Ghd max styler review: Can the wide-plate straightener really cut styling time in half? We put it to the test

Sarah Young
·6-min read
<p>Long, thick or curly hair? This could be the tool for you</p> (iStock/The Independent)

Long, thick or curly hair? This could be the tool for you

(iStock/The Independent)

Loved by hairstylists, celebrities and beauty fans alike, ghd – which stands for “good hair day” – has been making waves (and poker-straight styles) since the beginning of the century thanks to its innovative range of hi-tech and salon-quality styling tools.

From its original IV straightener to curling tongs and hairdryers, ghd’s extensive catalogue has made its way into the hands and homes of people across the country. So much so that, thankfully, our frizzy, pre-Noughties tresses are now nothing but a distant memory.

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It’s safe to say that ghd truly revolutionised haircare, giving us the chance to get salon-worthy tresses at home and, while the brand has continued to wow with its new releases, its latest promises to be quicker and easier to use than any that have come before.

Die-hard ghd fans will recognise the new max style name because it first hit the hair scene in 2007. Designed with larger plates than the standard straightener, the max was created specifically with long, thick or curly locks in mind.

But this new version has upped the ante, with bigger plates than ever before and new technology that puts just as much emphasis on the health of your hair as it does on reducing frizz and maintaining your style all day long.

According to ghd, the 2021 max styler is proven to deliver up to two times less frizz, less breakage and 80 per cent more shine. But that’s not all. The brand also claims that, whether you’re looking to create glass-like straight styles or loose, natural-looking waves, the tool will cut your styling time in half – a prerequisite anyone with long, naturally textured hair or extensions will consider a barnet blessing.

ghd
ghd

While any new hair tool launch from ghd would pique our interest, we were intrigued to find out if this one really lived up to its super-speedy claims and, even with 70 per cent larger plates than the standard model, if it could still give us those cool-girl waves we keep seeing on Instagram. We’ve rated the gadget on its new design, ease of use, versatility and end result – you can read our review below.

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Ghd max hair straightener: £179, Ghdhair.com

ghd
ghd

We’ll be honest, styling our locks has fallen by the wayside during lockdown 3.0, but with the promise of brighter and more sociable days ahead, we recognise that the time has come to step-up our hair game. The only problem being that, after months of spending approximately two minutes scooping our strands into a messy ponytail, the thought of having to devote much more than that to our look is filling us with dread.

That’s why choosing the right tool for the job is so important – and we think might have just found it.

On first impressions, the new max styler has been given a serious makeover, with a much sleeker design than its predecessor that’s in keeping with the look of the brand’s latest models. And the tool’s new appearance serves a greater purpose, with the 1.65-inch styling plates and high gloss coating designed to help you create snag-free styles, eliminate frizz and provide enhanced shine. But we know what you’re thinking – is that just beauty jargon or does it actually work?

When we plugged our styler in, it signalled that it was heated up and ready to take on our long locks within a matter of seconds, filling us with hope that it might actually deliver on its time-saving promise. We sectioned our hair into just two pieces – top and bottom – before gliding it through the wide plates of the straightener. And glide it did. We experienced zero snagging and did not need to pass our hair through more than once to achieve a sleek finish.

When it came to the top section, we managed to whizz through the rest of our hair in seconds and it was at this point we could tell that the straightener was also helping to control frizz. In fact, our hair looked shiny and, unlike some tools, this one did not leave our locks looking, or smelling, like they’d been scorched. According to the brand, this is the result of the tool’s dual-zone technology, which is a patented heater system that guarantees a consistent temperature of 185C across both plates, helping to deliver smooth results from root to tip with minimal heat damage.

All in all, we managed to straighten our hair in about five minutes and, while our locks aren’t naturally curly, they are fairly thick and long, and this is a definite improvement on a job that typically takes twice the time. Even better, the style lasted all day, withstanding a two-hour-long breezy walk by the sea.

While the max styler absolutely delivered when it came to giving us poker-straight hair, we felt more dubious about its ability to curl and wave given its super-wide plates. We were concerned that the tool would be more difficult to manoeuvre and that it wouldn’t be able give the same soft, rounded finish we’re used to getting from ghd’s standard models. So, of course, we put it to the test.

Just like before, we sectioned our locks into two and while at this stage we would usually take a small segment to style, we wanted to see how the product would perform if we raised the stakes and grabbed a larger portion. We placed the straightener at the root and rotated it around 180 degrees before dragging it to the ends of our hair. The result? Probably the best-looking loose waves we’ve ever managed to create. And it wasn’t a fluke – repeating these steps over the entire head, we were left with a full mop of glamorous waves that looked like we’d spent hours sitting in a salon chair when in reality, it only took us 10 minutes to achieve.

Again, our hair looked noticeably less frizzy and what we really loved was how long the waves lasted. Without using any hair spray, the curls held for three days, dropping slightly each day and leaving us with an effortless beachy look before it was time to give our locks a good wash. If you prefer tighter coils this might not be the tool for you, but if you love the look of soft, brushed-out curls with maximum bounce, the max will deliver a hairstyle that commands a second glance.

The newest addition to the ghd family is a welcome one indeed and, while we can’t promise we won’t return to our trusty platinum styler, since testing the max has become our go-to straightener for creating super-fast and sleek styles.

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