Slightly imperfect, natural looking waves are among the most desired (and most elusive) of hairstyles. Some curling irons can produce stiff ringlets, and unless you’re auditioning for a spot on Toddlers & Tiaras (that show gives me nightmares, so I really hope not), it’s best to stay far away from pageant-y curls.
The main reason curling irons make natural curls difficult is the clip; it flattens hair, making every curl exactly the same shape and size. And we’ve all seen the weird looking dent it can leave in the middle of curls. Pretty sure that doesn’t qualify as “natural looking.”
Enter the clipless curling iron. Recently, a spate of irons without clamps have made truly natural waves possible, even for those of us who don’t naturally have wavy hair.
These curling irons are like traditional irons, minus the clip. To use clipless irons, hold the iron vertically (perpendicular to the floor), and wrap a 1-2 inch section of hair around the barrel with your hand. Because your hand is close to the heat during the process and there’s no plastic top to hold, be careful! Some irons (such as the Amika option above) come with protective gloves.
In addition to being clipless, some curling irons are tapered for even more of a natural look. The tapered irons create curls that aren’t always uniform, which helps avoid too-perfect end results. The wider end can also be used to create volume at the roots.