The Gloss Report: Hair Tools

26 November 2016
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The Gloss Report: Hair Tools

Hair tools have become an increasing part of our beauty regimes: from the whoosh of our first hairdryer via crimpers to the straighteners, tongs and hot brushes we wouldn't be without now. But with so many tools now on the market across a vast range of prices, how do you know which is the best for straightening, getting that beachy wave or a speedy blowout? That's where the Glossy Posse comes in.

From hair dryers to steampod straighteners and from customisable curlers to do-it-all stylers, we have tried, tested and given our honest reviews of the latest tools to hit the market so you don't end up spending those extra pennies on something that well, just doesn't work. Click through the gallery to see what we thought...

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ghd V® gold styler premium gift set, £135

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The promise: “The smooth plates on the V gold styler make straightening on all hair types quick and easy, while the contoured edges help to create perfect curls and waves.”

We give it: 10/10

Review: “I have had one pair of straighteners throughout my entire life (well, now let’s call it two) and they were the original ghd stylers. 11 years later and they still work just as well as the day I got them - but what could make my beloved hair tool that bit better better? By making it copper, of course.

“This new launch for Christmas is possibly one of the most beautiful launches I’ve seen this year. The copper stylers look incredible and work just as well as my old and trusty original pair. They do however look a little nicer on my dressing table… I have to admit I look over in awe at them everyday.

“They work perfectly to straighten and curl the hair. When it comes to curling my hair with tongs, I have to admit I really struggle. There’s just something I can’t quite get the hang of, but with these I can do it with ease - and super quickly. I’ve never ventured away from ghd straighteners for long and now I’ve got these in my life I truly can’t see it happening anytime soon either.”

Reviewer: LP

3 / 13

Parlux Advance Light Ceramic Ionic Dryer, £109.95

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The promise: “The NEW PARLUX ADVANCE® reflects extensive technological research aimed at meeting the requirements of stylists while also increasing the saving of energy and the safeguarding of the environment.”

We give it: 8/10

Review: “I’ve had the same hairdryer for years. It wasn’t something I ever thought about investing in, but that’s definitely because I didn’t know what I was missing. The Parlux Advance Ceramic Ionic Dryer is definitely a step up in the hairdryer stakes. It’s super lightweight which makes it perfect for travelling, along with it’s compact size. I generally use a dryer for blast-drying my hair and this works perfectly, but if you’re more likely to use it for styling then there are two nozzles that can be attached (and stay in place well). The Light Ceramic and Ionic Diffuser attachments (available here ) can be purchased separately. It has two speeds and four temperatures and doesn’t overheat. The packaging leaves a little to be desired but they are an eco-friendly brand so it’s easy enough to look past and with eight colours to choose from, there’s likely to be one that suits you. I’m happy to say my older (potentially very broken) dryer has now been put to bed.”

Reviewer: LP

4 / 13

Paul Mitchell Neuro Unclipped 3 in 1 Styling Tool, £99.95

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The promise: "A multi-tasking curling tong that can create three types of curl."

We give it: 9/10

Review: “I am a bit of a pro when it comes to hair curling, in that I’ve been using a wand since my early teens to turn my fine, poker straight hair into bouncy curls. However, the trouble with a standard conical wand is that it creates one look, and tends to suit me when my hair is just the right length, sitting on my shoulders - not above and not below. That’s where this tool from Paul Mitchell is smart; not only does it allow you to pick the type of curl you want, as it has three interchangeable titanium barrels (a small 0.75” cone, a larger 1.25” cone and a 1” rod), but even if you like a certain curl you can pick the barrel that suits your hair length. With a digital display, it heats up in seconds - faster than my usual brand - and it forms really natural-looking curls. The barrels click in and out really easily, and my only small gripe, if I were to be picky, is that it takes a long time to cool down (making swapping barrels a bit tricky). Otherwise, a great investment for women who like to change up their style and a no-brainer gift idea.”

Reviewer: JJ

5 / 13

Cloud Nine The O Pod, £109

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The promise: "A multi award-winning, styling innovation sensation with unique induction technology, that creates fabulous volume in minutes, changing the perception of rollers forever."

We give it: 9/10

Review: “Despite this product's claims of being ‘multi award-winning’, I had reservations about using Cloud Nine’s The O Pod (price1.0.9. - see what they did there?). It’s quite chunky and comes in it’s own chic carry case. With so many pieces of apparatus, it looked time consuming.

“I could not have been more wrong - well except for the size - but despite the fact you will need to clear out the bottom of the wardrobe to store it, this awesome hair curling gadget will never leave my boudoir.

“In the past I have used all sorts of curling and volumising devices, from multi-use hair straighteners and electric hair curlers to a variety of different blow drying techniques, all with varying results, but Cloud Nine’s The O Pod is on another level, giving me the type of curls and volume I never ever thought I could achieve - and it’s so quick.

