9 Hair Curling Tools, Tongs, Wands And Rollers To Help You Get Your 80s On

·4-min read
Photo credit: Matteo Scarpellini
Photo credit: Matteo Scarpellini

Curly, voluminous hair is forever having a moment, but with a serious 80s comeback hitting the runways and the natural hair movement well in its stride, curly hair is back in a big way.

Saying that, for those of us not blessed with natural Alanna Arrington-esque locks, perfectly curly hair can be pretty hard to achieve.

Never fear, the ELLE beauty team are here (as always) to help. From curling wands, to heated rollers and beyond, we've tested them all so you don't have to.

The Best Hair Rollers

Rollers have come a long way since those spongy little pink numbers. These heat up in just four seconds (pop them into the pod and it'll alert you once ready) and come in various sizes so you can create a range of different curls for a more natural, modern finish.

'Rollers are good at being kind to the hair and are great at creating height and volume', says TONI&GUY Creative Director Cos Sakkas.

Impressive results, hence the price tag.

Try... The O Ultimate Set - £169 SHOP NOW

Which hair curling tongs are the best?

If you're not au fait with working a million noodle-esque rollers, or it all feels just a little too Coronation Street for your more modern curls, you need to get your hands on a tong.

'Find the right sized wand to suit your natural curl and length and always make sure the curl has completely cooled down before dressing out for a longer lasting hold,' says Sakkas.

The question is, which ones are the best?

The Best Curling Tongs

The ELLE Favourite Curling Tong

The ghd Creative Curl Wand is an all-time favourite in the ELLE Beauty Cupboard. This wand's tapered conical shape and squared off edges deliver loose easy waves, every time. Not a dodgy bridesmaid corkscrew curl in sight and seriously easy to use.

ghd Creative Curl Wand - £129 SHOP NOW

The Best Curling Tong For Disco Curls

After several seasons making waves on the catwalk, 80s perm-style curls (Note: the real life perm has also had a 2019 overhaul) have filtered down to the high street. This ultra-thin chopstick-style curling wand creates properly tight, disco curls. And let's be honest, the name sounds delicious too.

Lee Stafford Corkscrew Curls Super Skinny Styler - £20 SHOP NOW

Photo credit: .
Photo credit: .

The Best Hair Curling Wand

With five heat settings and three interchangeable barrels, flitting between beachy waves and bouncy curls requires minimal effort. Genius.

Oh, and Blake Lively uses it. *Immediately adds to basket*

T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand - £240 SHOP NOW

The Best Hair Curlers If You Like Options...

The width of the end compared to the base on this conical wand means you can really play around and experiment with shapes. For tighter curls use the tip, for bigger ones go for the base, and for waves wrap hair around from base to tip.

Either way, a tapered wand means you'll avoid that weird uniform corkscrew curl that feels more Bo Peep than Beyoncé.

Babyliss Curling Wand Pro - £24.90 SHOP NOW

The Most Reliable Hair Curling Tongs

If you prefer a more traditional tong with a clamp then these are up there with some of the best. The adjustable temperature dial means you can avoid heat frazzled curls and basically every backstage hair pro uses them, Kim K's go-to stylist Jen Atkin included.

Hershesons Tourmaline Professional Waving Tong - £98 SHOP NOW

The Best Curling Tongs For Loose Curls And Natural Waves

Photo credit: .
Photo credit: .

It might look like a daunting mix between a garden fork and a crimping iron, but this genius wave-making iron works a treat at delivering natural looking waves, rather than super tight curls.

It's so good, in fact, that legendary hairstylist Sam McKnight used them to create the 70s disco-meets-marcel-waves backstage at Halpern.

Babyliss Deep Waves - £50 SHOP NOW

The Best Curling Tongs For Big Curls And Bouncy Volume


If it's big, bouncy, volume you're after, then this tong – with its 32mm thick barrel - is a good way to go. Plus, all ghd stylers feature patented Trizone technology (the Platinum + styler actually features Ultra Zone technology that encompasses the whole plate, just saying...), which basically means the heat is always evenly spread all the way down the barrel, for reliably consistent curls.

ghd Curve Soft Curl Tong - £129 SHOP NOW

The Best Hair Curler For Thick Hair

The lazy girl's dream curling tool – so quick, so easy.

Section off a small piece of hair (this is key as going too big could mean your hair getting stuck), place it in position and watch it disappear into the device (don't panic, that's supposed to happen).

Here, in the 'ceramic curl chamber', it'll be heated from all angles before releasing a curl. We found it to work best with sleek, straight hair or to tame coarse unruly hair into perfect curls.

Babyliss Curl Secret - £120 SHOP NOW

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