Some people are so proficient at using a curling iron, they can do it with their eyes closed (probably). However, when you have neither the time nor skills to accomplish perfect ringlets with a searing hot appliance, a curling iron can be a pain to use.
Good thing the hot curling iron brush was invented. This styling tool creates loose waves without losing your hair’s volume. Hot curling iron brushes are like a blowout maker and curl creator in one handy barrel. What’s not to love?
If you’re looking for the best hot curling brush that will give you I-woke-up-like-this tendrils, you’re in luck. Up ahead is everything you need to know about curling brushes, plus my top 5 choices to save you the hassle of comparison shopping.
A Buying Guide for Hot Curling Iron Brushes
What is a hot curling brush?
A hot curling brush, also known as a hot curling iron brush, looks like a round brush with either teeth or bristles. Think of the styling tool that hairdressers pair with a blow dryer–that’s what a hot curling brush looks like.
The bristles are heated so the hair brush can create curls as you stroke it through your strands. Plus, it does this without a clamp to hold your hair in place. Instead, the bristles grab on to your locks as you hold the curl for a few seconds.
In a sense, it’s what you’d get if a curling iron and a hair brush had a baby. There are numerous benefits to this form factor that gives hot curling brushes an advantage over curling irons or wands.
What a hot curling brush isn’t is a hot air brush. It does not produce air so you have to apply it on dry or slightly damp locks.
Benefits of a Hot Curling Brush
You may be thinking, “Yeah, this sounds great and all but technically I could just use a curling iron and call it a day”. While curling irons and wands are all well and good, hot curling brushes have an advantage in some aspects. Before you dismiss these wonder brushes, here are the top benefits you’ll get from using a hot curling brush and giving your curling irons a rest day.
Keeps your skin burn-free
You need a lot of concentration when using a curling tong lest you burn your hands accidentally while wrapping your hair around the barrel. In contrast, hot curling brushes are easy to use. You can even zone out and listen to a podcast without the risk of scalding your fingers.
The bristles adhere to your hair, making styling a mostly one-handed operation, thus saving yourself minutes of holding your hand under running water when you singe it.
While a hot curling brush won’t give you corkscrew coils or tight curls, they are great for loose tendrils and medium-sized waves. It curls your locks while maintaining their volume. The results look effortless and don’t appear overstyled.
Available in various styles and sizes
There’s a hot curling brush for every hair type. You can choose from different barrel components, bristle lengths, and brush sizes. It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of tool.
The combinations can be personalized for short hair, long hair, thick hair and fine hair.
Won’t crease your hair
The bristles of the hot brush render clamps redundant. Clamps, while convenient in a curling iron, can make curls appear more manufactured, plus they leave the dreaded creases that give away how much effort you expended in styling your mane.
The teeth of the hot curling iron brush keep your hair in place without creasing, leaving people wondering whether you were born with those luscious curls.
Saves you time in the morning
My personal favorite benefit of using a hot curling brush is how much time and energy it saves me in the morning. It shaves off minutes in my routine.
It may sound minuscule, considering you have to do your makeup, skincare, body care, and the works aside from your hairstyling drill, but I swear it all adds up. With the minutes I’ve saved from using a curling iron brush in a year, I could watch a season of my favorite show. Beat that, curling irons.
How to Choose the Best Hot Curling Brush
Now, hopefully, at this point, you’re at least open to the idea of getting a hot curling brush. How do you pick the right one in a market flooded with so many options? Fear not, young padawan. You only need to take note of these key features. The rest is gravy.
The most common materials you’ll encounter in any heat styling tool are ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline. When it comes to curling your hair, these are best in class but one may be more suited for your hair than the others.
I like to think of ceramic as the most vanilla of the three materials. It warms up and retains heat well. It distributes heat gently and fairly evenly on the surface of a barrel, or in some cases, the bristles. Ceramic also emits negative ions that help add shine to the hair. A ceramic hot brush is best for a fine or delicate hair type that don’t need too much heat.
Titanium is a beast when it comes to rapid heat up and heat transfer. Heat distribution is very even with titanium with little to no room for cold spots. Since it’s so efficient, a titanium hot brush is the top pick for coarse, thick, or rebellious hair that’s hard to curl. Plus, this material is durable and shine-enhancing, making it a great investment purchase.
Tourmaline is a semiprecious stone that generates tons of negatively charged ions naturally. That means it’s amazing for warding off frizz and flyaways and preserving moisture. It’s usually combined with ceramic. A tourmaline ceramic hot brush has a high heat capacity so it may not be the best for dry strands.
While it’s less durable than ceramic or titanium, a lot of people favor this material for its natural ionic function.
In a hot curling iron brush, the heat source can come from the bristles or the barrel. When it’s the former, the bristles are coated with ceramic which allows it to conduct and transfer heat. Synthetic bristle materials, like nylon, work like regular brush bristles and don’t heat the hair.