“Once it’s plugged in, you simply pop each hair curler (there are three sizes) into the pod one at a time and wait for the black spot in the centre to go orange - this takes seconds, and then you roll straight into a thick strand of hair and fasten with one of its big grips. I started at the top of the head with the smallest curlers and then worked downwards applying the larger curlers towards the bottom of my head. I then left them in while I applied my makeup and then in about 90 seconds pulled them out to reveal gorgeous big curl volume. The only downside is the curlers can get quite hot in the hand if you are not quick enough, but it is a small price to pay for its BIG results.”

Reviewer: GP

6 / 13

Hershesons Tourmaline Professional Waving Tong, £98

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The promise: "An update on the most sought-after tool in the world of hairdressing."

We give it: 7/10

Review: “As someone who curls their hair at least twice a week, I’ve become something of a dab hand at handling my trusty hot wand, confidently whipping my hair around it with my well trained (and now slightly numbed) fingertips.  I was intrigued, therefore, to try out something new in the form of the Hershesons waving tong - a bright white wand complete with ceramic barrel, clamp and adjustable heat gauge - all very futuristic compared with what I’m used to.  The first thing I noticed was just how fast this tong heats up, and to such high temperatures, meaning my early morning curl fest just got turbocharged.

"It did take me a couple of swipes before getting used to the clamp, however, and think I’ve got a way to go to perfect the kink-less bottom flick - but practice makes perfect with this tool.  I can already see that the sheer heat of this wand is sure to leave cuticles well sealed for a seriously high shine finish (that and the clever negative ions in the barrel)!  Great first impressions and looking forward to building a longer term relationship with this one.”

Reviewer: GB

7 / 13

TONI&GUY Limited Edition Illusions Styler, £44.99

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The promise: “This styler straightens, curls and waves with one glide through the hair. Designed with superior touch controls and precision heater technology, the 25mm extra long floating plates ensure perfect results and flawless finish hair.”

We give it: 6/10

Review: “I should start by saying that I have very little hair to straighten and that my hair is, on the whole, quite straight. However, as my bob grows out, there are inevitably unruly strands of hair that reveal themselves, so I was pleased to be able to set them straight with these Toni & Guy straighteners which were pleasingly easy to use with five heat settings ranging from 150 degrees up to a whopping 230! I was however, quite surprised by the enormity of the box that they came in and it was only when I discovered the limited edition ‘heat resistant pouch’ that this made sense. The pouch is certainly not going to win any prizes for looks or compactness. In the age of Apple-style packaging and simplicity, I would have liked to see something a bit more slimline (especially for travel) and less like an 80s clutch bag.”

Reviewer: AEM

8 / 13

L’Oreal Professionnel Steampod 2.0, £185

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The promise: "Uses steampod technology to create soft, controlled hair with a salon professional finish."

We give it: 5/10

Review: “I have had a fair bit of experience of hair straightens in the past, from budget to blowout, and I am confident I know what a good pair of hair straighteners should have to offer: the first being good results, the second possibly being price, but the third is ease of use, and despite trying to remain open-minded about it, the Steampod is not easy to use.

“I appreciate the idea of using steam to style your hair - it’s what happens when you have a blow dry or iron an item of clothing - but while a good hair dryer or pair of ceramic plates can achieve pretty darn good results on their own, I am not sure there is the need to add in the fuss of steam to a pair of hair straighteners. It doesn’t feel particularly safe (the steam comes from a unfastened pod of water that is filled up and secured using suckers to stop it from falling or tipping over) and there are too many wires - one joining the plug to the steam pod and another (three times thicker) awkwardly joining the pod to the straightening tool. You also have to wait some time for the pod of water to heat up and for someone who is constantly battling time in the morning, this is not a calming experience. Finally, there is a comb attached in the tool with the idea that this tool glides through the hair smoothely (I am guessing). This however just broke the dry strands of my hair so by the time I had got around my whole head, my carpet was covered in broken knots of hair. The end result: it’s actually not bad and my hair did feel soft and sleek, but the experience of getting there was not one that I recommend. I am afraid it is back to my trusty old hair straighteners with no steam (or watery pods) for me.”

Reviewer: GP

9 / 13

Remington Keratin Radiance Hair Dryer, £33

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The promise: “The Remington Keratin Radiance Dryer delivers fast and effective professional drying result with a powerful 2200W motor.”

We give it: 7/10

Review: “I’ve lived off of budget friendly hair dryers for my entire life and the majority have lasted me pretty well so when I saw how budget friendly this one was I couldn’t wait to give it a go. The sleek lilac design looks super pretty and reminded me of when I was younger as just about everything I owned was in a very similar shade. Now I stick to small hints of the colour and this fits in perfectly. The dryer dries my hair well, it’s supposed to have a Keratin and Macadamia Ceramic coated grille, to transfer micro conditioners on to the hair, but I didn’t really notice much difference, though if it’s doing something good to my hair while I use heat, I’m happy with that. It has three heat settings, two speed settings and a cold shot. It also comes with two nozzles and a diffuser so just about any blow dry style is possible. It takes a little longer to dry than some dryers, but I don’t mind as I’m happy with the finished result it gives my hair. At such a great price point, you really can’t go wrong with it if you’re looking for a budget buy that does the job.”

