5 Top Tools Spotted in the Salon

Hai Elite RodI’m always on the lookout for the hair appliances the salons use – who better to attest to a styling tool’s greatness other than a professional who uses it all day long? While waiting for a friend to get a quick trim the other night, I couldn’t help but notice the following styling tools – call me obsessed. Here are my top five sightings (well, this week!) and my commentary of course.

#1 – HAI Convertable 1-1/4″ Ceramic Flat Iron
Pro: Silkens and smooths all hair types – it’s even on our best flat iron list!
Con: Lower price point is misleading to consumers – they don’t realize how great it is.

#2 – Hot Tools 1-1/2″ Ceramic and Titanium Spring Curling Iron – I spotted it easily by its purple barrel, though it might have been a different size – my eyes couldn’t quite judge the width.
Pro: Ceramic + Titanium technology is a great heat conductor for long-lasting curls and this is one of my personal faves.
Con: I wish they made this curling iron in a 2″ width for bigger curls. Hint, hint Babyliss.

#3 – Babyliss Pro Carerra 2 Hair Dryer
Pro: Well known and very popular, magazines love to write about this one.
Con: They are sometimes hard to get because they run out of stock so fast and that’s such a letdown.

#4 – Hai Elite Rod (pictured)
Pro: This wonderful curling wand kicks *ss and is used everywhere to create those loose celebrity curls.
Con: It really is a professional tool. It’s quite large and can be somewhat difficult to handle by yourself so if you take the plunge and buy one, be careful.

#5 – FHI Platform 1″ Ceramic Nano-Tourmaline Flat Iron
Pro: Stylists love this because it straightens hard to straighten hair well. I see this iron in a lot of salons.
Con: It’s kinda pricey when compared to the others, you might not need this much power if your hair straightens easily.

-CurlyBelle

Top Rated Best Selling Flat Irons of 2007

Here they are, StyleBell’s best selling, top rated, must-have hair straighteners of the year and why we like them! You’ll notice a few newbies on the list this year, as well as some past favorites.  

ghd MK3 Ceramic Flat IronGHD 1″ Ceramic Hair Straightener MK3 
Alias: The International Fave
Already a best-seller in the UK and Australia, the GHD MK3 flat iron has a large, loyal fan base here in the US. Even heat conduction allows for quicker heating time than a conventional flat iron, and the long lasting temperature leads to optimal, snag-free hair straightening in minutes. Just brilliant!  

Plus: GHD has expertly formulated a line of hair care and thermal protectors to accompany your heat styling endeavors for maximum hair happiness. Check out the Obedience Cream, it’s truly a must-have.

Insider Info: This iron delivers snag-free results, more than most irons I’ve seen. Great for every hair style and hair type. A little pricier than other irons, but the results are worth it. 

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat IronBaByliss Pro Nano-Titanium 1-1/4″ Flat Iron
Alias: The Mac Daddy of Techno
Love to take control? With the Babyliss Nano Titanium Digital flat iron, you get the superior heat conductivity coupled with the smoothest surface available in a styling tool – Titanium. No more overheating, over-drying, over-damaging your hair. Titanium rocks. Plus the super smooth snag-free surface straightens hair up to 40% faster, what’s not to love? 

Bonus: The Babyliss Pro Nano-Titanium flat iron looks as great as it performs! I love its major counter appeal and never want to put it away. It looks great on any vanity (on top of a heatproof mat, of course!) Gotta love an appliance that has style.  

Insider Info: This iron is chock full of amazing technology for the price, and includes a killer 4 year warranty. It goes toe to toe with those pricey irons, and kicks some of them to the curb. It’s newbie on my list, but the impressive results are sure to convince you.

HAI Convertable Ceramic Flat IronHAI Convertable 1-1/4″Ceramic Flat Iron 
Alias: The Multi-tasker
The HAI Convertable’s ceramic plates are unmatched for equal heat distribution and the ergonomic design makes it is easier to press, hold, mold, twirl and curl your hair. Talk about multi-tasking! People seriously love this iron, and you will too. The HAI Convertable is another one of my all time favorite straighteners. 

