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In the '90s and early '20s, crimped hair made an appearance at every red carpet event (and unforgettably, on Christina Aguilera in the 2001 "Lady Marmalade" music video). And because the trends of this era are experiencing a renaissance, you may have noticed that crimped hair is one again popular. If you're looking to try it out for yourself, you’re going to need the right hair tool. The best hair crimper for you will depend on the result you're after: If you want a textured crimped style with lots of volume (à la Xtina), a tool with smaller, 1-inch plates will be your best bet. A crimper with plates that are slightly wider (think 1.5 inches) will give you a slightly less dramatic result, while tools like deep wavers and and triple-barrel irons will produce more defined beachy waves.
What To Consider When Shopping For A Hair Crimper
Additionally, you'll want a crimping iron that allows you to adjust the temperature. And you may want to consider features like dual voltage (if you plan to use the tool while traveling internationally) and automatic shut-off, which will come in handy if you’re someone who always frets about whether or not you turned your curling iron off before you left the house.
How To Use Your Crimper
Before you start using your crimper, you'll want to prep your hair with a heat protectant to help limit the damage that heat styling tools can cause. If you have curly hair, you'll want to straighten it first so that your hair holds the crimping pattern uniformly. Once you're ready to crimp, brush through your hair to smooth through any knots and take a small section of your hair. Starting at the root, lightly clamp your hair between the plates of the crimper for just a few seconds and continue to clamp the crimper down to the tips of your hair. Repeat as desired, finishing with hairspray for hold.
- Start on a lower heat setting and only bump up the heat if needed (sticking with a low heat, if possible, will help you minimize the damage to your hair).
- Make sure you're opening the plates between crimping (dragging the crimper through your hair can cause it to snag or tear).
- The smaller you section your hair, the more dramatic the result will be.
- Starting at the root will add more volume.
Shop The Best Hair Crimpers
In a hurry? Here are the best hair crimpers:
- Best Micro Crimper: Hot Tools 1" Micro Crimper
- Best Classic Crimper: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Styling Crimper
- Best Deep Wave Crimper: Bed Head Wave Artist Deep Waver
- Best Triple Barrel Crimper: Conair Double Ceramic Triple Barrel Waver
- Best Multi-Use Crimper: Drybar The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron
1. Best Micro Crimper
The smaller plate size of this Hot Tools 1" Micro Crimper will give you the most defined waves possible. It will also add more texture and volume, especially if you start at the roots of your hair. The iron also uses pulse technology to keep the plates at a consistent temperature and evenly heated throughout.
Plate Size: 1-inch Maximum Temperature: 430° Fahrenheit Automatic Shut-Off: No Dual Voltage: No
2. Best Classic Crimper
For a slightly less tighter crimp style, you'll need a tool with larger plates (similarly to how a larger barrel on a curling wand will give you looser waves). BaBylissPRO’s Nano Titanium Styling Crimper features plates that are 1.5 inches wide and 5 inches long so that you can work with wider sections of your hair. This iron has more than 50 heat settings to choose from, but you'll definitely want to keep it at a lower setting because it uses titanium plates, which heat the hair from the surface and get very hot, very fast.
Plate Size: 1.5-inches Maximum Temperature: 450° Fahrenheit Automatic Shut-Off: No Dual Voltage: Yes
3. Best Deep Wave Crimper
Using a tool with barrels will give you waves that are more sculpted than your typical beachy look, but less intense than those achieved by a crimping plate. Bed Head’s Wave Artist Deep Waver has three heat settings (low, medium, and high), with the lowest setting being ideal for fine hair and the highest setting (which reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit) being better suited for thick hair. The tourmaline ceramic plates are great for reducing unwanted frizz and adding shine, and it will automatically shut off after one hour if you're prone to forgetting to unplug your styling tools.
Barrel Type: Deep Barrel Maximum Temperature: 400° Fahrenheit Automatic Shut-Off: Yes Dual Voltage: Yes
4. Best Triple Barrel Crimper
The triple barrel style of this tool from Conair helps to create continuous, uniform waves much faster than a traditional crimper because you can work in larger sections. There are 30 heat settings to choose from, and its double ceramic construction helps to add shine and keep the iron more evenly heated (another feature that cuts down on styling time).
Barrel Size: ¾-inch Maximum Temperature: 400 Degrees Fahrenheit Automatic Shut-Off: Yes Dual Voltage: No
5. Best Multi-Use Crimper
If you don't foresee yourself crimping your hair all that frequently, you might find it more practical to invest in a tool with interchangeable irons. A solid choice for anyone who likes to switch up their hair looks, Drybar's The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron comes with three different wand attachments. The triple barrel waver will be your best bet when you want a crimped, beachy style, but you can also snap on the 1.25-inch curling iron for classic, polished curls, or the 1-inch iron for undone waves. No matter which way you wave, each of the irons is coated with ceramic to reduce unwanted frizz and promote shine. They also use ionic and infrared technologies to leave hair feeling silky and ensure that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the iron.
Barrel Size: 0.75-inch Maximum Temperature: 450° Fahrenheit Automatic Shut-Off: Yes Dual Voltage: No
About The Author:
Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle Digital Group, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.