GHD MK4 Flat Iron Review

GHD MK4 Ceramic Flat IronWith so many flat irons on the market, how do you really know which one is right for you? I’ve been testing them out to see how each one works, and why. Today I’d like to share my review of the latest wonder from GHD, the GHD MK4 1″ Ceramic Flat Iron. Touted as one of the best flat irons on the market, I absolutely loved it.

Incorporating state-of-the-art styling technology, the GHD MK4 Straightener and Styler looks very similar to a lot of flat irons out there, but that’s where the similarities end. It’s different, and really, it’s better. All of you CHI fanatics take note, if you ever try a GHD, you’ll see what I’m talking about, and if you currently use a ‘drugstore variety’ flat iron, you’ll be amazed.

The MK4 has a rounded barrel for improved curling and styling, and let me tell you, it curls as easily as it straightens, giving you the ultimate in versatility. You should know that most flat irons will produce curls, but with this iron, it was easy and the curls were nice. I chalk that up to the way this ceramic iron smoothed my strands. It took out all the texture. It didn’t just ‘flatten’, it smoothed. And curled. Major props for that.

The GHD MK4 also has advanced ceramic heaters that are designed to sense the porosity of your hair type to apply and maintain the perfect amount of heat with every glide. That’s cool. Really cool. The iron stayed hot the whole time – no damaging ‘hot spots’ like some other brands – you know who you are! But honestly, it didn’t need to stay hot so long because it straightened my hair super-fast.

The ceramic plates that promise smooth, static free glides took out all my frizz in no time. Some flat irons have been known to create static on hair – especially ones with Tourmaline – so static-free was a huge plus. This iron also had an extremely good grip of my hair while styling, which is very important when choosing a flat iron, because it usually translates into quicker styling with less passes down the same section of hair. Additionally, the ghd MK4 has great tension control, which means I didn’t have to give myself carpal tunnel squeezing the plates together super hard as I straightened each section of my hair. Minimal tension worked just fine thank you.

This iron comes nicely packaged with a step-by-step DVD included in the box which is great for you newbies, but obviously you can always catch a styling video here on our blog if you need some extra help – check out Flat Iron Styling with GHD.

This iron gets two snaps up in Z formation. Watch out competition (ahem CHI), there’s a top player in town, the GHD MK4 has arrived and it’s fabulous! I hope more people get past the pricey price point and give it a try, it really is worth it.

P.S. The ghd MK4 also has an awesome auto adjust feature for international voltages so I can style my way around the world, if I ever get to do that…

Flat Iron Buying Guide 101

Buying a Flat Iron shouldn’t be intimidating. These simple questions will help you narrow down your choices to set (and get) you straight. You might think it’s a good idea to buy the same iron your best friend has, but if your hair texture is different, your results may never be the same.

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat IronEveryone asks me “Which flat iron is the best?” and I always answer, “What is your hair type?” before I answer with a specific flat iron. Unless you’ve tried it firsthand, chances are the iron you are thinking of buying might not be the best one for your hair. Let’s narrow down the choices with a few key questions.

Which plate width?
Determine which plate width you need – one inch does not fit all. We have a great article on selecting a plate width for your specific hair length. Not all irons come in all sizes so this can help you narrow down your selection.

Fixed or variable temperature settings?
Flat irons come in fixed or variable temperature settings. The type that works best for you depends on your hair’s texture and your styling needs.

Is your hair thin, delicate, damaged or fine? Choose a flat iron with a variable temperature setting so you can control the heat and keep the iron from getting too hot.

Is your hair thick and hard to straighten? A fixed temperature would be a good choice for you so you can crank up the heat on those pesky pieces that just won’t straighten.

Is your hair is somewhere in between? Most likely you will be fine with either choice. My personal preference is a variable setting – I like control.

Does it create curls?
Most flat irons today will create curls, but (ahem) the curls are only as good as the user who creates them. Brush up on those curling techniques here.