Plus: The HAI is just right for smoothing your hair, and for creating loose waves, perfect for those of you who like to mix it up! 

Insider Info: This is the flat iron they use at my salon, and everyone agrees, it’s awesome!

Maxiglide Flat IronMaxiglide
Alias: The Cult Favorite
Soft, shiny, straight and snag free! That’s what I keep hearing from Maxiglide users. Unique steamburst technology and ceramic detangling pins make this iron unlike all the others – in a good way. Not only does this iron get consistently high reviews on beauty sites, Maxiglide customers are very passionate about this straightener; they keep raving about it again and again. There is a reason it’s a best seller. Need I say more?  

Plus: The Maxiglide also has a slimmer, smaller version – the Miniglide. It’s the perfect traveling companion for touch ups on the go. 

Insider Info: Comb through your hair first and style small sections of hair at a time. Less potential for snagging, especially if you have very thick, textured hair. Definitely use the steam on the ends. Definitely. The Beyond Straight is awesome with the Maxiglide – I’m talking super straight. 

ghd MK4 Ceramic Flat IronGHD Ceramic Hair Styler and Hair Straightener, Flat Iron MK4
Also known as: The Innovator
With tons of media buzz, the newest arrival of the GHD family does not disappoint! Being one of the lucky few to get a sneak peek, last year, I am still in love with this iron a year later. Incorporating state-of-the-art styling technology, this heat styler curls as easily as it straightens, giving you the ultimate in versatility. Plus it auto adjust for international voltages, has a stronger cable, and a new sleep mode which turns itself off after 15 minutes. That’s one smart styler! 

Plus: Just to make sure you’ve got the styling ‘know-how’, there’s a step-by-step DVD included in the box. Watch out competition, there’s a new player in town, the GHD MK4 has arrived. 

Insider Info: This is one of the most innovative irons on the market, hands down. The technology is tops and you just cannot match the smooth glides of this iron. Pricey and totally worth every penny, it’s my favorite on the list this year.

CHI Original Ceramic Flat IronChi Original Ceramic 1″ Flat Iron
Alias: The Original
Great hairstyles are simple with the right tool; CHI proves that time and time again. With an extensive product line and many different irons to choose from, I have to agree with their loyal customers, you can’t go wrong with CHI, but the original model is always a customer favorite, and surely to be one of yours! Well known in the industry for continually creating new limited edition irons in trendy colors, CHI is great for you fashionistas out there.
 

Bonus: CHI has a killer line of hair care to keep your hair smooth with pure silk!  

Insider Info: Tons of street cred, everyone’s heard of CHI. The CHI Original narrowly beat the CHI Turbo this year, mainly due to pure customer popularity, but I personally like the Turbo a little better for my hair. Also note, some CHI Original followers have been spotted recently upgrading to other brands due to the increase in technological advancements in the past year, I’ll keep you posted. 

FHI Platform Tourmaline Flat IronFHI Platform Ceramic Tourmaline Professional 1-3/4″ Flat Iron
Middle name: Big Daddy
If you have long, thick, coarse or unruly hair, the FHI Heat Platform Professional 1-3/4” Ceramic Tourmaline ionic flat iron is your one way ticket to smooth. FHI’s Ceramic Nano-Fuzeion Technology combines Titanium, Titanium Oxide and Silver to seal in hair’s moisture and shine, while removing build-up and toxins on the hair. Plus an enormous amount of negative ions neutralize the positive ions found on coarse, dry and damaged hair. If you’ve ever set aside a few hours to straighten your thick, massive mop, you’ll be amazed at how quickly this flat iron tames your tresses.  

Plus: FHI makes an amazing heat protectant – FHI Heat Hot Sauce. It’s moisture-based, and when used with a flat iron it actually penetrates into the core of you hair to reconstruct and deeply condition from the inside out. Talk about protection.  

Insider Info: Another newbie on the list, I find this to be one of the best Tourmaline straighteners out there, and the FHI Platform beat the FHI Classic in my iron to iron showdown this year. I find that some irons with Tourmaline make my hair static-y for some reason (and that’s never a good look) but not FHI Platform. Whew! 

