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Salon Quality Curls At Home – 7 Curling Iron Alternatives

Salon Quality Curls At Home – 7 Curling Iron Alternatives

You know that feeling when you’ve just gotten your hair cut and the hair stylist gave you a killer blowout with bouncy, perfect curls? Best feeling ever, right? I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I spent years of haircuts watching what the stylist does and then trying, to no avail, to recreate that look myself at home.  

 I’m happy to say that after years of experimenting with different techniques, I’ve finally figured out how to do it (or at least come close to it)! And, even better, it doesn’t take an hour or any special skills (maybe just a little bit of practice).  

 There are so many hair styling tools on the market today to help you achieve that curly blowout look easily at home. And, I promise you’ll love these even more than your best curling iron. Here are the best curling iron alternatives to help you achieve a variety of salon quality curly hairstyles right at home. 

01.

diffuser

If you don’t know what a diffuser is, picture a giant plastic claw with multiple prongs attached to your blow dryer. This silly, relatively aggressive-looking blow dryer attachment is a dream for anyone with thin, limp hair. Many people (including myself) use diffusers to blow dry their natural curls, but they can also be used to give body, texture, and volume to straight hair. If you’re looking for a natural, tousled look, a diffuser blow dryer attachment is the way to go.  

Styling Tips: 

  • Start with towel-dried hair, not soaking wet, for a quicker dry. 
  • Use a texturizing styling product for a naturally tousled look (picture just-swam-in-the-ocean texture). 
  • Watch a video tutorial before tackling a diffuser for technique.  
  • Lift your hair as high as you can with this tool for ultimate volume. 
  • Use this method for volume, followed by one of the methods below for the best salon quality results! 

02.

Flat iron hair straightener

Using a flat iron hair straightener to curl your hair? No, I promise I’m not crazy. Your hair straightener can actually act as a dual tool to create loose, beachy waves! The technique involves twisting your flat iron as you run it along your hair, and it results in truly magical, soft waves, perfect for a casual, carefree look! 

Styling Tips: 

  • This technique takes a bit of practice to master, so I suggest looking up a tutorial on YouTube, of which there are many. 
  • Since these curls are loose and airy, be sure to use hairspray afterward to keep them in place!  
  • Always turn your hair straightener away from your face. This can be tricky in the mirror, but remember that your hair should be curling in an outward direction for the most natural look! 

03.

hair rollers

Like the curling iron, hair rollers are another centuries-old tool that has stuck around and evolved. They come in many forms for different styles of curls, so do some research before purchasing hair rollers. If you want dramatic, bouncy curls, try a hot roller set. For smaller, tighter curls, try soft and flexile overnight rollers. For a more natural look, try self-grip foam or plastic rollers. For those worried about damaging their hair, rollers are the best way to go, most don’t use any heat! 

Styling Tips: 

  • Use hairspray while your rollers are still in your hair! This will ensure that the curls hold their shape long after you remove the rollers. 
  • If you can stand it, try sleeping with your rollers in. The longer the rollers stay in your hair, the better the curls will come out and the longer they will stay! 
  • Use a styling product before putting the rollers in your hair. I recommend a conditioning or smoothing product. 

04.

dryer brush

As a naturally curly gal, discovering a dryer brush was like discovering the Holy Grail for meA blow dryer brush is essentially a large round brush with a hair dryer built into the middle. Not only does this tool make blow drying SO easy and quick, but it’s a simple way to get voluminous, bouncy curls! Because the brush is round, turning the brush as you dry will give you that just-got-a-blowout look you’ve always wanted (trust me, I was actually shocked the first time I used this). Especially for those who want to tame kinky hair, a dryer brush will make you want to throw away your hair dryer for good and use this tool every day! 

Styling Tips: 

  • Be careful how often you use this tool. Like blow drying, using it every single day can potentially damage your hair (for DIY hair treatments for damaged hair, click here). 
  • I suggest towel drying your hair before using this tool. Starting with soaking wet hair will take a bit longer to dry, and makes it more prone to damage. 
  • Separate your hair into multiple sections when using this tool, ending with your roots and bangs.  
  • Dry your roots in an upward direction for the most volume! Better yet, flip your hair upside-down to get volume for days!! 
  • The more you turn this tool while drying, the tighter your curls will come out! Spray them with hairspray right afterward (or during) to maximize hold. 

05.

curling wand

Like the curling iron, hair rollers are another centuries-old tool that has stuck around and evolved. They come in many forms for different styles of curls, so do some research before purchasing hair rollers. If you want dramatic, bouncy curls, try a hot roller set. For smaller, tighter curls, try soft and flexile overnight rollers. For a more natural look, try self-grip foam or plastic rollers. For those worried about damaging their hair, rollers are the best way to go, most don’t use any heat! 

Styling Tips: 

  • After releasing your hair from the wand, hold the curls cupped in your hands for a few seconds to maximize hold.  
  • If you’re looking for beachy waves rather than tight curls, pull your hair straight for a second after releasing it from the wand. This is my favorite method for a natural windswept look! 
  • Do some research before purchasing. There are so many shapes and sizes, you’ll want to be sure you’re finding the best curling wand for your desired look! 
  • Hair spray the heck out of these curls for maximum hold! You can even spray the curls while the hair is still wrapped around the wand (just be sure to clean your wand afterward).

06.

wave wand

Get ready to say hello to the mermaid hair of your dreams!! The wave wand is new to the hairstyling world, but one that should not be looked over. These tools range from a row of thick barrels for big, bouncy curls to tiny barrels for a crimped 90’s look! I absolutely love the simplicity of this tool, and how quickly you can achieve your desired look. Some of the larger ones can be a little difficult to manage, but after some practice, I guarantee you’ll quickly fall in love with this tool. 

Styling Tips: 

  • Like curling wands, do some research before purchasing a wave wand, as there are many different shapes and sizes for different looks! 
  • Take your time practicing with this tool. The way you use it will determine the look you get, so be sure to experiment a bit! 

07.

air wrap

The air wrap hair styling tool is by far the most technologically advanced, and the newest addition to the hairstyling world. Sold by companies like Dyson, the air wrap tool is a high-tech tool that uses air to curl your hair inside the barrel vs. outside. This tool is great because there is no direct contact with heat (like a curling wand or curling iron), so it is less likely to damage your hair. Because this product is so new and advanced, be prepared to spend a bit more on this one. However, the results will not disappoint you! 

Styling Tips: 

  • Like most of the other tools, do a few trial runs with this tool to get the hang of the technique. 
  • Be careful when using this tool, as there is always the possibility of tangling your hair if it is used wrong! 
  • Because your hair is not in direct contact with heat, your curls will be light and airy. Be sure to use hairspray afterward to maintain that hold! 

With all these curly hairstyle tool options, there is no excuse to ever visit a salon for a blowout again! Achieve those perfect salon quality curls with one (or all) of the options above. 

About The Author

Kari Emerson

Kari Emerson is a NYC-based blogger and model. She is the writer and creator of The Important Things blog, chronicling her experiences navigating life as a 20-something in New York City. Her goal is to help her readers attack “adulting” in a stylish and resourceful way.

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