The best curlers for short hair—chosen by our beauty team

Our tried and tested guide to the best curlers for short hair—there's a wand, waver, or tong for every hair type

the best curlers for short hair from T3, ghd and BioIonic
(Image credit: T3, ghd, BioIonic)

Trying to find the best curlers for short hair? From tapered wands to jumbo-sized barrels, there are so many hot tools available on the market—each with their own unique selling points. To help you find The One, we've rounded up the top curlers that cater to shorter styles, as rated by us. 

The best curling irons can do it all—creating loose beachy waves as well as tight ringlet curls without causing too much heat damage, thanks to the latest tech advancements. The best curlers for short hairstyles need to work that bit harder—gripping on and gliding through shorter sections of hair to create curls that not only look good, but will stay put, too. 

To filter out the best from the rest, we put the top-rated tools through their paces—testing them on performance, usability, design and staying power. Ghd’s Curve Creative Curl Wand came out top with its tapered design that creates a whole variety of curly hairstyles. For beginners, we recommend Electric Head Jog's Boho Styler that features a unique 'bubble' design and if you fancy a splurge, T3's Whirl Trio is a worthy investment. 

How to find the best curlers for short hair 

With so many shapes and sizes to choose from, Jason Collier, A-list hairstylist and Bblonde brand educator takes us through the key factors to consider before making an investment. 

  • Barrel size: “The first thing you need to consider when choosing the best curlers for short hair is barrel size. Too big, and you won’t be able to wrap your hair around it. But, if you go straight for the smallest size, you’ll be limited to creating tight curls.” Collier recommends a barrel between 19mm–24mm. 
  • Wand vs tong: Curlers tend to fall into one of two categories: a wand or a tong/iron with a clip. “If your hair has enough length to be wrapped around a wand—this is a good tool for natural-looking, undone curls. For very short hair, this is more difficult, so a tong with a clasp is better for control.” 
  • Adjustable heat: “One of the main challenges of curling short hair is the fact that heat damage is harder to hide,” says Collier. He recommends a heat protection spray as well as tool that boasts several heat settings that will cater to different hair types and textures. 

The best curlers for short hair, tested by our beauty team

best curlers for short hair - ghd creative curl wand

(Image credit: ghd)

1. ghd Creative Curl Wand

Best overall curler for short hair

Specifications

RRP: $199/£139
Heat settings: 1
Barrel size: 28-23mm
Temperature: 185°C
Cord length : 3m

Reasons to buy

+
Creates different curls
+
Cool tip for easy styling
+
Tri-zone technology 

Reasons to avoid

-
Temperature cannot be adjusted

As with all best ghd straighteners, the ghd Creative Curl Wand gets top marks for design and versatility. The sleek tapered barrel can create countless styles on short hair—from loose wavy hairstyles to bouncy curls. “Tapered wands will give you different curl size options in one product,” confirms Collier. To create tight curls, wrap short hair around the end of the barrel. And for a beachy, undone style, we found that the base of the barrel works best.

Styles aside, the high-tech tool boasts something called ceramic tri-zone technology which ensures that the hair is exposed to the optimum styling temperature (185°C) at all times. Oh, and to reach said optimum temperature, it takes just 25 seconds. In fact, from start to finish, we found that the entire styling process took no longer than 10-minutes. A big tick! 

We also love the protective cool tip that allows for more control when curling—this is extremely useful for styling short hair. And while there’s no variable temperature control, we found that these curlers quickly deliver impressive curls on shorter styles that lasted throughout the day. 

Best curlers for short hair - Electric Head Jog Gold Titanium Boho Styler.jpg

(Image credit: Electric Head Jog)

2. Electric Head Jog Gold Titanium Boho Styler

Best budget curler for short hair

Specifications

RRP: $41.40/£29.95
Barrel size: 25mm
Temperature: 120°C-230°C
Cord length: 3m

Reasons to buy

+
Adds bounce and body
+
Creates loose curls 
+
Variable temperature

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't create tight curls

This bubble curling wand is a brilliant hot tool for beginners. The unique ball-like pattern makes curling short hair a total breeze. We found that you can use the curlers in one of two ways: wrap the hair between the curves for loose curls, or over the curves for larger waves. Both techniques will create that tousled, beachy look. 

