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Best hair curler for long hair 2023: Make waves in lengthy locks

Long hair proving difficult to curl? We’ve got you covered with our pick of the best hair curlers designed for longer hair

If you have long, straight hair then you may find that curling your locks for a special occasion is more of a mission than it is for friends with shorter styles. Long hair by its nature takes more time to wrap and curl than shorter hair and, since it’s also heavier, you may find that any curls you do wind in tend to drop more quickly.

Envy your shorter-haired sisters no longer, though, with the best hair curlers designed with longer hair in mind. These plus-sized wands allow you to add volume and style your hair into beachy waves, corkscrew curls or sleek Hollywood ringlets with ease.

If you’ve been feeling that at-home curls are out of reach for your hair length and type, worry no more. Read on for our tips on curling longer hair, and carry on for our roundup of the best curling wands to buy for long and thick hair, no matter your budget.

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Best hair curlers for long hair: At a glance

How to choose the best hair curler for long hair

What should I look for in a curling tong for longer hair?

The most important thing you’ll need for curling longer hair is a tong with a longer barrel. This will allow you to wrap larger sections of hair around the tongs at a time, reducing the overall amount of time required to style a full head of long hair. A long barrel also means you can wind long hair vertically around the length of the barrel to create pretty ringlets, rather than rolling up from the tip of the hair. Using the length of the barrel to wind vertically means the root and upper sections of the hair are heated for the same length of time as the tips, resulting in longer-lasting curls that are less likely to drop.

Long- and large-barrelled tongs usually have a clamp to hold the hair in place while you curl, and can be used to create super-sleek, Hollywood-style curls. Curling wands, which have a conical tip, are more suitable for short to medium-length hair. We’ve included some longer-length wands in our roundup for those who prefer to curl their hair this way.

What should my curling tongs for longer hair be made from?

Curling tongs are all made with a metal base that heats up to shape the hair as you wrap it around the tool. The metal barrel is often coated in ceramic or tourmaline – gemstones that heat very evenly, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the barrel. They also reduce friction, allowing the curling tong to glide easily over hair, reducing snagging and giving a shiny finish. Titanium barrels are another popular choice. This metal heats up quickly and holds its heat well, making it a good choice for hair that’s coarse, textured or difficult to style.

Is a higher temperature good for longer hair?

A higher temperature will speed up styling on longer hair, especially if your hair is also on the thicker side. However, higher temperatures can also dry out the hair, causing frizz and breakage; longer hair tends to have dryer and weaker tips since these have been exposed to more environmental damage over the time the hair has been on the head. Keep your styling temperature below 220°C to keep the hair’s natural keratin intact and prevent heat damage.

What’s the best way to curl longer hair?

Rather than starting at the tip and rolling your hair into the curler, it’s best to start closer to the roots. This will prevent dry and delicate ends becoming heat damaged, and it will also ensure that the hair is shaped and heated all the way up to the roots, ensuring your finished curl stays in place for longer.

Section your hair and apply a heat-protective spray, then clamp the hair at the top of the section where you want the curl to start. Twist the curling iron and move it slowly down towards the roots, allowing the length of the hair to wind around the tongs as you do so (gently pressing on the clamp to open it a little will allow your hair to slide through). You won’t need to take the tongs all the way to the ends – your hair will spiral a few times around the tongs creating a ringlet even if you leave the last inch or so out. With the hair wrapped into a spiral shape, hold the tool in place for a few seconds and then release the clamp to let your ringlet loose.

To curl with a wand, section the hair and then point the wand so the tip is facing diagonally downwards at a roughly 45º angle. Then, with a heat-protective glove on (usually supplied in the box), wrap the hair around the wand in a spiral shape. Hold the ringlet in place for a few seconds, then tilt the wand downwards to allow the curled section to fall down.

To help the curl stay in place, avoid brushing or touching it with the hands for the time it cools; if your hair really doesn’t hold curls well you can pin the ringlet in place while you move to the next section of hair. Finish with a firm-hold hairspray to keep your style in place.

How we test hair curlers for long hair

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete understanding of a product. So we test all of the curling tools we review, either at home or during a live product demonstration. We use the tools as recommended on long hair and, where applicable, we test all of the different heat settings.

During testing, we confirm the weight and dimensions of the curling tool, as well as any extras that are included in the box. We time how long the tool takes to heat up after switching on. We then note how long it takes to style a full head of hair, taking into account the hair length and texture that we are testing it on. We evaluate the overall ease of use of the curling tool, how it feels in the hand and the finish and feel of the hair after curling. Finally, we note how well the styles last over a typical day.

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The best hair curlers for long hair in 2023

1. GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong: Best curler for big and bouncy waves

Price: £149 | Buy now from John Lewis

GHD’s Curve curling wands and tongs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, to suit the size and shape of the curls you wish to create. The Curve Soft has a larger 32mm barrel, which is perfect for creating larger ringlets and adding volume, rather than for corkscrew curls. The Curve Soft has a spring-lever clamp on the side of the barrel, so it’s also great for styling longer hair; other wands in the range don’t include a clamp and so are a little more difficult to wind longer hair around.

The ceramic-coated barrel heats up to GHD’s optimum styling temperature of 185ºC in under 30 seconds. Ultra-zone technology monitors the temperature constantly to ensure even heating, with no hot spots that may result in damaging the hair. The tongs glide easily through each section of hair without snagging, and create big and bouncy waves that feel soft after styling. The Curve Soft has a cool tip so it’s easy to hold the tongs in the right place on your head when styling, and there’s an automatic switch-off after 30 minutes for safety. A good curler for creating volume and glamorous big curls on longer hair.