Reviewer: LP

10 / 13

T3 Whirl Convertible, £140

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The promise: "The new T3 Whirl Convertible allows you to create textured, tousled, natural-looking waves. The Digital SinglePass™ technology maintains an even temperature for fast, uniform results without unnecessary heat."

We give it: 9/10

Review: “As of late, I’ve taken to swapping sleek and straight for making waves instead, so this curling tong couldn’t have come at a better time. The latest addition to T3’s range, the Convertible collection promises plenty of curl for your cash without causing unnecessary damage, making a roster of looks accessible courtesy of its interchangeable design. On all counts, it definitely delivers.

“It comes with its Tousled Waves Barrel included - a versatile 32-19mm size that’s ideal for creating defined yet relaxed curls. For my long thick hair, it worked a treat - but the  Loose Waves Barrel (38mm) , £60 was to prove to be my perfect match. Giving my hair the type of boho texture that I wish came naturally, I was especially impressed by the shine and softness of the end result. Although a little fiddly to lock into the holder to begin with, it was extremely easy to use thereafter - simply plug in and switch the on button before choosing between one of the five temperature settings. With regards to value for money, it would have been great for the set to include two barrels for the price tag however, that being said, it’s hard to find too many faults with its actual performance. Furthermore, its 1 hour auto-off switch keeps post styling fire hazard paranoia to a minimum (a feature I’m particularly grateful for!) and it’s certainly not bad to look at either thanks to its accents of  rose gold  providing a welcomed gilded edge to my hair tool artillery.”

Reviewer: AM

11 / 13

Lee Stafford Academy Dryer, £69.99

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The promise: “To give you powerful and professional results for the perfect blow dry.”

We give it: 9/10

Review: “I've always found it hard to know whether you have a great hairdryer or not. My hair is super fine and poker straight so I can dry it in two minutes flat - it's not all joy though, because it's so fine it can accumulate very static very quickly during drying or styling. The Lee Stafford Academy Dryer promises to give the perfect blow dry by delivering a high quality salon performance from its fast and powerful results. With three heat and two speed settings plus the ultra-thin 6mm nozzle which really allows you to focus the airflow on to certain strands of hair that you want to smooth out, it had settings for all hair types covered. I definitely had hardly any static at the end of drying my hair, and the overall result was sleek and smooth - I don't think I've quite got the perfect salon blow dry down yet, but practice makes perfect right?”

Reviewer: SM

12 / 13

EGO Professional Smart Hairdryer, £129

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The promise: “Increase volume, smoothness, condition and shine all at the touch on the state of the art screen display.”

We give it: 9/10

Review: “Smart is the word- this touch screen dryer is unlike any hair blaster I’ve tried, for many reasons. Firstly, the slightly Star Trek control screen puts you in the driving seat of your blow dryer experience, rather than being a victim of an out of control wind machine (I think I’ve had a few too many fuses blow on previous models). Rather than flick buttons, the screen allows you to precisely adjust the speed and heat of the dryer, and the conditioning element is a lovely touch. I thought that this particular feature would be a bit of a gimmick, but I was indeed left with far shinier hair than I normally achieve with a bit of at-home rough drying, without any switch up in my normal hair products. The dryer itself is light and comfortable to hold, and the velcro cord tidier is a welcome practical addition. The only detractor is the fact that you need two hands to tell it what to do- adjusting settings isn’t as simple as pressing a button, but the rewards of the digital system are worth it. Overall it’s pricey, but justifiably high performing."

Reviewer: AH

13 / 13

Babyliss Diamond Heated Smoothing and Straightening Brush, £79.99

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The promise: "Simply brush your hair for fast easy straightness with visible shine. Perfect smoothing with no flattening, the solution for kinky or frizz-prone hair."

We give it: 10/10

Review: “I have hair that frizzes at the merest whiff of damp weather, and I’m known for making the journey to work in a beany, even in summer to keep ‘damp’ and ‘hair’ well apart. Heat smoothing has come with an added complication for me in the last 12 months as I have been suffering from thinning breakage around my hairline – thin hair is frizzier but it also needs to be spared from over-styling. Straighteners are a complete no-no. Happily though this heated brush (not so much brush as heated plate with ceramic fins that smooth without pulling and add shine to the hair) bridges the gap, delivering just enough heat to take the frizz out but not so much to damage it, even on the highest 200°C setting (you never get the cloud of steam that can billow up even from dry hair with straighteners.).

“I suspect you could get more of a poker straight result if you increased the time you spent brushing it through your hair. It heats up super fast and the result is lasting – although I didn’t try it in damp weather. If you prefer your straightening tool to give you curls as well this one’s not for you, but I’ll be keeping one at home and in my desk drawer at work from now on.”

Reviewer: VW