As for the tech, the curlers are coated in gold-titanium which allows for consistent heat and, unlike ceramic, titanium can heat up much faster. The tool is also ionic charged which helps to prevent hair from drying out, leaving it silky soft and shiny instead—something that we can definitely attest to. 

The only downside worth noting is that we struggled to create tighter curls with this wand—so if this is a look you’re after, we’d recommend opting for a different tool. With that said, it does create beautiful, bouncy and even curls at a very reasonable price point. To boost staying power, finish your ‘do with one of the best hair styling products such as hairspray or texture spray.

 

Best curlers for short hair - T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand

(Image credit: T3)

3. T3 Whirl Trio

Best luxury curler for short hair

Specifications

RRP: $325/£240
Heat settings: 5
Barrel size: 1", 1.25", 1.5"
Temperature : up to 450°F
Cord length : 8ft

Reasons to buy

+
Three interchangeable barrels
+
Creates different curls 
+
Sleek design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared with others on the list

Yes, it’s expensive. But this curling tool is essentially three for the price of one as it comes with three different sized and shaped barrels to create countless hairstyles. First, there’s the 1" straight barrel that can be used to achieve uniform spiral curls. Then there’s the 1.25"-0.75" tapered barrel which is ideal for shorter hair and can create both loose curls and tousled waves. Finally, for big bouncy waves, there’s the 1.5" straight barrel which works best on lobs and medium hairstyles

We were blown away by the sleek design that features one base (with the power button and five heat settings) where the barrels can easily be slotted in before styling hair. While all the barrels have a cool top, the device also comes with a heatproof glove for even more control—as well as a travel bag and a mat. 

The results are just as impressive as the design—with each barrel delivering a completely different look spanning everything from spiral curls to beachy waves in minutes. And thanks to the tourmaline-baked ceramic surface, we found that our curls looked shiny and frizz-free.

Best curlers for short hair - BaByliss 9000 Cordless Curling Tong

(Image credit: BaByliss)

4. BaByliss 9000 Cordless Curling Tong

Best cordless curler for short hair

Specifications

RRP: $190/£180
Heat settings: 3
Barrel size: 25mm
Temperature : 160°C, 170°C, 180°C
Cord length: Cordless

Reasons to buy

+
Easy-to-use cordless design
+
Travel-friendly 
+
Adds bounce and definition

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for very short hair

Always on-the-go? This travel-friendly, cordless curler is a great pick for frequent flyers as it takes up less suitcase space and provides 40-minutes of wireless use at maximum temperature. To recharge, simply plug it in for three hours.

If your hair is around shoulder-length, the 25mm barrel design is perfect for creating loose curls. If, however, you have a shorter bob hairstyle or crop, we recommend opting for a smaller tool that’s between 19mm—24mm—otherwise you’ll struggle to wrap the length of your hair around the barrel to create curls. 

Super easy to use, we found that the curlers heat up quickly and we like the fact you can choose from three temperatures to suit your hair type. As well as the curlers, you get a mat, case and heat protective glove included. The only negative we can think of is that this tool is slightly heavier than others we've tried which might result in a little arm ache. Although this is much less of a problem when speedily curling a short hairstyle than spending hours on a long one. 

Best curlers for short hair - Cloud Nine

(Image credit: Cloud Nine)

5. Cloud Nine The Texture Wand

Best curler for short, textured hair

Specifications

RRP: £119 (UK only)
Heat settings: 4
Barrel size: 35mm-4mm
Temperature: 125°C-175°C
Cord length : 2.7m

Reasons to buy

+
Enhances natural curls 
+
Mineral-infused ceramic barrel
+
Heats up quickly

Reasons to avoid

-
Tapered design not for everyone

Want to enhance your natural hairstyle? This could be the tool for you. From kinks to curls, this tapered wand is designed to easily add definition and bring out your natural curl pattern. “Natural curls can flatten in the days after washday, so this is a great time to re-define your natural curls with curlers,” says Collier. 

With a small barrel tip (that measures just 4mm), this brilliant tool can reach right to the roots to catch even the tightest curl for a uniform style. What’s more, the swivel cord allows for easy manoeuvring so you can get to those hard-to-reach short strands. There are also four temperatures to choose from (we recommend the lowest for least damage) and the barrel is infused with healing minerals to seal the hair’s cuticle and lock in moisture for shiny strands. 

