The Best Way to Make Beach Waves: Curling Iron vs. Curling Wand

By Leah Williams •  Updated: 04/17/22

Do you want wavy, beachy hair but don’t know which hot tool to use? Is a curling iron or wand better for beach waves?

An iron or wand can both create the waves you want, but there are some key differences. Choosing between a wand and an iron can be baffling if you’re new to hair styling tools.

In this blog post, we will compare the two tools and help you decide which styling tool is best for creating curls and natural waves that give you a beach-babe look all year round.

Which tool does the job better?

As a hair stylist, both curling tools are indispensable to me. I use one or the other for different hair types. Using the right tool for the hair type is the key to achieving the styling clients prefer.

So to cut it short: it’s a personal choice. It depends on the following:

However, if you’re on a budget and can only buy one tool, go for a curling iron. You can do more hairstyles aside from beach waves.

What’s the Difference Between a Curling Wand and a Curling Iron?

To know which one will give you the beach waves you’re after, one must understand the difference between these two similar tools.

There are significant differences between a curling iron and a curling wand. A curling wand has a larger surface area to create more giant waves.

The difference between the two is the curling iron clamp, which is missing in a curling wand. It helps hold long hair lengths and wraps hair more securely around the barrel.

Another difference is the shape of the barrels. Curling irons have barrel shapes that are more cylindrical, while wands have more spherical barrel shapes. To make ringlets, a curling iron is your best bet.

Finally, the material they’re made out of sets them apart. Curling irons are typically made out of metal or ceramic, while manufacturers make wands out of metal, ceramic, or tourmaline (a type of mineral).

Making Waves with a Curling Iron

Now that we know how a curling wand and a curling iron differ, let’s focus on using each one to get natural-looking beach waves.

Traditional curling irons create tighter, smaller curls because of their cylindrical barrel shape. If you want tighter ringlets, start with a smaller section of hair.

Wrap hair around the barrel in a long spiral rather than a tightly-wound curl. Wind hair in varying directions and hold for a few seconds with the clamp on. Tousle with your hands while applying a texturizing spray.

Making Waves with a Curling Wand

Curling wands are better for creating more giant waves because of the large barrel size. If you want bigger, looser curls, then start with a wider section of hair.

To curl your hair with a wand, start by wrapping the hair around the barrel, starting at the roots. As you wrap your hair around the barrel, hold it in place for about ten seconds before releasing it.

Once you’ve released it, run your fingers through your curls to break them up and create a more natural look. Apply a texturizing spray to get that windswept ‘do.

The technique is pretty much similar for both tools, except that you have to hold your wand longer because it doesn’t have a clamp.

It’s also easier to use an iron compared to a wand since the clamp keeps the hair in place so you can operate it one only one hand at times. With a wand, you have to hold your hair and the tool at the same time!

When to Use a Curling Iron

Use a traditional curling iron if:

When to Use a Curling Wand

Use curling wands if you:

Now that we’ve gone over how to use each tool to get beach waves, let’s answer the question: Is a curling iron or wand better for beach waves?

The truth is, it depends on the look you want to achieve. If you wish to make giant, looser waves, go for a curling wand. Iron is your best friend if you want a texture that lasts longer.

Whatever tool you choose, always use heat protectant spray before styling, and be sure not to leave the tool in one spot for too long to avoid damaging your hair.

Now that you uncovered the secret to get beachy waves with a curling iron or wand, try it for yourself! Check out our other article for the best curling iron for beach waves.

Experiment with different styles until you find the best look for you.

Leah Williams

Leah 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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