Pros / Having an internal barrel eliminates a lot of the normal fire hazard and burn risk associated with curling irons.
Cons / There is a learning curve because the Curl Secret is so different from most hair curlers.
Verdict / The Curl Secret is too complicated for everyday use and the curls don't last, but the distinctive curls might be fun for a special occasion.
Conair's Curl Secret is one of the few curling irons we tested that incorporate new ideas, and that is refreshing in a family of products that has evolved little in decades. This unit pulls your hair into a chamber and spins it around a heated, internal barrel rather than making you wrap your own hair around a large, exposed barrel. Most of our testers didn't like the design, though, and the curl didn't last very long. However, the shape of the curl was unique and might be nice for special occasions.
There are some risks for your hair with this design. One of our testers jammed this curling iron and almost lost a section of hair when it wrapped incorrectly and would not release. It took two people to get the hair out, and it was on the heated barrel too long. This could have led to burning off or tearing out the entire section of hair. As it was, there were a few lost hairs, torn out in the removal process, and some of the hair that was stuck was burned but not burned off. There was also a permanent alteration of that hair's texture and some tense moments. A few other testers also got their hair caught in this one, though not for that long. The testers with long and curly hair had the most problems with this design. A safer option is the Xtava curling iron.
People liked the unique curls it makes, though. It forms soft ringlets, but they don't last and you have to take such small sections that curling your whole head would take a very long time. Also, there was a steep learning curve for testers of all hair types, especially when compared with the more traditional units in our curling iron reviews. One tester said it was too complicated to use and slightly terrifying. Another mentioned having to look at a tutorial to even know how to use it.
One nice thing about the Curl Secret's unique design is that it automatically eliminates some of the safety concerns that trouble even the best hair curlers. For example, because there are no exposed surfaces, it would be really hard to accidently burn yourself if you forget to turn it off and brush up against it. No exposed surfaces also eliminates the need for a glove while you are wrapping your hair around the barrel. The design also makes an elevated rest unnecessary because the internal barrel can't touch the countertop. This curling iron is much more dangerous to your hair than others, though, if it wraps wrong.
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We can't recommend this curling iron for everyday use for most people. Even if you have the right type of hair for it – medium length and straight – the styling process is very long because it only takes small sections at a time. There is a risk of jamming it with any hair type, too, which could cause permanent damage. The curls it makes are pretty, though, so if you have the time and patience to get good at it you might enjoy the Curl Secret for special occasions.