Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

By Amanda Allington, Hair Care Contributor

Amanda Allington was born in Vancouver, B.C. in Canada but her family moved to southern California when she was just five years old. She’s lived along the west coast, including Hawaii but has just moved to Washington D.C. Amanda has been married to her husband for four years and they have a two-year old son. Her husband is part of the military, so she and her family move around often, but she really enjoys it, because she can experience different places and people! Luckily, no matter where she has moved, she always finds other people who are as beauty obsessed as she is!


Photo by Tavis Leaf Glover

Must-Have Styling Tools for Hair

Make this year the year that you master your hair! Below are ten hair styling tools that I think are essential for making any air type styled and fabulous!

Blow Dryer

A good blow dryer will dry hair efficiently without overheating. Ceramic coils maintain a more even heat, which helps prevent the blow dryer from overheating and damaging your hair. Tourmaline is a semi-precious gem that aids in negative ion production. Negative ions are said to absorb water faster, thus speeding up drying time, as well as smoothing the hair follicles. Although, there is still some question to both of these claims.

Over 400 reviews on Amazon.com give the Revlon RV544 1875 Watt Tourmaline Ionic Lightweight Dryer ($25.00) an average of four stars. Self magazine says it is the fastest dryer for the money and Consumer Reports named it the best ionic dryer for the price. At around $25, it is a great purchase and better than many blow dryers twice the cost. The only negative is that this dryer does not use ceramic coils so heat damage could be an issue.

With ceramic coils, tourmaline and negative ions, the Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Hair Styler 223X ($40.00) has it all and gets an average of four stars on Amazon.com with over 100 reviews. InStyle magazine has named this their best budget dryer for four years straight, and Self magazine recognizes this blow dryer as the best for fine/limp hair, because it reduces static. I love the bright pink color that is available and at $40, this is my pick and a fantastic mid range tool.

The T3 Featherweight ($200.00) has been reviewed in just about every beauty site and magazine out there with an average of four stars. The T3 also uses ceramic coils, tourmaline, and ionic technology. It’s named best for travel by Women’s Health, best lightweight by Self magazine, and best professional dryer by Consumer Research. Despite the reviews, some people are just not impressed with this dryer so if you decide that you want the T3, I suggest you swing by your local Sephora and try it out.

Get tips on picking a straightener, flat/curling iron, and more! 

Straightener

The Sedu Pro Ionic Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron ($129.99) is a favorite across many websites. It heats up to 410 degrees. The plates are made of tourmaline and ceramic so they hold heat while causing the least amount of damage to your hair. This straightener is also ionic to help smooth the hair follicle. The larger one and half inch size makes quick work of even the longest, thickest hair.

The Farouk CHI Original Ceramic Hairstyling Iron ($119.99) is a famous flat iron. The name of CHI has long been known for creating sleek smooth air with excellent results and all the woman in my family rely on that. Their original has ceramic plates and a fixed temperature of 392 degrees. This is great for the average hair, but it may be too hot for damaged hair or too low for thick, curly hair that is tough to straighten. If you straighten often, it may be worth your while in investing in a flat iron by CHI.

If you straighten only once in a while or are just starting out, you can always try a less expensive model. Both Conair and Revlon have models around $25. Look for ceramic plates, while tourmaline and ionic technology are a plus, and a heat range between 250 and 450. Lower ranges work for very fine or damaged hair, while going up in temperature is better for coarse, thick, or curly hair.

Curling Iron

The Hot Tools Professional Curling Iron with Multi-Heat Control ($26.00) is a classic. It is inexpensive and comes in a variety of sizes. You can adjust the temperature to your liking, which allows you to do a variety of different styles with every type and texture of hair. I like the larger sizes to create wave-like curls. If you prefer a clip-less design, the Remington Ceramic Styling Wand ($24.99) seems to be all the rage. It uses ceramic and pearl technology and heats in less than thirty seconds. The conical shape is said to make curls that are more natural in shape. No clip mean no crease and because of the variance in size along the cone, you can do everything from small, tight ringlets to large, beachy waves with the same tool.

Brushes

Paddle brushes are for general brushing and straightening hair. Round brushes help create curls and waves. The best brushes are made from boar’s hair, because it detangles even fine hair without snags or breakage while distributing your hair’s natural oils from scalp to tip, leaving your hair glossy and smooth. Brushes with nylon bristles help to dry hair faster and penetrate to the scalp easier, which is great for women with thicker hair. Some stylists feel that a combination of the two makes for the best hair brush. I agree with this for the paddle brush but prefer 100% boar bristles for a round brush because of my easily damaged, fine hair.

Although there are better paddle brushes for more money (i.e. Mason Pearson Extra Large All Boar Bristle Hair Brush ($149.95)), for us home stylists Denman Medium Cushion Brush with Natural Boar Bristles ($25.00) is a great choice. This brush has natural boar bristles as well as nylon “quills” making it a great brush for all hair types.  It received high marks across blogs, Consumer Reports, and magazines like InStyle. If you’re on a budget try the Nexxus Natural Effexx Boar Cushion Brush ($15.00) which also has the boar bristles and nylon quills.

For a round brush, the Spornette Italian Boar Rounder #854 ($15.99) or the two and a quarter size is my pick. It contains only boar bristles, no nylon. I love the wood handle and classic look. This brush also wins a spot on many top ten lists.   I like a fine tooth comb with the pick end for parting and teasing the occasional style. A fine tooth comb can also work through small tangles. I use a wide tooth comb for combing through my hair after a shower. You can also use a wide tooth comb in the shower to help distribute conditioner.

Clips & Pins

Twist hair up and clip it with the duckbill to keep lose strands out of the way during styling. You can also twist hair at the roots when it is damp, clip it and dry your hair. Once your hair is dry, remove the clips and voila, extra volume. For the longest time, I put off getting these but I honestly don’t know how I survived without them. Duckbills are cheap, available everywhere, and are something you’ll reach for again and again.  I also like Goody Ouchless ($5.00) because they have no metal, which can snag and damage hair shafts.

 

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7 thoughts on “Must-Have Styling Tools for Hair

  1. A diffuser is one of my must-have hair styling tools because I have a perm (I’ve never needed a straightener in my life because my hair is naturally straight)!

    • Amanda Allington

      I too love a diffuser and luckily they usually come with any new blow dryer. I love the static reduction and gentle drying the diffuser provides for my hair. A good addition to the list Sunny!

  2. Elena

    Great, great post!!!!!!

  3. Jess

    Is it just me or does the girl in that photo (black and white) look kinda like Carey Mulligan?

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Stephanie Stephanie

    I have a Babyliss iron that I adore, and I was around $50. It is worlds better than the other options (ie Conair) in a similar price point. I think flat irons are very personal though, much more so than driers. However, mt ionic Chi dryer is the bomb. I’m glad I invested in that. Totally worth it.

  5. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Cathy Angelcat47

    I would like to broaden my styling options by purchasing some equipment,so this post was extremely helpful to me.