CHI Wet-to-Dry Flat IronCHI Wet to Dry Ceramic Flat Iron Auto-Digital Hair Straightener
Also known as: The Powerhouse
Specially designed for damp hair, the CHI wet-to-dry flat iron utilizes ceramic ionic technology to eliminate frizz while straightening and transforms hair into shiny, super-smooth locks directly out of the shower. State of the art digital technology allows you to set the precise temperature and it even has a timer with automatic shut off. Great for every hair type, the CHI wet-to-dry straightens the fullest, most unruly locks with ease.  

Plus: The CHI works just as well on dry hair, making it perfect for every primping situation. Sometimes I run late you know…  

Insider Info: The CHI Wet-to-Dry iron works best on hair that is 90%-95% dry. Not only is your hair much easier to straighten if it’s drier to start with, there is less potential for damage and frizz. Remember, hair is more vulnerable when it’s wet. Note: The T3 Wet-or-Dry flat iron was a top contender for this spot and missed by just a hair.

Hot Tools Ceramic Titanium Flat IronHot Tools 1″ Ceramic Far-Infrared Heat Flat Iron
Nickname: The Professional
A separate heating system for each heating plate ensures superior styling performance and puts the ‘hot’ in Hot Tools. Professional Soft Heat™ technology produces gentle, far infrared heat for more efficient heating, faster styling, and shinier hair, and the Ceramic and Titanium Technology provides snag-free styling as it glides smoothly down your strands. Any hair appliance that won’t snag or pull an overworked ‘do gets an A+ in my book. Thanks Hot Tools.  

Plus: This iron does a great job of smoothing those strands and adding an unbeatable shine with gentle far-infrared heat. Most irons at this price point just don’t have the technology to compare. 

Insider Info: This flat iron proves you can get great technology at a great price point! This is perfect for those of you who straighten your hair from time to time and want a quality iron without spending the big bucks.  

HAI Twig 3/8HAI Twig Flat Iron 3/8″ Ceramic Styling Iron 
Alias: The Root Smoother
Get up close and personal with those roots and transform even the shortest hair into smooth shiny locks with the HAI Twig. One use and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. The ultra-slim 3/8″ ceramic plates work wonders on bangs and those whisper-y wisps we love so much. For the best results and styling control, you should never use a plate width larger than necessary, and now you don’t have to. Now everyone can have the same results as the pros, Twig makes it so easy!  

Plus: This sleek styler features the same rapid heating element and adjustable temperature settings as the larger HAI models, making it a great choice for anyone looking to style extremely short sections in seconds.  

Insider Info: Perfect for pixies, roots, tendrils… and guys! Yes men love this one for super short hair that’s seeking some sleeking. This iron has the slimmest, teeniest plates ever but works like a smoothing fiend to get those roots straight. It’s a great second iron for those of you who need that slimmer design for styling.

FHI Technique Professinal Pink Flat IronFHI Technique Professional Pink 1″ Hair Straightener 
Middle Name: Versatility
One flat iron, with all the styling capabilities you will ever need. You can straighten, flip, and even curl your hair in seconds with this baby in our favorite shade, PINK. The Ceramic Tourmaline technology generates negative ions to help neutralize positive ions found on damaged hair, allowing the hair to lay flatter and smoother. This means shinier and healthier hair is yours with FHI, and who doesn’t love pink?  

Plus: Smooth and sleek or sexy curls, change your style as often as a celeb with this FHI Pink flat iron. And you thought flat irons were just for straight styles!  

Insider Info: It curls and straightens with ease, it’s got Ceramic and Tourmaline technology and it’s pink. What more could you ask for? 

As you can see, there are plenty of great irons that are perfect for your individual hair type and styling needs. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to use a heat protectant. All of these Ceramic, ionic styling tools get super hot and can cause dryness or damage if you aren’t careful. Using a thermal protectant on your hair before styling should always be your first priority. It will keep your hair healthy and shiny and it will enhance the styling potential of any iron you choose.

FHI, a Fabulously Hip Iron

FHI
Meet FHI, creator of a hair straightener with a mission – to smooth and style your hair with a killer combination of ahead-of-its time ceramic technology and an automatic heat sense recovery system that absolutely rocks.

