If you’re like me, you love a head full of curls. If you’re also like me — someone who unfortunately wasn’t born with curly hair — you’ll do just about anything to achieve those enviable spirals. As such, I’ve gotten my hands (and my hair) on everything from traditional curling irons and sleek, clamp-free wands to self-spinning devices that claim to create effortless curls with a single press of a button. While some tools (well, one — wands) work wonders to create long-lasting, Elle Woods-inspired tresses, others leave me with unintentional crimps and burns, paired with curls that fall flat within minutes. In other words, not exactly #HairGoals. Unsatisfactory experiences aside, I’m always game to try a new hot tool that promises the hot hair look I forever crave. Which leads me to my latest adventure in beauty: CHI’s new Volcanic Lava Ceramic Pro Spin N Curl ($140).

The CHI Volcanic Lava Spin N Curl held by Brit + Co's beauty editor, Rebecca Norris.

The tool is designed to create flawless waves and curls in just four seconds per one-inch section. The ultra-fast curl speed is thanks to a chamber made of some of the most effective heat conducting materials found on earth: ceramics infused with volcanic lava powder derived from actual lava rocks. And with ceramic part of the equation, the brand promises not only lightning-fast, top-quality curls, but a high-shine finish too. To find out if this much-anticipated extension of the ever-popular CHI collection is actually worth the hype, I did what any reliable beauty editor would do: I unboxed the tool, plugged it in, and tried it out for myself. Read on for all the hair-happy deets.


Brit + Co's beauty editor, Rebecca Norris, holding the CHI Lava Spin N Curl pre-review.

Okay, so I have to be honest: One look at the Spin N Curl design and I was intimidated AF. I’ve tried my fair share of rotating hair tools that tangle my tresses and haphazardly rip chunks out. So, the idea of yet again putting my hair at the liberty of an electronic spinning device seemed like a recipe for disaster, even after reading the instructions three times. That’s because unlike other supposedly fuss-free curling irons, this one has a chamber that surrounds the actual wand. So, while I could easily un-clamp other spinning wands, this one would be trickier to detangle, potentially leading to burned-off bits. Nevertheless, I pressed forward and started to curl my hair.

The tulip-shaped chamber may look confusing at first, but once you lay your hair across the valley (the directions recommend doing so in one-inch sections) and press the left- or right-pointing arrow, the curl process proceeds in a straightforward way. The chamber pulls your hair in, wrapping it around the wand in the direction of the arrow button you press, and stops spinning after a few seconds once a sensor recognizes that there’s nothing left to curl. From there, your hair is heated through for a few seconds, at which point a four-second timer sounds off, alerting you that it’s time to gently pull the tool down to release the curl. I’ll admit that I didn’t think this method was going to work much magic for my fine, hard-to-curl hair, but y’all, how wrong I was.


Brit + Co's beauty editor, Rebecca Norris, wearing loose messy curls thanks to the CHI Lava Spin N Curl.

After the first four seconds of curling, I was honestly shocked to see that the chamber lived up to its big claims. That initial one-inch section of hair looked shiny, perfectly curled, and totally crimp- and frizz-free. As with any true test, it takes more than one review, so I curled my entire head of hair, continually pressing the left-facing button. At the end of the curling session, I flipped my hair to loosen the debutante-style curls, hoping for a more effortless, beach wave effect, and came to a few conclusions.

First off, I love that this curling tool leaves little room for error. Since the actual curl mechanism is housed within the decorative chamber, there’s pretty much zero chance you’ll burn yourself while attempting to curl your hair. Second, unlike other rotating curling tools, the CHI Lava knows when enough is enough and stops spinning at just the right moment each and every time. While it’s a bit nerve-wracking at first to put your trust in a tool, this one seems to have a firm grasp on healthy hair styling practices. Third, it’s the ultimate lazy-girl hair styling accessory. Where regular curling requires really paying attention to your hair and the amount of time you apply heat to it, this product takes out all the guesswork.

One thing I’d note, however, is that it’s probably a good idea to do a curl test before doing your whole head. When I curl my hair with a wand, I always curl back toward the back of my head so that it flows really nicely away from my face. Since this chamber is more about buttons than actually maneuvering your hand a certain way, that totally escaped me, and I ended up curling my hair towards the front of my head. Anyways, after a good hair flip, it looked like the effortless waves I wish I woke up with, especially when I pulled them up into a voluminous pony. But next time I’ll definitely switch directions for a free-falling good hair day.

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