I've always had a complex relationship—or should I say situationship?—with hair straighteners. It was a coming-of-age ritual when my mum would pass a hot comb that had been heating up on a sweltering gas hob through my 4C natural hair.
As I swapped hot combs for relaxers, I longed for the day when I could go to Argos to finally purchase a hair straightener like all the big girls did. When the day arrived, it kick-started many years of ignoring my hair health and ruining my relaxed hair with the problematic duo of heat and chemical damage. My hair was desperate for a break, so I gave it an extended holiday by switching to wearing weaves and wigs and chopping all of my hair off so it could grow back naturally. Thankfully, it is now thriving.
I always prefer to style my human-hair wigs with curling tongs, but as I gave myself a lockdown haircut, I've found myself reaching for the ease of straighteners more. My wigs work exactly the same as human hair does and mimic thick, textured hair. So I've been in the market for a new hair straightener that won't wreak havoc on my strands.
I washed my hair between using each tool and let it air-dry so I could go into each review from the same starting place. Keep scrolling for my findings.
GHD Platinum+ Hair Straighteners
I remember when GHD first launched, and there's honestly nothing I've ever wanted more. I was captivated by the adverts and wanted the signature hair swoosh, and it still continues to impress me today. Sure, I know the tech and the super-smart optimum-temperature functionality, but I really don't know how it does it. My hair was left light and fluffy all by touching one button and passing the straighteners through my hair once.
There aren't any gimmicks or different temperatures to navigate. It just works. The plates glide through hair like slipping on a silk dress and give a natural shine.
GHD Platinum+ Hair Straighteners (£189)
Dyson Corrale Hair Straighteners
Okay, you might need a seat for this. If there were ever a tool that embodied a mic drop, this is it. The innovation is pretty insane, and I didn't know I needed certain functions in my life, but now I don't quite know what to do without them. First, the genius flexing plates gripped my hair so it didn't fall and splay out on either side. This means only one pass as I didn't need to go over the same sections again and again. This equates to 50% less damage, and I noticed this in the hair advert–worthy results. I mean, just look at my hair.
If that weren't enough, it can also be used as a cordless straightener. As it charges while it's plugged in, it's always ready for 30 minutes of cord-free action, but it also comes with a charging dock. It's suitable for all hair types, and I used one temperature on my wig and a higher one when I tried it out on my natural hair. I may not be travelling right now, but I've got all kinds of plans for this when I do. Next-level.
Dyson Corrale Hair Straighteners (£399)
L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod 3.0 Straightening Tool
Straightening your hair isn't exactly thrilling, is it? There's the arm ache, and it gets pretty hot. So I am here for any fun innovation to mix things up a bit. As this straightener utilises steam, I filled up the water tank with some water, plugged it in and got to work. The steam technology minimises damage, and I could tell the difference in my hair afterward, as there was no telltale smell of burning hair.
There's a small comb on the plates that grips hair, and I swear this is the secret sauce. In just one pass, my hair was sleek, soft and straightened. I also tried this on my natural hair and couldn't believe how well it worked. I did a super-straight look. Then, I tried my hand at adding some loose curls, and it does both incredibly well. What's even better is that £10 from each sale via LookFantastic is going to the Look Good Feel Better charity right now—a double win.
L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod 3.0 Straightening Tool (£235)
Remington Hydraluxe Pro Straighteners
Before I even had the chance to notice the magic of this straightener, I was focused on just how smooth the plates were. Sometimes, my hair can feel like it's dragging and catching on some plates, but this one had all the ease and grace of a pro roller skater.
I filled up the reservoir with water and tried the lower-temperature Hydracare function, which mists hair as it passes through. Told you there'd be some magic. This made my hair soft to the touch and very bouncy, which surprised me as the temperature was only 170°C. On another day, I tried it without the Hydracare and upped the temperature, and it's fab either way, but my hair really benefitted from the mist.
Remington Hydraluxe Pro Straighteners (£150)
Balmain Hair Professional Straighteners
This might sound rather dramatic, but this straightener really felt at home in my hands. The thin plates gave my hair such a bouncy finish, as they were able to get close to the roots and straighten all the way to the ends. I'm not into the bone-straight look, and I was able to add subtle curves and volume quite effortlessly. I love extra additions and the accessories and clips that it comes with, which helped me out with sectioning my hair.
Balmain Hair Professional Straightener (£120)
Cloud Nine Wide Iron
I had approximately 15 minutes to straighten my hair on this day, and I'm forever grateful that I chose this one to use. The wide plates are the best match for both thick hair and those who have a lazy approach to hairstyling. Hello, it's me. I could get away with doing bigger sections of hair, and as the plates were so wide, I wasn't tempted to do several passes. The temperature control was really easy to use, and my hair looked glossy and healthy in no time at all.
Cloud Nine Wide Iron (£159)
Paul Mitchell Neuro Smooth Straighteners
It takes a seriously good hair tool to make it look like I've applied serum to my hair when I haven't. With all of the heat, it can often take a toll on the shine of my hair but not with this one. Post-straightening, my hair had a sheen that made it look really polished. It's probably a result of the microchip that keeps an eye on the temperature of the plates to make sure the heat is evenly distributed throughout. One of the best for straightening hair without compromising on shine and texture.
Paul Mitchell Neuro Smooth Straighteners (£109)
BaByliss 9000 Cordless Straightener
One of the small things that makes me incredibly happy in life is when a bathroom has a plug near the mirror so I can do my hair. When actually, using a cordless straightener is an easier fix than remodelling a room. Enter this beauty. I charged it up for three hours, and I was good to go. The straighteners themselves are really great for a tool that's only designed to be used without the cord. It held the charge until I finished my hair, which was impressive, as my hair is quite thick. The end result was a feathery, light texture.
If you're looking for a second pair of straighteners, kind of like when you leave the house in heels but have some ballet pumps in your bag, these are a solid option. Unfortunately, you can't use them while plugged in, so if you want a pair to use at the gym or in the office, then you can charge and take with you.
BaByliss 9000 Cordless Straightener (£200)
Glamoriser Salon Results Touch Straightener
There was much fun to be had with this, as the curved edges allowed for easy waves and curls. I used this to my advantage to define the layers in my hair and create soft, wispy strands. The LCD touch control panel made for a sleek design, as there weren't any buttons to contend with. A great, budget-friendly straightener for all hair types to benefit from.
Glamoriser Salon Results Touch Straightener (£70)
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
Read More from Who What Wear