Tips on Triple Barrel Curling Tongs for Hair

Use a triple barrel curling iron to get waves like Zoe Saldana's -- she's at a Michael Kors opening in Los Angeles, California, in fall 2011.

Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Whether you call it a curling tong, iron or waver, the result is the same when you use this tool that has three barrels instead of one. You'll get sassy, sweet and smooth S-shaped waves. If you buy one of these products, don't think of it as a traditional curling iron. It is not. Unlike some curling tongs, this kind can only be used one way and only produce one type of result.

Before You Wave

Before you get started using triple barrel curling tongs, you should have a few things on hand. A heat protector spray or serum is a must before you blow dry and using heating tools. Heat protectors help seal your hair against damage. Look on the label: Some of these are meant to be used on damp and wet hair, while others can be used on dry hair. Have a light- to medium-hold hairspray handy. This will help lock in your waves and keep them bouncing and set all day long. You'll need hair clips to keep sections of your hair out of the way while you use the curling tongs on bottom sections. You'll need to use the tongs on dry, mostly straight hair for best results.

Proper Technique

Turn your waver on and let it heat up. Most tools will only take seconds. If you have fine hair, use a low heat setting. If you have thick or coarse hair, you'll need medium or high heat. Clip up the topmost sections of your hair, leaving the bottom layer down. Grab a thin section of hair and clamp it in the iron. If your triple barrel curler doesn't have a top clamp, then weave your section of hair in and out of the tongs' barrels. Let your hair sit for 15 seconds and release. If you wove your locks in and out of the tongs, move on to the next section. If you clamped them in, you'll have to move further down your section of hair and repeat the process until the whole section is waved. Let down your top layer and repeat.

Iron Materials

Heat tools are traditionally made with metal barrels, tongs and plates. Metal doesn't always heat evenly, meaning longer styling time and hot spots that can burn your hair. Look for curling irons of ceramic, tourmaline or titanium. All of these materials use negative ions for faster, smoother drying; they heat evenly and have a smooth surface that prevents hair getting tangled or damaged.

More Curling Tools

Triple barrel curling irons and tongs aren't the only way to get waves in your hair. They produce a medium sized wave that's totally uniform throughout. Crimping irons, another option, produce a very small, shallow wave throughout your hair. It's an '80s look that makes a comeback every so often. Deep waving irons have only one barrel that has a high hump in the middle. They produce a wave that's curvier and more dramatic than triple barrel wavers and crimpers. If you want a loose wave, you can try wrapping sections of hair around a single barrel curling iron. The bigger the iron's barrel, the looser the wave.

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