John Frieda Tight Curls review

The John Frieda Tight Curls styler works well on a range of hair types, and creates barrel curls through to beachy waves.

John Frieda Tight Curls review
(Image: © John Frieda)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The smooth ceramic surface and ergonomic handle of the John Frieda Curling Wand makes it easy and fast to style a range of hair types. We also like its strong clamp, which is perfect for holding longer, thicker hair during curling.


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    Works on a range of hair types

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    Creates a variety of curls and waves

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    Decent temperature control


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    Waves tend to drop out quickly

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The John Frieda Tight Curls styler packs a lot of decent features into a reasonably priced package. Our panel of testers loved the effect it created and generally found it easy to be one of the best curling irons for use on a variety of hair types. The Tight Curls heats up fast and has the widest temperature range of any curling iron we reviewed, which ensures you use the right setting for your specific hair type.

The John Frieda Tight Curls styler stands out for having a tip that stays pretty cool – not room temperature, but close – during styling. Some of the other devices we tested have tips that are just slightly cooler than the barrels themselves, which makes it hard to comfortably style your hair when using higher heat settings. In our John Frieda Tight Curls, we look at the styler's design, features and performance to help you decide if it's right for your hair.

For further hair styling content, check out our guides to the best hair dryers, as well as the best hair clippers and the best electric head shavers for cutting and shaving your own hair at home.

John Frieda Tight Curls review: Design

The tight clip and ultra-smooth barrel coating of the John Frieda Tight Curls styler work together to effectively curl hair without damaging it. The clip is strong enough to keep hair in the right position and prevents it from slipping out of place on the super-smooth surface. The barrel’s specialized surface is coated with ceramic titanium designed to distribute heat and prevent hot spots that can damage delicate hair. 

One drawback to a super-strong clip is that it makes it harder to create loose curls because the hair doesn’t easily slide through when you want it to. With a little practice, you can create loose curls with this hair curler, though you may have to modify your method a little. You could also just buy John Frieda’s bigger-barreled version of this curling iron. 

This model made perfect traditional curls practically every time we used it, regardless of hair type – our testers said it created the "perfect ringlet" and "a good curl." The Farouk Chi Arc curling iron is another top performer with consideration.

The curler’s truly wide temperature range means you can choose a heat setting that curls your hair without damaging it. This matters for people of all hair types, but especially for those who have fine hair, which can burn at high temperatures. In addition, you can depend on the Tight Curls to actually be the temperature it says it is, or at least really close – something that can’t be said about all of its competitors.

John Frieda Curling Wand review

(Image credit: John Frieda)

John Frieda Tight Curls review: Performance

We found that the curls didn’t hold as well over time as some of its competitors’, but it did better than at least half of the other curlers we tested. The curls didn't really start to lose their shape until about the fifth hour of the test, which is a decent run that can get you through many special occasions. You can extend the hold by using the right styling product – we did our timed test product-free.

This hair curler was the easiest to use of the bunch we tested, and our testers generally loved it. It is comfortable to hold, and because the trigger for the clip is close to the handle, your thumb doesn’t have to move far to manipulate it; this is unlike many other models we tested, which require some serious stretching.

The Tight Curls has a long, swiveling cord so you don't feel too tethered to your outlet while you style your hair. In addition, its digital display is much easier to read than the dials on much of the competition. Since the temperature controls and on/off switch are right where you hold the curling iron, you may inadvertently change the settings, but you would have to grip the handle really hard to make that happen.

John Frieda's Curling Wand has all the most important safety features, including automatic shut-off in case you forget about it on a busy morning. It also has an elevated rest and a heat-resistant mat you can place under it to protect your countertops.

Should you buy the John Frieda Tight Curls?

All the curling irons we tested curl hair, but not all of them do it as well as theJohn Frieda Tight Curls styler on such a variety of hair types. It also has an easy-to-use design, with a strong clamp that handles lock and thick hair. The barrel’s smooth ceramic coating is engineered to protect your hair from heat damage and frizz caused by styling with heat.

Angie Parkinson

A contracted writer for TTR, Angie has been reviewing vacuum cleaners, countertop appliances and other home goods for more than eight years. Her spare time often goes to planning improvements for her quirky 103-year-old home or hiking in the gorgeous Utah mountains. In her past role, she was a newspaper journalist and she has a bachelor's degree in Technical Writing.