What I tried: Conair 1.25-inch Instant Heat Curling Iron
What I paid: $12 (looks like it’s on sale on Walmart.com)
Right before Valentine’s Day, I visited my new favorite salon to get my hair color updated. When my color was all done, my stylist dried and curled my hair. The crazy thing was that she was able to curl my entire head of hair in about 5 minutes. Normally when I curl my hair, I have to separate it into sections: bottom left, top left, bottom right, top right, bottom back, top back. My stylist didn’t section off my hair at all — she just took big pieces and went to town.
Since I was mostly in awe, I didn’t think to ask her what kind of curling iron she was using, but I did notice that it was either a 1.25-inch or 1.5-inch barrel. I decided that’s what I needed (I currently use a 1-inch barreled curling iron).
So I started doing research, and came to this conclusion: all curling irons have people who love them and people who hate them. There is no curling iron (in my price range) that gets 100% perfect scores. So that wasn’t helpful at all. I decided I didn’t want to spend much money, so I went to Walmart and bought the only 1.25-inch barrel there. It was the Conair Instant Heat. The curling iron I currently use, that I actually really love, is also Conair, so I figured I would be in good hands while also spending next to nothing.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
While the Conair has 25 heat settings, the hottest setting really doesn’t get that hot. I thought maybe I had the dial going the opposite direction so I re-read the instruction manual, only to learn that I was correct. Maybe I’m spoiled because of the CHI straightener I have, which gets pretty close to the temps I imagine you’d find in Hell. Seriously, that thing could severely burn someone if not handled carefully.
Anyway, the Conair was nowhere near Hades heat, which meant it definitely wasn’t going to curl my hair without sectioning things off. Not only does this mean I have to spend more time than I’d hoped, it also means I wasn’t getting the desired curl look: loose curls. Since I had to section things off, the curls were pretty tight. I could have just used my 1-inch barrel if I’d wanted that look…
Other than that, the iron is fine. The controls are easy to use; the handle is relatively comfortable to hold. The clamp seems a little stiff right now, but it seems like all styling tools loosen up after you’ve used them quite a few times. If it weren’t for the heat issue, I’d probably like this iron.
Oh, I should mention that it has a “turbo” heat button, which the instructions say provide quick bursts of intense heat for the “hard to style” areas. I have zero use for that. I want intense heat ALL the time! Maybe mine is a lemon.
Would I recommend this product? Not if you want high heat or fast styling. If you’re looking for a 1.25-inch barreled iron and relatively tight curls, then I’d say sure.