FHI Heat Technique 1.25Did you know?
Most flat irons lose styling power as the temperature decreases with each glide of the plates against your hair. Think about it, the temperature of your hair will cool down the hot iron every time you go over a section. The speed in which the iron can get back to the desired temperature is called recovery time. FHI has got that beat.
 

Automatic Recovery All FHI flat irons are specially equipped with an Automatic Heat Sense Recovery System that quickly reheats the plates to your desired temperature, giving you an even distribution of heat for silky, shiny hair with every glide. That’s pretty smart. 

Meet the FHI Heat Technique Series
All FHI Technique series irons feature Tourmaline-infused ceramic plates and use the most technologically advanced PTC ceramic heaters. FHI has been able to deliver the industry’s top PTC heaters by partnering with the world’s largest and most advanced heater manufacturer. FHI is also the pioneer in ceramic tourmaline technology, so you know they understand how important it is for us to get our smooth styles. Shown above: FHI Heat Technique 1.25″ Flat Iron.

 It Works on Damaged Hair! Yes I said damaged…The FHI Ceramic Tourmaline irons excel when used on dry, coarse, and damaged hair. Really? Yes! Usually you hear about how you shouldn’t use a flat iron if your hair is damaged – at the very least use a heat protectant – FHI is perfect for you. The negative ions emitted from the FHI flat irons help neutralize positive ions found on damaged hair, allowing the hair to lay flatter and smoother. How lucky for us they came along.  

FHI Heat Technique 1.75Props for FHI

The FHI 1” Technique was the first original Ceramic flat iron to be designed and manufactured. They get major props for being so hip and on the cutting edge at the time. You hear about ceramic-this and ceramic-that. But really, what’s the deal with ceramic? Shown: FHI Heat Technique 1.75″ Flat Iron.

What’s so great about Ceramic? A Lot!
When heated, Ceramic produces negative ions which seal the cuticle and repel humidity, leaving hair shiny. Some ‘other’ flat irons utilize aluminum plates with ceramic coating, and there isn’t always enough ceramic to produce the necessary ions to smooth the hair’s cuticle. FHI believes the more ceramic, the more infrared heat, the more infrared heat, the more even the distribution of heat and temperature control. Even heat equals smoother, shiny hair.

How nice! FHI should stand for Fabulously Hip Iron!

-StraightBelle

Flat Irons: The Truth About Tourmaline

Tourmaline Schourmaline – Is it Really Better?
Want to learn more about the benefits of a Tourmaline Flat Iron? Discover the truth about Tourmaline, you might be surprised at the wonders of this semi-precious gemstone and it’s super-smoothing abilities.

FHI Platform Tourmaline Flat IronFlat Iron, Styling Iron, Hair Straightener

No matter what you call it, a professional Tourmaline flat iron has become one of the best-selling heat styling appliances on the beauty market today, and a must-have for salons, stylists, and hair divas everywhere. Originally manufactured for licensed hair professionals, and distributed only to exclusive beauty salons and boutiques, a flat iron was once considered a professional tool coveted by the everyday consumer. Over time this increased consumer interest has led to widespread mass-market distribution and a very competitive marketplace, with an emphasis on innovation and breakthrough technology. Shown: FHI Platform 1.25″ Tourmaline Nano Ceramic Flat Iron.

T3 Wide Wet-or-Dry Tourmaline Flat IronFlat Irons Get Hyped
Almost overnight top professional flat iron (and hot air brush, curling iron and hair dryer) brands such as T3, FHI, Bed Head, HaiElite and BaByliss cropped up promising to deliver silky smooth, celebrity hairstyles in seconds, because of one semi-precious gemstone, Tourmaline. Supposedly well known in the beauty industry for its ability to generate negative ions, and with so much buzz surrounding Tourmaline technology, as a Beauty Editor, and flat iron lover, I decided to get the real scoop on this gentle gemstone. Pictured: T3 Wide Wet-or-Dry Flat Iron.

