The Best Hair Styling Tools For Curling, Straightening And More
Mini lipsticks and mascaras may make awesome stocking stuffers—but what should you box, wrap, bow and leave under the tree for your beloved beauty buff? Top-notch styling tools, appliances and other breakthroughs in beauty tech are just the start. But how do you know if a product is worth the splurge?
I’ve tested the tools and even met with the makers of several brands to discover the best products for every price point and hair type. There are countless options in the market but I focused on efficiency, safety and ease of use for the nonprofessional stylist. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone special, these items are designed to upgrade anyone’s beauty routine in 2020.
In constant pursuit of the best wellness and beauty products, I attended this year’s Well Summit at the Brooklyn Expo. There, Dyson set up a pop-up salon where guests were invited to test the Dyson Airwrap Styler. At $550, the decision to purchase this arsenal of beauty depends on how much you crave having instant style at your fingertips. The Dyson rep made it look so easy so I wanted to see if I’d fare well on my own. When I saw a section of my hair magically wrap around the 1.2-inch barrel from root to tip, my jaw dropped. There was no tangling, overheating or fussing in the process. The Airwrap relies on something called the Coanda Effect (a phenomenon that Dyson leverages in many of its hairstyling tools), so that the tools only use the amount of air pressure (instead of extreme heat) necessary to achieve the curls.
The complete set comes with eight attachments including a prestyling dryer, round smoothing brush, straightening brush and different-size curling barrels. This offers a wide array of styling options, from voluminous waves to straight polished. You can take Airwrap classes at the Dyson Demo Store near Rockefeller Center in New York City—but all you really need are two to three practice sessions or a good video tutorial.
T3 Whirl Trio SinglePass Curling Iron
If you’re focused solely on curls as well as staying within a certain price point, the T3 Whirl Trio set is on sale for $230 at Nordstrom. It comes with three different barrels to help you create glamorous waves for upcoming holiday parties, beach waves for the summer and everything in between. This brand is a favorite among professional stylists because of its ceramic-ionic technology. Also, its white-and-rose-gold finish will upgrade anyone’s vanity.
DAFNI Straightening Brush
Unless I am in Miami or the Bahamas between July and October, my Asian-straight hair is rarely in need of a flat iron. Luckily, Isabel, star intern for the Lifestyle section, happens to have naturally rich curls. According to Isabel, it normally takes 3 hours with the help of two friends to blow out, then straighten her hair. One windy day in October, she and I met with Sharon Rabi, electrical engineer, physicist and founder of DAFNI, who straightened Isabel’s hair with a DAFNI Classic Straightening Brush in less than 30 minutes. The ceramic brush uses 3D core power technology to evenly dissipate heat at a constant 365 degrees. This protects hair and prevents overheating. This also means you can straighten from root to tip without worrying about weird crimping at the crown—or worse, burning your scalp. The process did not require a detangling spray and resulted in zero knots. DAFNI recently launched the DAFNI Go, a completely cordless tool complete with a thermal bag for those constantly on the move.
Mason Pearson Hairbrush
Hold the heat. Air-drying your hair with a high-quality hairbrush can result in the most wonderful, effortless look. With prices ranging from $120 to $275, each Mason Pearson brush is made with boar bristles that naturally clean human hair and massage the scalp. Made in London since 1885, the Mason Pearson brush handles are smooth and designed to fit comfortably in your hand. According to The Zoe Report, this luxury brush is cruelty-free.
If you’re looking for a sweet yet practical stocking stuffer under $20, the Tangle Teezer brush is compact, handle-free and highly effective. Also made in London, the unique zig-zag bristles allow for easy brushing and detangling without any breakage. It comes with a click-on cover that protects the bristles.
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer
With six speed and heat settings and a cool-shot option to set your look, this lightweight hairdryer is a favorite among professional stylists. But its ergonomic handle makes it an easy-to-use tool for anyone. While this is a powerful dryer at 2000 watts, it evenly distributes heat so that you can quick-dry without worrying about damaging your locks. I received this for Christmas three years ago and it has since quickened my morning routine.