When it comes to purchasing hair tools, especially ones that use mane-damaging heat, it’s important to be selective. That said, the cost of a product does not always indicate its effectiveness. In this Luxe vs. Less, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorite tools, all at drastically different prices. Each one works well in it’s own right, so it’s up to you to decide what to splurge and what to save on.
And don’t forget—heat styling is damaging regardless of the tools you use, so always spray your hair first with a heat protectant. We love John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease Thermal Protection Formula Hair Serum, $10, which contains a specially formulated gloss to shield your strands from color-fading, breakage, split ends, and dehydration.
Personally, this is a tool I’d definitely spend big bucks on—I’m DryBar obsessed. It’s the same tool they use in the salons, so it’s definitely top notch. It contains a fast drying 1875 watt motor, three temperatures with two speed settings, a self-locking cool shot button, as well as negative ions that seal cuticles, condition, and leave hair feeling clean and fresh. Plus, it’s super lightweight.
For $52, this dryer will give your hair an ion-induced, cuticle-sealing, soft and silky blowout. It also boats a 1875 watt motor, two speed settings, and three heat settings. It’s much heavier than the DryBar’s Buttercup model, so you may experience styling fatigue, but it’s definitely got the basics that are necessary for a fast, sleek and damage-controlled drying experience.
ROUND BARREL STYLING BRUSHES
Using a good, round-barreled brush is key for achieving a decent at-home blowout, as well as minimizing damage such as hair breakage. Vented brushes like this one are particularly good for speeding up drying time and giving you greater style control, as the hollow center directs the airflow right to where you want it. In addition, the boar-nylon combo bristles are slightly raised, which pulls hair into the brush gently and results in a smoother and more polished texture.
Conair’s brush is made of 100% boar bristles rather than a nylon/boar bristle mix—which means while they’re a bit better at closing the hair cuticle, they’re also not as stiff, so they may bend a bit more than desired. Still, this brush has a lot of other great attributes, including Tourmaline Ionic Technology, which pretty much ensures a shiny blowout, as well as a comfy gel handle that conforms to you hand. It’s also vented, like the Tricomi model. Honestly, I’m not sure why this is the cheaper option.
This titanium-plated flat iron works very well—and fast. The five-inch-long plates allow you to work through larger sections of hair at a time, cutting flattening time in half. Plus, the digital controls are so specific (you can choose the exact heat setting you want, from low to 450°F), it’s easy to estimate how long your styling will take. And the titanium plates seal the hair cuticle, add shine, and leave a fantastic, glossy finish.
I know more than a few people who swear by this drugstore staple. Apparently, it smoothes and straightens like a champ. The iron heats up in 30 seconds and contains ceramic plates that are designed to penetrate your hair from the inside out, as well as glide smoothly through your mane. Plus, the handle has special silicone finger grips to protect your fingers from the heat.
To clamp or not to clamp, that is question when it comes to curling irons. I haven’t learned how to avoid crimp lines, which is why I opt for non-clamp irons like this one. Sutra’s boasts special ceramic heating technology, as well as infrared rays, which help minimize damage. It also comes with a handy styling glove, so you can wrap your waves around the wand without burning your fingers.
Conair’s iron does have a clamp (which many people view as a plus), as well as a one-inch wand that uses tourmaline ceramic technology to emit negative ions, leaving hair smooth, silky, and frizz-free. It also shuts off automatically, which is a great feature for frantic mornings. And here’s a little secret: you can always remove the clamp. It might require a bit of handy work, but it will help you save if, like me, you haven’t learned how to avoid those dreaded, curl-killing crimp lines.
by Susan Linney
Images courtesy of Pinterest.com, Walgreens.com, Thedrybar.com, Sears.com, Folica.com, Amazon.com, Sephora.com, Walmart.com, Ulta.com