A Flat Iron Lesson
Advanced technology has enabled today’s woman to create every imaginable look from sexy smooth to silky curls with a flat iron. The enormous popularity of flat irons now leaves professional hairdressers with an ever growing selection of irons from which to choose. The various choices however, seem to bring an increasingly more expensive selection of flat irons. But why are they so expensive, and more importantly, is it worth spending upwards of $100 on a flat iron?

Bed Head Tourmaline Nano Ceramic Flat IronSilky Smooth, Somewhat Expensive

Tourmaline flat irons are definitely set at higher price points. The flat iron choices on the market have prices that range from the inexpensive gold-tone aluminum plate models, that sell for under $20 to the more expensive Tourmaline models that will set you back at least a $100, and usually more. Anyone considering purchasing a flat iron probably assumes this vast price differential results in a significant difference in both quality and performance of these flat irons. But should they? Shown: Bed Head Tourmaline Nano Ceramic 2″ Flat Iron.

HAI elite Tong 2Tourmaline Tech Talk

Tourmaline, a mineral prized as a beautiful, semi-precious gemstone, has become the focus of studies at universities and research centers worldwide. The reason for the interest is that Tourmaline is a natural source of negative ions and the only mineral to show permanent electricity. It is also known to have many beneficial properties such as relieving stress, and improving the body’s immune system functions. Great you may be wondering, but what does this have to do with the cost of my flat iron, and how is any of this helping me straighten my hair? Shown: HAI Elite Tong 2″ Styling Tool.

Tourmaline Flat Irons
When millions of tiny particles of Tourmaline are added to the plate surface of a flat iron the benefits to the hair are astounding. Tourmaline generates negative ions that enhance the texture of the hair and also produces far-infrared heat that effectively dries the hair from the inside out. This makes the excessive heat generated by the iron far less damaging to the hair. OK, a positive result is that my hair is exposed to less damage with Tourmaline. I can relate.

Aluminum Plates Can Be Damaging
Many flat irons have aluminum plates, but they are technologically less advanced, produce less effective results, and are therefore less expensive – unless they also contain Ceramic Technology – this is non-damaging also. Tourmaline plates are preferred by professionals because the surface is much smoother and eliminates tugging and pulling on hair strands, resulting in a highly polished look in less time. Obviously if a professional stylist won’t use a flat iron with aluminum plates on my hair because they consider it damaging, then neither will I. Point well taken.

FHI Technique Pink Tourmaline Flat IronTourmaline Is Quicker
Another drawback of flat irons with aluminum plates is that a hairdresser must often go over one section several times to smooth the hair strands, increasing the styling time for each client. Irons with Tourmaline plates allow you to get a smooth look much faster, allowing you to move on to your next appointment and generate more revenue in less time. Better results in less time? A professional stylists dream, and mine, all within reach thanks to Tourmaline. Shown: FHI Tourmaline Pink Flat Iron.

The Pros Know
Professional hairdressers know the foundation of every hairstyle (after a great haircut) is the tool a client uses at home to prolong the salon look. A Tourmaline flat iron is great for everyone who wants to maintain his or her salon style at home. Most clients trust their stylist, and will try to reproduce a salon look at home if they have the right tools. Of course any good stylist knows that a happy client will return, and more importantly, will be gladly recommended to others.

Less heat exposure, less styling time, better results, and the pick of the professionals? The choice is clear, a flat iron with Tourmaline plates might cost a little extra, but the minutes saved in styling time, the reduction of heat exposure, and smooth results more than make up for it.

For more product information, visit our Tourmaline Flat Iron section to get the scoop on these smoothing gemstone jewels.

-CurlyBelle

Save Your Strands with Healthy Heat Protection

When you straighten your hair with your flat iron, do you ever think about the damage you may be causing? Yep, you should. There are a variety of healthy heat protectants on the beauty market to help take care of your hair and protect it from heat damage while you straighten (or use any heat styling appliance).

Paul Brown Hawaii Flat IronThink about it, if you are using a flat iron that goes up to 450+ degrees don’t you think you might want to protect your locks? Hair gets damaged on its own, it’s best not to add to it by literally frying it every day with a flat iron. There are a few great protectants that buffer the excessive heat from flat irons (and curling irons, blow dryers, pressing combs, and hot rollers!) while enhancing the effectiveness of each appliance. Pictured: Paul Brown Hawaii Flat Iron.

