I can still remember when I bought my first flat iron. That was in the PBE (pre-beauty editor) era, and I would not be exaggerating to say that it changed my life. Upon the recommendation of my longtime hairdresser, it was a Chi—and I'm not sure why I'm referring to it in past tense because the thing is still going strong almost a decade later.
These days, however, the whole hair tools category is so much more advanced. Back in the day, just to have a ceramic flat iron was a big deal... but now, you can buy ionic, keratin-infused, tourmaline, temperature-controlled, ergonomically-crafted everything. In fact, over the past couple of months, an unusually high number of hair tools have crossed my beauty desk—and a few are so neat, I need to tell you about them. Today. Ready?
The DIY Brazilian Blowout
KeratinPerfect 30-Day Brazilian Hair Smoothing System (at Sephora)
As a straight-haired, not-really-frizz-challenged person, I've been quietly ignoring all the talk of Brazilian blowouts and keratin straightening, since I don't really have a dog in this fight. But this new at-home system caught my attention. It gives you 30 days of smoother, stronger, frizz-free hair using keratin and silk collagen proteins—so, you know, without the whole health-compromising formaldehyde thing. (As far as I can tell, it looks like it does the job using silicones—so I'd say it's a safer bet, although less effective, obvi, than salon straightening treatments.)
The process takes just one hour. You prep with a clarifying shampoo before combing in the smoothing treatment, which you need to give 10 minutes to process. Then you blow-dry and go over your entire head of hair with the flat iron provided to seal in the keratin (apparently this is the most important step). It also comes with a shampoo, conditioner and "replenishing spray" for maintenance. Again, I haven't tried it... although it does say it works on all hair types including colour-treated and chemically damaged hair... and the reviews over at Sephora are impressive. Just be aware that if your hair is fine or straight, the silicone content could make your hair more weighed down and less able to hold curl. Some peeps have reported dryness as well.
The Multi-Tasking Styling Iron
Rowenta Versa Style Professional Straightening & Styling Iron (at salons)
This one is absolutely my new favourite hair tool—it's definitely giving the aforementioned Chi some serious competition. That's because I've been trying to achieve this look—
—for AGES now, and I've finally found a way to do it. (Yes, the smiley face was absolutely necessary here because this pic was otherwise Not Cute.) Anyway, this is officially my new thing: waves instead of Hollywood curls. So much more modern, dontcha think? The Rowenta makes it so easy. The secret is that the edges of the iron are curved, so you don't get any kinks. For the waves, all you need to do is work your way down the hair shaft, starting a few inches from the top, and clamping it as you flip the hair backward and forward. (I'm probably not explaining it right, but there are instructions that come with.) You can also do all the other usual things: straightening, curls, etc. I've also used it to curl the ends under, Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface-style. But the wave technique is hands down the best.
The Volumizing Hot-Air Brush
John Frieda Salon Shape 1 ½” Volume Hot Air Unit (at Walmart)
John Frieda recently came out with a line of hair tools, and this one is definitely the most exciting. For anyone who has struggled with blow-drying their hair with a round brush, this is like the ultimate two-in-one. It's basically an oversized round brush that emits air through the bristles. There are two different heat settings and one cool one. It's absolutely fantastic for giving your locks a lift at the root—because unless you're pulling the hair away from the scalp before it dries flat, no volumizing product's gonna help you. I also love it for delivering a super-smooth finish, and you can also curl the ends under for a DIY blown-out look.
The No-Dents Curling Rod
Go by FHI Heat Ceramic Tourmaline Curling Rod (at salons)
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I try to curl my hair and give myself telltale dents from the clamp of the iron. You don't get that problem with this tool, because it's clamp-free! Simply wrap your hair around the rod and hold it in place. How do you do that without burning your hand off, you ask? Well, it also comes with this:
Honestly, it's super easy to use—MUCH easier than a regular curling iron which I will shamefully admit I've always had trouble with. I heats up really quickly and I got great, soft waves from it (although if you were less lazy than I am, you could definitely get tighter curls). I have to say that I like it better than the KQC Swirl that I reviewed here.
The Healthy-Hair Blowdryer
Joico K-Pak Quadraion Hair Dryer (at salons)
So we all know (I hope) that blow-drying isn't the greatest thing for our hair. But we still do it, so here's a new way to make it less damaging. Joico have come out with the first keratin hair dryer. Yep, it actually releases keratin molecules, along with negative ions, to help reduce frizz and damage while increasing shine. Even better: it also reduces drying time.
How exciting are all of these tools? VERY. Tell me:
Do you let your hair air-dry or are you a regular user of heat stylers?
Have you tried any of these ones yet?
What's your all-time favourite hair tool?