and I barely had to move it to unleash a neatly wound curl. One fair warning: The thing is pretty clunky. Using it feels like a bit of a bicep workout. You have to feed your hair into the iron with one hand while holding down the curl button with the other to get the barrel moving—and the iron is heavy.
I’m a sucker for chic packaging. I also covet messy, undone, cool-girl hair, so like every other editor at the launch party for Kristin Ess’s new hot-tools line, it was love at first site. Ess, if you’re unfamiliar, caters to the hair of a long list of celebrities you’ve probably used as inspo for a haircut at some point: Jenna Dewan, Lucy Hale, and Lili Reinhart are all among her clients. The tools, like her low-maintenance hair care products, are both super beautiful and affordable—nothing is over $100—and all available at Target.
The lineup features all the standards. There are dryers, flatirons, and curling irons of various sizes—all in a very Instagrammable white and rose gold palette, and all something you’d want to use. But the real standout is her Soft Wave Pivoting Wand Curling Iron (hence why it’s a 2019 Glamour Beauty Award winner). It’s got a one-and-a-quarter-inch barrel, which is perfect for creating looser waves, and no clamp—like a typical wand. Where things get interesting, though, is that the barrel is able to pivot—as the name states—meaning you can use it as a standard vertical wand or you can click it into place at a 90-degree angle, converting it into a curling bar.
The iron is designed to pivot to take stress off your arms, and I definitely found it easier to work with than curlers I’ve used in the past. I’m not great at styling my hair and haven’t reached for a curling iron since prom, but using this one was shockingly simple.
I always end up either wrapping my hair too tightly or clamping it in a weird place, resulting in pageant curls or creases. But because of the angle, you’re almost forced to loosely drape your hair around the barrel, creating those cool beachy waves the women on Ess’s Instagram always have.
At the launch event, when the stylist used the iron on me, she actually wrapped my hair around the iron while twisting it (starting with the iron upright and ending with my hair around the barrel at 90 degrees), creating a softer effect she referred to as bending (instead of curling). I, however, am not as dexterous or talented, and found it much easier to just keep the iron bent except for when curling the part of my hair that frames my face—there I use it like a regular wand. It does take a minute to get used to the shape (I burned my finger, but I also neglected the included protective glove), but once I got the motions down, I was able to curl my whole head in about 10 minutes.
The results? Those perfect, messy, voluminous waves I’m always chasing. Maybe I’m a curling iron girl after all.
Kristin Ess Soft Wave Pivoting Curling Iron, $60, Target. Check out all 214 winners from this year’s Glamour Beauty Awards here.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty assistant at Glamour. Follow her @bellacacciatore_ on Instagram.
The Best Cheap Curling Irons Under $50 For Soft, Sleek Waves Of Your Dreams
Achieving soft, bouncy waves always starts with the right curling iron. But finding that perfect styling tool can prove a difficult task — many of the products pros use can run for hundreds of dollars, which is obviously cost-prohibitive for anyone on a budget. If you’re in that boat, however, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of cheap curling irons out there under $50 that have shoppers raving all over the internet. So if you’re looking for the best new one to add to your haircare arsenal, discerning reviewers have done the work for you and tested out which ones are actually worth adding to cart.
And yes, there’s something for pretty much every budget. Those looking for an under-$20 styler will be happy to know Conair makes a $13.69 option that reviewers love for its ability to heat quickly and because of how light it is (plus, it’ll look good on your vanity thanks to its rose gold barrel). Or, if you have a little more to spend, it’s worth looking at Bed Head’s Curlipops 1” Tourmaline Ceramic Styling Iron for $29.99, which reviewers say curls hair quickly, comes with a protective glove, and has a non-tapered barrel so your hair doesn’t fall off so easily.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the most basic of stylers or you’re willing to spend a little more for some extra features, the internet has vetted a bevy of curling irons under $50 to make it easier for you to decide which one is best for you. Ahead, six of the best (according to enthusiastic reviewers) to help you get the job done on a budget.