Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
There are a few things about myself of which I’m unequivocally proud: my spaghetti carbonara recipe, my fortitude while performing my own bikini waxes, and my ability to curl my hair in a way that says “tousled European” instead of “pageant escapee.”
The item that makes this extremely minor superpower possible is my trusty Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron. I actually have two — one with a three-fourth-inch barrel for more defined curls, and one with a one-inch barrel for bigger waves. (This was not done on purpose — the larger barrel is a holdover from when I had much longer hair, but it’s served me well even at shoulder length.)
The iron heats up instantly, as the name implies, and also evenly; I only need to wrap my hair around the barrel for about 10 to 15 seconds to get the shape and hold I need. It took some getting used to, and more than a few nights where I absolutely looked like an extra from a high school production of 42nd Street, but now I keep the three-fourth-inch barrel in my bag at all times for transformations and touch-ups. I prep with a few sprays of R + Co ONE, finish with even fewer sprays of bumble + bumble Thickening Hairspray, shake my whole head out and go.
And here is a life hack, if you’re in the market: To avoid that annoying crease that comes from getting your hair caught in the clip, simply unscrew said clip and use the curling iron as a wand. The odds of burning your fingers are slightly higher (since you have to keep a grip on the lock of hair), but I’ve found that the whole process goes much more quickly and smoothly, and what is life without a little fear of getting burned?