Make sure you have thermostable bristles that stay cool should it accidentally come in contact with your skin. They should be flexible with enough spaces in between to allow your hair to glide through without bunching up or tangling.
You will have a better experience with a hot curling brush if you choose a barrel that fits your hair type. If you have shorter hair or prefer small waves, pick a small barrel size. This will be around 1-inch or below. Long and mid-length hair may choose 1.5-inch to 2-inch barrels.
Variable Heat Settings
Having variable temperature controls helps prevent heat damage. You should stay at a temperature that effectively curls without wrecking your hair. The more settings you can choose from in a styling brush, the less the risk of damage.
The 5 Best Hot Curling Brushes for Easy Waves
Conair Instant Heat Styling Brush, 1.25 Inch
The Conair curling iron brush will give you instant and long-lasting curls without the wait. It heats up in 60 seconds, eliminating pesky waiting periods that cut down on precious morning hours.
You can choose from 25 heat settings so the risk of frying your hair is virtually nil. This curling brush also has a Turbo Heat feature that boosts the heat of the barrel by 36 degrees Fahrenheit. I imagine this will be super helpful when you’re raring to head out the door.
The barrel measures 1.25 inches, perfect for creating loose waves and curling medium to long hair in record time. It’s comprised of elements of chromium, nickel, copper, and steel. While it’s built like a tank, it stays gentle on your hair thanks to its Smart Technology that stabilizes the temperature the curling iron brush emits.
You’ll stay singe-free with the brush’s extra-long cool tip. The brush is controlled via an electronic touchpad, which scores instant techie points in my book. It’s a great travel companion, too, because the curling brush is capable of dual voltage. And it even has an auto shutoff function for added zen.
The grooved handle is easy to hold and maneuver while the ball-tipped bristles help the brush glide through the strands. It has a tangle-resistant swivel cord to keep things organized and hassle-free.
If I were to nitpick, I wish the cord was longer so you can use the brush even without a power source close by. It’s also not a good choice for folks with fine or short hair due to the size of the barrel and the spacing of the bristles.
- Rapid heat-up time and 25 heat settings
- Comes with a Turbo Heat feature
- Great for creating medium, loose curls
- Made of durable materials and has a cool tip
- Has ball-tipped bristles and an ergonomic handle
- The cord needs to be longer
- Not for fine or short hair
Conair 2-in-1 Hot Air Curling Combo
For people looking for the most features in one product, this is one of the best curling brushes. It comes with 2 attachments of different diameters.
One is a 1.5-inch curling brush with stiff plastic bristles while the other is a 1-inch brush with nylon bristles. This gives you plenty of flexibility when styling and you can pick one that suits the mood or occasion of the day.
The plastic bristle curling brush with the bigger barrel is good for curling hair into loose waves, detangling, and adding lift. The smaller nylon bristle brush is softer, almost like a boar hair bristle brush, so it’s good for enhancing shine and creating smaller curls.
A potential advantage that this curling brush has over the others is it’s safe to use on either damp or dry hair because the aluminum barrel blows hot air into the strands, speeding up the dry time. This hot air brush is versatile because it can be used for straightening or on synthetic hair extensions.
Unfortunately, the brush only has 2 heat settings, high and low. It’s a 300-watt device that’s capable of dual-voltage so you can take it with you for intercontinental journeys.
The 6-foot power cord makes styling uncomplicated and the cool tip prevents burns. The curling brush also comes with a safety stand.
If you have thick hair and want to dry your hair with this curling brush, it will be quite difficult. Both the heat and airflow may leave you wanting.
While this is advertised as dual voltage, take note that you can only use the low setting if you’re in a 220V region.
- A dual-barrel hot air brush for versatile styling
- Can straighten, volumize, and create loose to medium curls
- Safe to use on dry or damp hair, as well as extensions
- Has 2 heat settings and a 6-foot power cord
- Capable of dual voltage and comes with a cool tip and a safety stand
- Limited heat settings
- Drying power is lacking so it’s not for thick hair or drying wet hair
- The settings are limited in a 220V area so it only has a limited dual voltage
PHOEBE Curling Iron Brush
The Phoebe Curling Iron Brush is touted as a 3-in-1 styling tool because it can curl, straighten and detangle hair, all in one sleek blue body.
The 1-inch ceramic tourmaline barrel conducts heat and emits negatively charged ions. These ions enhance shine, reduce damage, and lock in moisture for frizz-free and smooth results. It’s a gentle material that has preventive benefits and it’s suitable for damaged hair.
The temperature is adjustable and you can choose from 265F to 430F, which is an extensive range that can fit all hair types. The LCD display lets you keep tabs on the current setting. The styling brush uses PTC heaters which are safer and longer-lasting than traditional heaters.
