The beauty industry can be divided into roughly two eras: pre-ghd and post-ghd. Pre-ghd, for myself at least, was mainly cowlicks, skewiff fringes, frizzy ends and Babyliss crimps for special occasions. In the post-straightener generation, however, heat styling is available at the touch of a button, ponytail grooves can be instantly ironed out and everything from waves to sleek lengths can be conjured up in minutes. Other straighteners are available of course, but if we’re going to bandy the phrase ‘game changer’ around, it surely applies to ghd. The original styler hit the market ten years ago, and to celebrate/ update, the team behind the styler on many a Christmas list has taken the straightner back to lab. Drumroll for the ghd gold®…
Let’s start with the obvious stuff: it’s more expensive. ghd gold® is £139, versus the original styler which comes in at a still not unhefty £109. So what do you get for your extra 20 quid?
Firstly it’s got two heat heat sensors as opposed to the one present in the original- this is intended to deliver smoother, sleeker hair as heat is equally distributed throughout the floating plates. About the plates- they’re “contoured” (isn’t everything these days), read: curved at the edges, meaning you achieve softer results when you use your straightening irons as curlers, which I do fairly often for speed. The barrel of the styler is now round too, which I assume allows for curlier waves. As with the original, the iron heats up to 185ºC, which is apparently the optimum temperature to nail a style that sets without excessive heat damage, but it heats up both more evenly, and in 25 seconds rather than 30. I guess every little helps pre-commute.
One of the main leaps forward seems to be the R&D invested in testing it. Ghd has gone a bit Dyson with its testing protocol , putting 2500 ghd gold® models through a veritable obstacle course of day to day challenges at a Cambridge lab. Over the period of a week, the stylers were switched on and off 13,535,862 times (pity the person having to log this), to recreate the wear and tear of turning straighteners on and off repeatedly over a two year period, and in terms of more dramatic assaults, the stylers were dropped over 800,000 times during the 2,018,699 hour testing period to assess how hardy they were.
In terms of more glamorous testing, the ghd gold® is currently doing the rounds at Fashion Month, used most recently in London to create “angelic waves” according to model’s natural hair texture backstage at Preen (“sea anemones and octopi” were also on the hair mood board- edgy). The styler was also used to to prep Margot Robbie , Jessica Biel and Saoirse Ronan for the 2018 Golden Globes red carpet , so it’s fair to say that it’s being put through its paces on a grand scale. Whizzing it through my mop on my landing isn’t quite so flashy, but here goes...
What’s it like to use?
It’s certainly light to handle and heats up in a flash, but then again the original ghd ticks both of those boxes. It glides through hair nicely with no snagging or frying, but where it really excels is the curl power- it creates flowy waves that don’t look weirdly angular or spiky as they sometimes can with other straightener designs, plus you can rustle up wavy styles far quicker than you might with a wand, although it’s trickier to get lift from near the crown than it is with a purpose-designer curler. The cord is very long which is a plus if you live in a flat with awkwardly positioned mirrors, and like the original it puts itself to sleep after half an hour, putting your ‘on the way to work but left the hair iron on’ worries to bed.
A doddle for curved ends and waves, but otherwise the original works just as well. If you’re in the market for a versatile new straightener, it’s certainly a goer, especially seeing as the first 10,000 customers who purchase the styler will find a golden ticket in the box, Willy Wonka style, that puts them in the running to win an 18k actual gold version of the ghd gold® worth over £10,000. There are only ten of these floating around the UK, so the golden straightener lottery has fairly slim odds. The gold doesn’t really add anything either, other than value and Kardashian-like bling appeal of course, but it’s quite the shiny shiny hair launch stunt. If you love hair as much as Charlie loved chocolate, get in line- it hit the shelves yesterday.
ghd gold®, £139, buy online