Which Technology?
Ok, this is really the source of most flat iron confusion. Most flat irons on the market today have similar straightening technology, but which is best? Again, that depends on your hair type and styling needs.

Ceramic/Ionic
Almost all professional grade flat irons are Ceramic and Ionic these days. This technology is important in generating negative ions to smooth the hair cuticles. What you may not realize is NONE of the flat iron plates are 100% Ceramic. That’s a myth. All plates are infused with Ceramic (and/or other materials) to straighten and smooth the hair. I kid you not!

Industry research shows that pure Ceramic plates would be too soft to get the job done, so all manufacturers (this means CHI, T3, Maxiglide, HAI – all of them!) use Ceramic along with a much stronger, heat conducting surface such as Aluminum, Titanium, etc. to straighten the hair’s cuticles. And boy do they work.

Aluminum
Some older, lesser quality flat irons are pure Aluminum. These irons are usually referred to as the “drugstore variety” and do not contain Ceramic. This is why you notice a huge difference when you upgrade to a pricier iron – the addition of Ceramic. What’s so great about ionic activity? Click here.

So you know what Ceramic does, but what about all of those other materials you keep hearing about? Tourmaline, Nano-Titanium, Nano Silver, Nano anything? These are additional materials used in the plates to enhance the smoothness of the plate’s surface, generate additional negative ions to smooth your hair quickly, and create a snag free glide down the strands. Here’s a breakdown:

Nano
This is a process where the material, say Tourmaline, is micronized into superfine particles and infused into the plate surface. Whenever you see Nano, think teeny, tiny pieces of a smoothing material infused into the plates. Nano-Ceramic, Nano-Silver, you get the idea.

Ceramic and Nano-Ceramic
Smaller particles of Ceramic to contribute to your smoothing process. This is good for every hair type. Most flat irons with Ceramic technology provide silky, straight results but there are a variety of price points. As for most irons I’ve tried, the pricier Ceramic irons really are better. Plus the more expensive irons usually come with additional features and benefits so be sure to look into this if you are considering a Ceramic iron. (Best Buy: ghd. See also: HAI, Paul BrownCHI.)

Nano-Titanium
Super smoothing surface, great heat conduction, straightens hair up to 40% faster. Is it necessary? If your hair is hard to straighten, this is one of the best materials out there for you, newer technology but comparable to Tourmaline. If you want the latest technology you’ll like this. (Best Buy: Babyliss. See also: Hot Tools.)

Nano-Silver
A smooth surface that eliminates bacteria on the appliance creating a germ-free environment every time you use it. Great for a stylist, or germ-a-phobe. It straightens hair well, but do you have to have it? Probably not. (Best Buy: FHI Platform. See also: CHI Nano Silver.)

Nano-Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone known for its negative ion generating and smoothing properties, and is infused into the flat iron plates. This is earlier technology than Nano-Titanium and Nano-Silver. I sometimes find that Tourmaline causes static, but still a very good material for smoothing most hair types. (Best Buys: FHI, Bed Head. See also: HAI EliteT3.)

Does it come with a warranty?
The warranty is another biggie to think about. Some manufacturers will only honor a warranty if you buy the flat iron in a salon. I would consider that a fine idea if the salon in my area carried every flat iron. Truth is, they don’t. But I have noticed the irons they do carry are way more expensive than online. What gives?

If you are buying a flat iron in a store or online, look for a flat iron that has a 1 year warranty or longer – think HAI, ghd, Babyliss. We’ve all heard the rumors about a certain flat iron that breaks after only a few months. Honestly, it does. You might want to think about it. ‘Nuff said.

If you use a flat iron every day you want it to last. Make sure you select a flat iron guaranteed to survive your daily styling habits. If you use a flat iron sporadically, go for a less expensive Ceramic iron without all the technological bells and whistles.

I hope you take the time to ask yourself these simple questions, the flat iron of your dreams is waiting for you!

-StraightBelle

What’s So Great About Maxiglide? Everything!

