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Curling irons?

I am going on a study abroad to Eastern Europe and wanted to bring a curling iron but I hear a lot of bad stories regarding fuses and curling irons don't mix. I then thought why not use a travel cordless, but you cannot bring a second refill. So what do you do? I have some business type conferences, meetings I have to go to and I have to be "business casual" but look nice at the same time. So what would be my other choices?

My other option is to purchase curlers (rollers) and bring those along.

Posted by
6774 posts

Your other other option is to buy one over there. To simplify, the problem with US curling irons and hairdryers is that they are designed for different electrical currents than what is used in Europe, and not always compatible, to the extent you can create a fire hazard, not just a blown fuse.

Posted by
2353 posts

Buy one when you get there. That way you have one intended to function on 220V.

Posted by
2487 posts

Or buy a dual-voltage before your trip, with the advantage you have more opportunity to make a choice and you can use it back home (provided you don't forget to switch from 120V to 240V in time).

Posted by
1780 posts

Hi, I have a dual-voltage curling iron from Target that I've used on my last three trips to Europe with no problem. It does heat up quickly, but no problems with setting the hotels on fire. You'll need a plug adapter (https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/european-power-adapter), but no voltage converter.

I have been kicking around the idea of just buying a curling iron in Europe and that is probably what I'd do in your situation.

Posted by
1176 posts

I can only tell you what I experienced and did. I bought a blow dryer in Florence and a curling iron in Paris. I cannot live without both. I would do a few things if I were you. Bring an adapter and the curling iron and bring the curlers if you know how to use them. You may have to practice using them before the business trip. I would bring the above but when I got there I would look for a curling iron. I highly recommend buying a curling iron as you can use it in other countries and it will give you a piece of mind that you won't have to worry about the converter or the curling iron overheating. Eastern Europe is not backwards by any means but if you cannot find a curling iron then you have back up. I just worry that you may not find a curling iron and given that this is a business trip you may not have the time to hunt one down. I feel your pain, I have been there! I also bought a curling iron in London as there plugs are different from the ones in Europe.

Posted by
2040 posts

I have a basic Revlon curling iron. It's dual voltage and does not require me to do anything but plug in the adapter. It's worked all over Europe with no issues.

Posted by
2326 posts

I have a dual-voltage Conair curling brush that works great, just be sure you have a plug adapter with you. A word of caution: sometimes these devices will get hotter than anticipated so curl for a bit less time until you're sure how it's working, wouldn't want to end up with burnt hair.

Posted by
119 posts

A few years ago on a trip to New Zealand my friend thought she would buy a curling iron when we got there. After running around to departments stores and drugstores we had not found one that had the barrel size she needed. We saw the velcro rollers in a drugstore and she bought those instead and they worked fine even for someone who had not used them before. They do not require clips or pins to hold in place and come in several sizes. I once found them in a dollar store for guess what--a dollar for a pack of 8 or 10. If you can buy them ahead of time to try before you go that could be a good solution and they weigh practically nothing.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you - wow I did not anticipate so many responses. This is a study abroad (business + fun) but I want to be ready for those times that we have to be "business" so I do not look like a slob. I want to present myself like I would in a business setting. I am thinking of bringing curlers and then see if I can find a curling iron when I am over. But I will look at the places you guys suggested first to see what I can come up with. Thank you so much. I may be back for other questions as well. I have an orientation and that should help but I like to be prepared much longer than what they have planned for me. Doing this through my school program so this should be fun.

Posted by
2737 posts

yes either buy once you get there (shopping for stuff can be quite an adventure in itself) or buy a 220V iron on Amazon before you go and just make sure you have all the different shaped plug adapters with you. You DO NOT want to use things like transformers and converters, that is so '80s (and not in a good/cool way).

