I'm pretty new to lash curling. I think probably for most, it sounds really stupid and unnecessary before you try it. Plus the contraption looks really scary, not like something you want near your eye. But once you try it of course you realize how completely necessary it is. After seeing what a curler can do for my lashes, I can't wear mascara without using one ever again.
For a while I was using just a cheap metal one I picked up at Ulta, and it seemed to work okay, although I had to be really really careful not to pinch myself. I just assumed that was how all eyelash curlers would be. But then some of my favorite beauty gurus kept talking about their favorite eyelash curlers, and it made me realize that maybe not all curlers are created equal. The beauty gurus recommended Shiseido and Kevin O'quan curlers, which are $19 and $21, respectively, and that seemed pretty steep. But I figured I HAD to buy one of these expensive kinds if I wanted quality.
Wrong. On a whim I picked up the Revlon extra curl lash curler, and it is amazing (and super cheap!). Somehow, it is pinch-proof. I'm thinking this has something to do with the fact this it fits better to the shape of my eye. But it's also light and gives a tighter and stronger squeeze than other more rickety curlers I've tried. Plus it just looks cool. All of which is to say that you don't have to go expensive! Just try a few until you find the right one, and don't settle for pinchy-ness.