It’s best to choose a protectant that suits your comfort level. Spray, serum, lotion, gel? Hmmm… which is best? All of them promise to protect your hair, and technically of them will just by adding that layer of coating between your hair and the super hot temperature of your flat iron. When choosing a heat protectant, look for ones that are lightweight, heat-activated, and packed with healthy ingredients. Here are just a few of my top thermal protecting picks:

Redken Smooth Down Heat GlideRedken Smooth Down Heat Glide
Is it ok to start this review with WOW? This protective smoother from Redken is a leave-in serum that provides heat-safe control and tames even the frizziest frizz. If you have uncooperative, unruly, unmanageable hair, you must, must, must try Redken’s Smooth Down Heat Glide. Packed with healthy ingredients like nourishing macadamia oil, and smoothing candelilla wax, your hair will behave like it never gave you a minute’s trouble. Using ‘interbond’ conditioning technology, Smooth Down promises mega smoothing, intense shine and a long-lasting frizz free results. This product delivers. Big time.

FHI Heat Hot SauceFHI Heat Hot Sauce

Of course if you want super-smooth hair you should protect it from the potential drying and damage from flat irons, but why not repair it at the same time? FHI Heat Hot Sauce is different than silicone protectants…it’s moisture-based. This means that when it is heated by your flat iron it actually penetrates into the core of the hair to reconstruct and deeply condition the hair from the inside out. With regular use dry, damaged hair will be restored. Must be those heat-activated jojoba crystals!

Plus: You know I love great packaging and this little hot sauce inspired bottle is awesome.

ghd Thermal Protecting SprayGHD Thermal Protecting Spray
This lightweight, humidity resistant mist is formulated with exclusive UVA protection that provide thermal protection to your hair from heat styling damage, while moisturizing from roots to ends, and protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays. It promises to instantly provide a brilliant shine, repair split ends, and eliminate frizz. The end result is a luminous, glossy finish without buildup. Saving my hair from damage AND leaving my hair soft, shiny, and smooth at the same time? You really can’t beat this one. Plus, I like to spray products on wet hair. The less you touch wet hair with your hands the better. Your hair is very vulnerable when it’s wet, so a couple of spritzes will ensure a nice even coating.

Bonus points: It comes in three varieties to target your specific styling needs – normal to fine hair, dry/coarse hair, and weak/damaged hair. Can’t decide? If you are using a flat iron to create a straight style, pick normal to fine.

CHI Silk InfusionCHI Silk Infusion
Another Silk based product, CHI Silk Infusion doesn’t disappoint! Created by the makers of the best-selling flat irons, those guys really know what they are doing over there at CHI headquarters. Developed to work specifically with the CHI flat irons, this restructuring complex is a rich leave-in treatment enriched with pure silk, wheat, and soy proteins that penetrate and strengthen your hair while you straighten. CHI Silk Infusion works wonders, smells great and makes your hair look like you just came back from the salon. If you ever wonder how the pro’s do it, now you know. Plus, the added manageability and softness will leave you in healthy hair heaven!

L'anza Strait-Line Thermal DefenseL’anza Strait-Line Thermal Defense Heat Styler

This is one of our most popular heat stylers, and one you’ve probably never heard of before. L’anza’s lightweight spray-in treatment smoothes strands with a “Thermal Defense” barrier that protects hair from the excessive heat of flat irons, curling irons, hair dryers, hot rollers …everything. Its silky smooth formula provides gentle slip-through the hair for effortless glides down the hair section while styling. It truly lives up to its name; straight styles are super-easy with L’anza Strait-line. Though you may not be too familiar with this brand, people rave about how great it is – it’s a best-seller!

Bonus points: This thermal protectant also defends hair from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause additional dryness and damage to delicate hair strands.

So go ahead and fire up your flat iron, just make sure to protect your hair first. We’ve got an entire section dedicated to healthy heat protection, so you’ll be sure to find one that’s best for you!

-CurlyBelle