From tongs and straighteners, to curlers and rollers - we've collated an edit of the best cheap and cheerful hair tools around
Whether you’re looking to boost up your volume, add sleekness and shine or create some model-esque curls, heated hair tools are an essential part of our beauty maintenance regimes (In fact, with the ability to transform both our locks and looks, they’re arguably the most revolutionary gadget to date).
However, up until now you may have believed that a set of stylish straighteners or toasty-hot tongs was something of a luxury, that only a mountain of money could buy - but - I’m here to tell you that they don’t have to be.
All week I’ve been tonging, teasing and blow-drying the cheaper products on the market to see if any could stand against their more expensive counterparts and satisfy our serial hair needs. Here are my top five picks.
BaByliss Pro Curl 210 Styling Hair Tongs, £18.49
Celebrity hairspiration: Lily Aldridge
As one of the masters of heated hair tools, I was quite sure that a set of curling tongs from beauty buffs Babyliss would deliver - and I wasn’t disappointed.
Reaching its full heat potential in less than a minute, this large 25mm barrel tool comes fitted with five temperature settings - a scoldingly hot max of 210 degrees (a great deal hotter than many expensive hair tools) that’s designed for those with a thicker, more belligerent barnet - and slightly cooler options for finer, weaker hair types. However, while many would be tempted for the highest option, the cooler temperatures were just as effective and in fact less damaging and frizz inducing to the texture of the hair.
A straight-forward tool this tong is also super easy to use - simply secure a strip of hair under the clamp (altering the amount depending of the width of curls you want to achieve), wind up the hair and hold for between 5-8 seconds - a voilà - soft, loose Californian curls are yours in just a matter of minutes. You can even create a slightly beachier look by running a brush through the freshly curled hair to help deconstruct the waves for a more dishevelled finish.
Lee Stafford Frizz OFF Got To Blow Hair Dryer, £19.99
Celebrity hairspiration: Jennifer Aniston
Hair dryers can be a truly tricky purchase - get it right, and your morning blowout can leave you with a quoff that even a Victoria Secret model would envy. Get it wrong however, and your can be left with a utterly frizz fried disaster. With this Lee Stafford dryer though, you’re in sleek, safe hands.
Unlike any old regular humble hairdryer, this bright pink beauty is infused with a special Keratin formula which guarantees to tame frizz and static, making hair calmer, cooler and more manageable. Operating through FAR infrared technology, this dryer works by toasting the hair from the inside out, helping to prevent moisture loss and relaxing the hair cuticles. The result? Perfectly lustrous locks that appear happy, healthy and bursting with natural bounce.
Nicky Clarke Mayfair Advanced Ceramic Straighteners, £24.99
Celebrity hairspiration: Gwyneth Paltrow
When it comes to straighteners, it’s often quite difficult to compete with the few typical brands that stand out way in front. However, for anyone with a limited budget this sleek, ceramic option from Nicky Clarke is a great alternative.
Created in celebration of the 20th anniversary since the opening of the flagship salon in Mayfair, these intricately designed fashion-forward straighteners are made with both style and substance. Featuring advanced heating technology and ceramic coated plates (that work to protect the hair's condition), the added ingredient of tourmaline also helps to lock in moisture and keep your hair looking and feeling silky smooth - even when they reach their top temp of around 230 degrees.
What I would say however, is that these straighteners may require more patience for the avid sleek seeker. Unlike existing one-swipe wonders, two or three swipes of these tongs are needed if you’re looking to achieve a truly straight finish. Overall this doesn’t truly impact their usability, but might the whole process slightly more long winded for those with ultra-thick or curly hair.
Nicky Clarke Classic Compact Heated Hair Rollers, £19.99
Celebrity hairspiration: Jessica Alba
For achieving a truly polished wave, there’s no better tool than a good old set of heated hair rollers - and this set from Nicky Clarke does the job perfectly.
Packaged within a compact, portable bag that’s ideal for on-the go glamour, this set comes with 12 medium sized rollers that are designed to add voluptuous volume and a Hollywood-esque curl to hair.
A traditionally simple yet effective method, these rollers couldn’t be easier to use - simply plug the system in and watch for the handy ‘heat ready’ dot to appear to let you know when they’re ready to use. Then, simply apply each roller into your hair and leave in depending on how big and bouncy you want your curls to be (I found a good half an hour gave a contact curl that lasted all evening).
While a killer curl is certainly achievable here - the fact that you can only heat 6 rollers at a time means these beauties are best used when you have a little while ahead of you to prep and prime yourself - probably not Monday morning rush material...
John Frieda Luxurious Volume Boost Hot Brush, £20.99
Celebrity hairspiration: Catherine Middleton
Like many people I’m sure, I’ve often tried to recreate the brush and blow-dry technique done by salon stylists that gives hair that freshly cut finish and flow - unsurprisingly though, DIY versions often result in unruly matted tresses and chunks of hair being cut away from paddle brushes - until now that is. Let us introduce you to the winner of all wonder brushes, the John Frieda Volume Hot Brush.
Inspired by professional tools, this hot brush is ideal for lank locks that are crying out for a boost of volume at the crown, while the large barrel can be used to add body and shape for visibly fuller hair all over. Not to mention the firm bristles and titanium-ceramic coating also work to leave the hair looking perfectly preened and with a salon-like shine.
Both easy to use and achieving big results fast, this brush is the perfect product for creating a chic, stylish blow-dry in even the most strained and stress-filled mornings.