Posted by
18373 posts

I have looked and looked, and I have never found a hair dryer or curling/straightening iron sold in this country (particularly from Amazon) that bears the CE mark, or that even meets European safety standards. If you get one here, it cannot have a polarized plug (ie., one blade wider than the other). If you can plug it into a two-pin Europlug, it is probably too high a wattage (more than 575) for the legal limits of that type of plug adapter (devices in Europe that pull more than 2½ amps must have grounding plugs. So my advice is, get it there.

"I have a dual-voltage curling iron from Target that I've used on my last three trips to Europe with no problem."

I've driven over a hundred miles/hr with no problem, so don't pay attention to speed limits.

Posted by
119 posts

I forgot to provide directions for using the velcro rollers in case you decide to take them with you. First, dry your hair, do not put them in your wet hair. Put the rollers in your dry hair and then use the hair dryer to heat your hair and set the curl. Leave in 5 or 10 minutes while you finish getting dressed or while you put your makeup on. Sometimes I use a small amount of water misted on my hair either before I put the rollers in or just before applying the heat from the dryer to your rolled hair. You could take an empty tiny plastic bottle with mister nozzle and just put water in it when you are in your room.

Posted by
2737 posts

Watch out for Lee when driving in Colorado, he's the one going crazy fast with non-curly hair

Posted by
18373 posts

Actually, my hair is already pretty curly. But I don't use a US straightening iron in Europe either. Actually, I did over a hundred mph in my 240Z in Nevada, back when the speed limit was "reasonable and proper". Blew by a state trooper at 110, and he never blinked.

But I'm saying, just because you've gotten away with something unsafe in the past, doesn't mean you should continue doing it. Before I got the grounding Schuko adapters, I put an ordinary Europlug on my US three-prong grounding plug. The round pin fit next to the adapter, in the air, but it worked. I'm not going to do that anymore, either.

Posted by
18373 posts

Did you read the safety instructions that came with the culing iron?

This appliance has a polarized plug (one blade is wider than the
other). As a safety feature, this plug will fit in a polarized outlet
only one way.

Except for Switzerland and France (some places), continental European receptacles are not polarized.

Posted by
1 posts

I have been living in Glasgow for seven months. I did some research and ended up buying a Bellezza 4 in 1 curling iron set on Amazon (via comparaboo.com/best-curling-irons). It seems to me it did what it supposed to and completely satisfied me. Has anyone used it as well?

Posted by
17 posts

I have to add to this. I'm traveling to Italy and Spain soon. I am so confused about electronics!! Ugh. I have a tiny little travel blow dryer (hotel dryers are never adequate) with 125/250 voltage. Will this be okay? And apparently, the flat iron I use is polarized (two different sized prongs), so I should buy a new flat iron with a voltage converter? I have no intention of shopping for one when I get to Rome, so I need to do this state side. And would I be able to use both with the two-pronged plug that's been spoken of previously?

Posted by
31510 posts

marsha,

If your hair dryer is designed for 115 / 230 VAC, then it should work fine in Europe with just a Plug Adaptor. However, if it uses a switch to select the voltage, DON'T forget to set that before using the dryer.

The Plugs on most (if not all) North American appliances are polarized (one blade wider than the other), so it won't do any good to buy another flat iron as it will also have a polarized plug. Do NOT use a flat iron with a Voltage Converter, as you may have "unpleasant" results (possibly involving smoke and flames). Some manufacturers (I believe Chi is one) specifically prohibit use of their products with a voltage convertor. I won't bother elaborating on the technical reasons for that unless you're interested.

With the flat iron, I'd suggest either.....

  • buying a dual-voltage model before leaving home.
  • buy a 230 VAC model when you arrive in Europe.
  • dispense with the flat iron when travelling in Europe.
Posted by
18373 posts

I don't recommend using appliances with polarized plugs in Europe at all, but if you do, do not leave it plugged in when not in use. I took apart a US hair curler with a polarized plug. The switch was only on the "hot" side of the input, so a short to ground in the curler could only trip a breaker, not turn it on and start a fire. If plugged into a non-polarized source, a short internally could cause it to turn on unattended.