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The $10 Curling Iron I Take With Me Everywhere

Although at that price, I could probably leave one at my house AND my desk.

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Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron
Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron ($10)

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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?

Shop It Here Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron, $10