The curling brush heats up in just 30 seconds. It has a long cool tip and nylon bristles that prevent scalding when curling your hair. For extra safety, the curling iron brush locks automatically after 3 seconds of inactivity. There’s also an auto-shutoff that kicks in after 60 minutes.
This curling iron brush is good for on-the-go styling because it’s lightweight and has a dual voltage function. The voltage switches automatically depending on your region.
Now, for the trade-offs. This brush has stiff bristles so hair can often get tangled up when curling. I don’t recommend it for fine, long or medium-length hair for this reason. The controls are also not the most intuitive to use and the power button is in an inconvenient location.
- The ceramic tourmaline barrel emits negative ions for healthier hair
- Has adjustable heat settings up to 430F
- Heats up in 30 seconds and uses durable PTC heaters
- Has a cool tip, nylon bristles, and an auto-shutoff for safety
- Lightweight and dual voltage
- Can be prone to tangling hair because of its stiff bristles
- The controls are hard to decipher and the power button can be clicked accidentally when in use
Conair InfinityPro 1″ Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Hot Brush
This compact Conair curling iron brush houses tremendous power in a small frame. It has a ceramic-coated nano tourmaline barrel for gentle and powerful curling. This nanotechnology distributes heat evenly without hot or cold spots. That means you get curly hair that looks bouncy and defined from start to finish.
The smooth barrel glides on the hair and helps tamp down flyaways and frizz. Tourmaline uses natural ionic technology for shiny, healthy hair.
The red and black bristle rows are widely spaced on the barrel, so detangling is effortless. The red bristles transfer heat while the black bristles stay cool.
You get instant curling with its rapid 30-second heat up. The heater maintains a stable temperature all throughout.
You can choose from 5 precise temperature settings up to 395 degrees Fahrenheit. This is suitable for nearly all hair types from fine, fragile locks to coarse, stubborn strands. The heat recovery system is good and helps the brush retain heat even when taking a break from styling.
The barrel is easy to clean should it accumulate product residue. It measures one inch which can create defined waves. The curling brush powers off after 60 minutes and it comes with a swivel cord and a cool tip.
That being said, hair can get tangled in between the stiff bristles and the red heating bristles can get too close to the scalp if you’re not careful. I do wish that the cool tip was a bit bigger so you have more space to hold on to it, especially since the barrel gets very hot.
- Has a ceramic tourmaline barrel with ionic technology
- The 1-inch barrel is smooth and easy to clean
- Distributes heat evenly and retains its temperature well
- Has 5 heat settings up to 395F and a quick heat recovery time
- Has an auto-shutoff, a cool tip, and a swivel cord
- Users have to take care not to get their hair tangled or to let the brush go to close to the scalp
- The cool tip needs to be wider for ergonomics
Revlon Heated Silicone Styling Brush
The bristles in the Revlon curling iron brush have a lot of flex to them, making curling and brushing painless. The round brush barrel is heated but the silicone bristles stay cool. This gives you plenty of room to maneuver the brush and get close to the scalp without burning your skin.
The brush has a 1-inch barrel that’s suitable for making simple curls and adding body to lifeless locks. It heats up in just 30 seconds. When switched on, an indicator lights up so the user knows when the device is heating up.
There are two temperature settings: high and low. The barrel heats up to a cap of 430F, which is on the higher end. This brush is best for normal to coarse hair.
The cool tip helps give the user more control when styling and the swivel cord keeps things mess-free. Because the bristles are not heated, you can use it to prep your hair for curling.
The design minimizes heat damage and brings plenty of shine to the mane. The bristles are grippy so you get some resistance when curling.
I only wish it had more heat settings and an automatic shutoff feature. Since the heat only comes from the barrel, this isn’t a suitable curling brush for thick hair.
For the price, it’s still an all-around great deal if you’re after pain-free, quick curling.
- Has a 1-inch barrel with a 30-second heat up time
- The silicone bristles stay cool so the brush can get close to the scalp
- Has an indicator light and 2 heat settings up to 430F
- Has a cool tip and a swivel cord
- Great for detangling and minimizing damage
- Limited heat settings
- No automatic shutoff
- Not for curling thick hair
So which hot styling brush takes the crown in this roundup?
The best product to get, in my opinion, is the Conair Instant Heat Styling Brush.
The mixed metal barrel uses heat stabilitizing technology to minimize the damage on fragile hair. The device has 25 heat settings, the most extensive in the list. It has ball-tipped bristles and an anti-scald design for safety. The 1.25-inch body is a good middle ground for creating a variety of curls whatever your hair type.
For most people, it’s the best curling iron brush to get but as always consider your hair needs before deciding on what product to get. Happy curling!
About the AuthorLeah Williams is the founder of Lucky Curl and has been in the hair care and styling industry for the last 15 years. Since then, she has developed incredible expertise and a deep understanding of how to treat and style the most difficult hair types and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the readers of Lucky Curl.
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