Hair Clinic: What's a marcel curling iron?


What’s a marcel curling iron? Is it better than a regular curling iron? - Megan via email

If you only knew how many people asked this one – tons – and it’s a great question because I would guess that most people haven’t really thought about it and probably think a Marcel curling iron is the same as every other curling iron. But…hold on… it isn’t!
If you have ever used a curling iron before, chances are you used a spring curling iron. This is a curling iron that has a spring loaded mechanism that requires the user to keep a constant grip pressure on the handle when styling to keep the hair around the barrel of the iron. A marcel curling iron does not have this spring loaded mechanism. Hmmm. So how does it work?

Marcel curling irons usually have a lever design with a locking/unlocking device to hold the hair around the barrel. Instead of holding it closed with a constant grip as for a spring curling iron, with a marcel iron you usually rotate the lever to open, insert the hair, and then rotate it again to close the iron. This is what creates the secure hold of your hair against the barrel. Sounds good when you think about it, but when you are doing your own hair, this maneuver could get seriously tricky for most ordinary users (ahem, I mean anyone who isn’t a professional stylist).

A marcel curling iron was originally designed for professional stylists so they have ultimate control when styling. They also have the best angle when styling someone else’s hair.

Unless you’re super coordinated and really understand the iron, I’d leave the marcel curling iron to the pros and stick with a spring curling iron. You never want to be in a situation where your hair is against a smoking hot curling iron for longer than it should be because you can’t unlock the do-hickey. The thought of ‘locking’ your hair against anything hot is not something to take lightly in my book.

Thanks Megan!

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