Key specs – Barrel size: 32mm; Temperature settings: 1; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Cord length: 3m

2. Tresemme 2806CU Volume Loose Waves Hair Waving Wand: Best budget curler for longer hair

Price: £28 | Buy now from Argos

Tresemme’s Volume Loose Waves curling wand has a 28mm longer-length ceramic barrel that’s ideal for wrapping around long hair. Since the tool is a wand rather than a tong, there’s no clamp; you’ll need to use the heat-proof glove included in the box to protect your fingers while winding hair around the barrel. Nevertheless, the length of the barrel makes this easy. There’s a handy heat-proof mat in the box as well, upon which to rest your wand while it’s heating up.

There are three temperature settings to choose from. Most hair types will probably get on best with the middle setting of 185ºC, but thicker and textured hair may require the higher setting of 200ºC. There’s a temperature-ready indicator light to show when the wand has reached your preferred temperature; the wand takes 60 seconds to heat up, reheating again quickly between sections. Curls set well and stay in place throughout the day. In all, a great budget option for longer hair.

Key specs – Barrel size: 28mm; Temperature settings: 3; Maximum temperature: 200°C; Cord length: 2.5m

Buy now from Argos

3. Turbo Tong X: Best curler for very long hair

Price: £148 | Buy now from Turbo Tong

Big brother to the already jumbo-sized Turbo Tong, the Turbo Tong X is the longest curling tong currently available in the UK. Extra-long at 20.5cm in length, the 32mm diameter is ideal for creating larger waves and curls. The ceramic-coated barrel heats up in 30 seconds and a precise temperature between 60ºC and 230ºC can be easily selected using the +/- buttons on the handle. The temperature display provides a readout and lights up blue, green or red to let you know the current heat of the tong as you style.

Owing to its size, the Turbo Tong X is best suited to hair that’s longer than upper-arm length; manoeuvring it around the head takes a little getting used to. However, once you’ve got the knack, even large amounts of hair will slide easily through the curler. If your hair is around shoulder-length and the X is too much tong for you, the original Turbo Tong measures in at a slightly shorter 19.3cm with a 26mm barrel.

Key specs – Barrel size: 32mm; Temperature settings: Variable; Maximum temperature: 230°C; Cord length: 3m

Buy now from Turbo Tong

4. Beauty Works Professional Styler: Best curler for beachy waves

Price: £70 | Buy now from LookFantastic

Made Insta-famous by influencers including Love Island’s Molly-Mae, the Beauty Works Professional Styler comes with a longer, 18.5cm rose-gold barrel that will look chic on any dressing table. The wide 32mm barrel is ideal for creating loose waves for that just-been-to-the-beach look. The temperature can be adjusted from 80ºC to 220ºC to easily style hair of all thicknesses and textures. Note that fine hair (and synthetic extensions) will prefer to be styled at lower temperatures, but the wand also makes light work of thick and coily hair.

The Beauty Works styler heats up in 60 seconds, and comes with a glove, heatproof mat and handy carry pouch included in the box. Hair feels soft after styling, especially when curled on a medium heat, and while you won’t be able to achieve tight ringlets, the beachy waves it creates look fun and flirty and hold well for an evening. A pretty choice for a beach-babe look.

Key specs – Barrel size: 32mm; Temperature settings: Variable; Maximum temperature: 220°C; Cord length: 3m

5. Remington Curl Revolution: Best automatic curler for longer hair

Price: £100 | Buy now from Boots

If you’re unsure about using tongs or a wand to curl your longer hair, an automatic curler that takes the guesswork out of curling might just be what you need. Remington’s Curl Secret works by drawing sections of hair through a rotating barrel, so you don’t need to wind or wrap yourself – ideal if you have a lot of hair and find curling by hand heavy work. The Curl Secret is also kind to your locks: it offers five heat settings, allowing fine hair to be curled on a cooler setting; and the ceramic-coated curling plates glide over hair, leaving it smooth and shiny.

The curler can rotate in either direction at the flick of a switch, meaning you can easily style your hair away from the face or mix up directions for a more natural, tousled look. There’s something of a learning curve to feeding the hair through the curler to start, but once you find the angle and size of section that best suits your hair, the Curl Secret creates waves and curls quickly and with a nice, soft finish.

Key specs – Barrel size: N/A; Temperature settings: 5; Maximum temperature: 230°C; Cord length: 2.5m

6. Mark Hill Pick ‘N’ Mix curler with Extra Long Barrel: Best curling tong for versatility

Price: From £17 | Buy handle, barrel and corkscrew version from Boots

If you like to switch up the kinds of curls you create on your longer hair, this unusual styling system has your ever-changing needs at heart. Purchase the brightly coloured Pick’n’Mix handle for £18, then add whichever curling and styling barrels take your fancy. The extra-long wand barrel is perfect for creating glamorous waves and soft ringlets on longer hair; but if you’re lusting after tighter corkscrew curls then why not try the extra-long corkscrew barrel for a tighter curl, even on Rapunzel-length locks?

Whichever barrel you try, the Pick’n’Mix is a fairly simple curler to use, with one temperature setting of 180ºC and a single on-off switch. The versatility comes from the range of styling barrels available to attach to the handle; the options we’ve linked to above are particularly suitable for longer hair, but you can also experiment with a round brush, mermaid waver or unicorn curler. A fun and simple way to curl hair of any length.

Key specs – Barrel size: 25mm; Temperature settings: 1; Maximum temperature: 180°C; Cord length: 3m

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