Many proponents of ceramic curling irons claim that they are better for the hair because they conduct heat evenly across the barrel while releasing negative ions, thereby preventing frizzing. As the heating element brings the curling iron to the desired temperature, the ceramic exterior keeps hot spots from damaging sections of the hair by evenly distributing the heat. The surface of most of these devices is smooth and may be less likely to snag, break off, or pull out the hair. A debate as to whether they are really better than other curling irons, however, may simply come down to personal preference.
The different types of curling irons include ceramic, tourmaline, and metal-plated. People who prefer ceramic versions usually claim that applying hot metal directly to the hair can be damaging. Although tourmaline curling irons also release negative ions, they are made of costly materials that generally make them more expensive than their ceramic counterparts.
Ceramic curling irons are easy to use for most people. The irons tend to be lightweight enough for the user to maneuver them without tiring. They typically provide a tight grip on the hair without sticking when clamped, so they can be ideal for creating smooth curls. Another benefit of the ceramic version is that the negative ions will help repel dirt, which means that the hair can be washed less frequently without looking dirty.
Many professional hair stylists recommend ceramic tools to their clients because the irons are easy to use, gentle on the hair, and generally affordable. The amount of heat that they provide varies, based on the thickness, texture, and natural wave or curliness of the hair. Thinner hair usually needs less heat, while coarse, wavy hair may need more to produce the desired results. The curling irons that get the hottest work the quickest, but they are also more likely to do more damage to the hair.
Most curling irons come with a variety of settings to control how much heat is applied to the hair. Some of them also come with an automatic shutoff feature in case someone forgets to turn them off. Other features available may include a variety of barrel sizes for tighter or looser curls, brushes, and retractable or swivel cords. A safety feature that is available on some models is a cool tip on the end to help steady the curling iron without burning the fingers.