For best results, follow Collier’s step-by-step for short, curly hair. “Section your hair and, starting at the top, curl one-inch sections. Work in opposite directions to mimic your natural curl pattern before separating the curls with your fingers to stop them looking ‘piecey’.” 

Best curlers for short hair - ghd thin curl wand

(Image credit: ghd)

6. ghd Curve Thin Curl Wand

Best curler to create tight curls for short hair

Specifications

RRP: $158/£139
Heat settings: 1
Barrel size: 14mm
Temperature: 185°C
Cord length: 2.7m

Reasons to buy

+
Creates tight curls
+
Long-lasting results 
+
Heats up quickly

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't create loose curls

If it’s highly defined, tight curls that you’re after—turn your head to the latest ghd tool to join the curve collection. Featuring a super slim 14mm barrel, this magic wand creates bouncy spiral curls on all hair types and lengths—including super short hairstyles. 

We found it extremely easy to use—simply wrap a small section of hair around the barrel and hold it in place for a few seconds (note that the barrel features a cool tip) before releasing. Following Collier’s advice above, we found that alternating directions led to a more natural-looking, tousled finish. 

As with other ghd tools, this curling wand reaches a safe-to-hair (yet effective) temperature of 185°C that’s consistent across the entire wand thanks to the brand’s single-zone technology. What this means is that you get perfectly even curls. Additional features include a built-in safety stand, automatic sleep mode (after 60-minutes without use), and a long swivel cord. Because we curled in small sections, it’s worth noting that styling takes a little longer with this tool—but the results last for hours. 

Best curlers for short hair - Bionic 3-in-1

(Image credit: BioIonic)

7. BioIonic 3-in-1 Curler Wand

Best multi-use curler for short hair

Specifications

RRP: $149/£119
Barrel size: 1.25 inches
Temperature: Up to 220°C
Cord length: 9ft

Reasons to buy

+
Straightens and curls hair
+
Puts moisture back into the hair 
+
Space saving design 

Reasons to avoid

-
Large barrel may not work on super short hair

This clever tool is a brilliant space saver that will help to streamline your hair tool kit. Combing a flat iron with a curling wand, the double duty hero can create sleek styles as well as bouncy curls. How, exactly? Set to ‘curl’ and the plates will lock together so you can use the curved barrel as a curling wand. Or, set to ‘straight’ to unlock the plates for sleek, smooth looks.

While the barrel is fairly large for curling short hair, it does feature a clamp which helps to secure and hold each strand in place. We found that the clamp combined with the non-slip grip and cool tip made it possible to style short hair into loose, tousled curls. For extra volume at the root, we recommend using one of the best hair dryer brushes first. 

Asides from its impressive design, this curling tool features something called Nanolonic MX Technology—an infused mineral complex that helps hydrate hair with every pass. While we’re not 100% sure on how exactly that science works, we can confirm that our hair looked smoother and felt softer after use. 


How to use the best curlers for short hair

Want to learn how to curl hair with the best curlers for short hair? Follow Collier’s expert step-by-step guide below. His first tip? “Hair is best curled when it hasn’t just been freshly washed, so try using curlers the day after washday—this will help the curls to hold better.” Noted!

  • Step 1: “It’s essential to prep the hair with a heat protectant as heat damage is more apparent on short hair vs long hair.”
  • Step 2: “Take a hot barrel curler and wrap 1—1.5-inch strands of your hair around it, before letting hair loose after a few seconds.”
  • Step 3: “Keep curling in sections, working from the top down. Don’t stress if they’re slightly uneven as the more dishevelled they are, the more modern it will look. For natural-looking waves, leave out the very ends of your hair.”
  • Step 4: “Next, apply your favourite texture spray for extra hold and to add definition. I recommend the Jerome Russell Bstyled Wave & Salt Spray, £6.99.”
  • Step 5: “Flip your head forward, shake your curls, and run your fingers through them to loosen up the curl pattern.”
  • Step 6: “Work a pea-sized amount of hair oil, or serum through curled hair to diminish frizz and add an injection of moisture.” 

woman&home thanks Jason Collier, A-list hairstylist and Bblonde brand educator, for his time and expertise. 

Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.