Can you really transform your hair from frizzy to smooth with Maxiglide, the revolutionary, heat styling appliance? Yes! With a few simple tips, your strands can be sleek, smooth and damage free with this Ceramic super-straightener. Unlike the other flat irons and hair straighteners on the market, the Maxiglide has many patents for its unique design, so I decided to put it to the true test with my thick, massive mop of hard to straighten curls. And the results were unbelievable.

Maxiglide Flat IronFirst thing you’ll notice is the design – it’s very different and pretty hi-tech. The Maxiglide has over 120 detangling pins, a small water chamber for the steamburst system, a rounded edge design, ridges and grooves on the outer casing and Ceramic technology. These patented perks promise smooth, straight hair in just minutes, without blow drying the hair smooth first.

That’s good news if you’re like me and have thick, curly hair and don’t have the time or energy to get your hair super smooth before straightening. Hey, if I could blow dry my hair as straight as possible, why would I even need a Maxiglide? But I can add a little help with a straightening booster before I start styling.

Tip: Relax your hair texture with a smoothing product such as Beyond Straight Temporary Straightener. This will help soften the texture and prepare your hair for straightening. Don’t worry, your curls will come back the next time you wash your hair.

The unit is much larger than you might expect, especially if you are used to holding a 1″ flat iron. The Maxiglide has a plate surface of almost 4″, so you really have a lot of ceramic contact to smooth each section of hair, but I suggest keeping your sections small.

Tip: Take small sections. Don’t go wild with big thick chunks of hair. Styling smaller sections at a time will ensure smooth results in only 1 or 2 passes. That’s better for your hair then going over and over the same section many times.

The detangling pins are smooth and didn’t pull or snag my hair, but I did feel a little tension if the section wasn’t thoroughly combed beforehand (those tiny knots). I admit I’m a big fan of the elastic band for securing the giant pile of hair on my head at night, so I do get those little knots where my hair seems to mysteriously get caught…. Note to self: Must comb section before Maxigliding.

Tip: Comb through your section first. Taking the time to comb through each section before styling will remove any tiny tangles and alleviate snagging or pulling as you glide down your strands.

I notice the ergonomic design is comfortable for such a big iron, and the heating time is up super fast. In a few glides my section of hair is super soft and smooth. I continue following the manufacturer’s styling instructions by spritzing my ends with the burst of steam before going over my entire section of hair. The steam really helped defrizz, smooth and straighten my ends. They are usually very dry and I’m glad I didn’t have to fry them to get them straight.

Tip: Don’t steam the entire section of hair, just focus on the ends. Use the steam burst button on the last 1/4 section of your hair first, then starting at the top, smooth your way down. This will keep your ends from drying out.

While I style, I feel my hair becoming softer. The Ceramic Steamburst Technology is infusing the negative ions on my hair and creating a silky, shiny finish. My cuticles are now flat and smooth, without damage. WHEW. I am also surprised at the glossy shine.

The best part? My hair’s coarse/dry texture is gone, and there are no little tiny frizzies. Sometimes when you straighten curly hair, the curls are flattened, not straightened. But with the Maxiglide, my texture is gone with a capital “G”. My hair is definitely straight. Straighter then I’ve EVER seen it.

I should also mention that I like having the variable temperature control so you can direct the exact amount of heat you need. I don’t like to use more heat than necessary (too damaging) but obviously, I want enough heat to get the job done.

Tip: One temperature does not fit all. Fine/thin hair – use a lower temperature. Thick/coarse hair – select a higher temperature, but only as high as necessary. Don’t use more heat than necessary. Use just enough heat to straighten your hair, no more.

Bonus points: A styling dvd and Ceramic flat plate (for touch ups) are included with the Maxiglide – I just love visual aids, and the flat plate is perfect for the second day touch up. Yes, my hair was still straight after sleeping on it, even though I swore my curly texture would come back during the overnight hours.

