This $70 curling iron is the only hot tool that has successfully tamed my thick, unruly hair — it never loses heat and gives me bouncy waves every time

Business Insider Lifestyle 1 month ago
  • I have what I've always thought of as untameable hair. It has made getting bouncy curls seem nearly impossible, and in the past has rendered essentially every one of my hair tools useless. 
  • That is, until I recently bought the Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron ($70) at Ulta. It's the best styling tool I've found so far because it smooths unwanted frizz and never loses heat.
  • Industry professionals often use products from Hot Tools in salons, which is why I trusted the brand in the first place.
  • Below, you'll find my review of the Hot Tools 1.25-inch 24K Gold Curling Iron — but suffice it to say that it's the styling tool I now trust for acheiving the perfect wavy look.

As an Irish ginger with thick, unruly hair, I've struggled to find the perfect curling iron over the years. I've dreamt of sporting gorgeous waves at events, girls' nights out, and so on and so forth, only to be met with a disappointing reality: a lifelong battle that has resulted in countless poofy mishaps, thanks to products that were, quite frankly, mediocre at best. 

When your mane resembles a 1970s Troll Doll, you become cynical of all curling irons on the market. But on a recent trip to Ulta, I bought the newly launched Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Digital Spring Curling Iron ($69.99), and I'm glad I took the plunge. 

Hot Tools is consistently hailed for developing the latest styling tools, having amassed many industry awards and accolades over the years. The brand prides itself as a go-to for experts, including celebrity hairstylist Jenny Cho, who relies on its portable and lightweight tools for red-carpet events. 

I thought: Well, it's trusted by the professionals, which was enough to solidify credibility in my mind and eliminate the looming possibility of buyer's remorse. So, I swiped my Visa and got to work. Then, serendipity happened.

When I used the iron for the first time, I achieved bouncy, thick curls without any hassle — and they actually stayed in place. More noticeably, the iron smoothed out my chaotic frizz, my most burdensome hair woe. The only caveat is that it's pretty expensive at $70 compared to the cheaper versions you can find in drugstores, but you get what you pay for. 

I can argue forever about how this curling iron is my Holy Grail. However, with all things and word count considered, I'll cut to the chase about why this specific iron belongs in your vanity.

The 24K Gold Curling Iron's key features

hot tools curling iron thumbnail 2
Hot Tools Instagram

The gold-plated surface distributes heat evenly, resulting in full-volume, frizz-free curls for all hair types, even mine. The curling iron's ability to maintain a consistent heat is helped along by Pulse Technology, which quickly diagnoses heat loss and then sends signals to the heating coils to restore it immediately, meaning your iron will stay perfectly hot from start to finish. This cool innovation reduces styling time, while increasing hold, improving shine, and preventing 'hot spots' from forming and frying certain parts of your strands.

Along with its surface, the curling iron's precise digital temperature display offers an advanced level of control — something that an analog heating setting can't do. With a digital display, you'll always know the exact temperature of the barrel.

I was also happy to find that my new curling iron features universal dual voltage, which I, a former study-abroad student, could appreciate. Electricity is confusing, so let me demystify it for you. In the US, the electrical voltage is 110/120V  — however, in most countries, the number is different. When a hair tool isn't rated dual voltage, it may not work, even when plugged through an adapter. You'll then need a converter, which can still possibly ruin your hair appliance. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to have a curling iron that I can carry along during my travels.

Combine these all together, and what you get is a curling iron that achieves everything it promises and more. Plus, it comes in different barrel sizes from one inch to 1.25 inches. I chose the largest size for bigger waves, but the smaller barrels offer tighter curls and work best for anyone with short hair.

How to use the 24K Digital Spring Gold Curling Iron

  1. Once you wash and blow dry your hair, find the proper heat setting that will help achieve the look you want. This won't be too hard, since this curling iron reaches 450°F.
  2. Then, divide your hair into layers (the number of layers depends on the thickness of your hair), and start from the bottom.
  3. From there, you'll work your way up section by section to ensure that each curl is fully volumized and holds shape. I like to curl away from my face and keep hair in the iron for 30 seconds, but of course, the duration is entirely up to you.
  4. Finally, shake out your curls and set them with hairspray so they stay in place.

The bottom line

Simply put, you'll get ideal curls in a fraction of the time and with less heat damage when using this curling iron. I've experimented with so many curling irons out there, and nothing has worked as well as the this one from Hot Tools. I typically regret spur-of-the-moment purchases, but I have no regrets with this one. 

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