One more great perk – the Maxiglide has protective styling channels and the body doesn’t get hot. This is great so there was no concern of burning my fingertips, or getting that crazy forehead or side of the neck burn from the iron. Ever get those? But no problems with the Maxiglide.

Silky straight hair in few passes and I don’t have to burn my skin or fry my ends? What a concept. If you have thick or curly hair that is difficult to straighten, try the Maxiglide, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results. We’re talking straight hair for once!

A++ for the Maxiglide.

-CurlyBelle

Thinking of Getting a Keratin Hair Treatment?

You’ve heard all about these Keratin Treatments and seriously want one. Ok, maybe you’re not 100% sure what it is, but it’s getting so much buzz, you think you should want one too! You’re never one to be left out, but hmmm… what is it? How does it work? What will happen when I go to my salon and sit in the chair? We get asked about Keratin Hair Treatments all the time, and there seem to be plenty of treatments to choose from, so do your homework carefully if you are thinking of keratin treatment like this for your hair.

As firm believers in helping you do your hair homework before undergoing any process that will change your hair dramatically, we surfed around and found this video so you can see what really happens. We are very wary of any chemical treatment that has a potential to be damaging to your delicate strands. Most Brazilian treatments (BKT) contain as much as 2% formaldehyde. Yes formaldehyde, and many treatments can contain higher percentages than that. For more info, read our article Brazilian Keratin Treatment 411.

Bonus points: It looks like this video features the Babyliss Nano Titanium Flat Iron. This iron is also featured on our list of Best Flat Irons of 2007, kudos Babyliss – we know this iron works well without a harsh chemical treatment.

Your hair homework starts now with Nina’s Goleshlee Cocochoco Keratin Hair Treatment Class, just click below.

For more info, check out this article: Brazilian Keratin Treatment FAQ’s.

-StraightBelle

Celeb Style: Katie Holmes

Katie HolmesAre you considering this new ‘do for YOU? It’s a sleek, sophisticated look with the slightest hint of classic Anna Wintour, but Katie’s version makes it fresh and modern. The secret to this look (after a great haircut!) is to start with super smoothing products that remove existing texture and frizz from your hair before you start styling. Straight, shiny strands like Katie’s start in the shower with a frizz fighting duo such as L’anza Strait-Line Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner. These products will get those locks super sleek before you even start to straighten. L’anza also makes a killer heat protectant to protect your hair while you style.

I’d suggest a 1″ flat iron that has curved plates and ceramic technology to straighten (see our list of Top Rated Flat Irons) and then go straight for a super shine serum like The End. A few drops will soften and smooth the cuticle, while locking out the dreaded “H” word – humidity. The End serum is weightless and will keep your look shiny and flirty.

Need more volume? Pump up the Volume in you Bob, will show you all the styling tips you need.

My Flat Iron Plates Don’t Match Up

Question:
My flat iron plates don’t match up, is that normal? I bought the FHI Pink Flat iron and the plates don’t touch, is it supposed to be this way? – Crystal

Answer:
It’s totally normal!
We have noticed that not all of the flat irons on the market have plates that match up exactly when you close them. Many irons have plates that are up to ½” away, and some flat irons have plates that do not touch each other at all. Rest assured this is a natural occurrence with the way many flat irons are manufactured in the factories and will not interfere with the performance of your flat iron in any way.

As long as the plates of your flat iron keep contact with either side of your hair section while styling, you will achieve your desired results. In general, I always recommend a section thick enough so there is no plate to plate contact at all. This helps ensure you are not causing any potential heat damage to your hair by taking a section that is too thin, and it avoids unnecessary iron friction that can cause wear on the plates over time.

Great question, thanks Crystal!

-CurlyBelle

Can I use a Maxiglide on ethnic or relaxed hair?

Question:

“I am African American with thick, relaxed hair. Can the Maxiglide straighten my ethnic hair type? Will the ‘steam’ frizz this type of hair?”
Tammie via email

Maxiglide Flat IronAnswer:
You can definitely use the Maxiglide Flat Iron on ethnic or relaxed hair. I recommend using it on dry hair along with a thermal protectant to lightly coat your hair before you start styling. The thermal protectant along with the ceramic iron will close the cuticle therefore helping hair stay soft and straight and not frizz in humid temperatures. Plus, if your hair is already delicate, you want it as protected as possible.
To use the Maxiglide if your hair is especially frizzy, dry, brittle or stubborn hair, first, without applying a lot of pressure, barely close the iron and quickly go over the frizzy, brittle part of the hair which is usually the last 3-7 inches before the ends, with 1 or 2 bursts of steam. (This will soften the hair, much like you would iron out a tough wrinkle in a shirt). Then go over the entire section from the roots to the ends WITHOUT THE STEAM.

Please note I do not recommend the use of any heat styling appliance on very, very damaged, fragile hair, and I would always use a flat iron with a thermal heat protectant, for added protection to my hair.

For more questions and answers about the Maxiglide Flat Iron you should definitely check out this article: Maxiglide, Everything you want to know and more, you’ll love it!

Need some visual aids? The following video willl help you get started and straightened in no time…

-StraightBelle

The 411 on CHI Technology

Just a guess, but maybe you’ve heard of CHI? Of course you have! As one of the best-selling brands of hair appliances (and hair care!) we’ve decided to find out the scoop on why CHI is such a great brand, and we love what we found out. CHI really is different than other brands out there because of their innovative ideas and breakthrough technology. Interested? Read on…

CHI What is CHI Technology?
The unique thing that makes CHI stand out as a brand with a huge competitive edge is the technology. Farouk Systems believes that through innovation they can offer the hairdresser and home stylist truly unique products that out perform anything else on the market. 

What are the Benefits of CHI Technology?
Ceramic Heat
CHI Turbo Flat IronCHI Hair Straightening Flat Irons use moist ceramic, ionic, far infrared heat with ceramic plates and coils to maintain an even temperature all the time, eliminating hot spots that can cause damage and breakage to the delicate hair strands. This ceramic technology in CHI irons also produces negative ions to seals the cuticle, repel humidity and lock in hair color while smoothing and straightening. Shown: Chi Turbo Ceramic 1″ Flat Iron.

CHI Wet-to-DryFlat irons made with traditional copper coils can cause damage by pulling and snagging the hair strands and drying the hair because there is no ionic technology to protect the hair from the excessively high temperature of the hair straightener.

CHI Pink Dazzle Flat IronNegative Ionic Activity
Did you know that your hair carries a positive electrical charge caused by dryness? Over time, this positive charge increases, and as your hair becomes drier, more hair cuticles open, creating unhealthy hair that is hard to style. The negative ions created by CHI appliances cancel these positive hair charges, while smoothing down the hair cuticle. Smoothing the hair cuticle seals in your hair’s natural oils and moisture resulting in healthier, shinier hair. Shown: CHI Pink 1″ Flat Iron.

CHI Turbo Hair DryerFar Infrared Technology
Far Infrared is the longest frequency of the infrared spectrum; it is invisible to human eyes. Far infrared frequency can penetrate up to 1 ½ inches (4 cm) inside of the skin as well as inside of the hair. Far infrared dries the hair from the inside out due to its ionic charge by penetrating deeper. Far infrared heats up objects like your hair, and hair brush not just the air, to dry your hair faster. The recent studies have also shown that it can increase the blood circulation and metabolism. It can also help to maintain our general health. Shown: CHI Turbo Hair Dryer. See more CHI Hair Dryers.

Far infrared heat is produced in all CHI products and tools giving the user amazing performance with every product. CHI products and tools penetrate deeper into the hair and the results speak for themselves.

Want to see more? We’ve got the whole she-bang…CHI Turbo, CHI Nano Digital, CHI Original and more! We also have CHI Hair Care, talk about a selection. Want to see it all? Visit our section dedicated to everything CHI, you’ll love it.

-StraightBelle